... in the pursuit of his campaign to claim S John Henry as a homosexual (why do so many advocates of the liceity of homosexual genital relationships have this passionate desire to claim everybody for their cause?) alluded once to what he called the 'homosocial' culture of Oxford in the days when the teaching community here was unmarried.
The idea that Oxford, before 1877, was largely homosexual (whether physically or emotionally) needs to be demonstrated rather than carelessly and casually asserted. In those days, College tutors were, indeed, generally young, and were, indeed, always men. But their youthfulness resulted precisely from the tendency of members of their community continually to leave to get married (to women). Colleges possessed 'College livings'; id est the charges of parishes to which colleges were entitled to 'present' a candidate, whom the bishop was legally bound to institute. (Christ Church, for example, had getting on for a hundred such 'livings'.) This system existed largely in order to provide comfortably for Fellows who, despite the ecstasies of 'homosociality', desired to get married (to women).
Dacre Baldon (himself not a married man), in his delightful 1957 book Oxford Life, wrote:
"When the 1877 Statutes allowed dons to marry, there was an end to those quaint missives which, in the interval between marriage service and wedding reception, were penned and dispatched by Fellows to the Head of their College: 'Dear Master, I write sadly to announce my death as a Fellow. Yet happily I am born to new life, being but now returned from the Church where I have plighted my troth to Miss Margaret Banfield.'"
A man's departure from Oxford might be delayed for a few years ... as a young cleric waited for a plum College 'living' to fall vacant; or for a wealthy patron to give him well-endowed preferment; or for the death of an aged relative in occupation of a very rich family 'living' (there was no 'retirement age' even for those advanced in senility).
But I think there is little evidence that young fellows hung around in Oxford because they found it so terribly hard to tear themselves away from homosexual (or 'homosocial') relationships.
This, after all, was that primitive age when homosexuality had not yet been invented.