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Is He Flirting With Me?

By on July 16, 2012

When gay guys ‘approach’ other men and discover that their romantic interest is straight, it can be a terribly awkward moment for both partiesThe gay guy has “put himself out there” and it can be embarrassing emotionally and socially once he finds out that his prospective interest is straight, especially if the object of that attraction is offended.  For the heterosexual there can be a storm of internal questions, like “Why did he try to “hit on” me?” or “Do I look/act like I’m gay?” or “Does he not know that I will knock his ass out?”

When another guy flirts with or “comes on” to a straight man, it can be a test to both parties’ sexual confidence and masculinity.   The challenge for hetero guys might be reframing the proposition to be a compliment and then possibly, respectfully declining the invite by saying, “I’m hetero and I only date, partner, and fantasize about women.”  This type of response is clear, respectful, and lets the other guy know what’s up.  Also, it’s a non-judgmental and homophobic-free mature response.

Contrary to popular belief, most gay men are disinterested in pursuing an attraction with someone they know is heterosexual.

The dilemma of gay guys approaching heterosexual men has implications of how identities/orientation is fluid, not fixed.  For example, there are some brothers who are in male-female relationships, identify as heterosexual, but discretely engage in male-to-male sexual activity or possibly fantasize about guys.    The challenge is that most of us are clear about who we are attracted to and who we are not attracted to yet there are those who are not always clear or consistent about their sexual attractions. But make no mistake even in 2012; African American and other men are still stigmatized with any sexual behavior seen as less than hyper-masculine.   Fear, resentments, anxiety, and anger keep many people from revealing how they really feel about themselves and their relationships.  Poor communication keeps people sexually stagnant with an inability to achieve or maintain relational satisfaction.

Culturally, most males are socialized to be aggressive, assertive, dominant, independent, providers, and emotionally detached.  For men of color, sexism, entitlements, and heterosexism keep men from forming positive (intimate, not sexual) friendships with other men who are gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning.  Modern black men should be comfortable in their own skin and have clarity about their sexuality expression.  Comfort and confidence in personal sexual expression is directly linked to self-esteem and personal development.

At some point, each of us has been flirted with or approached by someone who they may not be into.  Black men would be well served to reserve any innate aggression toward a same-gender flirtation and seek to employ emotional and social intelligence by respectfully declining a proposition without disparaging the other guy. Modern Black men should embrace the notion that other peoples’ assumptions and perceptions do not define one’s sexuality or erotic potential.

So, if someone approaches you and you are not interested, for whatever reason, just say, “I’m not interested.”   You can file it under ‘compliment from another gender’ and keep moving. Be smart. Be socially responsible.  Be willing to dialogue.



Dr. James Wadley is a licensed professional counselor and marriage, family, and sexuality therapist in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He’s also the author of “The Lost and Found Box.” You can learn more about him at drjameswadley.com or tweet him @phdjamesw.




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