Probably not. But last week, Christopher Hitchens played devil's advocate:
But there's actually a chance—a 38 percent chance, to be more precise—that the senator can cop a plea on the charge of hypocrisy. In his study of men who frequent public restrooms in search of sex, Laud Humphreys discovered that 54 percent were married and living with their wives, 38 percent did not consider themselves homosexual or bisexual, and only 14 percent identified themselves as openly gay.
Here's Andrew, on the same study:
I'm not sure I buy that. I'll bet many of them are closeted, conflicted or gay-and-married-to-a-woman. They say they're hetero, sure. But the Onion had the best riposte to that.
I don't buy the numbers Hitchens cites, either - not least because they're from 1970, a much more closeted time than ours. But on the other hand, there is clearly some percentage of heterosexual men who engage in gay encounters outside of the all-male environments, like prep school and prison, where opportunistic homosexuality is most common. Yes, there's evidence to support the proposition that male bisexuality doesn't exist as a distinct category of sexual orientation (though I retain some skepticism about this finding), but even if there's a gay-straight binary, in some sense, on the level of biochemical arousal, there's also clearly a certain number of people whose behavior places them in the 2-4 range on the Kinsey scale, and not all of them are gay men who are lying to themselves. Consider the findings of the same recent study that seeks to debunk the idea of bisexuality as a distinct sexual category:
In the experiment ... the researchers asked the men about their sexual desires and rated them on a scale from 0 to 6 on sexual orientation, with 0 to 1 indicating heterosexuality, and 5 to 6 indicating homosexuality. Bisexuality was measured by scores in the middle range.
Seated alone in a laboratory room, the men then watched a series of erotic movies, some involving only women, others involving only men.
Using a sensor to monitor sexual arousal, the researchers found what they expected: gay men showed arousal to images of men and little arousal to images of women, and heterosexual men showed arousal to women but not to men.
But the men in the study who described themselves as bisexual did not have patterns of arousal that were consistent with their stated attraction to men and to women. Instead, about three-quarters of the group had arousal patterns identical to those of gay men; the rest were indistinguishable from heterosexuals.
Now obviously it's impossible to know what the overlap is between the population of self-described "bisexuals" in this survey and the population of men who troll for sex in public restrooms. But it's suggestive, at least, that there might be a one-in-four chance that when Larry Craig says he's not and never has been gay, he's telling the truth.
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