Why do so many letters exchanged between platonic male friends in the 18th and 19th centuries read as extremely homoerotic in the modern day?

by sexual--chocolate

Before I get an influx of comments reminding me that gay people have always existed, I’m not talking about men who are suspected to have been secret lovers. From what I have seen, even between guys who were almost certainly nothing more than friends, their correspondences almost sound like love letters. Why did they talk to each other like that and when did it become unacceptable for straight men to be so affectionate with each other?

Edit: to build off this, based on what little I do know (or at least what I have been told), for much of history, sexuality in general was something that you did, not really something that you innately were. So after more thinking, I am wondering if these concepts are connected somehow (ie. not worrying about accusations of “being gay” because “gay” isn’t something that you “are”)


/u/mimicofmodes has previously written about romantic friendships for a Tuesday Trivia thread.