Tight Ends and Wide Receivers

Some may find this a landmark study about human sexuality and the ways in which teen boys experiment. Others will blast this study for its methodology, I’™m sure. I’™m intrigued.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

No, this isn’™t about Terrell Owens and how he will impact this weekend’™s football game where the hated Dallas Cowboys come to Philadelphia to take on my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Sure, that topic is on my mind, but the title here is so that I can put out the punch lines to the bad jokes before any of the rest of you do. It’™s sort of a Karnak punch line. Maybe you can think of the first part of the joke as it relates to this story from Pink News (sorry, Pnknews, but I’™m going to quote a lot of your story):

A new study to be published in the Journal of Sex Roles suggests that one third of former American high school football players have had sexual relations with other men.

Sociologist Dr. Eric Anderson, who is credited with being the first openly gay high school coach during his tenure at Huntington Breach High in the early nineties, conducted research questionnaires with a small sample of ex-high school football players who said that they have had some sexual contact with other men.

The men interviewed were aged 18-23 and all had retired from football before college.

Anderson’™s study suggests that ‘œsociety’™s increasing open-mindedness about homosexuality and decreasing stigma concerning sexual activity with other men had allowed sportsmen to speak more openly about these sexual activities.’

The article ‘œHeterosexual athletes contesting masculinity and the one-time rule of homosexuality’ will appear in the January issue of the journal.

It found showed that over one third of the men interviewed admitted to having contact with other men whether with women present or alone.

The study also stated that most did not identify themselves as homosexual, but also did not feel shame or resentment for their relations with other males.

Anderson told Science Daily he believes that the ‘œpositive portrayal of homosexuality on television, the ease with which homosexuals could gradually ‘come out’™ by using the internet, and the decline of religious fundamentalism has made homosexuality and homosexual acts considerably less controversial for university-aged men.’

I think it is important to note that we don’™t have a definition of what is deemed as ‘œhomosexual contact’ here. Are we talking full-on sex? Are we talking something as benign as towell snapping in the locker toom? I suspect they’™ve drawn the line somewhere in the middle of those extremes. I suppose that could include such acts as mutual wanking or bodily contact while sharing a threesome. Still, those are murky waters that will be delved by those critiquing this studfy, due out in March. The article here states what the real meat (sorry, couldn’™t help it) of the subject is, that homosexual contact carries not near the stigma that it once did, so much so that the most macho members of our society are able to admit to themselves that they have partaken of it.

Wow! One third of those men admit to such contact back when they were high school football players? Heck, I’™m betting this isn’™t just a ‘œI’™ll show you mine if you show me yours’ sort of thing. I imagine that involves younger boys than those studied here. I suppose we’™d all be able to admit to ‘œshow me’ games. What’™s important here is that we’™re talking about bodily contact, I assume, and that former football players are admitting to it.

We’™ve come a long way in our attitudes, huh? I sometimes look to what goes on in schools and worry that the fear of such contact is so prevalent that it has changed the school experience. In my day, starting from 7th grade, boys and girls coming from gym class had to shower afterwards. Oh, yeah, we were all embnarrassed at the time, but we got over it. Heck, I was most embarrassed, being the youngest in my class and also a late entrant into puberty. (TMI?) The point here is that we were forced, in my day, the late sixties and early seventies, to divorce sexuality from nudity. By the time we reached 9th grade even the most shy of us (except Randy Whistler, the biggest geek in my school) thought nothing of stripping, showering, changing, chatting amiably the whole time. Kids today? They hear me talk about this sort of behavior in school and it’™s totally foreign. Their jaws drop. They can’™t imagine communal showers, and even when they are required to shower after swimming they do so with their suits on.

Hmm. Maybe the fact that kids aren’™t forced, as I was, to divorce, at least somewhat, the notion of nudity and sexuality through those sometimes traumatic communal showers. Yeah, there was towell snapping, and Mr. Phipps the gym teacher watched to make sure we got wet, if not clean. Nowadays the kids end up smelling all day, and they don’™t get that experience that strips them of everything, thus exposing them to the multiplicity of what all the other guys look like. Could it be that guys nowadays, who haven’™t gone through that experience from a young age, have developed a curiosity that leads to these homosexual situations? I’™m not saying that’™s bad. After all, whether one is 12 or 17, one is curious. Hmm.

Still, I am stunned. Football players admitting to homosexual contact? I’™d love to see that broken down by position. Safeties? Tight ends? Hmm.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 by Richard Blair |
Category: General

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