Savage Love Letter of the Day: Reader Advice Round-up

Comments

1
Semi odd question regarding the last letter: I identify as straight and have never really been conflicted about it. I'm attracted to conventionally attractive women, but moreso to androgynous and/or apparently queer women who themselves may or may not identify as women (my attraction is definitely 'as' a woman, including females who actively identify as non-binary). By Ochs definition, does that "make" me bi? My instinct is that Ochs definition stretches a bit too far; although I'm not the world's straightest man, I'm no ones idea of sexual minority.
2
Where was the letter or podcast call where Dan tells a man he should apologize to a woman he just now realized he assaulted? I thought I was up on all my Savage media, but that doesn't ring a bell, and that sounds like one I want to hear/read...
3
If Dan suggested to apologize, I think I'm likely to disagree once I find it... Imagine asking her friends, do they think she'd like this apology? Probably more about you the apologizer, right? Pay it forward instead: make some other guy realize when he harasses someone.

Thanks for the update, "rounding 0.64" LW.
4
Tracy was sure adamant.
And Dan Savage as a God. I can see it. Maybe not as delicious as Thor, but close.
5
Hmm, am I bisexual if I'm only attracted to cis men and trans men, with a preference for bisexual men so we can have mmf threesomes? I think that makes me straight.
6
Replying to the second SHOTDOWN critic who said:
"See I've watched you express the opinion that regardless of gender or orientation, we all should at least try to work with our lovers' kinks and fetishes, unless it's something gross like furryism or scat play. And I agreed with you when you said that. So why does that not apply to SHOTDOWN? I'm not saying that his gf absolutely has to do things she totally isn't into, but would it kill her to just try some of his fetishes? Maybe indulge him one night a week, or on special occasions? It's all a part of being GGG, after all."

That's as may be, but that would be good advice for Ms SHOTDOWN, and Ms SHOTDOWN isn't the one who wrote in. SHOTDOWN has tried to get his girlfriend to be more GGG, and she refuses. What more can he do? Say, "Dan Savage says you need to suck my cock/try doggy style?" No. Making his girlfriend be more GGG is not a course of action that is possible for SHOTDOWN to undertake on his own. His only options are "Take It" or "Leave It," as Dan said.

Sportlandia @1: If you're not attracted to anyone who projects as male or has a male body, then I would say you are straight. (I would hate to think that a guy would lose his hetero card by fancying me, though I'm sure there are straight-policing dudes out there who would disagree.)

Elmsyrup @5: I think you are straight too. Perhaps you're a gay man in a woman's body. Do you want to have sex with women or people who project as women, yes/no.

Final LW: I wouldn't call you bi-curious; up until the threesome you were bi-curious, but now your curiosity has been satisfied. Bisexual and heteroromantic? And it's your choice to come out to whoever you want to, or don't want to. Just don't engage in any bi-negativity and we'll welcome you into the not-entirely-straight club. :)
7
Sportlandia @1: You make a good point about non-binary people. You are experiencing them as female, yes? Their bodies are female even if their identities are not. One issue I've been considering is whether adopting a "non-binary" label will put off straight men. My straight partner refers to me as a woman, which I hate, but if he didn't think of me as a "woman" he wouldn't want me, right? Food for thought.
8
I don't think one should go through a whole coming out process if you're not already hiding anything about your relationships - your social life. Nobody needs to know about your sex life.
9
Sportlandia @1 and BDF @7 - My spouse and I were both non-binary long before that expression became a thing, although we still prefer to say we are striving for the androgenous ideal. Both of us are straight-ish (in the purely mechanical sense, i.e. we are primarily attracted to people with body parts dissimilar to our own assigned-at-birth parts), and most of the outside world probably perceives us as a straight married couple, although the gender/preference lines occasionally get blurry when neither partner strongly self-identifies as either man or woman. BDF @7, if I were in your shoes, I'd definitely adopt the non-binary label if that's what you know yourself to be. That way, the straight men you attract in the future will be those for whom your preferred gender identity is a non-issue. (It's one more useful filter for online dating.)

However, if you have a current straight male partner who is an excellent match in most other ways, and you don't want to upset a pretty damn good applecart, I can understand your hesitation in making any abrupt changes. Have you talked at all to your straight partner about what he sees as the difference between dating a "woman" vs. a "non-binary" or "genderqueer" individual? If he says he'd be very uncomfortable with your new label, then your choice is to either smile and grit your teeth whenever he calls you a "woman," or leave the relationship. But if he says he loves you regardless of your label, just tell him you'd prefer that he downplay your birth gender in all conversations moving forward, and remind him about it (gently, and in private) when he forgets.

Also, pay attention during your conversation with him to whether he is uneasy with your proposed new label simply because it is new (change is difficult for all of us, and for some much more than others), or whether he really does have a deep-seated aversion to sleeping with someone who does not self-identify, and would prefer that he not identify, as a woman. That will give you your answer on whether and how to move forward.
10
@7 If someone presents as female, I'll generally consider them female. I'm not here to tell anyone what they are or aren't, but you know, I'm not exactly of the belief that identity labels are personal property to begin with. They define how the outside world relates to you, not the other way around - it's everyone else's property [needless to say, I generally find American culture to have gone way too individualistic - I barely believe we have any rights at all]

As far as identifying as non-binary, the number of straight men it will turn off is more than zero. At this point in my life, I wouldn't spend my time on a relationship with a person who didn't want to identify the way I identified them. If I see you as a woman - and I want to be in a relationship with a woman; not someone who doesn't want to be seen that way. I think that has more to do with healthy adult ego than anything about sexual politics - I want someone who likes what I'm cooking and vice-versa. Round pegs and square holes is a puzzle I was happy to try to solve in my twenties... a lot of folks did.
11
I have no idea what being non binary feels like.
I like being a woman and been called one. The label doesn't contain me. The biology did that: monthly bleeding, pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing.
12
*being called one.
13
Cap/Sportlandia: Thanks for your perspectives.

Cap: This partner is autistic, so I grant him a bit more leeway in preferring to see the world in black and white. He is trans positive, but finds the concept of non-binary genders confusing. I've told him I'm not comfortable with the word "woman," and he doesn't use it often. If I were non-binary enough to want to start using the "they" pronoun and he refused, there would be issues. But I've identified as "sex = female, gender = androgynous" for so long, I'm comfortable with rounding my 0.64 female up to a "she" pronoun, as Dan might say. I prefer to be viewed as a person. So long as people don't behave in a sexist manner towards me, then I grant Sportlandia's point, the way they see me in their heads isn't necessarily a conversation I want to have with every individual I encounter.

On the other hand, I completely disagree that it's how *other people* see someone that defines their identity. Could not possibly disagree more with that concept. Surely asserting a right to override someone else's identifying label is "individualistic" in the extreme -- not to mention controlling? ("I'm non-binary." "No you're not, you're a woman." "Okay, I'll be whatever you want me to be." Shudder!)

As far as dating, my OKC profile lists a few gender labels, unfortunately including "cis woman" ("cis female" is accurate but not an option), and is currently invisible to straight people. I take Cap's point about weeding out the people one should weed out, as anyone who insists on a gender-binary view of the world is probably not compatible. I guess my tastes are so specific as it is, and my sex drive so high, and straight men probably make up about 85% of a bi female's dating pool, that I hesitate to exclude so many potential fuck buddies. On the other hand, the last two straight men I pulled, one is also genderqueer, and the other I met while wearing a suit. So perhaps I am indeed excluding only the straight men I want to exclude.
14
BDF @13 - You and I are more alike than different in our philosophy. I only insist on "they" pronouns in the SL Commentariat to maintain ambiguity, since I have observed that most people are culturally conditioned to view a post from a woman differently than if a man had the identical opinion, and I prefer to escape all of those pre-conceived notions. In real life, I dress androgynously (my spouse and I are fortunate to share the same size in many clothing items, so we share an interchangeable wardrobe of mostly "Chris and Pat" clothes), and I must admit that I take considerable pleasure in watching strangers try to figure me out. But I'm not the type to walk around wearing an "Ask Me About Androgyny" button. Other than family and close friends (and the anonymous-yet-intimate SL universe), I let people assume whatever they like - my private life is none of their business.

I completely agree with you in challenging Sportlandia's comment that your self-identity is defined by others. They are allowed to ASSUME you are whatever they want you to be, but it does not follow logically that you are limited to being what others think of you. I'm glad he wrote, though, as it clarifies his question @1 about whether he can realistically self-define as "straight" even though he's most strongly attracted to androgynous-looking women and genderqueer individuals. (Like you, BDF!)

Good luck on the dating front, and I hope you continue to meet straight men AND lesbians who are totally cool with your non-binary identity!
15
Thanks! I have a date Monday with a bi poly woman I met, (one of) whose partners is non-binary. I think the "bi and poly" bits are more likely to put off lesbians! (I prefer dating other bi's for a host of reasons, "they like both my genders" among them.)
16
@13 I actually see the "controlling" aspect of it the other way around. If Dan were to suddenly identify as a they/it and insisted that other people affirm that and is upset when people didn't - he's exerting a social pressure onto others: You must treat me like this, perceive me as that, in order to be an upright citizen. It's manipulative and coercive, not unlike people who *insist* on being addressed as "Dr" when they have a PhD, for example. I think it's no coincidence that most non-binary people (small sample size alert) I've met are also charismatic and outgoing - controlling people are always charismatic.
17
Sportlandia @16, I will offer you an observation and a challenge. You say that your small-sample survey (therefore scientifically suspect, for any statistics-challenged readers) indicates that the non-binary people in your circle tend to be charismatic and outgoing. That combination of personality traits is also typical of controlling people in your circle, therefore you posit that non-binary people are de facto controlling people. But could it be that androgynes have simply relinquished the struggle to define themselves according to society's strict rules about gender norms, and therefore no longer have the need to be the opposite of charismatic and outgoing -- i.e. they are freed of the need to be remote and introspective, examining every word they say to avoid revealing truths that run counter to what others expect from them, given their birth gender identities?
18
Sportlandia @16: "Others" is one thing; "one's partner" is a different thing. I think people can reasonably expect a higher level of respect from their own partners than from the world at large.

I don't think people who want to control their own identity are "controlling." That word refers to people who want to control others.

Calling someone what they want to be called, whether that's Dr Jones or "they" or Christopher instead of Chris, is a sign of respect. It's sad that showing ordinary respect for others has gone so out of fashion. Why is "snowflake" an insult? Why is "political correctness" a negative concept? Why is it so hard to just treat people with the baseline level of respect involved in using words they prefer? They're just words. They cost you nothing.

Sure, if you've known someone as "he" for years and they then ask to be called "they," it's difficult to adapt, and they should cut you some slack if you get it wrong. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

It takes bravery to come out as non-cisgendered. Perhaps the correlation you've observed is between courage and charisma, not control and charisma.

Perhaps you should stop making other people's pronouns about you.
19
(That last sentence came out a bit more belligerently than I intended, but the point stands. If I decide I am no longer comfortable being called "she," that's nothing to do with you or anyone else. It's the same as my deciding I like my hair being purple. That's nothing to do with anyone else either, it's my choice, my self-determination. If I started calling you "she" all of a sudden, you probably wouldn't be too happy about it. In fact, I think I am going to start calling you "she" just as an experiment, so you can see the non-cis-privileged side of things. OK with you?)
20
@19 err well no? If you're hair is purple, it's purple - it's no impact on me in any scenario. Imagine if you dyed your hair purple but insisted we say you had green hair in order to show baseline respect - that's a control exercise (gaslighting I guess but this metaphor doesn't quite work in a gender identity scenario), because your hair sure would be presenting as purple.

Anyhow, "Show me respect by doing (x)" is a little different. But more importantly, I think you're improperly conflating self-determination and your public identity. Identities only exist (as I mentioned above) to create a template for the outside world to interact with you, not how you interact with yourself or how you interact with the outside world. Of course you can identify however you like; what I view as controlling is when (royal) you insists, "no, because of my self identity, you must use these words to address me or refer to me", I.e., we must perform your dance. This is unrelated to your internal self identity. If I refer to you as miss/ms/she/etc that's never going to (and shouldn't) change your internal identity.

I think we're talking about slightly different things. People should accept, IMO, that they're identity is essentially a consensus decision, and not theirs to assert. For example, I'm mixed. I personally consider myself ("identify as") only mixed, neither black nor white, but some people see me as white, some consider me black. That's their perception about me and I don't feel it's my place to correct them - after all, they'll treat me how they perceive me regardless.

Also, my queerer friends call me "girl" all the time (I assume it's a token of endearment), so you're probably not gonna tweak me with that one, hah. I'm much more uppity if you insult my decidedly non-bougie tastes.
21
Sportlandia: So if we met in person, and you introduced yourself as Scott, and I said "actually you look more like a Dave to me, I'm going to call you Dave," and persisted with calling you Dave even though that is not your name (ie identity), that wouldn't bother you?

You might answer no, but I can tell you, it would bother the vast majority of people.

"That wouldn't bother me" shouldn't be your yardstick for interacting with other people. If there is one thing any observation of human nature should demonstrate, it is that people are different. Just as an example from the weekly thread, some commenters are saying they wouldn't be bothered by a partner waking them up for sex. This does not mean it's okay to override someone's stated desire to not be woken up for sex. One non-binary person might not mind whether you call them "she" or "they"; another might mind very much. It's not up to you to determine what bothers somebody else.

It really is all about "show me respect by honouring my preferences." If someone has said that X bothers them, and you continue to do X, knowing that it bothers them, but viewing your own convenience as more important than their being bothered, then the royal you is being an asshole. It's that simple. People who reject the pronouns "he" and "she" have strong negative associations with those pronouns. It's not just a whim. It's important to them. And saying "well this is important to you, but I'm lazy so I don't care" is a dick move. It's not "performing a dance." It's not being a dick.
22
Interesting. I do see a bit more what you mean Capri. I feel I'm an andogeous person in ways, have developed over the years many culturally defined masculine traits. Then I look around and see many Australian women are similar.
Sportlandia, how people self identify in terms of their gender is a pretty core part of their identity. By you disrespecting their choice of pronoun, that is a big invalidation.
I changed from my birth name to a Buddhist name thirty odd years ago, yet my mother insists still on calling me by my birth name. This has felt very rude to me over the years and it has restricted my intimacy with her. And denied me my right to self identify in a unified way to the world. And it's jarring when she calls me that old name.
Respect. And while I'm at it. #resist.
23
Sportlandia, if a young biological man says to you to please call them they, that is not them denying their biological body, rather it's the cultural expectations which are being challenged. And they are mutable, always changing.
By respecting those feeling the need to throw the whole shebang off, you are part of loosening straight jacket roles defined by whom?
And it's showing trust. That this young person, who asks you to call them they, is in charge of themselves.
24
I get the sense that the last letter's author does not want to be considered bisexual--not out of biphobia, but simply because she doesn't see herself as bisexual. We recognize that someone can be bisexual and not have sexual/romantic experiences with more than one gender (for example, a bisexual woman only dating men but knowing she has the capacity to enjoy dating/fucking women and/or non-binary people as well). Why should someone who had sex with someone of the same gender, especially in a threesome situation, be required to identify as bi?

Some people go through phases (bi phases, straight phases, even gay phases!), but we don't require them to identify as bi just because they, at one point, slept with someone who identified as a different gender than the one that the phase-having person ends up settling upon (this assumes that the phase-having person is monosexual). The letter writer may be going through a straight phase and eventually realize that she does identify as bi. If that happens, I will gladly welcome her into the fold (I identify as pansexual, but often I say bi because many people don't understand that gender isn't binary). However, I get the sense that having sex with women is a kink to her, especially since she said that she imagines having sex with women only in a threesome situation. And that's fine. Just treat your guests with respect and honesty.

As I said, if she does eventually decide that the label fits her best, welcome, it's awesome here. But if she doesn't actually feel comfortable using that label, no need to force it upon her. And lastly: there is no requirement to come out. Sometimes coming out is more of a burden than a freeing experience. I encourage the letter writer to do whatever feels best for her.
25
Pints @24 - I think you are recapitulating what BDF @6 said (page down to the end for it). LW3 was definitely bi-curious before her first FMF/FFM experience, now she possibly falls in the bisexual-but-heteroromantic category (bordering on straight-ish) since she would only want a repeat performance in another threesome including her man, but she's free to pick whatever label feels most real and most comfortable for her at this point in time. Obviously she can always switch out her current label for a new and more accurate label as she gains more sexual experience, confidence, and knowledge.
26
In other words, one or two same-sex experiences do not "turn" a heterosexual person bisexual or gay. It just means you're curious, horny, and open to whatever the universe has to offer you. The only membership card you lose is that Kinsey zero.
27
@21 I'd assume you were trying to insult me, most likely, and that you were doing it for the purpose of insulting me. If someone said, "You look like [an extremely young, good looking version of] Malcolm Gladwell" (true) and decided to nickname me Malcolm; well, that's how it goes. It'd be a better nickname than most. I have a unique real name, people screw up my name on a daily basis, and most people call me all types of nicknames/short names including several that I don't especially like. Although I use my full real name exclusively, I can count on one hand the number of people that use it (and it's not a name with sounds that Americans can't pronounce). It's not my place to force others to do things the way I want them. The world owes us nothing. Yes, there is a version of this metaphor that would annoy me, you've somewhat inadvertently stumbled on two examples that I already experience on a consistent basis. But thinking about it, it only reinforces how flimsy these identity constructs are. The only one I really subscribe to is "me" and I wish more people saw it that way.

You also perfectly demonstrated what I meant earlier by exerting social pressure: If i don't do what you want, I'm a bad person ("a dick"). I suspect we'll never agree since we have fundamentally different ideas about what identities are. I'm aware I have a minority opinion, but that doesn't mean I'm incorrect.

28
@21 as a followup: Rachel Dolezal. Where does her right to self identify end and our 'right' to call a spade a spade begin? Race is even more a social construct than gender is.
29
Sportlandia @27: "@21 I'd assume you were trying to insult me, most likely, and that you were doing it for the purpose of insulting me."

EXACTLY.
If someone tells you that they are neither male nor female and you insist on addressing them as if they are, you are insulting them.

If you insult someone, you are a dick. This is not "social pressure," it is opinion -- oh my, is my opinion not as valid as yours?

You are entitled to have your minority opinion. I'm glad you recognise it is a minority opinion, and that most people you encounter will in fact think you're a dick if you believe third parties can override a person's self-selected gender identity. Turning your approach on its head, you are free to view a person however you like, but when you interact with them, you should address them the way they would like to be addressed. Calling someone "ma'am" while inwardly thinking of them as a man in a dress does not harm them in any way. Calling them "sir" because you see them differently than they have identified themselves is insulting.

As a white privileged person, I refrain from expressing an opinion on Rachel Dolezal. My race is not the one she is appropriating. Just as cis people should listen and follow on matters important to non-binary/trans people, I will follow the lead of people of colour on this particular matter.
30
Capricornius @26: I disagree that one or two same-sex experiences invalidate a Kinsey Zero. A person might be bi-curious, have an experience or two in order to investigate, but realise it actually isn't for them and they are, in fact, straight after all. See Dan Savage. I won't revoke his gay card for his early experimentation with women. (Thanks for the vote of confidence; I believe the non-regular commenters may not read the threads before adding their own thoughts.)
31
BiDanFan and Capricornius, thanks for an interesting conversation. I think I might be developing internet crushes on you!
32
Following on from @29 re "minority" opinions:
I also hold some unpopular opinions. For instance, I feel it is selfish and irresponsible to bring children into this fucked-up world. I generally keep this opinion in my head because it's not only unpopular, but offensive to anyone who has or wants children. Instead of voicing it when someone announces a pregnancy, I say "congratulations," and when they bring their kids I do my best to muster up an "isn't he cute." This is not them "controlling" me or "making me do a dance." It may be "social pressure," but I prefer to think of it as "politeness" and "respect for people who think differently from myself."
Would you agree that if I told a couple with a new baby that they were being selfish and irresponsible, that would make me a dick?
Do you see that sometimes accepting "social pressure" to show people respect even if your personal view may be different is the lesser of two evils?
I see no difference between offering up a polite "isn't he cute" to a baby I do not find cute and calling someone "they" when, to your eyes, they look like a "she." They're just words; they cost me nothing; and they prevent me from (a) ruining someone's day, (b) ruining a friendship; and/or (c) looking like an asshole, all of which make a few insincere words worthwhile. In my opinion.
33
Dear 'I-like-threesomes-but-don't-feel-bi' lady: just cal yourself queer. It's why we have that word.
34
BDF @30 - Maybe I'm misinterpreting what Kinsey zero means. I THINK it refers to someone who desires and enjoys heterosexual contact, but has absolutely no desire for a same-sex encounter - in fact, feels revulsion at the very idea. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Kinsey 7 folks desire and enjoy same-sex experiences, but get totally squicked out by the idea of heterosexual contact. I've known such people on both ends of the spectrum, they do exist! Of course, most of us fall somewhere between these two extremes, with some level of desire and willingness to explore the "other side." Since LW was initially bi-curious, had a wonderful first-time same-sex experience, and now looks forward to many more as long as they are arranged as FMF/FFM threesomes, she can no longer define herself as Kinsey zero. Per my definition, anyway. YMMV.

And yes, I consider Dan to be a Kinsey 6, not 7. He is still very much a gay man at Kinsey 6, no need to revoke his gay card - in fact, his youthful heterosexual experiences helped to confirm what he already knew about himself. But a true Kinsey 7 would never have been able to perform with a woman, whereas Dan managed it.

ST @31 - Aww, thanks! I'm flattered. Feel free to crush away!
35
Capricornius @34: Oh, I'm not denying that this particular LW loses her Kinsey Zero card. I agree that she does, because she liked the experience and wants to repeat it. I was interpreting your comment as applying, generally, to anyone who has a curiosity-driven same-sex experience, whether they ended up deciding it was or wasn't their bag, baby. I was reading your "you" @26 as a general "you," not a "you, LW."

If this LW decides that it was fun to find out, but beyond wanting to have an adventure, her sexual and romantic attractions over the next few decades turn out to be exclusively for men, I think she can round herself believably up to straight too.
36
Kinsey 6 is the maximum.
And, um, you're starting to sound a bit like Hunter and the other "a guy can't sleep with a trans woman and still be straight" commenters from a few weeks back. Erections happen sometimes without a man even being turned on. Erections can happen in one's sleep or with physical stimulation that is not aligned with what's going on in the guy's mind. How do you think it is possible for men to be victims of rape? Dan said that he fantasised about guys when he was having his early teenage sexual experiences with women. I think a teenage boy's anatomy would be entirely capable of overcoming his preferences, with fantasy and stimulation, and allow a 100% gay man to "perform" (the word is very apt in this context) with a woman he did not find sexually attractive.
37
BDF @35 - I think the whole point of the scale is that folks at Kinsey 1, 2, and 3 all round up (shouldn't we say round down...?) to straight. By definition, if a straight person can desire and/or execute a same-sex experience, they are no longer a Kinsey 0; likewise a gay person with heterosexual desire or experience is no longer a Kinsey 7. But most of us still have a clear preference for Team Hetero or Team Homo, no matter how much we time we spend playing in the opposite sandbox. Only a Kinsey 4 is equally attracted to having same-sex and opposite-sex encounters.
38
BDF @36, our posts crossed. You're absolutely right, I had the scale values mixed up in my mind - I should have said Kinsey 6 for the extreme homosexual end of the scale, and that I would put Dan at 5. Likewise, in my post @37, it's Kinsey 3 that's the bisexual point on the scale, not Kinsey 4, so only Kinsey 1 and 2 would round down to straight. Sorry for muddling that up so badly.

Of course a guy can sleep with a trans woman, including one who has not had bottom surgery, and still be straight. And rape experiences have nothing to do with one's sexuality, so I really don't understand why you are bringing that into the discussion. I think our disagreement comes from you assuming that anything other than Kinsey 0 or *6* (thank you) implies that they should no longer classified as straight or gay. But the whole point of the scale is that it's a spectrum.

Perhaps I wouldn't be so insistent on this if I didn't know people who are Kinsey 0 and Kinsey 6. A true Kinsey 6 man (even as a super-horny teenager) would never even try to have sex with a woman, because the idea would nauseate him. Some K6 guys I know are outright misogynists.
39
Capricornius @37: I think that we don't have the same understanding of the Kinsey scale at all.

Kinsey 0 is straight, no same-sex attraction whatsoever. Kinsey 6 is gay, no opposite-sex attraction whatsoever. I think we agree there.

Kinsey 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are not straight, nor are they gay.

Kinsey 1 might be considered heteroflexible, and Kinsey 5 homoflexible. They might choose to "round themselves up" (or down) to their closest monosexuality, but this would be denying a part of themselves. Which is their prerogative, if it's not telling the entire truth. The entire truth is, after all, only their and potentially their partners' business. If this minority attraction is something they don't choose to act on, I imagine many consider it irrelevant to their identity.

Kinsey 2 and 4 have some non-insignificant same-sex/opposite-sex desires in addition to their primary attractions. If Kinsey 2's and 4's claimed to be anything but bisexual, they wouldn't be being honest with themselves or others. A Kinsey 2 might be bisexual and heteroromantic, or she might just have a slight preference for men, all other factors being equal. But she is not straight and really shouldn't claim to be.

A Kinsey 3 is the ideal 50/50 bisexual. I use the word "ideal" as synonymous with "nonexistent." Even those who truly have no gender limitations on their attraction will skew towards one gender or the other in terms of experience. Their preferences also may vary over time and other factors.

I can easily imagine a Kinsey 6, living in a generation or red state where being gay was not socially acceptable, attempting to have opposite-sex sex in denial of his true feelings, in order to be "normal," but discovering through the experience that women are definitely not what he's into. He would indeed be put off, hence fantasising about men in order to get through it. People have sex with people they are not sexually attracted to in a number of different contexts -- sex work comes to mind. So the fact that Dan fucked women a couple of times does not "prove" that on some level he is attracted to women and therefore not completely gay.

I brought rape in because you implied that a gay man would not be physically able to have sex with a woman. The fact that men can get erections and be forced to have sex against their will disproves this. In other words, the male body does not have ways to shut that whole thing down. Erections are not, by themselves, definitive proof of desire.
40
BDF @39 - Yeah, we're just going to have to agree to disagree here. Our interpretations of the same scale are obviously very different, and no doubt are influenced by our own personal experiences and perceptions. Miles' Law - Where you stand depends on where you sit, right? I say everyone is straight or straight-ish, gay or gay-ish, except for bisexuals; you say everyone is bisexual-ish, except for the Kinsey zeroes and sixes. We're both right, just from different points of view.

You and I absolutely agree that erections are not definitive proof of desire. But a gay man being raped is not equivalent to a gay man having intentional sex, and if you think otherwise, you really need to learn more about male rape...if you dare to go there, it's not pretty. Fear and anger can also trigger erections.
41
@29 "EXACTLY"

In your case, your partner isn't trying to insult you, yet you still find it upsetting/annoying however. Why? He's (apparently) describing his world to you as he perceives it. I don't know how you present but my intuition is that you essentially live (dress / sound / participate) as a woman despite a conflicting internal identity, and any stranger on the street would perceive you as a woman. I don't get why that's harmful.
Nothing your partner/some internet rando/stranger on the street can do or say or feel can change your own internal identity and therefore invalidate/erase you.

As a minority, I grant you a free pass to opine on dolezal. Have at it. (Fwiw, I think more white people should volunteer to be black and work for NAACP for pennies per hour in mostly white communities, it's the Lord's work)
42
Sportlandia @41 I love your perspective on Dolezal. I'm a bit torn about her. I don't think that a person born white, as Dolezal and I were, gets to appropriate black identity and complain about oppression/mistreatmen of black people, which is a real thing that people born black (and mixed race that includes almost any African descent) have to contend with all their lives.

On the other hand, you're right, she was doing her best to help black people reduce the racism they suffer, so how can that be a bad thing?

At the end of the day, I guess she should have been honest with her coworkers at the NAACP and admitted her biological/birth race and let them choose if they wanted someone with her background to be a local leader of the NAACP. They probably would have said "no," but wouldn't it have been interesting if they'd said "yes"?
43
Sportlandia, @41 and various posts above, I'm confused here: which (mix or version of) these are you claiming?

1) correct pronoun use reflects a biological truth independent of anyone's opinion
2) correct pronouns are a matter of social consensus, not how the person themselves identifies
3) race is a fiction with no factual basis, gender is not
4) current English pronoun use matches biologically fixed facts about gender
5) race and gender are both fictions, in the same way if not to the same extent
6) something else altogether

Or maybe it's just that it's Monday and this already feels like it's been a long week, for reasons not to do with Savage Love

44
Capricornius @40: I guess I've encountered the attitude "well if you're not exactly fifty-fifty, then you're basically just gay/straight" far too many times. It's erasure of the bi identity. That's why I would consider Kinsey 2s and 4s as essentially bi.

I guess I picked a bad example; if I'd read a friend's Facebook post sooner, I might have offered the example of a man getting an erection as a result of using a rowing machine. My point, which I hope you managed to take away, was that it's not true that a man could never have sex he didn't want to have because he just wouldn't get hard.

Sportlandia @41: I don't see how literally telling someone "I have a better idea of your gender than you do" can be construed as anything but an insult.

I'm not talking about myself. I am not unhappy with the pronoun "she." Using the Kinsey concepts, I round up to female. I am talking about people who literally identify as non-binary, genderqueer, agender, pick your term, and prefer the pronoun "they," and you persist in addressing them using the pronoun that corresponds to their biological sex instead.

My partner does not go around shouting "Woman! Woman! Woman!" in my face a la Animal from the Muppets. Honestly, of all the things he does to annoy me, using a gendered word I'm not comfortable with is well down the list :P
45
@41 Sportlandia "describing his world to you as he perceives it" would also cover what someone does who calls Obama a secret Moslem communist, no?

@44 BDF I guess more up to date gender terms don't lend themselves to Animal style chanting too well. "Non-binary! Non-binary! Non-binary!"?
46
...BDF @44 I will try once more to explain why a Kinsey 6 (or zero) would be unable to go outside their own preference zone, short of RAPE which I will repeat has nothing to do with anyone's sexual preference. You assumed I was saying that a man couldn't get an erection minus any desire, and have now provided multiple examples of how that's not true - although I already agreed with you the first time! But that is NOT AT ALL what I said, or meant. Let me rephrase: neither women nor men at the extreme ends of the scale can "perform" (i.e., have a sexual relationship of any kind) with anyone outside their exclusive gender preference. I'm sure that loaded word "perform" was what led you down the male-rape rabbit hole in the first place, so I'm sorry I used that term.

It is not about the mechanical difficulties. It's about the overwhelming squick factor.

Do you think you'd be capable of fucking a sheep or a dog? THAT's what I was thinking about when I said "unable to perform." People on the extreme ends of the scale experience a visceral feeling of disgust just thinking about the "wrong" (for them) type of sex, roughly equivalent to how they would feel about engaging in bestiality. Thus they actively avoid getting close enough to anyone outside their exclusive preference zone to ever have sex with them. Note that such people may be quite progressive in terms of social values, and perfectly accepting of those who have different tastes than their own. Just don't make them ever have to go there.

As I said @40, we clearly have different and subjective takes on how to interpret an objectively described scale. For what it's worth, I do appreciate that you have serious concerns about bisexual erasure, and that's why you'd prefer to round the interior scale points toward the center instead of out toward the ends. But having known several true zeroes and sixes, I think most of the self-identified "straight" and "gay" people in modern, secular society are actually ones and fives. A significant minority are twos and fours, although twos and fours (especially in the younger age groups) are just as likely to self-identify as bisexual or pansexual.
47
@18: " Why is "snowflake" an insult? Why is "political correctness" a negative concept?"

Unsurprisingly, the people who say those things are always incensed by someone else's beliefs and tone police like whoa.
48
@42: Have you read the most recent interview the Stranger did?

I can't imagine how anyone thinks she has good intentions. Even with the "transracial" bullshit she's interested in her white savior complex, not doing well for any community, not for race relations. She damages and hurts through her work, she produces only vainglory.
49
@44 I'm fine addressing people by something other than their biological gender; moreso by their presentation, because that's my perception. And my objection isn't to someone minding their own business, but those folks who are literally all up in your face if you don't correctly surmise their pronoun. They're not rare.

@45 I assume those people are aware they're lying
50
Cap @46: Explaining things any more won't make me agree, any more than my explanations haven't changed your mind. I agree we will have to agree to disagree.

I am not going to be like Hunter and tell someone that they're not truly straight/truly gay because they engaged in some youthful experimentation which convinced them that they were truly straight/truly gay. That's kind of like telling someone what gender they are, no?

I do agree that most ones and fives are rounding themselves up/down, but not ADMITTING that one is (a bit) bisexual is not the same thing as not BEING a bit bisexual. If there were more acceptance of queerness, then you'd get more people being out as homo/heteroflexible. That day has not yet come. So the Kinsey 1s and 5s stay closeted, and the Kinsey 2s and 4s lie, or get told by others (sound familiar?) that they're not really bi if they prefer one gender 67% of the time. That's how you get people like the confused sorority girl from a few weeks back who thought her boyfriend's messaging guys on Craiglist meant that he was gay.

Bi erasure is harmful and offensive. So is comparing homosexuality with bestiality, which you have also just done. Wow.

But you know what? With the right motivation, I would in fact be able to have sex with a sheep or a dog. A million dollars perhaps. Maybe staying closeted is worth a million dollars to some scared young gay man. Like I said, think of sex workers. I'm sure many sex workers have to have sex with people who disgust them viscerally. Somehow they manage.

My point: A lot of people are bisexual.
Your point: A lot of bisexuals are lying.
I think that's as close as we'll get to consensus here.
51
BDF @50, Actually I was comparing heterosexuality to bestiality, since we had previously been talking about Kinsey 6 and I was trying to come up with an appropriate "EWWWWW" analogy for the Kinsey 6 folks I know. That was the best (worst?) thing I could come up with on short notice.

Please don't put words in my mouth! I NEVER said a lot of bisexuals are lying, or anything even remotely close to that. In fact I have readily acknowledged several times that your perspective is just as valid as mine, and that many twos and fours currently choose to self-ID as bisexual or pansexual. I also never said anything about wanting to tell anyone what gender they are. HELLO...? I've spent my entire life escaping such traps!

I have been discussing the Kinsey scale and my interpretation of the rankings along the spectrum. Up until now, I thought that's what you were doing, too. I actually found your views interesting and illuminating, and I thought we were having an honest discussion of very different viewpoints. But now I feel like you are only looking for ways to vilify me, and I don't think I deserve such ill treatment.
52
@49 Sportlandia, I doubt all of them know they're lying. But if that example's a problem, what about someone who's just sincerely racist, and speaks accordingly: aren't they just describing reality as they see it?

Also, the main question I had for you is at 43.