What makes a straight man … straight?

What makes a straight man … straight?

Kevin Franklin

Men’s Advisory Network – 2nd National Conference Fremantle, Western Australia August 2008. In Proceedings of the Conference (pages 139-147).

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A man’s journey towards him understanding the spiritual dimension of his own being underpins his getting of wisdom. That universal and progressive objective in the Men & Relationship stream is relational and it entails values affecting how men live their lives. The holistic model used in this presentation of man in relations was used in my doctoral research. First, man’s development from boy, through maturing man, to manhood’s ripeness is presented to show that researched and tested spiritual model of man. Two questions from that research are then asked and answered:

(i) what maketh a man and

(ii) what in particular makes a straight man straight? Finally implications of this long awaited scientific discovery are discussed.

Warning: This contains material that may be disturbing to some readers.


Straight, Gay, Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, Individuation.


I have sought to experience and understand human spirituality. As scientist I sought to understand the scientific conundrum of subject-object and its nature-nurture expression in psychology. Today, as a clinical psychologist steeped in scientific tradition I appreciate that science can now show us the spiritual nature of mankind. Fortunately as a student in the 1980s I was able to research for my doctoral thesis that confused science which sought to understand the experience of human spirituality.

I discovered several principles apropos this MAN’s conference including what makes straight men straight. These are:

  1. The spiritual nature of a human being individuated in man (or woman) is relational. This is shown in scientific demonstration (Franklin, 1988 ).
  2. Being a person necessarily includes relations with self (psychological) and relations with other/s (social). This twofold principle is often understood as subjectivity and objectivity and is anticipated in psychosocial models of personality. I understand these dual being & becoming relations expressed in everyday language as connection & engagement.
  3. Manhood, a real identity (not nominal) integral in becoming & being a man, expresses socio- spiritual values, a civilising worldview and a manly identity.
  4. The Psychology of Person is true & real. Person is of order and promoting healing of inner (psychosocial) conflict; it is not counterfeit and not of disorder.
  5. Becoming & being Person is a developmental psychology having several stages intertwining myth & time:

A. Stage of becoming & being on-stage (ie first-birth) Preparing for birth and the journey of psychobiosocial life to spiritual Life.
B. Stage of double (ie eros) Experiencing love & lover-of-self; being & learning to be subject, not subjectified.

Experiential: infant-boy is role playing gender of his own Person. Subjectively he is a being, metaphysically male or female, and physically constrained by his male physique. My research tested whether this male or female psychological identity in men determines their sexual preference (ie being straight or gay).

Scientifically: psychologically being the 1st person or subject in Person. Soul, the inner 1st person, subject or psyche in Person, is here as the god-within and named after Eros. My research was designed to show that this god-within boys & men is male or female (gender role) causing sexual preference and its gay or straight orientation.

C. Stage of mirror (ie logos)

Experiencing lover & love-of-other; being & learning to be object, not objectified.

Experiential: role playing male-infant, (and later) boy and man; being object (not subject) in relation with self and other.

Scientifically: biological male sex of body (sex role) and bio-social conditioning (social sex role) of infant>boy>man. Society and science have long assumed a man is necessarily subjectively-male  erotically & psychologically male  because literally he is objectively male. This logical (but not erotic) philosophical assumption by science and society was tested in my research. It is this wrong basic-assumption (discussed below) that creates confusion (eg psychosocial disorder) and why science has failed to understand sexual preference (Franklin, 1988).

D. Stage of role reversal (ie socialisation of the god-within through social action)

Experiential learning develops practical social-ability via role reversal with other.

Existentially: experiencing psychosocial conflict & integration in self; and, interpersonal conflict with & between others. Allowing will to power (ie narcissist error and brutality) to subside.

Psychological manhood: developing personally and/or professionally. Unifying and re- habilitating self via the five energetic principles of Spiritual Life: vitality, originality, novelty, appropriateness and flexibility. Learning to express being in individuating free will (of spontaneity), that is, developing those five socio-spiritual talents integrated with soul’s innate and erotic creativity (of psyche).

Psychological maturity: experiencing adult self as become-a-man; becoming & being double and mirror for other/s (eg father, teacher, husband, manager, nurse, lover and artist). Developing true & real power via own enabled authority expressed in personal and professional roles.

This action-man is pregnant with New Life: 1. Connecting: experiencing (psychobiosocial-) unity; arriving as a man in life. 2. Engaging with a new spiritual awakening (ie of wisdom’s path) in Life.

E. Stage of generativity (ie second-birth towards spiritual expression)

Altruism: experiencing oneself in action unified as lover-of-other(s); learning & sharing wisdom (eg fatherhood; husband-as-partner; familial, community, business and pro- fessional mentor); individuating oneself in the social milieu: not individualism (ie not narcissism).

F. Stage of universality (ie the path of wisdom to dying)

Spiritual maturity: experiencing and practicing ripeness in being-a-man, eg familial, community, business and/or professional elder; sage-grandfather (not grumpy old-man).

G. Stage of becoming & being off-stage (ie spent)

Reflections on life & Life spent; and, final preparation for death.

6.  This Civilised Action-Man is an expression of free will in action.

Existentially: his here & now living demonstrates emerging consciousness through three develop- mental eras: manhood as spiritual or psychodramatic man emerges developmentally from psycho- social man who emerges developmentally from psychosomatic infant-boy as potential man.

Scientifically: human development is here not reversed by logos reason to confuse subject with object. Instead, with eros developmentally-first as subject, Life proceeds as an integration of eternal time (eros) and chronological time (logos). In other words a person can experience (inner-) peace instead of the confusion (eg inner-conflict) of disorder.

7.   Scientifically shown in Person is an element of personality making straight men straight.

Existentially: being man & being straight caused by the intrinsic truth of self actualisation.


a) To have clarity in the public face of scientific confusion requires a new understanding of science based on eros instead of logos.

b) To understand straight men requires us to know his gender or private face: a face he usually only sees counter or opposite; and mirrored by womanly physique.

This seventh principle is the primary focus here. What makes him straight has remained a scientific puzzle because of the eros-logos confusion in scientific philosophy. After addressing that confusion there follows a scientifically researched and definitive answer (Franklin, 1988 ).

Sex & gender research should explain sexual preference. Instead it is characterised by confusion (Deaux, 1985). Much of this confusion arises from not distinguishing subject-object relations from object-object relations: using logos-philosophy a priori to eros-philosophy. That error in cultural tradition including religion & science reverses correct order into disorder.

Psychological and social relations


My doctoral research addressed subject-object relations. Experientially these are our psychological relations with self as the god-within or eros (ie after Eros). Psychologically consciousness arises from subject-object relationship: the Father-Son relationship of the New Testament is symbol of this meta- physical relationship in Person. Scientifically subject-object relations comparing men with men (or women with women) underpin studies of gender, gender identity and gender role in psychological research (eg Freund et al, 1977; Blanchard & Freund, 1983).

This research also addressed object-object relations. Experientially these are our social or interpersonal relations with other(s). However, psychologically, without prior subject-object relationship distorted consciousness instead emerges from object-object relationship. Symbolically this fallen relationship is identified with Adam & Eve in the Old Testament. Scientifically object-object relations comparing men & women underpin studies of sex & sex role, and sexual identity & social sex role, in scientific research (eg Antill et al, 1981; Eysenck, 1976). Objective science, fallen from eros to logos, has failed to explain why a man is straight.

This research challenged the culturally dominant hypothesis that men and women sexually attract because they are sexually opposite (ie different). This logos principle in the male-female sexual union of Adam & Eve is often assumed to demonstrate Old Testament unity. Rather this research tested the eros-principle of similarity to explain both heterosexual and homosexual preference. Eros unity in the New Testament is symbolised by the male-male unity of Father & Son. The double-stage, or eros, is developmentally prior to the mirror-stage of logos.

Role theory underpins the unity-theories of Jesus and Moses and ipso facto the New-Testament (cf. re- lations with self) & Old-Testament (cf. relations with other). Modern-day unified role theory is credited to Dr J L Moreno (1889-1974). He identified role as having both personal and collective elements. He names these the psychodramatic role (cf. gender role) and the social role (cf. social sex role) respectively. Role, like Person, has subjectivity and objectivity and rediscovers the oneness of New Testament (psych- ological) unification and Old Testament (social) unity. The history of science shows that philosophically undue emphasis is placed on object-object relations; consequently psychology with its logos-preference cannot explain sexual preference.

First I established for this research an order that is true and real as described in Relationship, Men and Order (1 following). Second is a brief outline of Person. This theory identifies an element in personality explaining sexual preference (2 below). Third, I answer the question in focus (3 below): what makes men straight?

1. Men, relationship and order


The MAN’s stream title Men & Relationship has order: men first and relationship second. This order where object is first (ie Men) is consistent with much scientific psychology. Putting object prior to subject reverses right order and creates opposing viewpoints. Historically this fallen-ness includes heteronorm- ativity: heterosexuality as normal and homosexuality as mentally disordered and criminally disorderly.

That traditional scientific-way of putting object first differs from Person in general systems theory. Systems theory begins with the relational premise that everything is connected with everything else and engaging with varying degrees of freedom. Relationship is assumed: a priori.

Person makes that relational assumption. In marriage husband is both subject and object: he has con- nection (psychological relationship) with himself and engaging (social relationship) with other. A systemic way of understanding individuating human personality was required for this research. Person allows for science to define right order and thence to identify in that new order what makes men straight.

Order is important to me as citizen, scientist and psychologist. Socially when right order is instead re- versed via ignorance, delusion, politics, perversity, etc, clinical disorder then is compelling and creating psychological disorders of anxiety, mood, sexual- and gender identity, etc. This presentation is based on research identifying a relational psychology that first has subject-object order: it is of order and not depersonalised. This systems theory is the Psychology of Person.

2. Psychology of person


The Concise Oxford defines psychology as the scientific study of the human mind and its functions especially those affecting behaviour in a given context. I will not argue this pragmatic definition only noting that it is a small definition. It is reductionist because as a logos science psychology largely ignores subject-object relations (with self) in personality. If I had used the traditional object-object relations (with other) interpersonal approach I would not now be able to tell you what makes men straight.

As a clinical psychologist I prefer a psychology of person because it is holistic, unified and practical. It recognises individuation as a spiritual goal and puts subject-object psychological relations with self developmentally prior to object-object social relations with other(s). Person is a right-order psychology of being human & humane. It is psychologically based on subject-object wholeness and consciousness: not on mankind’s asocial and antisocial fallen-forms.

Person is a general systems theory. It describes a human & humane being in a network of subject-object psychological relations and object-object social relations (Franklin, 1988 ). For example a husband’s psychosocial relations include his personal heterosexual identity and his professed sexual preference expressed socially in sexual action.

Husband is being within an interactive framework of roles and role relationships within a marriage eco- system. He is also likely a person in multiple roles in a broader ecosystem including family, work, recreation, etc; and this changing with time. As a unified person he experiences himself (subjectively) and he experiences his world (objectively). This unified man encounters and integrates experiences of psycho- logical and social duality in one person.

In psychological research gender identity refers to that which is psychologically male or female in Person: specifically, the subject in Person being a male- or female-person. Colloquially this subjectivity means the soul (or psyche); esoterically the 1st Person of grammar; and, psychologically eros. The male or female nature of the human psyche is expressed in action and hence gender role can be measured identifying male or female gender identity (see Freund et al 1974, 1977; Blanchard & Freund 1983; Whitam 1980).

Newborns have a male or female psychological nature: their Person or soul is male or female. This gender signature of soul is prior or first (ie innate or of god; not genetic) to that of body. It is this actual nature of a person’s psyche that with proper nurture becomes our subjective sense of being male or female. An adult man has gender identity: subjectively he is (existentially) male or female. The main known effect of Person’s gender identity is creativity: energetically it causes erotic disturbance (libido or heat) whilst psyche’s male or female nature determines whether that erotic heat (ie preference) is expressed sexually towards men or women (Franklin, 1988).

Sexual identity refers to a person’s belief system based on their male or female sex of body. Biologically this means person incarnate with a male or female sexed-body. Psychologically male or female body means consequent biosocial conditioning: men are generally masculinised. Socially constructed (ie nominal not actual) most boys are readied to be masculine and girls to be feminine. Sexual identity does not cause sexual preference (Franklin, 1988).

Psychologically mature a man has gender role expressing gender identity: psychologically he is male or female (ie gay or straight). Gender identity of person is of the subject (ie eros). Gender is psychological and not social in origin (Franklin, 1988). Gender identity is subjective because gender is of eros, innate, naturally determined within the mind. Psychologically, eros has an internal locus of creativity: his gender nature is mythical (eg the god-within). Freud used the term primary processing which reminds us of this imaginative functioning in creativity.

Typically a man is male. When newborn he is biologically male and socially a boy. With maturation he becomes a man. His sexual identity originates in body and subsequent social-learning experiences: sexual identity is of the object. It is objective because its origin is external to the mind. Sexual identity is a posteriori to gender identity: second in order and begat of creativity it is oriented in chronological time. Freud used the term secondary processing reminding us of mind’s intellect (cf. under-standing).

Traditional science and customary culture mostly assume a priori that a man having a male body is also a male Person. That traditional assumption was institutionalised by church, science and state and therefore it followed, somehow, that gay men were (assumed) deviant departures from that man-ordained pattern.

Determining what is a man’s innate gender was the focus of my doctoral research. This reality-check was missing from psychological research and from customary assumption.

3. Why some men are straight


What maketh man’s manhood includes his sexual identity and his gender identity unified in one: not a reductionist sexual identity of masculinised man objectifying and distorting his experience and under- standing of, for example, spirituality.

When those subjective & objective identities and their unification in one are understood the question of what makes a straight man straight is answerable. In my doctoral research I measured sexual and gender identities in three groups: straight men; straight women; and gay men. The results are shown in Figure 1.

Identity Measure Straight






Sexual Identity 1. sex role(biological identity) male female male
  2. social sex role(conditioning) masculine feminine masculine
Gender Identity gender role(eros or psyche) female male male


Figure 1  Shows sexual and gender identities of three research groups. Why gay men and straight women sexually prefer men: both have the same male gender identity in their personality regardless of their different sexual identities as men and women. It also shows why gay men and straight men have different sexual preferences:

  • gay men prefer men sexually because other men’s explicitly male physique doubles their own metaphysical male-eros, whereas,
  • straight men prefer women sexually as her explicitly female physique is the erotic double or counterpart (not opposing or counter but same) of his female-eros or goddess within.

This research shows that men and women are not sexually attracted because they are opposites. It instead shows that gender identity is that element in personality motivating and directing sexual preference. Whether straight or gay it is the erotic principle of similarity symbolised in Father & Son, and not logos symbolised as Adam & Eve, that sexually motivates Person. Under conditions of free will the straight man’s preference is directed towards women.

Because of his (female) psyche  because of creativity  a straight man is erotically motivated towards women. It is a widespread delusion that attributes sexual attraction between men and women as an attract- ion of opposites. That fallen misinterpretation of Adam & Eve is widespread.



Straight men are bio-socially male & men: they are psychologically female. It is the male or female metaphysical nature in gay & straight men that determines the direction of man’s sexual preference toward its own likeness in the physique of men or women. This contradicts the delusional view often attributed to the Old Testament that sexual preference is motivated by an attraction of opposites.

Being a unified model of personality Person was used in this research. This three-in-one Psychology of Person is a variant of Father and Son and their unifying whole-making spirit of oneness. It describes a unified system of personality that was scientifically validated and used to demonstrate what motivates sexual preference (Franklin, 1988 ). Demonstrably, gay and straight men are both of right order.

Person, a systems theory, first established right order and showed man primarily as a subjective person. This means that to create & keep right order he is first constrained to be objective to himself prior to being objective to other(s). This research showed that straight- and gay-man are objectively united in a common spiritual manhood even though their experiences as heterosexual and homosexual are different. Their same sexual identity as men does not cause their different sexual preferences.



This research means that reality for mankind is relational, subject-object based and with metaphysic (eg gender) prime to physic (eg sex). Right order reality is subject- (or eros-) based: first on psyche’s male or female gender that is innate, unchanging or absolute (ie actual not nominal). Secondarily in a person’s reality is an emerging social order & reality based on a multitude of object-object differences such as straight and gay preference. This research means that objectivity to self is developmentally a priori to objectivity to other. Know thyself psychologically first creates the right order for (social) objective reality with others (via role reversal) to emerge second. First, know your own role including gender role: knowing informs action leading to knowledge.

Metaphorically such development brings a boy to being a man albeit mature but not yet ripe. Here he has traversed the psychosomatic and psychosocial eras of life. Now, physically and mentally mature he might continue on his psychodramatic journey towards a ripeness of spiritual maturity.

An example of society ignoring right order is in discrepancy of training. As a clinical psychologist I often enquire to a client’s history of personal and professional development. Commonly people have 12 years of schooling, additional years at Tafe or university, and several years on the job training including PD or equivalent: often totalling 20 years. In contrast their personal development (ie subject-object) training is most often zero. A law & order outcome for society, including community and industry, is not consistent with that half-baked reality. Disorder as mental illness and criminality ought to be expected in our current half-done culture

Adam & Eve are first persons in the Old Testament which assumes a social paradigm (cf. Person plural) rather than psychological (cf. Person singular) paradigm. In other words subjectivity (ie personal development) is not on the agenda in that social-unity testament. An esoteric understanding of the Old and New Testaments would place the mythological of the New prime to the chronological of the Old. In practice that creating of psychological grounding (cf. New Testament paradigm) would allow a real social- ability in a new order of social unity to emerge.

The Old Testament promise of (social) unity on earth cannot be fulfilled by ignoring the necessity of subject-object relations symbolised in the Father-Son (psychological) unity of the New Testament. Ignoring, denying, forgetting, or reversing that right order in the name of culture, religion, science, economics or politics creates asocial and anti-social disorder; the mentally disordered & the disorderly criminal. We are socially reaping what psychologically we neglectfully & abusively sow.

This shows the absolute nature of the First Person: being creatively male or female is not relative. The Australian federal government recently promised a revolution in education. A creative revolution is a priori. It is overdue: it would also put the animate-creative horse right before the (currently) inanimate- cart of education. That would indeed be a revolution! Straight (and gay) men require much better initiation into being boys & men than that customarily used. And the health of the planet, including men’s relation- ship with men, women and children requires it.

This research validated subject-object relations as showing right order. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are scientifically explained in this same right order: whether straight-men or gay-men they are relatively the same (objectively) yet absolutely (subjectively) different.


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