On the mess from One to Five

Some of us are clearly born Kinsey 0 or 6 and whether that’s validated or vilified by society at large, that remains an internal constant, indeed, even if we doubt or resist it ourselves at times. But for others of us, the question of who we are attracted to is much messier along those steps at 1-5.

I have always been fascinated (actually repelled, as well) at how men are expected to be Kinsey 0 or 6, with any in between being considered merely a stepping stone to “coming out fully” whereas for women, stepping off that zero is greeted with such hooting and cheering and foot stomping that I rarely if ever discuss bisexuality face to face with another heterosexual man. It’s not until she clearly rejects men altogether that the fury of heteronormative society is unleashed on her; whereas for men, the moment they step off the zero, they’re a target. (There’s more complexity than that in these broad strokes, but you get the general idea.)

So the big question: how much of this relative lack of bisexuality in men is related to actual biology (since some various not-fully-understood studies seem to support this notion) and how much of it is due to cultural pressure and experiences? I don’t know, but we might get a chance to find out if we can ever make real progress against homophobia and heteronormativity.

Securing broad public approval for concrete rights like gay marriage is one thing, but ending pervasive cultural homophobia is quite a bit trickier. And sometimes those goals can seem at odds. It’s hard to fight for the right to be openly gay — to argue that homosexuality is not a phase or a choice — while simultaneously acknowledging the people whose experiences defy easy categorization. But as gay rights slowly become mainstream, there’s more room for not just women, but men, to proudly claim their undefinable sexual histories. As Frank Ocean replied when GQ asked if he was bisexual, “You can move to the next question. I’ll respectfully say that life is dynamic and comes along with dynamic experiences.” Why Should Fluid Sexuality Be Women-Only?

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