Coomer Conversion Therapy
is being gay a choice? meet ex-gay twitter, a community of bisexual men who believe they can turn themselves straight with "hetero hypnosis porn"
Editor's note: This post has many “not safe for work (NSFW)” links to pornography, etc., to illustrate the trend. Do not click if you don’t want to see aggressive sex stuff.
“I literally want a woman to strap me down, force feed me viagra, and ride my gay cock until it can't remember why it was ever gay in the first place. Convert me. Fix my gay dick. Turn me straight. #gaytostraight #conversion #dicksareforchicks”— Twitter user @GoingStr8 on July 8, 2022
In 2019, at an LGBT SuperPac Event, then-presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said that in his high school and college years, if he’d known what it was inside him that had made him gay, he would have cut it out with a knife. It was a surprisingly human moment from a candidate who’d always seemed more mech than man. It was also relatable to many gay men, especially those who came of age in less accepting times and places, and even those who disliked Buttigieg’s politics and naked careerism. There was also backlash from some queer circles. The Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber noted that Buttigieg’s Twitter critics “called his words ‘the most evil shit’ and ‘vile,’ and said his comments were ‘absolutely going to do damage’ to thousands of ‘vulnerable LGBTQ youth.’ To Buttigieg’s critics, changing one’s sexuality was not merely impossible, as an overwhelming majority of Americans believe, but even desiring to do so as a gay man, or at least admitting to it in the past, was immoral and irresponsible.
But in another corner of Twitter, far from the spotlight of mainstream coverage, discourse, and culture, lies a community of men who are explicit about not being straight, but get off on posting and engaging with hetero porn. Some post videos of themselves having sex with women, while others play-act as the guys in the videos, or gush about how the porn turns them on.
Let’s call it ex-gay Twitter. These accounts fetishize being straight, claiming to find the now-taboo prospect of changing one’s sexuality neither impossible nor immoral. For some, the taboo at play here is tantalizing. Others straight up reject the notion that it's impossible to change sexuality (@Sexashell1: "...there are men who change their minds and realize that they prefer women! we are not homophobic and you will not change it by your constant hate messages. be as tolerant as you would expect others to be with you!"). Either way, they mock and dismiss liberal orthodoxies responsible for it. By doing so, they subvert the traditional, religious “ex-gay” movement but appropriate its name, replacing fundamentalism with fetish, and choosing pornography over prayer.
Who are these men? What made them this way? What do they really want?
In ex-gay Twitter, like most parts of the pornographic internet, the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred. At first glance, it looks like a community of gay men who watch straight porn, even lesbian porn occasionally. A bit odd, yet not unheard of. Similar phenomena exist for heterosexuals and lesbians: straight men watch lesbian porn, and many women, including lesbians, seem to enjoy gay male porn. Ex-gay Twitter isn’t remarkable simply because of its porn preferences. Rather, it’s their unique relationship to the porn and how they consume it. In many cases, they seem to be using the porn ‘hypnotically’, posting or retweeting it in ways meant to convince the poster (or his followers, as the case may be) that he’s sexually attracted to women, using hashtags like #gay2straight and captions like “she thought going to a gay nude beach was gonna be really fun. and it was, it was really fun” (NSFW link). Sometimes, literal hypnosis videos are posted. This one (NSFW link) starts with a kind of hypnosis spiral illusion and fades between it and different straight porn scenes. The origin of the porn varies, and most of it is taken from outside the community, but some comes from users who document their own heterosexual exploits. This tweet (NSFW link), captioned “Pounded that Pussy hard and show her who is in control 💪🏻 she will never forget that fuck with my exgay cock 🤤everybody can achieve that #exgay #exhomo #converted #lovepussynow #straightpride #gay2straight #nothomophobic,” shows an ameteur hetero POV video, presumably taken and uploaded by the OP. Cunnilingus seems to be a recurring theme, as does double penetration, often by men with visible and good-looking faces, not always a given in straight porn. The homoerotic nature of the latter isn’t surprising, of course, but it hardly qualifies as a tell. For every user who claims to be “fully converted” (NSFW link), there is another who makes no such claim, and posts and retweets bisexual and gay porn alongside that of the straight and “gay-to-straight” variety.
Is the ex-gay Twitter phenomenon a peculiar gay fetish, one that some are more committed to than others? When asked privately, one Twitter user, a 27-year-old Uruguayan man named Alexis, confirmed that there was indeed a fetishistic aspect to it. “I feel the kink to be fully transformed into a straight guy,” he told me, but noted that he couldn’t articulate why, and that there are a variety of “motivations” in the community. When I asked him if his sexual and romantic interest in women, which he had spoken about earlier in the conversation, came before or after he discovered this fetish, he said he wasn’t sure, but “thought” perhaps the kink came first.
In Alexis’s case, stereotypes about the motivations of gay men who want to change their sexuality, i.e. “internalized homophobia,” don’t really apply. He said that his family had always been supportive of him as a gay man. He also told me he had “never experienced aggressive homophobia” and that the “machismo” culture common in South America is far less pronounced in Uruguay. And though the pressures of the traditional, conservative variety were largely non-existent in Alexis’ case, he still felt a sense of shame and guilt around his sexuality. He said he accepted he was gay as a teenager, and “got really into the world of gay porn,” but would occasionally watch straight porn and “repent like it was wrong or something…something I wasn’t supposed to see because I was gay.”
Another young man I spoke to, Louis, 21, recounted his sexually confusing teen years. He fell in love with another boy at 14, and believed he was gay until he lost his virginity to a woman at 18. Now he has a girlfriend and, in our conversation, referred to himself as “definitely bisexual.”
Although Louis and Alexis seem to have nearly opposite sexual histories, both formerly considered themselves gay, but now admit a sexual desire for both men and women. It seems that for many in ex-gay Twitter, the straight label is a stand-in, goal, or fantasy, and that for all practical purposes, most are ‘merely’ bisexual. What seems to set them apart from other male bisexuals is that they once identified as gay.
But why all the window dressing? Why does this community, largely composed of presumably bisexual men, express their sexuality by play-acting straight men in the hetero porn videos and lurid, misogynistic captions that they tweet? After all, it’s 2022, and who cares if you’re bi? Even culture is on bisexuals’ side—it’s hardly uncommon to hear that sexuality exists on a spectrum, and that one’s position on that spectrum can exist in a constant state of flux. For example, a worksheet provided by The Trevor Project, the “the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ…young people,” compels its readers to “Mark how you identify today on each line, but don’t feel limited – it’s ok to mark something different tomorrow!”
People—at least liberal ones—say sexual fluidity is valid, but in practice, they only mean it for women. A straight woman’s drunken, sapphic hookup is safely categorized as a wild Friday night. She’s a party girl, not a lesbian. She won’t think twice about recounting the experience to future boyfriends, who will either be turned on or indifferent. On the other hand, the only way to interpret the identity of a straight man who has a drunken hookup with another man is to immediately view him as a suspect. He is immediately regarded as bisexual, if not a wholly repressed homosexual, and closeted for not identifying as either. Unless he finds himself in leftist activist circles, the media, or some other place where “queer” identities can be leveraged for material gain, he will be remiss in sharing his experiences with anyone. On the other hand, young women who identify as bisexual, queer, or lesbians in their teen years can simply say they’ve changed their minds when they become adults, and people are generally inclined to believe them. As far as I can tell, the experience does not affect them so greatly that they develop an entire internet subculture around it, as many of our subjects here seem to have done.
In his 1996 essay “Gay Dream Believer: Inside the Gay Underwear Cult,” the British writer Mark Simpson, best known for later coining the term “metrosexual,” portrays coming out as an evangelical experience, writing that:
“To be ‘reborn’ you have to destroy the wrong person that existed before. So the out-person now recalls that he knew he was gay from the earliest age; before he encountered puberty, before the afterbirth was cold, etc. Early playground friendships with members of the same sex are now seen for what they were: passionate gay attachments which no one straight could possibly have entertained. On the other hand, any encounters with, interest in, or marriage to the opposite sex is now quite rightly seen as nothing but an ill-judged attempt to satisfy one’s peers, parents, guilt, false consciousness, or just sisterly feeling. You know the scenario: I thought I love you, but really I just envied your makeup skills.”
This is correct, and has always applied to men more than women. Looking at recent history, it isn’t hard to see why. In the latter half of the 20th century, lesbian activists aligned themselves with the feminist movement, portraying lesbianism as praxis, a revolutionary act of female solidarity. In other words, a choice (does anyone really think former New York City first lady Chirlane McCray, a one-time radical who in 1979 published an essay called “I am a Lesbian” in Essence, has gone “back into the closet” because she married Bill de Blasio?). On the other hand, gay male activists stressed that their sexuality was not a choice or political act, but an immutable characteristic. This was practically a survival skill, a bid to garner sympathy from a public that saw them as criminals, predators, or psychiatric patients in waiting. And so, now, it is almost unheard of for an openly gay man to suddenly start dating women, and those who do are assumed to have fallen prey to social pressure and internalized homophobia. It’s impossible not to see this theme at play on ex-gay Twitter, where porn videos feature captions like (NSFW link) “I literally want a woman to strap me down, force feed me viagra, and ride my gay cock until it can't remember why it was ever gay in the first place. Convert me. Fix my gay dick. Turn me straight.”
In both private interviews and public posts, I often encountered negative perceptions of gay culture, particularly its feminine aspects, and a stated desire to live as a “normal” (read straight) guy. To dismiss this as self-hating misses the point. Perhaps what these men really hate is not their attraction to other men but rather the realities, limitations, and sociology of gay life. Having already identified themselves as gay, men who, in previous generations, would have happily married women and raised children, making room for furtive truck stop blowjobs or semi-annual camping trips with friends on the side, now find such a possibility impossible. However unfair it might have been to those who did find such a life miserable, and the women caught in the crossfire, “having it all”—a Norman Rockwell life with a twink on the side— maybe was the ideal situation for some men. Now, men who have identified themselves as gay categorically forfeit not only relationships with women and a traditional family, but also their ability to be seen as a “real man.” Instead, they’ll forever be associated with poppers-filled orgies, RuPaul’s Drag Race, HIV, Charli XCX, Sunday brunch mimosas, and perhaps worst of all, the sancitimonious blue-haired horde that is “queer activism.”
The truth of the matter is that progressive culture views male bisexuality as a gay cope, a transitional phase, a one-way bridge to Homoland. It does acknowledge the existence of bisexual men, but only if they are sufficiently butch, (usually) semi- or fully-closeted, and exclusively date women, maintaining a healthy distance from all gay culture outside of Grindr.
This community has existed online for years, with virtually no attention from a media obsessed with “problematic” internet subcultures or human sexuality academia, so far as I could tell. I only discovered it by happenstance a few months ago, in a Twitter rabbit hole researching another topic. It’s easy to see why. Exploring kinks means exploring the taboos that create them. Taboos are dark, but sometimes they feed easily into safe and established political narratives. Not this one.
Porn studios like Straight-Guys-For-Gay-Eyes produce, as the name suggests, straight porn scenes filmed for the gay male gaze (NSFW link).
Conversations throughout the piece have been edited for length and clarity.
I mean the following as an enormous compliment. This article made me feel like I came across some classified gay/bisexual documents, and now know gay and bisexual secrets that I’m not supposed to know. If I am ever interrogated by the gay secret police I will have to feign total surprise and ignorance of all the things related here.
This along side the transmaxxing essay make for fascinating reading about the effect of the Internet on the edges of culture