I’ve been asked repeatedly to clarify these three designations. Point of order, I’m not an expert on human sexuality, I’m simply sharing my observations. I strongly believe that sexuality is on more of a continuum than most people would like to admit, but I’ll have to cover that in another blog post.
I didn’t create the term barely-hetero, but can’t find the blog where I first encountered it. If it’s yours, please hit me up so I can give proper attribution. Barely-hetero men get their emotional needs met in interactions with other men, while maintaining purely sexual relationships with women. These are the guys you see who are always kicking it with the fellas. They’re experts in the late-night phone calls looking to get some. They also have extraordinarily high standards as it pertains to women. No one ever quite measures up. Of course they don’t, women are merely a cover for their true love, other men. Though they’re not gay, in that they’re not sexually aroused by other men, they’re totally unavailable to women in any real sense. Don’t confuse barely-hetero with the metrosexual. As near as I can determine metrosexuals, though they can by some measures can appear somewhat effeminate, are generally connected both physically and emotionally to women.
Down-low guys, on the other hand, have emotional relationships with women, and are with men strictly for sexual gratification. In the strictest sense of the term, these men are not gay. I hear over and over again that down low men are the same as closeted gay men. In my opinion, this is an specious comparison. Closeted men are gay and acknowledge, at least to themselves, that they are gay, they’ve simply chosen not to make that information public. Also, Gay men typically have both emotional and sexual relationships with other men. Are down-low men simply gay men in denial? I suppose it’s possible, but I’m not necessarily convinced. I believe them when they say they don’t have the same connection with men that they do women. Of course, it’s my habit to believe people when they tell me who they are and what they feel unless I have a compelling reason to think otherwise.
I’m sure there’s plenty of overlap with all three of these, and probably a few more categories as well. Feel free to add any you’ve encountered.