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    December 30, 2007

    Fluid sexuality is a girl thing

    Posted by: Chris

    Lisadiamond More evidence that "fluid sexuality" is a female thing, so I can only try to understand it from a distance.

    After a mini-row here on the blog last week about whether bisexuality is really more prominent than homosexuality within the "LGBT community" or society generally, one scholar presents evidence that up to two-thirds of women who experienced some same-sex attraction in their early 20s changed their own self-identity at least once over the next decade:

    Most women's behavior had little to do with the "gay for life" story. Some switched their sexual identity many times. In fact, when asked to define themselves as "gay," "straight" or "bisexual," a number of women refused to take any label at all. Others invented their own labels; for instance, one interviewee called herself a "reluctant heterosexual."

    About one-fourth of the women reported that their choice of sexual partners had nothing to do with gender. "Deep down," said one woman, "it's just a matter of who I meet and fall in love with, and it's not their body, it's something behind the eyes." These women often had no words for the way their hearts were wired.

    The scholar, Lisa Diamond of the University of Utah, called this "person-based attraction" rather than bisexuality, although the latter term would seem to cover it just as well.

    Whatever you call it, I can say with confidence it occurs much more rarely among men, at least as a phenomenon that's discussed openly. Take, for example, this letter and response I've excerpted from today's Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch:

    Dear Margo:
    I find myself in a predicament that I never in a million years would have predicted. I am a 25-year-old man who is married to a beautiful, committed wife. Recently, I was chatting online and met a guy. He was funny and quick-witted.

    After a while, we exchanged numbers -- and have talked for more than two hours every night since. Margo, I hate talking on the phone. Last night, we were talking and laughing together, and after a moment of silence, I said, "God, I love you." I immediately apologized, but he said, "Don't." He said he has been fighting saying it, too.

    We are both straight, and we both think homosexuality is a sin. Neither of us knows what is going on. I haven't had any desire to spend time with my wife since this person came into my life. I want to talk only with "Matt." What is going on?
    -- Dazed and Confused

    Dear Dazed:
    These things would not, could not happen to a straight man. You are gay, my friend, though heavily repressed because you think it is sinful. I think you and this other chap are so closeted that you've been hiding from yourselves. Because of your religious convictions, there's probably an element of self-loathing, too, if only on a subconscious level.

    Margo should probably have allowed for the possibility that "Dazed" is bisexual, but the fact that he completely lost interest in his wife buttresses her ultimate conclusion that he's gay. It's certainly next to impossible that he's actually heterosexual but feeling "person-based attraction" for "Matt."

    Looking back at that Hunter College/Knowledge Networks survey, the Blade reported that roughly two-thirds of the gay/bi men were gay and one-third were bisexual. Those figures were reversed for lesbian/bi women: two-thirds were bisexual and one-third were lesbian. At least those statistics make some sense if you accept that female sexuality is much more fluid.

    Also, if relatively few of the bisexuals are actively involved in the "LGBT community" -- which I think is intuitively true whether it is a response to intolerance from gays or because they can pass as straight
    -- that would mean gay men outnumber lesbians roughly two-to-one within the "community." Those percentages make a lot more sense to me.

    Gnw_lighthouse_logosmall_2 For related stories and the breaking news, click or bookmark:  gaynewswatch.com/bisexual

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    Comments

    1. anonymous on Dec 30, 2007 7:41:49 PM:

      Men in ancient Greece and Rome were pretty 'fluid'.

      While I would agree that a lot of women who identify as a lesbian in college then marry a man - you are not taking into account the massive social pressure on women to marry a man - for social reasons, financial reasons, etc.

      Plenty of straight women settle and marry a man they aren't madly in love with because they want to have the house, the children, etc that comes with marriage.

      If straight women will marry a man they aren't really in love with, I'm sure some lesbians/bisexual women will, too.

      Plus the fact that in the bible belt where I grew up, plenty of women are still raised to think sex outside of marriage is wrong, and they are not supposed to know ANYTHING about sex until they are married. So, plenty of lesbian/bisexual women end up married to a man BEFORE they have any sexual experiences. Also, we are told from birth that someday our prince will come, and he will take care of all of our needs, etc.

      Since men are encouraged to explore sexually from the time they hit puberty, I think a lot of gay men know that they aren't too interested in women before they are old enough to get married.

      I don't think we will know anthing about female sexuality until 1)women make as much money as men so financial pressure to get married is gone, 2)women are not shamed about their sexuality and 3)all the lesbians come out of the closet.

      It is impossible to do a poll that counts lesbians, since most lesbians in the bible belt would never answer the poll.

    1. Sean on Dec 31, 2007 1:59:43 PM:

      I agree with anonymous' analysis. The pressure on women to be a certain way is so great that they end up marrying a man. In some ways I think things have gotten worse for women. Their is negative recruiting in which one school accuses another of having a ton of lesbians in order to entice top prospects to play for them. They end up getting involved with guys to rid themselves of possible lesbian rumors.

    1. Double T on Dec 31, 2007 2:00:45 PM:

      I think it was Descartes who said....

      "When you label me you negate me"

      To be honest, I think this is an excercise in insanity. You're shooting at a moving target, that neither wants to be shoot nor stand still.

      I also confess my naiveness. I think the letters need to be changed to GLBTC - too include the Crazies.

    1. Jesse M. on Dec 31, 2007 9:05:13 PM:

      This NY Times article on the study of human sexuality also has some interesting info on the greater bisexuality of women...from p. 4:

      Women’s sexual fluidity extends beyond the strength of desire, he said, to encompass the objects of that desire. In his survey, heterosexual women who rated their sex drive as high turned out to have an increased attraction to women as well as to men.

      “This is not to say that all women are bisexual,” Dr. Lippa said. “Most of the heterosexual women would still describe themselves as more attracted to men than to women.” Still, the mere presence of a hearty sexual appetite seemed to expand a heterosexual woman’s appreciation of her fellow women’s forms. By contrast, the men were more black-and-white in their predilections. If they were straight and had an especially high sex drive, that concupiscence applied only to women; if gay, to other men.

      Dr. Diamond of the University of Utah also has evidence that women’s sexual attractions are, as she put it, “more nonexclusive than men’s.”

      One factor that may contribute to women’s sexual ambidextrousness, some researchers suggest, is the intriguing and poorly understood nonspecificity of women’s physical reactions to sexual stimuli. As Dr. Chivers of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health and other researchers have found, women and men show very divergent patterns of genital arousal while viewing material with sexual content.

      For men, there is a strong concordance between their physiological and psychological states. If they are looking at images that they describe as sexually arousing, they get erections. When the images are not to their expressed taste or sexual orientation, however, their genitals remain unmoved.

      For women, the correlation between pelvic and psychic excitement is virtually nil. Women’s genitals, it seems, respond to all sex, all the time. Show a woman scenes of a man and a woman having sex, or two women having sex, or two men, or even two bonobos, Dr. Chivers said, and as a rule her genitals will become measurably congested and lubricated, although in many cases she may not be aware of the response.

      Ask her what she thinks of the material viewed, however, and she will firmly declare that she liked this scene, found that one repellent, and, frankly, the chimpanzee bit didn’t do it for her at all. Regardless of declared sexual orientation, Dr. Chivers said, “with women, there’s a discrepancy between stated preference and physiological arousal, and this discrepancy has been seen consistently across studies.”

      Again, the why of it remains a mystery. Dr. Chivers and others have hypothesized that the mechanism is protective. Women are ever in danger of being raped, they said, and by automatically lubricating at the mere hint of sex, they may avoid damage during forced intercourse to that evolutionarily all-important reproductive tract.

    1. david on Jan 1, 2008 10:53:58 PM:

      "For men, there is a strong concordance between their physiological and psychological states. If they are looking at images that they describe as sexually arousing, they get erections. When the images are not to their expressed taste or sexual orientation, however, their genitals remain unmoved."

      This is why transmen who claim to be gay are barking up the wrong tree sex-wise -- once the clothes come off and the vagina is present, most gay men would be 100% flaccid and turned off. The above stats also explain why transmen who claim to be gay do not get or respect this reality -- they have vaginas and therefore respond sexually like the women described above -- 2 separate entities with 2 incompatible sexualities --all gay men know this (how many gay men reading this get hard at the sight of a cunt?) -- so why do these transmen who claim to be gay want to be with gay men -- are they perhaps actually straight women with extreme personality dysphoria who are using their trans status and PC whining as a tactic to get at the inaccessible men they crave (like many a fag hag before them)?

    1. david on Jan 2, 2008 8:58:10 AM:

      "The Scent of Desire, a new book by Rachel Herz, a psychologist widely recognized as the world's leading expert on the influences of smell" says that one study found that gay men gravitate towards the smell of gay men. Transmen who call themselves gay men take note: gay men are attracted to the smell of other gay men and not to the smell of vaginas attached to testosterone-ingesting humans with vaginas who "identify" as gay men. The truly "out and proud" transman would put their identity out there on gay male sex sites -- "I am a transman with a beard and a pussy: any guys into that, call me." Is that not more honest and ethical for everyone concerned than the duplicity and childlike magical thinking of many gay-obsessed transmen who claim that gay men should be attracted to them simply because of what they label themselves (with no regard to the physical realities of sexual attraction?

      ps It was not Descartes, but Keirkegard who is attributed to the quote about labels -- and the context in which he said this was not one of modern sexual identity naming -- you've conflated his meaning.

      ppss Men is ancient Greece and Rome were NOT more fluid in their sexuality -- this is a common myth. They used same-sex acts between men and "boys" as a form of social dominance and ranking. This form of "sex" had more to do with slavery that with common meanings of fluid sexuality. The Greek "boys" were certainly not "fluid" -- most were forced like slaves to participate!

    1. am on Jan 2, 2008 1:38:33 PM:

      David. I personally don't know a single transguy that likes to hook up with gay men that doesn't tell them they are trans. Though, just like most people there are always exception to the rule.

      It is pretty much all of our duty to be openly honest about who we are when we get involved sexually with someone, or we anticipate we are going to get sexually involved with someone. There is nothing wrong with having an expectation to be seen as a 'man', however none of us can force anyone to do it.

      The fact of the matter is, there are many gay identifying men that like to play with transmen. They may or may not want a long term relationship with them but they still play. Ass is ass after all. I have found specifically that gay men that identify as strict tops like to play with transmen as they serve one purpose and one purpose only.

      I do agree that transfolks should not demand nor assume they have access to any and all spaces, either gay or lesbian. I consider my ability to pass in and out of different LG spaces a privilege, a privilege that should be respected and maintained by acting mature and aware. I also see it as a right of passage (I'm speaking of gay space here) as I build trust with the men that inhabit those spaces. The secondary sex attributes are enough for some men to be attracted to transmen even if they have a cunt. I also think that the individual attitude and the way a transman carries himself opens the door for attractiveness.

      Personally I don't want to be anywhere that I am not wanted nor will be respected. I may frequent 'lesbian spaces' but I do not hit on the women in those spaces. If a woman in any of those spaces wants to hang out with me knowing I'm trans then fine.

      My attitude is no different in gay spaces.

      In addition, I don't respond the same as I used to. Though I would agree that vaginal lubrication is not always controllable, T or no T. My clit, which is not much different anatomically than a penis, gets hard and erect like a penis does when I think of, see, or encounter things that I am sexually attracted to. This is not spontaneous. And this did not occur as it does now prior to starting T.

      The introduction of T into the female body, and the limited estrogen production does change the sexual desires a great deal in Transmen. Many transmen who where nearly 100% attracted to women prior to transition turn 'gay' if you will after starting T. Personally I think this has to do with the desire for harder and more uninhibited sex. There are also a great deal of transmen that play with, date, or otherwise men (gay or otherwise) that do not like to be vaginal touched in anyway shape of form. And that in no way is straight or heterosexual.

      I identify as bi. I have been an active participant in the LGBT community for more than 12 years. I have encountered far more fluid and sexually open people in this community than I have ever met people that stick strictly by the book of labels.

      Though I appreciate what you are saying, I don't believe the gay community is that hard lined in its sexuality or preferences.

      I never appreciated straight men hitting on me, when I was clearly without out a doubt a queer woman. I especially didn't appreciate it when they continued to do so after telling them I wasn't interested.

      David, its a shame you have had so many bad experiences with transmen. If I hit on anyone, or made anyone feel uncomfortable I wouldn't continue to do so. Nor would I ever assume that just because 'I can' means 'I should'. If that makes sense.

      Not all transguys are jerks. Not all gay men rely on a penis to be sexually satisfied. Not all women are sexually specific or easy to please.

      I think there are a lot more 'nots' than 'ares'. I also think its silly to lump entire sections of people into any specific category of action.

      I am, at the very least, a transman that is very careful to mind my manners and assumptions when I walk into any space. I do this out of respect not only for the community I belong to, but also out of respect for myself.

    1. Chicago Dude on Jan 2, 2008 3:06:14 PM:

      As a 43yo gay man, I personally have NEVER met a truly bi-sexual man. I have been a member of various mens' discussion groups that were filled with married men who finally realized and admitted to themselves that they were gay. Not one of them said that they were actually bi-sexual. Come on, a guy clearly knows what he's attracted to as a teenager - it's what makes him hard. Pretty obvious. I just have a difficult time thinking that there are guys out there that - when masturbating - can think about either male or female genitalia and get off on either thought. I just don't think that guys are made that way. And there are number of studies showing this fact, where guys who said they were bi were all only sexually stimulated by either pictures of men or the scents of male pheromones. Call me skeptical (or cynical), but I am convinced that true MALE bi-sexuality is quite rare if not non-existent. Just my 2-pennies worth...

    1. david on Jan 2, 2008 6:37:52 PM:

      "Ass is ass after all. I have found specifically that gay men that identify as strict tops like to play with transmen as they serve one purpose and one purpose only."

      I and countless gay male friends, lovers, fuck buddies, tricks and acquaintances I have known over four decades have been at times "strict tops" and not one of us has EVER had an interest in fucking an ass that we didn't know what it was attached to! According to your theory, "strict gay tops" would be into fucking women in the ass because you say "an ass is an ass". I can tell you that an ass is NOT an ass since I spent part of my youth having ass sex with women as well as men. They are not the same thing. Your logic would also mean that since straight men like to penetrate female ass, why not penetrate male ass -- ask some straight men about this concept some time and see how they react.

      You are correct that the only transmen I have encountered have interpreted most gay men's disinterest in transmen because of their vaginas as a slur against transmen as a Marginalized People. These are two completely separate issues. This politicization and shaming of gay men for the lack of a physiological response to the presence of a vagina was a very unwise tactic as it made many of us gay men see transmen as manipulative, self-serving and despicable. Rather than viewing transmen like lesbians as non-sex partner political allies, this obnoxious conflation of personal sexual interest with collective political support has burst your cause like a balloon for many gay men.

    1. am on Jan 4, 2008 12:34:56 PM:

      David,

      It wasn't my intent to over simplify my point by saying 'ass is ass', as it is not what I was really trying to say. Nor was I saying the top men I was referring to have no idea what was attached, because they do. I have had encounters with strict tops who have not been concerned with my genitals, because in their mind 'ass is ass' and I am there for one thing. I do not, will not say in anyway shape or form that all or even most gay men who identify this way are willing to look past what is actually attached. I am just saying there are some out there, and plenty really to meet the needs of the transmen I know in the community I happen to live in. I don't think anybody trans identified should expect nor demand that any man or woman except them as lovers simply based on their gender identification. I agree with you, hands down that it is not ok. I would hope, however, that gay men in the community that do choose (I stress the word choose) to except their transmale lovers as fellow gay men are still seen as being a viable part of the gay male community. I would hope that folks wouldn’t question their status as gay men, simply because they are willing and able to see past the biological sex of a transman.

      My point of responding was also to bring up the fact that transexuality (I can't speak for transwomen) for transmen is not the same as it is for women. The changes that occur across a broad spectrum are tremendous. Not that I want to beat this point to death, but the ass of transman does not feel like, look like, or even smell like the ass of a woman . Sex is not just about genitals for everyone, though I appreciate that you may feel this way. Even if it is a minority of people that feel this way, that minority is still valid and shouldn’t be chalked up to having personality dysphoria.


      I do agree that transmen should be open about who they are when searching out lovers. Frankly its safer.

      I waited a long time to transition. I knew without out a doubt my pool of lovers would shrink dramatically. It is par for course when you choose to cross over. So, David, again it saddens me that you have had such bad experiences with the transmen you have encountered. Not all gay identified transmen are out demanding that all gay men except them, it’s just not happening. I promise that if I am ever within ear shot of transman acting like the way you so often describe I will personally challenge his views. Though there are always two sides to a story, and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

    1. David who is a transman, Australia on May 2, 2008 6:53:49 AM:

      Boy, David has issues.

    1. Trace on Sep 11, 2008 7:11:27 PM:

      As a gay man I must say that I am not turned on by cock all by itself. In fact, that's just a small part of what I'm turned on by. A penis doesn't make a man--look around you--are all men the same in size, body shape, tastes, voices, hairiness, attitude, personality?--a person's masculinity isn't produced in their penis, nor their testicles. Any self-respecting person, trans-man or not, would want to avoid sexual relations with a gay man who was so shallow as to invalidate their sexual/gender identity simply because of the shape of their genitals. If you're turned off by a certain body type or body part, that's your deal--own it and be honest about it, but don't think that you can legitimately speak for all other people who share your labels as "men" or "gay", nor (furthermore) that your opinions make you an expert on people who belong to communities that you don't belong to and (in this case, David who was ranting) clearly know nothing about.

    1. Trace on Sep 11, 2008 7:12:23 PM:

      As a gay man I must say that I am not turned on by cock all by itself. In fact, that's just a small part of what I'm turned on by. A penis doesn't make a man--look around you--are all men the same in size, body shape, tastes, voices, hairiness, attitude, personality?--a person's masculinity isn't produced in their penis, nor their testicles. Any self-respecting person, trans-man or not, would want to avoid sexual relations with a gay man who was so shallow as to invalidate their sexual/gender identity simply because of the shape of their genitals. If you're turned off by a certain body type or body part, that's your deal--own it and be honest about it, but don't think that you can legitimately speak for all other people who share your labels as "men" or "gay", nor (furthermore) that your opinions make you an expert on people who belong to communities that you don't belong to and (in this case, David who was ranting) clearly know nothing about.

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    1. Gabby-the-teen activist on Feb 10, 2009 8:21:53 PM:

      As a girl, I can say that I am completely bisexual, and that it's not just how I see a person because of the way I act. I have no intentions in changing my sexual tendencies, because I am certain of who I am.
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    1. Mr. X on Feb 16, 2009 5:42:05 PM:

      Chicago Dude is being biphobic by saying that male bisexuality doesn't exist at all and that men are either gay or heterosexual which is pure bullshit.

      Yes it's possible, just because it doesn't happen to you does not mean that it doesn't happen to others.

      I've masturbated and fantasized about both men and women at the same time and at separate times.

      Look up things like the Kinsey scale or the Klein Grid as these explain bisexuality very well.

      As far as david's viewpoints he's very transphobic and I've seen other posts of his that reflect this aspect of himself.

    1. Mr. X on Feb 16, 2009 5:42:56 PM:

      Chicago Dude is being biphobic by saying that male bisexuality doesn't exist at all and that men are either gay or heterosexual which is pure bullshit.

      Yes it's possible, just because it doesn't happen to you does not mean that it doesn't happen to others.

      I've masturbated and fantasized about both men and women at the same time and at separate times.

      Look up things like the Kinsey scale or the Klein Grid as these explain bisexuality very well.

      As far as david's viewpoints go he's VERY transphobic.

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    1. Dildos on Mar 17, 2010 7:27:15 AM:

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    1. buy viagra on May 18, 2010 11:47:22 AM:

      I find very interesting about this study, is a reality we are living, we now have in our society a large part of population "LGBT" and the best thing is to know about this and not to discriminate.

    1. Adult Toys Australia on Jun 7, 2010 2:53:55 AM:

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    1. yard on Jun 17, 2010 12:56:36 PM:

      That woman in photo looks disgusting, but this is our society face. Perfect woman cult made as such people that we are now.

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