You mean "the consummated passion between men" was held higher than that between man and woman?
Hong, that's exactly what I meant. I was very surprised to find this as well. I figured passion between men would just be considered a substitute. In fact, it seems to have been held as an ideal. The reason is the view of women, at least the view of women held by an athletic, masculinity-idealizing culture. Male-male 'dealings' were considered to be untainted by the 'softness' or 'weakness' that relations with women were considered to...er...entail.
I have a caveat here: most (though not all) of my exposure to this subject has been through sources who have an interest in maintaining homosexual relationships as some sort of a) acceptable alternative or b) ideal alternative. So I stand ready to revise my understanding based on any facts to the contrary, of course. But that's the impression my research has yielded so far.
Another pertinent point here is what sort of relationships these male-male bondings were. They were not the 'relationship of equals' we have today, i.e., a coming together of men roughly the same age for a monogomous relationship. They were typically a bond between a man of about 25-30 with a teenager of about 15-16. They had a strong element of 'mentorship,' but they had strict rules regarding sexual activities. The older man would never allow himself to be penetrated, for that would be deemed unmanly. He would completely lose face otherwise. The younger man was always the receiver and would not be given the opportunity to 'switch roles' until he had his own protégé later. The older man typically was married and had a wife, as that was considered very much a duty of his role in society.