Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fluid Sexuality and Why Everyone Is Queer

The movie Kinsey (trailer here) came out in 2004 and was my first introduction to the idea that human sexuality may exist not as a binary (with bisexuals carefully balancing between the two extremes), but as a fluid spectrum.

Today, there are dozens of internet hacks creating ridiculous surveys to reveal your sexuality to you. The most simplistic I found, at the very top of Google, was by Dr. Epstein.

Doctor of what, I wonder. (Yes, that's mine!)

There were less than a dozen questions about dreams, waking fantasies and real life. Each question had a weight of exactly "1," and they were added up in the end. Because the only difference, for me, was the frequency of sexual activity (much more with Sonia than with a random male), I was bisexual leaning toward homosexual, but with a range that took up nearly the entire chart. 

More thought went into OKCupid's Sexuality Spectrum Quiz, but don't try to take it unless you have an OKCupid account, or you're willing to get one. The questions were more nuanced and reflected a more contemporary understanding of sex and sexuality, but you can't see your results without an account. One of the perks of having a live-in girlfriend is that I don't need one of those anymore. So go have fun, kids. 

Where you fall on the spectrum changes through time. For me, I guess that means that I'm somewhere in the 2-13 range on Dr. Epstein's chart at any given moment in time, which is the same as saying nothing at all.

When I was twelve or thirteen and had my first sexual encounters with my best friend (a girl), I didn't label myself. At some point subsequently, I called those encounters "experiments."

Through high school, college and my early twenties, I was mostly straight. I identified as straight, I sought the attention of men and enjoyed it when I got it. I had at least one phenomenal boyfriend that I grew uninterested in for no good reason, and one good fuck buddy who was too old for me and broke my heart. I enjoyed all of it, and made out with some women, too. 

When I was 26, I met my first girlfriend in the basement bar of a gay nightclub. She hit me like a ton of bricks. Even though I thought it may be a one night stand, I called my best friend Liz immediately afterward, excited and giddy, as though the world had just opened up. 

"Your life story is not your life. It's your story." Who said this? 

I repeat it now because I'm aware of something I could have also said about that one good fuck buddy, who is still a dear friend: "He hit me like a ton of bricks. Even though I thought it might be a one night stand, I called my best friend Liz immediately afterward, excited and giddy, as though the world had just opened up."

Yup. It still works. 

As a result, I called myself bisexual, queer and gay. Now I use "gay" to explain my living situation in shorthand (we're not roommates), but most of the time, I just say, "My partner is a woman," or "Sonia is my girlfriend." 

The Oregon Trail Generation, and the millennials that followed are understanding this fluidity more than any generation. I'm so grateful to have been born into this time. Growing up with the Internet, I was able to find, in each city I lived, work, community and lovers who fit the life I wanted for myself. We can curate our lives with more grace and communicate ideas whose time have come with more speed than ever before. 

On the ground, that means more people identifying as (and joyously reappropriating) queer than ever before. Not only do I not want to be put in your box, but I won't presume to create my own label. I know that I am a mutable and developing being who won't stop changing until I'm dead. 

So let me live how I please. 

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