Why homophobic Republicans are so prone to gay sex scandals, according to one psychologist

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Why homophobic Republicans are so prone to gay sex scandals, according to one psychologist

In a new post for the blog Sex and Psychology, Dr. Justin Lehmiller delves into the reasons why so many conservative men continue to find themselves at the center of gay sex scandals.

The most one is GOP Rep. Nick Sauer of Illinois, who resigned in disgrace last week after being accused of using his ex-girlfriend’s nude photos to create a fake Instagram account in order to “catfish” other guys into having “graphic conversations of a sexual nature”.

Lehmiller is a Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and author of the book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life.

He says there could be several reasons why someone with same-sex attraction might lobby for anti-gay causes. The most obvious one: Religion.

“For these individuals, perhaps their religious identity is more central to their sense of self than their sexual identity (at least most of the time),” Lehmiller writes.

This would certainly explain the steady stream of priests, pastors, and rabbis constantly being busted grooming teens for sex or maintaining secret Grindr profiles.

Related: Religious leader caught grooming teen for sex on Grindr says it was maybe “a little illegal”

Another reason could be due to having been raised by controlling and/or homophobic parents.

Lehmiller explains: “When a person feels a lot of outward pressure to be homophobic from their parents, they might strive to repress or deny their sexual orientation in order to earn their parents’ love.”

Then there’s the issue of cognitive dissonance, or the the state of having inconsistent or contradictory thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavior and attitude.

“This theory argues that we are motivated to resolve these inconsistencies when we become aware of them because they are psychologically uncomfortable,” Lehmiller writes.

For instance, when LGBTQ-identifying Republicans continued to support their party in 2016 despite it adopting one of the most virulently homophobic platforms in its history.

“This person might rationalize the inconsistency by thinking to themselves that ‘the party’s official platform doesn’t really mean anything anyway.’ In other words, these individuals may actively look for ways to rationalize their inconsistent beliefs and feelings whenever discrepancies come to light.”

Related: Rep. Nick Sauer isn’t the only Republican dealing with a raunchy sex scandal at the moment

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