Having Questions on Your Sexuality?

I knew something was wrong the minute I sat down across the table from Jenny. She hadn’t touched the onion rings in front of her. Her eyes were red, too.

What’s wrong?” I asked, almost afraid to know.

She shook her head.

Jenny?” I coaxed, feeling my heart rate kick up another notch or two, “Tell me. Nothing’s so bad we can’t talk about it.

She grabbed her glass of beer, took several gulps, and burst out, “I think I’m in love with a man.”

The tension flowed out of my muscles leaving me limp. “Jesus, Jen, you scared the life out of me for that? So what?

If I’m in love with a man,” she said, tears filling her eyes again, “then how can I be a lesbian?

In a world where sexual orientation can make the difference between Golden Boy and Fallen Preacher, between “May I hold the door, Miss?” and “Get out of here, you dyke,” those of us in the sexual minorities tend to cling very closely to our sexual orientations. Being lesbian or gay is our blessing and our curse, our security blanket and the glaring red target on our chests.

We live in a society that pressures boys and girls to declare a sexual orientation practically before they know what sex is.

Bisexuals are mocked as “cowardly gays” or shunned by both the gay and straight communities as people who can’t commit.

Most people acknowledge only two basic sexual orientations–gay and straight. But to borrow a quote from Shakespeare, “There are more things on heaven and earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Sexuality is only an either/or reality for a small percentage of people. For the rest of us, it is fluid.

Alfred Kinsey’s famous series of studies in the 1940s and 1950s which concluded that fully ten percent of the population had been or were currently involved in homosexual acts also reached a lesser known conclusion. Sexuality is not a two-category proposition. Rather, it lies on a continuum. At one end of the continuum are people who are completely straight, who couldn’t even begin to entertain thoughts of enjoying same sex relationships. At the other end of the continuum are people who are completely homosexual and couldn’t even begin to entertain thoughts of enjoying opposite sex relationships. Most of us lie somewhere along the continuum.

For instance, I identify as a lesbian. As an adult, all of my meaningful relationships, and not-so-meaningful but equally delightful affairs, have been with women. But if Johnny Depp were single, ready, and willing, I wouldn’t kick him out of my bed.

And although actor Rupert Everett has always identified as gay, his new autobiography, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, details several affairs with women, some of which lasted for years.

Gays have faced so much discrimination in this culture that we have, in a psychological sense, circled our wagons. People who cross over to the other side are seen as traitors. (One radical lesbian actually screamed at my friend Jenny that she had betrayed the women’s community.) Meanwhile straight people have historically shown little tolerance to those with same-sex sympathies, let alone those with same-sex inclinations.

As we move into the 21st century, however, it’s time to rethink our rigid views of sexuality. No woman or man should ever have to sit trembling in a restaurant, fearing their best friend will walk away from them due to the gender of the person they love.

And what happened to Jenny? She and her male suitor dated for several months and had a great time. It ended when he moved to England–Jenny realized she just wasn’t invested enough in the relationship to make such a big move with him. All of Jenny’s partners since that relationship have been female. But that doesn’t mean another Mr. Right (or Mr. Right Now) won’t come knocking at Jenny’s door. And if she lets him in, I’ll support her 100%.

Comments (5 comments)

i believe men who r mentally retarded should under go a vasectomy. they r not mentally capable to raise children and be married. my parent’s went and got me a vasectomy when i was only 20 year’s old because i’m mild mentally retarded and have a learning disability. my parent’s know i’m not capable of raising a family due to children get on my nerves real easy, i’m afraid i will use violence against children.

Danny Newell / July 27th, 2007, 7:19 am / #

yer but other people who have mental problems may not be violent. just cos u are dnt mean every1 with that problem is an angry person.
i feel sorry for you, in the fact you will never be able to have the love for your own child! but u can still be happy so its ok =]

jo / November 14th, 2007, 7:11 pm / #

well i understand that not all people with mental retardation are not violent, as i say some men with mental retardation should get sterilised if they are violent agaist children. there is no way they are able to take care of children. my family knows that i get real violent when i’m around children and they say it was best for my interest to get sterilised and i do back them up, i’m very happy i was sterilised.

Danny / October 2nd, 2008, 5:55 am / #

you need to understand that their are a lot of people with mental retardation who do get violent and it is possible that they could abuse children with violence, i have a friend who is the same way as me, he gets very angry around children like i do and it was best for him that he got a vasectomy also when he was 19 years old.

Danny / October 15th, 2008, 8:26 am / #

I feel lyk masturbating anytym am alone

Denis / November 29th, 2009, 4:55 am / #

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