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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Female versus Male sexuality: Can Males Be "Sexually Fluid" Too?

There's this myth that females are more sexually fluid than males, meaning that they are more likely to be bicurious and to experience a broad range of sexual desires. The truth is that because our social hierarchy puts heterosexuality at the top, but specifically heterosexually masculine men, women have nothing to lose because their heterosexuality is never questioned, and so this frees them to sexually experiment. On the flip side, having a homosexual experience for a man, who identifies as heterosexual, can have severe consequences because his heterosexual masculinity automatically goes into question.

The amount of times I've heard questions like "How can he be completely straight if he's made out with another guy? Oh my god, he must be gay, but he's just not out yet" makes me think that people are too narrow minded about sexuality. It's strange that if a man claims that he had sex with another man, that one-time experience can never be thought about casually, whereas if a woman were to do the same thing, no one would question: a) her femininity and b) her heterosexuality, but would either blame the alcohol or brush it off as her wanting to experiment. I'm not saying that everyone is that narrow minded or that every scenario will play out just as I've mentioned, but there is truth in the statement that it is much more difficult for heterosexual men to be accepted and not questioned for being bicurious, than it is for heterosexual women, as men indirectly and directly feel like they are jeopardizing their heterosexual identities and threatening their masculinity; there is a lot more at stake.

When it comes to sexual fluidity, men are put into more rigid categories of "either you're straight, or you're gay" and I don't think that that's a fair assessment. I believe that this type of categorization is problematic for both men and women because it continues to put heterosexual masculinity on a pedestal, since it becomes such a powerful part of a man's identity, which he is always on the verge of losing if he does not ascribe to stereotypical notions of what it means to be heterosexual and/or masculine.

Sculptures from Cancun's Underwater Museum
Alfred Kinsey, best known for his theories on sex, suggested that people have different degrees of heterosexuality versus homosexuality, known as The Kinsey Scale, and that most are likely to be somewhere in between. Although many of his studies went under question due to his methods of research, I tend to believe that there is some truth to his understanding of human sexuality. Even historically, people's understandings of these categories were quite different, suggesting that it is society which determines the boundaries of what is sexually acceptable and what is not. Take Socrates' time, for example. As displayed by many of his writings, love was not known to be between a man and a woman within a marriage, but between an older man and his much younger male disciple. Therefore, such a relationship certainly did not take away from a man's masculinity nor did it suggest that he was homosexual for he would probably also be married with children. On the contrary, it was expected, because philosophers such as Socrates believed that it was through such relationships that one learned the meaning of love.

What I mean to suggest is that our understanding of masculinity and heterosexuality is continuously changing according to society's norms, and so holding such words so close to one's identity can keep people from experiencing something that they may be interested in, but too ashamed to admit to. These are all my own thoughts on the subject, but who am I to say? I just feel like the relationship between men and women, among themselves, with each other, and to the society, would really change for the better if we all learned that sexuality can be fluid for everyone and that "masculinity" has nothing to do with a person's sexual orientation.