Bromosexuals: The Naked Truth
Wayne James, author of Manly Manners
A “bromosexual” is a man’s man—literally and figuratively. To the naked eye, he is not only heterosexual, he is the über-male, the embodiment of testosterone on steroids, the last man on planet Earth to be suspected of being gay or bi-sexual. Mere men are Homo sapiens; bromosexuals are “Bromo sapiens.” But, alas, looks are oftentimes deceiving…. The bromosexual espouses beards, babes, and barbells. But he adores his “Bro” every bit as much. And “ay, there’s the rub.”
If pressed, the bromosexual will admit that the exceedingly close friendship he enjoys with his special “bro” is a “bromance.” But all bromances are not created equal: On one hand, a bromance is simply an intimate, platonic relationship between two men, regardless of their respective sexual orientation; bromance à la bromosexual, however, is an intimate, sexual relationship between two men who appear unequivocally heterosexual. And in the 21st century, bromosexual bromances abound—in front everybody’s face, yet behind everybody’s back. To put it more succinctly—even if admittedly more crassly—bromosexuals are cock-friends masquerading as jock-friends.
By definition, every red-blooded bromosexual will vehemently deny—even to the point of resorting to physical violence—that there is a sexual component to his bromantic pursuits, even when, as is oftentimes the case, sex is the raison d’être for the friendship itself. The world of the bromosexual is one of D-words: disguise, dares, disclaimers, and dicks. In essence, he is “on the DL”—but in plain view. The unwitting observer is never to deduce that the bromosexual’s preoccupation with things masculine goes hand-in-hand with his preoccupation with males.
If there had to be a poster boy for the bromosexual, he would be swarthy, hairy, and brawny: the fireman; the construction worker; a Harley-Davidson biker; an NFL player. But in reality, he comes in all shapes and sizes, from college jock to jockey to lumberjack. Prerequisite No. 1 for attaining “bromo” status, however, is a decidedly (even if stereotypically so) masculine persona. Therefore, metrosexuals need not apply, and femme-types do not qualify. Essentially, a bromo (short for bromosexual), whether bi or homo, must appear 110% hetero: He must be able to exist under the radar of gaydar. Prerequisite No. 2 is a wife or a long-term girlfriend and natural-born or adopted children/stepchildren. (Alternatively, a bromo must have at least one baby-momma.) These female counterparts are essential to the credibility of the putative platonic nature of the bromosexual’s bromance and are referred to as “cover-girls” or “beards.”
The term “bromosexual” is a mash-up of “bro,” which is the shortened form of “brother,” and “homosexual.” The origin of the species seems to have emerged from the hyper-masculine iconic elements of gay culture such as Tom of Finland, wrestling porn, leathermen, and SMBD (Sado-Masochism Bondage and Discipline).
Despite Herculean advancements—such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and the proliferation of alternative forms of sexuality in mainstream media—stigma persists vis à vis all forms of sexuality except heterosexuality. And of all the various expressions that unfold along the continuum of human sexuality, it is the bromosexual who remains the most ensconced in denial. But that should come as no surprise since the goal of the bromosexual, by definition, is to appear super-hetero. Thus, unlike the other non-traditional expressions of sexuality that have taken up their posts in the trenches in order fight for change, acceptance, and tolerance, the bromosexual, despite his characteristic machismo, has not only hidden behind a veil of virility, but has oftentimes actively sabotaged the cause either through non-participation, or, worse yet, by aligning with the opposition via vociferous hate-speech, gay-bashing, and subterfuge.
The Making of the Bromosexual:
Bromosexuals tend to thrive in three principal habitats: in fraternity houses on college campuses; in prisons; and in the gathering places for “boys’ night out.”
For the young man who leaves his home and hometown to go off to college, his school becomes a ground-zero for self-rebranding. Away from family and friends, he is able to begin anew the journey towards becoming his own man. And in that fertile environment of self-realization, a fraternity house is a veritable laboratory for sexual experimentation. In that hormone-charged milieu, the layers of sexuality are peeled away and dissected, uncovering and laying bare the young man’s true sexual anatomy. Fraternity brothers are typically a ready, willing, and able test-group to assist in the probing.
In Western culture, the university years are traditionally very forgiving years. Young people are allowed, or even encouraged, to let their hair down and be free, the tacit understanding being that what happens in college stays in college—that upon departing the hallowed halls of academia, one’s slate will be wiped clean of all adolescent indiscretions. But while in generations past such unconventional goings-on would waft away on the winds of time into the recesses of oblivion, today, with the ubiquitous mobile device and surveillance cameras, engaging is risqué behavior can have life-long ramifications.
But as the saying goes, “Boys will be boys….” And everyone knows what happens when boys play house…. Enter: the D-words: a dare is ostensibly what prompted two certifiably heterosexual frat brothers to deep-kiss each other; the disclaimer “No homo!” is declared above the laughter when one frat brother pulls down his pants, pops out his penis, and passes it across the lips of his sleeping brother; and drugs—from alcohol to pot to ecstasy—are the catch-all justifiers for a frat boy behaving outside the boundaries of heterosexuality. Anecdotal evidence is replete with tales of initiates being required to succumb (no pun intended) to the sexual demands of senior members; of en masse masturbation circles; of orgies where the number of males far exceeds that of females. At frat houses, in addition to all the “mooning” and “flashing” and “streaking” and “sizing-ups,” shower-room towel fights are almost obligatory. And where there are towel fights, there is nudity. But “pranks,” “horseplay,” “roughhousing,” and “alcohol”—never bisexuality or homosexuality—are the scapegoats for such shenanigans. Thus, the bromosexual is born. And to conceal his newly revealed sexuality, the bromosexual serial-dates college women or claims to be in a committed long-distance relationship with some phantom female….
Sex amongst inmates is officially prohibited in most prisons the world over. But it occurs. There are the men who form couples, and there are the men who engage in random or occasional sex-acts. Regardless, prison etiquette dictates: don’t see; don’t tell.
Male-on-male sex in prison is typically regarded as a fact of life behind bars. And those who, for whatever reason, indulge in such activities are generally afforded the requisite privacy. The inmates most likely to verbalize objection to prison sex, however, are the bromosexuals, for it is they who tend to have the greatest need to convincingly demonstrate their heterosexuality to fellow inmates. While gay and bi-sexual men tend to empathize or sympathize with prison sex even if they themselves do not engage in it; and while heterosexual men tend not to concern themselves with it, their focus being on returning to their wives, children, and girlfriends; the bromosexual inmate tends to be noticeably vociferous—and critical—about the sexual goings-on in prison. Much of the sex-related gossip, gay-bashing, snitching, etc., in prison is perpetrated by bromosexuals, all the while engaging surreptitiously in the very activities they outwardly condemn. As the saying goes, “Show me a homo-hater, and I’ll show you a bromo-lover.”
For the unwitting or novice, the bromosexual’s anti-gay/bi antics can be quite convincing, leaving the naïve observer believing that the bromosexual is the last person on Earth who would be gay. But for the inmate with an acumen for men’s motivational behavior, the bromosexual’s protestations are illustrative of his sexual ambiguity. In essence, behavior is the barometer of the bromosexual.
Once again, the D-words rear their ugly heads. The bromosexual’s modus operandi vis à vis prison sex is: deny, deceive. delude. His bromosexual existence depends on those devices; his true sexuality must go undetected even to the most sexually intuitive. As such, the bromosexual engages in behavior that is aimed at diverting attention from the sexual component of his prison bromance.
Much of the bromosexual’s distractionary behavior centers around three activities:
b)- open-area visitations
Pumping iron is a metaphor of sorts for masculinity. It is high irony, therefore, for the weight pile to be one of the gayest sites in prisondom. Thus, it is there that bromosexuals congregate. Unlike other inmates, who, confident in their sexuality, find one workout partner, paying no attention to what other might think or say about the pairing, the bromosexual, ever mindful to conceal his sexuality, typically works out in groups of three or four so as not to give any definitive indication as to who is his primary workout partner. For the bromosexual, there is nebulousness in numbers.
For the bromosexual, weight-training allows for male intimacy in plain view, yet disguised: spotting affords the reclined bro an eyeful. Men who workout together monitor each other’s muscles; compliment each other on their physical progress; greet each other with chest-thumping or shoulder-punching rather than a handshake or a fist-pump. They massage each other’s muscles when the inevitable injuries occur; they enter[WJ1] the shower room together after long, sweaty, workout sessions; they manscape each other’s hard-to-reach/see body parts. Workout buddies cook and eat almost every meal together, ostensibly to ensure each other’s nutritional intake. Because of their mutual obsession with the prison pastime of developing their physiques, numerous opportunities arise for bros to spend time together—from early morning rendezvous to prepare and share pre-workout “breakfast sandwiches” to late-night hookups to guzzle down protein shakes before bidding each other a good night. Arousal in the presence of a bro is explained away as “overactive steroids,” a “longing for female interaction,” or even a “penis workout.” (After all, the penis is made of muscles too!) Anal penetration is not sex; it is a prostate massage. And late-night mutual masturbation in adjoining toilet or shower stalls is conducive to restful sleep and should not be interpreted as homo-erotic indulgences.
There are men, who, despite being married or involved in long-term relationships with women, constantly boast about their various and sundry sexual liaisons with other women. Those men oftentimes speak disparagingly about females, referring to them as “bitches” and providing graphic details about their conquests of the “pussy.” In prison, those men are almost always bromosexuals. And it is during open-area visitation that they seize the opportunity to prove their commitment to heterosexuality to both the female visitors and fellow male inmates. Thus, it is the bromosexual who is almost always sanctioned for inappropriate sexual contact during visitations: groping, fondling, intimate kissing, etc. And as they are carried off to the S.H.U. (Special Housing Unit) for misconduct, it is their “bro” who most grieves the violator’s absence, oftentimes becoming “asfixiado,” Spanish for “suffocated,” the term used by Puerto Rican inmates to describe the phenomenon whereby an inmate mourns the separation from another inmate.
The playing of Spades is a popular pastime of prisoners. Inmates align with each other and typically remain paired while successful. Otherwise, new pairs are formed, the idea being to learn new strategies from new partners, thereby perfecting each individual’s game. But Spades is also a perfect card game for bromo couples as it provides a pretext for a pair of prisoners to be together before, during, and after matches.
Two teams of two players each compete. And because Spades is a game of strategy, teams comprised of two players who understand each other’s strategies have an increased chance for success. Typically, an undefeated team remains together, taking on new challengers. But a team with wins and losses tends to eventually separate to form new partnerships, hoping to find success. A team that remains together throughout wins and losses, never switching partners, is usually a team based on a partnership beyond Spades. It is said that ”the Spades team that stays together is a Spades team of gays together.”
Boys’ Night Out
Married men and men in long-term relationships with women have managed to convince their female companions that the survival of the male gender depends upon “Boys’ Night Out”: that in order for men to remain men after marriage and commitment to the fairer sex, they must be able to engage in all-male activities on a regular basis. “Poker Night,” “Beer with the Boys,” billiards, etc., have achieved sacrosanct status and are now inviolable.
At the foundation of “Boys Night Out” is the all-male “pack mentality” that manifests in the early teenage years. For most men, it ends with their first profound encounter with the opposite sex. But for other men, the pack mentality intensifies with age, enduring throughout life. They are the men—typically in cliques of three to six or seven—who hung tight in college, were best-men and groomsmen in each other’s weddings, are godfathers to each other’s children, and are the nucleus around which their female counterparts revolve in collateral (and sometimes pseudo) friendships. Those are the same type of men who go away on those men-only motorcycle road trips, hunting getaways, fishing expeditions, and golfing get-togethers in far-flung destinations. And it is on those “gaycations” that bromos express their “homones.” .
14 Tell-tale Signs of Bromosexuality
1)-The need to view “heterosexual” porn before and/or during sex
Many men convince their female companions that looking at pornographic films, like the use of sex-toys, is an exciting accessory to sex. When the films become a requirement, however, red flags should go up. Not only are many women made to feel inadequate because they rarely resemble the porn heroines, but they are also oftentimes deceived by the bromo lovers who, unbeknownst to their female counterparts, use the films in order to achieve sexual arousal from the male actors. Then, to add insult to injury, few women are aware that there is also a genre of “straight” porn that is created for a gay audience. One way or another, porn as foreplay to sex is usually the preview of a tragic ending.
2)-The tendency to date or marry bi-sexual women
Call it gambit or preemptive strike, bromosexuals tend to date or marry bi-sexual women, thereby neutralizing any complaints when the bromo’s bro becomes a “platonic” fixture in the marriage or relationship.
3)-A staunchly professed inability to discern male beauty
Men in general—and bromosexuals are no exception—are notorious for claiming that they are incapable of seeing beauty in a man; only a gay man, they say, would describe a man as “beautiful” or “handsome.” Yet those same men—and bromosexuals even more so—are quick to declare another man “ugly,” without, apparently, ever stopping to realize the inconsistency.
4)-The tendency to describe a man by the color of his eyes
Unless a man’s eye color is extraordinary to the point of being a freak of nature (such as a black man with blue eyes or an East Asian with green eyes), the color of another man’s eyes goes unnoticed by most heterosexual males. Thus, if a man with an “all-man” appearance routinely describes men by eye color, that “all-man” man is likely to be a bromosexual.
5)-A passion for “alternative” nightclubs
A bromosexual is unlikely to attend a gay club in a locale where he is likely to be recognized; the last thing he wants is to be suspected as being gay. But he wants to have a bird’s-eye view of the goings-on of alternative entertainment. So, his preference is for entertainment venues where everyone and everything goes—clubs where there are straight people, gay people, transgender people, single people, coupled people. At such establishments there might be female burlesque performers, male strippers, female impersonators, the full gamut. And the bromosexual is able to relish in it all while safely maintaining his “straight” status.
6)-An openness to “heterosexual” group-sex
Bromos tend to be game for group-sex: “train-sex” on a girl during Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale; a bromo and his bro tag-teaming a “bitch” in their hotel room while on a Harley-Davidson convention; an orgy. The common denominator of all such sex-acts is the presence of at least one other naked man.
7)-An openness to dating and/or marrying women of another race
A bromosexual tends to invoke “cultural differences” in his attempts to explain away his female companion’s attempts to make sense of the bromosexual’s friendship with his bro or an overall inability to perform.
8)-Becomes highly offended if asked about his sexuality
Calling into question a bromosexual’s sexual orientation oftentimes marks the beginning of the end of his relationship with the inquirer. A bromosexual’s social persona is carefully crafted to exude unambiguous heterosexuality. Consequently, any questioning thereof is regarded as a direct challenge to the bromo’s very existence.
9)-The use of cutting-edge “gay” vocabulary to “test” the waters
Most bromosexuals make it a point to keep abreast of cutting-edge gay culture so as to be able to navigate its subtleties without causing waves. Using hot-off-the-press gay terminology enables the bromo to discreetly fish for ilk. In a prison environment, for example, he might throw out as bait the term “woof”—which, according to the Urban Dictionary, is an adjective used in the gay community to describe, upon encountering in passing, a masculine, sexy man—knowing that if an inmate bites the bait by indicating his familiarity with the term, the bromo would have hooked the inmate, hook, line, and sinker. Likewise, a bromo might describe a fellow inmate as “trade,” knowing that only a gay man is likely to know that “trade” is used in gay lingo to describe a man who appears unmistakably straight but is, in fact, gay or bisexual. Then, once the bromo has reeled in the catch of the day with the subtle use of words, the rest is smooth sailing….
10)-The tradition of the annual, men-only vacation to faraway destinations with close friends
Bromosexuals tend to socialize in man-packs consisting of at least three—but sometimes as many as six or seven—bros, the specific bromosexuals couples within the pack camouflaged by the size of the pack. For bromos, there is safety in numbers, for group-size enables gay guys to disguise. And those annual getaways allow the bromo couples within the man-pack to unimpededly express their masculine intimacy.
11)-The desire to possess the iconic accoutrements of masculinity
Bromosexuals, in order to solidify their public male personas, desire objects that are quintessentially masculine: a Harley-Davidson motorbike; the Cuban cigars; the Stetson hat.
12)-A vehemently professed repulsion by homosexual sex
Bromosexuals are typically very vocal about their supposed abhorrence of homosexuality. When questioned publicly, the bromosexual claims to be utterly, categorically repulsed by the very thought of homosexual sex, let alone the act. World hunger, genocide, global warming, domestic violence, and child abuse do not offend his sensibilities as much as homosexual sex. He publicly regards homosexuality as an abomination. According to him, homosexuals should be exterminated; and they deserve every bit of the hate-speech and gay- bashing they receive. The bromosexual is a classic case of “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
13)-The tendency to gossip about and expose the sexuality of other persons
A bromosexual relishes in gossiping about and exposing the sexuality of others. Whether motivated by misery liking company or as a tactic to deflect attention from his own sexuality, the bromo seizes upon every opportunity—even at the expense of breaching the strictest of confidences—to “out” others, make disparaging remarks about alternative sexualities, and hypocritically condemn the sexuality of others.
14)-Regularly boasts about the numerous sexual encounters he has with women
Despite being married, being in a long-term relationship, or having at least one baby-momma, a bromosexual regularly boasts, while in the company of men, about his many sexual escapades with “bitches” and brags about the quantity of “pussy” he gets on demand.
A bromosexual presents and represents himself as the consummate heterosexual. Enter again more D-words: delusion and deflection. His appearance and demeanor are honed to defy and belie his homosexuality or bisexuality. The bromo’s aim is to convince others—by any means necessary—that he is straight. And his performance is so convincing that he oftentimes convinces himself. Thus, when two bromosexuals engage in the act of sex, especially in the nascent stage of the relationship, their sex is never processed as “gay” or “bisexual” sex. It is whatever else they deem it to be.
In the courting stage of a bromosexual relationship, as a throwback to the college-age years, sex is typically preceded by one or more of the seemingly countless, sexually charged masculine activities such as wrestling, muscle-flexing, pectoral-pounding, biceps-bragging, shoulder-punching, jock strap-snapping, butt-patting, armpit-sniffing, penis-grabbing, etc. And when a less ambiguous approach is required, the sex-by-contest method is employed, where to the victor go the spoils. Bromo sex allows a man to be “all male” during sex with another man. There is no need, as is the case in heterosexual sex, to express “feminine qualities” such as tenderness, affection, sensitivity, and passion. To the contrary, bromo sex can be rough, hard, aggressive, forceful—the way real men like to do things. After all, real men don’t cry…. Bromos relish riding “bareback” (with lots of butt-cheek slapping for good measure), and their lubricant of choice is saliva, for condoms and commercial lubricant suggest premeditation, and preparedness indicates intent, which spells g-a-y, “gay.”
In bromo sex, lovers speak the same language: Manglish. And from that male-only language has emerged a lexicon (referred to as a “sexicon”), its aim being to heterosexualize gay sex. As such, a bromosexual does not penetrate an anus, for that sounds too gay. Instead, he penetrates a “brussy”(bro-pussy) or a “brogina” (bro-vagina). Code-language for a bro’s ass is “brass,” (bro-ass), and bromo anilingus is referred to as “polishing brass.” A gay man gives his boyfriend a blowjob; but a bromosexual gives his bro a “bro-job” and rationalizes it as an all-natural, no-preservatives source of “brotein.” Big difference…. And as an added perquisite, bros don’t need to call each other the morning after… Only women fuss over such things….
A bromosexual, in the name of friendship, seizes upon every opportunity to participate with or witness his bro engaging in heterosexual sex. Two bros sharing one woman is the ultimate bromo sexual fantasy, for it allows the bros to have sexual interaction with each other within the context of “straight” sex. In such instances, they encourage double-penetration of the female, thereby allowing their penises to rub in the process. And whenever a threesome is out of the question, the left-out bro is oftentimes invited to perform as videographer or director. For bros, voyeurism is simply “ broyuerism.”
Bromosexual sex is typically flip-flop sex, each man serving in both active and passive roles. There is a lot of anilingus, fellatio, irumatio, and os impurum. There is arm-pit licking, nipple-sucking, cleavage-tracing, and old-fashioned deep-kissing. Facing each other, bros rub their penises against each other. Bromosex oftentimes culminates in “breeding,” where the bros ejaculate in each other’s rectum. After all, there is no need to be concerned with unwanted pregnancy….
“Bromosexual” is an emerging term. Urban Dictionary defines it illustratively (albeit tongue-in-cheek) as follows:
“A guy who is a bromosexual is totally straight. In fact he will punch you in the face if you say that he’s gay. He’s so totally straight that he has sex with tons of chicks…sure his bro might be in the room with him, maybe videotaping it (with lots of close-ups of the penis)…or doing the same girl at the same time…with their penises touching….
So what if he’s always slapping his broham’s ass…and always hangs out in the shower at the gym…and yeah, maybe he was in a few circle jerks in middle school…and sure he puts his penis and/or testicles on his friends’ faces every chance he gets when they’re passed out drunk… and sure that frat initiation thing was a bit weird, but…
HE IS TOTALLY 100% NOT GAY.
Dude: You’re so gay.
Bromosexual: Shut up! I WILL FUCK YOU IN THE ASS if you say I’m gay!!!
Other Dude: Heh. Wait…What? ”
By contrast, Dictionary.com defines “bromsexual” as: 1. adjective. “noting or relating to a close but nonsexual friendship between to men, typically a heterosexual man and a gay man (usually used facetiously).”
2. noun. “a man who has one or more close but nonsexual friendships with men (usually used facetiously).”
While the term “bromosexual” is still emerging and evolving, the Urban Dictionary’s definition is regarded as the more accurate and generally accepted, primarily because “sex” is an inextricable and defining component of the term “bromoSEXual.” As such, definitions and literature that describe bromosexual relationships as nonsexual relationships are counterintuitive.
Despite the fact that the term “bromosexual” is so cutting-edge and subculture that most people today—even those entrenched in counterculture—have never heard of it, the term describes, ironically, an outlook on human sexuality that is exceedingly outdated. The bromosexual may self-describe as the über-man or as Bromo sapien, but, in reality, his point of view on sexuality smacks of the Neanderthal, for inspite ofall the social progress of the 21st century—from Marriage Equality to Tolerance and Inclusion to Gay Pride to Brokeback Mountain—the bromosexual’s need to employ the D-words of deception, denial, deflection, etc., to hide his homosexual or bisexual identity is indicative of yet another D-word: dysfunction. And it’s all for naught, for the world has long moved on…. Isn’t it high time the bromosexual move on too?
In the age-old struggle for Equality of Sexuality, everyone—except the bromo—has contributed to the cause: the fag the fairy the queen the queer the tranny the granny the dyke the chick with the dick. The big, strong, bullying bromo, however, rather than being in the frontline or in the trenches, where his brawn could be put to good use, has been at the gym, or worse yet, in bed with the enemy. The proverbial 64,000-dollar question, therefore, is: What could a big, strong, bullying bromo possibly be afraid of? The “Brogeyman”?