June 20, 2012

The Fluidity of Male Sexual Desire {featured read}

The fluidity of female sexual desire is given increasing attention whereas male sexual desire is typically dismissed as either straight or gay. Gender studies professor, writer and blogger Hugo Schwyzer takes this to task in a recent post at The Good Men Project, rightly arguing that "We accept that women’s sexuality is remarkably fluid. That’s a good thing, as that recognition opens up a whole world of possibility. But the flip side is the continued insistence that male sexuality is static, simple, and comes in only two distinct flavors: gay or straight.

That thinking doesn’t just sell bisexual guys short. It reinforces the toxic myth that men can never have inner lives as rich, complex, and surprising as women so evidently do."

Sharing his own bisexual experiences, Hugo's post is a compelling read. I highly recommend it.

The Good Men Project: Mythbusting Bisexual Men

A few highlights:

One of the corollaries to this dismissiveness of the possibility of male bisexuality is what I call the “sexual one-drop rule.” The original one-drop rule, developed in the Jim Crow era, declared that anyone who had as much as a drop of “Negro blood” was to be considered “colored.” To be white, one had to be free from any African ancestry. The sexual version is similar: It declares that any man who has any sexual attraction to other men is gay. Women can have complex and fluid desires, but men live by a strict dichotomy. You either are or you aren’t, and if you’ve ever wanted to fuck a man (or acted on that want), then you’re gay. End of story. [...]

In more than a quarter-century of thinking, writing, and eventually teaching about male bisexuality, I’ve become convinced that the inability to accept the reality of bisexuality in men is linked to fears about fidelity. The myth that men are naturally promiscuous while women are naturally monogamous endures. So we assume that a bisexual woman can make a commitment to either a man or a woman, and that she’ll be able to stay faithful. But we already think straight men have a hard enough time remaining true—the expectation that a bisexual man will invariably cheat is high. [...]

I can speak from my own experience, which is that monogamy is no harder for bisexuals than it is for straight or gay folks. Even if you’re only sexually attracted to females, there’s no way your wife or girlfriend can possibly embody everything that draws you to women. [...]

Before making a lifetime commitment to someone, almost everyone—gay, straight, or bi—struggles with the realization that if everything works out as they hope, they’ll never have sex with anyone other than their partners for the rest of their lives. Lots of people find that terrifying. But that’s a general fear about the loss of possibility rather than a specific anxiety about not being able to sleep with a particular type. An engaged man might have some misgivings about fidelity, but he’s not thinking “Damn, my fiancée is a brunette. I’ll never fuck a natural blonde again.” [...]
Read the whole thing here.

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