Dating men down low
However, one particular use of the term — men in heterosexual relationships who secretly have sex with men — was forced into the national spotlight.Many people, regardless of race and ethnicity, gender, and social class hide from others that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, have sexual and romantic relationships with members of their own gender, and/or experience desire for such relationships.
The researchers found that men who live with a wife or girlfriend and who think of themselves as heterosexual were more likely to conceal their same-sex behavior.In large part, this is due to fear of homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic violence, discrimination, prejudice, and rejection from friends and family.Hiding one’s sexual or gender identity is ofter referred to as being “in the closet.” So, how is being on the “down low” different?It is crucial for our understanding of sexuality and sexual health that we pay attention to other important dimensions, namely race and ethnicity, gender, and social class.In addition, we must consider how various social factors shape and constrain our sexualities.While some identify as bisexual (or even gay), many identify as heterosexual; also, some do not claim a particular sexual identity, while others actually identify as DL.
Also, as found in a recent study of DL men in New York City, their defining characteristic is hiding their same-gender sexuality from their female partners, yet some are “out” as DL (or gay or bisexual) to friends and family.
But, shortly after the new millennium began, men who have sexual relationships with men — particularly those who also have sexual and romantic relationships with women — became the focus of discussions about the high rates of HIV among Black Americans. ), politicians, and activists concerned about the HIV epidemic among Black people in the US began pointing to these men as a potential source for the staggeringly high rates of new HIV cases among (heterosexual) Black women.
The logic became that some men in heterosexual relationships were secretly having sex with men, and doing so without using condoms to reduce their risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI).
In general, keeping something on the down low means keeping it a secret.
But, some suggest that the expression originates among Black communities in the US to refer specifically to secret relationships, including infidelity or extramarital affairs in heterosexual relationships.
And, they understandably face greater pressure to hide their “true” sexualities because Black communities in the US are stereotyped as more hostile toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.