Are There Different Types of SSA?

Summary: Male homosexuality is diverse in terms of the cause, nature, and object of the attractions and desires. There seem to be five different types of attractions.

Understanding your type or types is very useful because it can illuminate the factors lying beneath your same-sex attraction and provide clarity about what may be helpful in fostering change. These types are not discrete—it is common for men to experience more than one type. For example, types 1 and 2 frequently coexist although one or the other often predominates. Sometimes, men with more than one type will experience one of the types as sexual and the other as a non-sexual desire or attraction.

Type 1: Desire for Masculinity

Type 2: Desire for Male Connection

Type 3: Age Fixation

Type 4: Desire for Fathering

Type 5: Everything Else

Type 1: Desire for Masculinity

Men with Type 1 attractions are drawn toward idealized masculine traits. Their desires center on interaction with men who possess such traits, whether that interaction involves visual or physical contact or fantasy. Below is a list of some of the idealized traits these men often mention to us:

    • A masculine body: muscular physique, tallness, hairiness, a large penis, and other male-typical features
    • Physical abilities: strength, athleticism, or handiness
    • Personality characteristics: power, confidence, aggression, control, authority, rebelliousness, or being a “bad boy”
    • Being naturally and effortlessly masculine or demonstrating an easy acceptance of one’s own masculinity

Type 2: Desire for Male Connection

Men with Type 2 attractions tend to feel intense longings for an emotional bond with another male. These men may be relationally obsessive. They are often drawn to men in their own age group who have qualities they interpret as relational, such as kindness, friendliness, a warm smile, or a gentle voice and manner. The desires these men often mention to us include:

    • Physical touch from another male or being held by him
    • Companionship and emotional intimacy with another male; having an exclusive “best friendship”
    • Giving and receiving attention, affection, and love
    • Receiving comfort and support
    • Feeling special, sought out, or included by an individual or group

Type 3: Age Fixation

Men with Type 3 attractions feel intense desires for closeness and intimacy with boys who appear to be within a specific age range—usually either late boyhood or early manhood. The age range may be different for each man. The attractions toward boys tend to begin when the man is young, although they may not be sexualized at that time. As the man ages, his attractions remain fixed on boys of that same age.

Type 4: Desire for Fathering

Men with Type 4 attractions typically feel intense desires for attachment, dependency, and emotional bonding with an older man whom they see as a father figure. They are often drawn to more mature men who exhibit traits that the man links to fatherhood, such as gray hair, wrinkles, a stout physique, hairiness, or whiskers. These men often describe desires for:

    • Love and affection
    • Protection and security
    • Comfort and reassurance
    • Physical closeness or being touched or held
    • Being mentored or shown how to be a man
    • Being taken care of by an older man

Type 5: Everything Else

Type 5 includes all homosexual desires and behaviors that are not included in the other four categories, such as:

    • Situational homosexuality—sex between males that is experimental, recreational, or due to unavailability of women
    • Conditioned homosexuality created through pairing male stimuli with sexual arousal. This can be caused by male-on-male sexual abuse or early exposure to male pornography.
    • Re-enacting childhood sexual abuse in desire, fantasy, and action. Attractions are toward men with traits that resemble the abuser.
    • Paraphilias that don’t fit within one of the other categories, such as sexual arousal from objects, situations, or body parts that are not in and of themselves erotic. These seem to have specific meaning to the individual based on associations or life experiences. They may be a sexualization of traumatic life experiences in childhood. They tend to be oriented toward a specific gender.