Lisa Diamond's Place on the Web
March 5, 2008 6:24 PM   Subscribe

"Many women experience a fluid sexual desire that is responsive to a person rather than a specific gender" A description of the topic for Lisa Diamond's new book, Sexual Fluidity. While waiting to get your copy of the book, why not read some of her papers? Here's one about young women who identify as lesbians or bisexuals and then change their minds. Was it a phase? (pdf) Here's one about the development of sexual orientation among adolescent and young adult women. (pdf) Here's one containing a new view of lesbian subtypes. (pdf) There are more.
posted by wittgenstein (102 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Only women?
posted by 45moore45 at 6:25 PM on March 5, 2008 [7 favorites]


For a lot of people, sexuality seems situational. I've never had sexual feelings for another man, but, then, I've never been in the same room with David Bowie, have I?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:28 PM on March 5, 2008 [20 favorites]


Having sex with one gender exclusively is like thinking with just half the brain.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 6:38 PM on March 5, 2008 [7 favorites]


Interesting.
posted by Miko at 6:39 PM on March 5, 2008


So d'ya hear Buffy's experimenting?
posted by Toekneesan at 6:42 PM on March 5, 2008


Having sex with one gender exclusively is like thinking with just half the brain.

Replace "gender" with "species" and you have one hell of a more entertaining argument.
posted by humannaire at 6:47 PM on March 5, 2008 [11 favorites]


And is thinking with half a brain like having sex with one gender exclusively?

Also, are we talking right-left halves, front-back halves, or lower-upper? And which gender equals which half?
posted by humannaire at 6:51 PM on March 5, 2008


but, then, I've never been in the same room with David Bowie, have I?

Does the space cold make your nipples go pointy, Bowie?
Do you use your pointy nipples as telescopic antennae to transmit data back to Earth?
Bet you do, you freaky old bastard you.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:51 PM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


This research is taking place in Utah, of all places.
posted by clearlynuts at 6:55 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to see this. I find the homo/hetero/bi trichotomy completely inadequate to deal with the range of observed behaviors and identities.

Modifying those identities with "fixed" or "fluid" offers a much richer and more accurate model, which can also be extrapolated to other supposedly binary traits such as gender expression.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:02 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


This 2003 study[pdf/html], summarized here, demonstrated experimentally that:
While men respond sexual to only male or female erotica, all women respond to both male and female erotica.
posted by metalfilter at 7:04 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Recent study where females were found to be turned on by girl-on-girl porn as much as hetero porn.

Not exactly going to go Googling for a link at work, sorry!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:04 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


We don't think with our full brain anyway.

But yeah, there's no reason not to think sexuality would be fluid. At best we have inclinations.
posted by Miko at 7:04 PM on March 5, 2008


Why thankyou, metalfilter! That sounds like it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:05 PM on March 5, 2008


Recent study where females were found to be turned on by girl-on-girl porn as much as hetero porn.

Yeah, but I have a theory about that - (and it's not only my theory, it's widespread). As a woman, you grow up with the male gaze whether you like it or not. From the time you're a young gal, you see sexy-looking women on billboards, on TV ads, in magazines, in sitcoms, and in movies, over and over again endlessly, until you finally get it drilled into you that "WOMAN=SEXY." It's amazing to watch a few hours of TV and note how often the very appearance of a female also signals the introduction of a narrative about sex. So of COURSE women are turned on by sexy images of other women. It's kind of mostly what we've had for sexy images of any kind. We're used to it. It means sex.
posted by Miko at 7:07 PM on March 5, 2008 [30 favorites]


I think a lot of this has to do with the media and its portrayal of sexuality. I read a long time ago (like the late 70's, so sorry no linky) that both women and men tended to find pictures of naked women sexually stimulating. The naked woman is our culture's cue for "sex," whether you're a man or a woman; you're sold it a thousand times a day even as a child. I could easily imagine that there are a hell of a lot more bisexual or "sexually fluid" women than men because of that.
posted by localroger at 7:12 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Go look at Craigslist. Casual encounters. There are plenty of bisexual men in the world.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:22 PM on March 5, 2008


Are you suggesting this also explains why guys get so excited about watching contact sports?
posted by humannaire at 7:22 PM on March 5, 2008


Go look at Craigslist. Casual encounters. There are plenty of bisexual men in the world.

You're right - but those guys are totally straight! You know that because they tell you so.
posted by Miko at 7:25 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


This video about bonobos (SFW) on TED.com discusses how sexuality in humans differs from our closest cultural relative. Susan Savage-Rumbaugh posits that at some point in human cultural evolution, we compartmentalized, and separated sex from the rest of our life to some extent. Biologically, there is no other reason for heterosexuality than to increase fitness by producing offspring. Some species like the Bonobo that haven't separated sex from their culture/society do not have taboos on homosexuality.

I think that the only reason that there isn't more fluidity in human sexuality is cultural taboos. There may be people with stronger preferences than others, but i think that this is partly because our culture/society isn't based on total sexual immersion.
posted by schyler523 at 7:28 PM on March 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


TheOnlyCoolTim, one of the surprising results of the study was that self-reported bisexual men responded physically to one sex or another.
posted by metalfilter at 7:35 PM on March 5, 2008


I do agree that another factor is the ubiquitous female SEX! that bombards us.
posted by schyler523 at 7:40 PM on March 5, 2008


Sometimes I love you guys. Only at Metafilter would one find someone with the screen-name ottereroticist seriously commenting on the vast spectrum of potential human sexuality.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:48 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice find, thanks for posting it. Rigid boxes, labels, and categories feel so woefully inadequate when it comes to understanding human behavior of any sort. I love the idea of gender, attraction, and "orientation" being viewed as fluid rather than static and baked-in; it's nice to hear there's research out there that could actually support this line of thought and help demonstrate it might have grounding in something other than pure ideology ...
posted by zeph at 7:48 PM on March 5, 2008


How can articles about female sexuality be so very dry?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:58 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


The naked woman is our culture's cue for "sex," whether you're a man or a woman; you're sold it a thousand times a day even as a child. I could easily imagine that there are a hell of a lot more bisexual or "sexually fluid" women than men because of that.

I don't think that's what's going on. Why would this be true:

While men respond sexual to only male or female erotica, all women respond to both male and female erotica.

If we all associate naked women with sex, and it's such a strong cultural influence that it's made all women respond to women, then why do some men not respond to women?
posted by Tehanu at 7:59 PM on March 5, 2008 [9 favorites]


And what does "pareidoliatic" mean?

Is it "somebody who uses 27 words when one will suffice"?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:00 PM on March 5, 2008


Rigid boxes, labels, and categories feel so woefully inadequate when it comes to understanding human behavior of any sort.

Well, it's a good thing then that there are only 2 kinds of people on this planet,
zeph. Otherwise, every religious construct, ever , would have to be inaccurate.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:01 PM on March 5, 2008


No, there are 10 kinds of people on the planet: those who understand binary & those who don't.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:06 PM on March 5, 2008


why do some men not respond to women?

I'd venture it's because men are allowed to be determinants of sexual content, while women are generally cast as recipients/targets of sexual content.
posted by Miko at 8:06 PM on March 5, 2008


Umm.. . What's your problem UbuRoivas?

We're having a conversation here. The sarcasm seems unwarranted. If you want to learn about something, why not try looking it up
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:08 PM on March 5, 2008


Otherwise, every religious construct, ever , would have to be inaccurate.

Hehe, oh, most definitely! We all know that couldn't possibly be the case, right?
posted by zeph at 8:09 PM on March 5, 2008


UbuRoivas asked
How can articles about female sexuality be so very dry?

Not enough lubrication.
posted by lukemeister at 8:10 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


hey, it doesn't mean "morbidly sensitive" either!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:11 PM on March 5, 2008


How can articles about female sexuality be so very dry?

Sorry we failed to arouse you. Allow us to fix our hair and come back tomorrow to try again. Meanwhile, enjoy this Kinsey report.
posted by Miko at 8:12 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


(don't mind me; not enough sleep & too much coffee)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:12 PM on March 5, 2008


Susan Savage-Rumbaugh

I read that first as Susan "Michael Savage"-"Rush Limbaugh" and momentarily panicked at the image that arose in my mind.

IMO the majority of humans are very likely bi-sexual and it's mostly circumstance that directs us one way or the other.

As evidence for this theory, your average man will screw a knothole if that's all that's available to him.

Perhaps "omnisexual" is more apropos...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:12 PM on March 5, 2008


I'm done here. It's too bad that some people insist on attacking others who only want to have casual conversations. Not sure what your fucking problem is UbuRoivas, but your comments are about the last straw for me.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:20 PM on March 5, 2008


Sorry about that.

I was indeed making light in this thread because we covered it extensively about a month ago - the fourth link, I think. Not that this makes it a double.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:31 PM on March 5, 2008


it seems this research actually flies in the face of the idea that 'all men and women find women sexy because popular culture tells them to'. Tehanu points out why up thread with men only responding to one or the other. as far as the argument that men get to dictate sexual contact, i for one will be glad when the feminist position stops being 'you feel that way because a man made you feel that way'.
posted by nadawi at 8:31 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I will be glad when a generation of girls has grown up without it being that way.
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


I once fell in love with a woman. When, after an agonizing two years of unrequited love, I confessed my feelings, she pointed out that she was a lesbian. But then fucked another man. Later she told me that sexuality was like a house with a bunch of rooms, and you could go from room to room.

Apparently I wasn't in the right room at the right time. Hey ho.
posted by unSane at 8:37 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


...by which I mean, honestly, we have no real way of knowing what women's sexuality looks like without the social structure that's been imposed on it for a long, long time. Unfortunately, we don't form sexual identities in a vacuum, and power to determine the sexual and gendered content of mass media (not contact) has been in the hands of those who control mass media for as long as there's been mass media, and for that amount of time, it's been overwhelmingly male.

I'm not saying women don't have agency. It just gets hard to dissect out any idea of "innate" women's sexuality or men's sexuality from the social contexts in which sexuality is constrained.
posted by Miko at 8:38 PM on March 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


It just gets hard to dissect out any idea of "innate" women's sexuality or men's sexuality from the social contexts in which sexuality is constrained.

how can you have sexuality (or much anything else for that matter) without social contexts? would people that live in more tribal or primitive circumstances that are largely untainted by modernity and "mass media" have a truer approach to innate sexuality?
posted by Hat Maui at 8:43 PM on March 5, 2008


how can you have sexuality (or much anything else for that matter) without social contexts?

You kind of can't, except the masturbatory kind.
posted by Miko at 8:46 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


i think you and i describe a 'long, long time' differently. the idea of mass media is a relatively new one.

i also find a logic hole in the idea that women find women sexy because of images we're shown, but that men can have the ability to not find women sexy - even though they have the same input into the system at that stage.
posted by nadawi at 8:50 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've always argues that it's easier for women to cross that line because it doesn't involve having things jammed in their ass.

But then, I'm a reductionist. And, I too, wonder what I'd do in a room with DB.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:53 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


the idea of mass media is a relatively new one.

Emmmm....mayyybe (in the remote transmission sense). But not patriarchal networks.

There's really no logic hole. If men can determine and create the sexual content that they (as individuals) seek, they will create gay sexualized imagery and straight sexualized imagery, which is pretty much the world we have. Where women are very rarely in the position of being producers and creators of porn, they will be relegated to the role of recipients of porn created and produced by men, for men's tastes. If they want any porn at all, they have to take porn created by men. (With some exceptions, but taking the world of porn as a whole, a really miniscule number).

I'd love a world in which many more women created sexual imagery that they liked a lot without regard to whether men would like it.
posted by Miko at 8:54 PM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've always thought that this kind of thing is impossible to study. Firstly, because it depends on participants identifying their own sexual gender as well as sexual preference. This is difficult because once you start drifting away from absolute Male or Female on that spectrum, I'm not sure if you can ever really nail it down at one point, let alone across years. Secondly, supposing that the participant can absolutely identify their own sexual gender and preference, then you have the problem of defining what sexual gender and preference they find attractive.

As in: Jody was born a biological female, but he identifies his gender as a male and expresses a sexual preference for females. Jesse was born a biological male, identifies her gender as a female and starts dating Jody. So... what?

Even the study kind of says it: Labeling sexuality is wack (not in those words). If anything, I suspect in the future the labels will just be treated as stereotypes.
posted by krippledkonscious at 8:55 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


it doesn't involve having things jammed in their ass

It doesn't?
posted by Miko at 8:55 PM on March 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


(Previously.)

(Also previously.)

(Yeah, it's a topic of interest to me ...)
posted by kyrademon at 9:01 PM on March 5, 2008



Emmmm....mayyybe (in the remote transmission sense). But not patriarchal networks


i can't even begin to parse what you mean by that.

and it was my impression that your argument wasn't about porn in specific but in mass media of all types - the gum commercials, the sneaker ads, the music videos-which is where my question comes from, if girls and boys plop down in front of the same type of media and girls come out of with a more fluid sexuality and men come out of it with a rigid sexuality, then how can you say the media is what caused the fluidity? how can we have purely homosexual men who don't respond physically to the feminine form if we're all taught to find women sexy?
posted by nadawi at 9:03 PM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


You kind of can't, except the masturbatory kind.

ok, so then what was your point again? it's difficult to do the thing that you can't do?
posted by Hat Maui at 9:11 PM on March 5, 2008


Yeah, I've always argues that it's easier for women to cross that line because it doesn't involve having things jammed in their ass.

You could just make out or something.
posted by device55 at 9:16 PM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


IMO the majority of humans are very likely bi-sexual and it's mostly circumstance that directs us one way or the other.

As evidence for this theory, your average man will screw a knothole if that's all that's available to him.

Perhaps "omnisexual" is more apropos...


I am very anal.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:19 PM on March 5, 2008


?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:23 PM on March 5, 2008


You could just make out or something.

Not homosexual enough to be bi. We discovered this at my high school lunch table, ribbing the bisexual emo kid. We accused him of fake-bisexuality and started asking for proof.

"You ever made out with a dude?"

"Yeah."

But upon further reflection, we decided this was not gay enough for proof.

"You ever duked a guy up the ass?"

"Nope."

"Ever had a guy duke you up the ass?"

"Nope."

"Told you, I don't think he's really bi. Just wants attention. Uhm, ever sucked a cock?"

"Yeah."

"What a homo!"

Thusly, cocksucking is sufficient for bisexuality, but not making out.

The difference between my high school lunch table and Metafilter is that we weren't seriously accusing him of faking it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:24 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it's just as reductionistic to say everyone is fluidly omnisexual as it is to force everyone into one of two (or three) labeled boxes.

Some people clearly do experience their sexual orientation as fixed for life and intrinsic to their identity, and it seems disrespectful and a waste of breath to try and tell them they're wrong about themselves.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:26 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ah. I see. So, is cocksucking a necessary condition as well as a sufficient condition?

Or would ass-duking be a sufficient condition as well?
posted by device55 at 9:31 PM on March 5, 2008


brilliant!
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 9:32 PM on March 5, 2008


Duking it up the ass (not ass-duking, no one said that at my high school) is also a sufficient condition, in my opinion.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:35 PM on March 5, 2008


Naw, funny thing that i see is that general consensus is very much for the idea of fluid sexuality, especially in the younger generation. I'm by no means "get-off-my-lawn" old, but the level of acceptance and tolerance displayed by high schoolers now is ABSURDLY greater than when I was in their grade, 5 or 10 years ago.

In my schools, even in early college, NO ONE was gay... then things kind of figured themselves out mid-twenty's (I am in an arts community where maybe 80% of my male friends are gay, and even in that extremely accepting culture there are many who are still closeted). Now kids identify as gay in their early teens?? How crazy is that?
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 9:44 PM on March 5, 2008


Tim's story ended a lot different than I hoped it would.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 10:05 PM on March 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


In that case, maybe these days "lesbian until graduation" means graduation from high school.

In which case, I say "Hey, you kids! Get on my lawn!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:06 PM on March 5, 2008


Can we just admit something that is like the biggest truth ever. Women are beautiful.

I mean, even girls who don't think they are pretty have like 200 guys who are into them and probably 100 girls.

I know there is a backpack full of baggage that comes with being as nice to look at as Yosemite or a beach full of butterflies, but even gay dudes appreciate feminine beauty.

I'm surprised the result of these papers isn't "100% of females wish they could date girls, but a lot don't, because they don't want to make their grandmothers cry".
posted by MrPants5000 at 10:08 PM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


Where did anyone say everyone, otterero?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 PM on March 5, 2008


I find these notions interesting but also incredibly obvious.

While there are some people who are pegged all the way to the straight or homo side, I would hazard that "most" people fall on a continuum in between.

This has always seemed obvious to me, and I always assumed, to everyone else.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:10 PM on March 5, 2008


I'm surprised the result of these papers isn't "100% of females wish they could date girls, but a lot don't, because they don't want to make their grandmothers cry".

Not sure about that one, Mr Pants. Basically, it's a paraphrase of the standard guy attitude of "if I was a girl, I'd be a lesbian for sure!"

This conveniently ignores the fact that we have been selected for reproduction, and even if you - as a guy - find girls to be awesome objects of your sexual desire, none of us wouldn't even exist today if women typically fancied other women, and not guys. Strange as it may seem, a lot of women really do like men, no matter how alien that concept may seem to a straight male.

And, y'know, appreciating beauty is not always the same thing as wanting to jump bones.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:27 PM on March 5, 2008


*would* even exist today.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:28 PM on March 5, 2008


So what's all this about sexual fluid, now?
posted by anazgnos at 10:46 PM on March 5, 2008


Oh, cum on; gratuitous puns are not called for in serious discussion.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:08 PM on March 5, 2008


Some people clearly do experience their sexual orientation as fixed for life and intrinsic to their identity

Personally, it isn't that it's so much intrinsic to my identity. I quite liked the idea of having sex with men, but the reality didn't quite cut it. They have whiskers where you expect smoothness, and angles where you expect curves. Now, for some people, this might be a delectable gourmet feast, but in my experience, it was more like finding out that somebody had pissed in the punchbowl.

So the claim that all cats are grey in the dark and one hole is much the same as another really isn't true for me -- despite the fact that it's never been an essential part of my identity.

It's a good job women's sexual identity is so fluid though, otherwise we'd never be able to persuade them to participate in the right sort of threesomes. (I keed, I keed!)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:06 AM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Gay or straight? Pick a side. We're at war!
posted by vsync at 12:08 AM on March 6, 2008


One of my friends has a theory about the fluidity of women's sexuality, and why women are more comfortable identifying as bisexual, and exploring that aspect of their sexuality, than men.

See, when we were growing up, we all had Barbie dolls. We dressed the Barbies, we undressed the Barbies, and eventually, Barbie was going to have to have sex with somebody. Now, for some reason, Ken dolls were always pretty thin on the ground, but there was always Skipper or another Barbie handy when it was time to bonk some plastic together.

Barbie being an influential role model and all, it makes sense. Still waiting for data on GI Joe, but the guys we surveyed were strangely mum on the subject.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:22 AM on March 6, 2008


We dressed the Barbies, we undressed the Barbies, and eventually, Barbie was going to have to have sex with somebody.

Lesbian friends tell me that there are many women who claim they are attracted to women and will happily engage in some degree of same-sex sexual activity, but they draw a line in the sand when it comes to actually eating pussy.

This may well support your Barbie doll thesis of bisexuality.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:47 AM on March 6, 2008


Alternatively, it might simply be the female equivalent of the masculine idea that it's not gay to John Wayne another Pilgrim, but if you're the Pilgrim getting Duked in the ass, you're a fully paid up member of the Friends of Judy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:50 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


'savage rumbaugh' sounds like a euphemism for sex.
posted by Flashman at 5:54 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I could posit that I too am an example of sexual ambiguity. I've always been attracted to girls, and have exclusively dated and interacted physically with girls. However, when I was 18, I went to a Morrisey concert, and according to an informal survey of a number of my friends, that makes me "totally gay".
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:35 AM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Later she told me that sexuality was like a house with a bunch of rooms

And I'm a Back Door Man.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:54 AM on March 6, 2008


This is similar to Baumeister's theory of female sexual plasticity:

Baumeister, R.F. (2000). Gender differences in erotic plasticity: The female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 347-374.

Men are more likely to have sexual paraphilias (i.e., fetishes) and to be "rigid" about retaining these predilections, even when subjected to extensive behavior modification (e.g., the low success rate of "curing" male pedophiles). Similarly, lesbians are more likely to have had heterosexual experiences, whereas gay men are much more likely to have never had any sexual experiences with a woman at all.

The explanation I heard, from someone who had been trained at the Kinsey Institute, is that it's due to differences in how boys and girls react to their own sexual arousal. When a young boy gets aroused by his environment, an erection provides him with an undeniable visual and physical signal that tells him that he's aroused. The erection provides him with physical evidence that allow his body to "tell him" what stimuli arouse him. Eventually, a sort of Pavlovian feedback loop develops where you get stimuli-->erection--->stimuli, which generally has the effect of rigidifying the boy's preferences (at least with respect to females).

By contrast, for a young girl, she has no obvious visible signal to tell her when she is aroused. Compared to boys, girls have to use their brain more than their body to figure out when or if they are aroused, because their bodies are not providing them the erection feedback loop that young boys get. For this reason, it's harder to set a women's erotic preferences in stone, as it is to do with men.
posted by jonp72 at 6:59 AM on March 6, 2008


Barbie being an influential role model and all, it makes sense. Still waiting for data on GI Joe, but the guys we surveyed were strangely mum on the subject.

Dead men tell no tales!
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:05 AM on March 6, 2008


One of the reasons I think woman-on-woman porn is so arousing for women is because we can imagine ourselves being either woman, the one giving or the one receiving (for lack of a better distinction), or (wrap your head around this one) both at the same time, which is an incredibly erotic fantasy. Why men don't react in the same way to male-on-male sex may be because it is, purely anatomically, more--what word can I use here? --intrusive? than either male/female or female/female.

Which still leads to the question of why self-identified bi-sexual men do not always respond to male/female sex, if in fact we are all conditioned to find women sexually attractive, and I have no easy answer for that.
posted by misha at 8:35 AM on March 6, 2008


Some people are bisexual because they believe it's the cool thing to do.

Of course, people will brand me an asshole for believing that, but given that I've dated almost exclusively bisexual women (not by specific choice, but by circumstance) evidence I've seen points this to be the case.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:43 AM on March 6, 2008


UbuRovias, if you don't restrain those gratuitous gynaecological puns, we will have to hire a pun-nanny.
posted by SevenPercentSolution at 8:47 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


By contrast, for a young girl, she has no obvious visible signal to tell her when she is aroused. Compared to boys, girls have to use their brain more than their body to figure out when or if they are aroused, because their bodies are not providing them the erection feedback loop that young boys get.

Boys have to actually see that they have a hardon before they know they are aroused? You're kidding, right?

As I remember, it was pretty easy to tell, as a teenager, if I was turned on. It involved feeling of the most, un, intense sort, in certain places. What more do you want? A telegram? Jesus.
posted by jokeefe at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


As I remember, it was pretty easy to tell, as a teenager, if I was turned on. It involved feeling of the most, un, intense sort, in certain places. What more do you want? A telegram? Jesus.

"See" and "visible" may be the wrong words to use here. But sure enough, you're describing the physical perceptibility of your own arousal. No need to keep tabs on your mental state — desires and inclinations and such — when you've got those intense feelings going on down in your, um, certain place.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:42 AM on March 6, 2008


I'd say that argument has merit: for many males, a state of arousal without a distinct physical reaction is often disconcerting and confusing, re: the first time a guy can't get it up when he's 'in the moment'.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:57 AM on March 6, 2008


a state of arousal without a distinct physical reaction is often disconcerting and confusing, re: the first time a guy can't get it up when he's 'in the moment'.

The opposite is disconcerting, too -- having an erection when you are completely, 100% not turned on. It's the source of a lot of comedy, but to experience it is pretty weird. As I head towards the Viagra twilight years of my sexuality I look back kind of fondly on those unwanted boners of yore, but at the time it wasn't much fun.
posted by Forktine at 10:27 AM on March 6, 2008


Boys have to actually see that they have a hardon before they know they are aroused? You're kidding, right?

As I remember, it was pretty easy to tell, as a teenager, if I was turned on. It involved feeling of the most, un, intense sort, in certain places. What more do you want? A telegram? Jesus.


This is more of a process that begins when boys are infants and toddlers, not just when they're teenagers. It's easier for a very very young boy to be "hard-wired" to be turned on by a specific stimulus than it is for a very very young girl, because there's no obvious sign of arousal that can be understood by an infant or toddler. If you don't believe me, there's a hilariously routine by Rosie O'Donnell about how she discovered the phenomenon of "baby boners" when she first adopted her infant son.
posted by jonp72 at 10:46 AM on March 6, 2008


the conversation is now firmly on male erectile tissue. meanwhile back at the ranch...
posted by de at 11:08 AM on March 6, 2008


Not to derail, or anything like that, but now that we've posted this academic's contact information on the web in the context of a discussion that veers (with equal vigor) from the humorous, to the snarky, and then to the downright earnest, well, um, hasn't anybody thought that she might get the bejeesus stalked out of her? Especially if (or is that when?) this post gets Digged? Or PopURL'd? Or . . . shudder the thought, BoingBoinged?

Poor, poor Dr. Diamond. Here's hoping that this post stays away from the eyes of the freaks who make the Internets such a wunnerful, wunnerful place.
posted by deejay jaydee at 11:24 AM on March 6, 2008


If you don't believe me, there's a hilariously routine by Rosie O'Donnell about how she discovered the phenomenon of "baby boners" when she first adopted her infant son.

I had a brief impulse to search around and see if this routine segment was online somewhere, until I realized that googling "Rosie O'Donnell baby boners" would probably put me on a government watchlist somewhere. So now, I'll have to wait til I'm at a friend's house to look it up.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:27 AM on March 6, 2008


If you don't believe me, there's a hilariously routine by Rosie O'Donnell about how she discovered the phenomenon of "baby boners" when she first adopted her infant son.

I have a song myself, albeit now grown. Trust me, I know all about it.
posted by jokeefe at 11:35 AM on March 6, 2008


Dang. I mean "son". Stupid reflex typing action...
posted by jokeefe at 11:35 AM on March 6, 2008


Can we just admit something that is like the biggest truth ever. Women are beautiful.
... even gay dudes appreciate feminine beauty.


Yeah, this is a bunch of bullshit. Ever seen Michaelangelo's David? Sure, women will be more often airbrushed and stuck on some magazine or billboard as some sort of ideal, but if you look at actual real live women alongside actual real live men, I can't see how you can come up with "women are just better looking!". There's beauty in there, sure, and handsomeness, ugliness, hair, pimples, cellulite, skin tags, laugh lines, corns and humanity just like there is in all of us.
posted by ODiV at 11:50 AM on March 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


if you don't restrain those gratuitous gynaecological puns, we will have to hire a pun-nanny.

oh, will this pun-nanny merely restrain me, or will i be subjected to more extreme pun-ishment?

maybe she'll pun me down & give me a good old double-entendring?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:09 PM on March 6, 2008


It's easier for a very very young boy to be "hard-wired" to be turned on by a specific stimulus than it is for a very very young girl

I realise you're just paraphrasing somebody else's argument, but that comes close to being one of the stupidest arguments I've ever heard. If that were the case, I'd be some sort of whacko fetishist who gets off on catching the bus to church.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:16 PM on March 6, 2008


"See" and "visible" may be the wrong words to use here. But sure enough, you're describing the physical perceptibility of your own arousal. No need to keep tabs on your mental state — desires and inclinations and such — when you've got those intense feelings going on down in your, um, certain place.

on the other hand, i remember having the most intense butterflies-in-stomach, head-in-the-clouds crushy feelings over a girl when i was five, which is probably almost indistinguishable from similar kinds of lovey emotions today.

the day we sat together on the bus to the chocolate factory (not joking!) was the happiest in my life up to that point. sadly, it didn't last long, because she decided she liked paul better. this was weird because we all knew he was gay (there was no word for a tomgirl) - he jumped rope & played hopscotch with all the girls at lunch, instead of handball & chasings & all the other real boy games...
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:26 PM on March 6, 2008


Lesbian friends tell me that there are many women who claim they are attracted to women and will happily engage in some degree of same-sex sexual activity, but they draw a line in the sand when it comes to actually eating pussy.

This may well support your Barbie doll thesis of bisexuality.


When I came out to my (female) best friend her first reaction was, "Really? Yeah I dated a chick in college, but couldn't get past making out. Any more than that freaked me out." Some women just like the intimacy, but when you get down to the nitty gritty, they just aren't turned on by sex with another woman.
posted by CwgrlUp at 5:22 PM on March 6, 2008


CwgrlUp: I remember a female friend of mine stating years ago that "Sex with a guy is like a solid, traditional family meal. You start with the entree, then there's the main course, and sweets afterwards. With a girl, though, it's more like going to a swanky cocktail party. You flit about, sip heady cocktails & snack on canapes, but there's no real structure or meat, no sense of direction or purpose or clear beginning or end".

This was received with much laughter & acclaim from the other girls in the room, who were almost all self-proclaimed bisexuals.

A suspect that women who were 'truly' into sex with other women would respond with "Yeah! That's what's so great about it!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:41 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas: I totally agree. I don't know many guys who would be satisfied with making out and heavy petting only. However, a large percentage of women (lesbians or no) feel like that's the best part of being intimate. But that makes it really easy to be one of those half-ass lesbians (apologies for the crass term) who only want to stick to that. (Even lesbians like happy endings!)
posted by CwgrlUp at 7:05 PM on March 6, 2008


If that were the case, I'd be some sort of whacko fetishist who gets off on catching the bus to church.

Stop it, you're turning me on.

...

Actually, I believe that specific circumstances can and do create our sexuality. Perhaps not gender preference or gender identification, but specific preferences.

I know I would likely not be a breast man if it wasn't for my friend's mom doing something (non-abusive, not terribly sexual) when I was 10.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:57 AM on March 7, 2008


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