Sexes: Masters & Johnson on Homosexuality

An exclusive preview of the famed sex researchers' newest study

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Homosexuals, who do not have the burden of deciphering the opposite sex, generally communicate better. Committed, attached homosexuals are less preoccupied with orgasm than married heterosexuals, and more aware of the exact level of their partners' sexual excitement. And single gays did better than single straights. Masters and Johnson found the same patterns among the am-bisexuals: they acted like homosexuals when they were with homosexuals (e.g., more communication) and like heterosexuals while making heterosexual love (e.g., an assumption that the male should take the lead). To Masters and Johnson, this is clearly a result of "cultural influence" -ambisexuals pick up different cues on how heterosexuals and homosexuals make love.

The ambisexuals seemed well adjusted. They had no psychiatric or work problems, but were detached and lonely, and fantasized very little, a fact that the researchers cannot explain. The chapter on sex fantasies conies with a deflating warning: don't make too much of the findings because they came from only 132 people, were gathered a decade or more ago, and will not be reported in full until the next Masters and Johnson book, Human Sexual Inadequacy II, due in 1981. Still, the preliminary findings show that fantasies of forced sex were the most popular fantasies among lesbians and the second most popular among homosexual men, heterosexual men and heterosexual women.

The primary fantasy found in the two heterosexual groups was a recurring daydream of sex with a different partner. On the other hand, the leading fantasies of gay men involved body parts-usually the genitals and buttocks. Homosexual fantasies about forced sex were more violent and sadistic than those among heterosexuals. Straight women repeatedly conjured up images of gang rape but the assaults were relatively tame: although the woman is given no choice in the matter, she is treated lovingly by a circle of panting admirers. In most cases the lesbian version of these fantasies showed a theme of revenge against another woman. The daydreamer engineers the humiliation of the woman and then stands by enjoying it. Straight men had less violent fantasies about forced sex than gay men, and in fact played the part of rapist slightly less often than they did that of the rapee-a helpless male ravished against his will by a group of lusty women.

The finding that homosexuals often fantasize about having heterosexual sex confirms reports from some psychologists and counselors. For instance, in the recent book on female homosexuality Our Right to Love: A Lesbian Resource Book, Los Angeles Clinical Psychologist Nancy Toder reports that many of her lesbian patients talk of sexual feelings or dreams about men. Toder thinks that these musings are partly out of curiosity, partly reminiscences of sleeping with men. There is no evidence, however, that homosexuals dream of straight sex any more than heterosexuals dream of gay sex.

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