According to a survey published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, most homophobic young men are subconsciously attracted to gay imagery.
The participants, 38 male students from the University of Geneva, described themselves as straight. Initially, the students took a survey, which unveiled their negative views of gay and bisexual men.
Following the initial survey, the men were asked to rate pictures of same-sex and opposite-sex couples on a nine-point scale ranging from “very pleasant” to “very unpleasant.” The exercise also considered the amount of time they spent on each photo.
The study’s results concluded that the men with the most antigay opinions of queer men spent more time looking at same-sex couples than they did on opposite-sex couples. The participants who weren’t homophobic spent equal amounts of time on all of the photos. The research team concluded that the “Findings on the viewing time allow understanding why some (but not all) men high in homophobia have a sexual interest in same-sex individuals.”
“This study provides a better understanding of the psychological processes involved in processing gay erotic material among men high in homophobia, and provides a fine-grained prediction of sexual-related behaviors.”
The lead author on the study, Boris Cheval of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, told PsyPost it’s hard to say how big of a role repressed fascination toward same-sex people plays in creating anti-gay attitudes. He remarked that a prior investigation determined about half of the homophobic men became aroused — as measured by their erections — when shown homoerotic content. He added, “Nevertheless, I think that others studies are needed to correctly evaluate the importance of this denied attraction.”