Columns Feb 8, 2012 at 4:00 am

Secrets and Lies


@203, if a straight-bi guy were sexually interested in you, then he'd give off a different vibe. Many women flirt with me, under the assumption that many straight women will go bi from time to time. If I don't flirt back, it's because I'm not interested. Why should they find out if my lack of flirting is due to their gender or their personality/body?

I guess this is complicated for men because homophobes beat men up for flirting with them.

But as long as a guy gives off a non-homophobe vibe (which you can figure out by asking about his politics, etc.), then you can lightly flirt with him (ie, catch his eye a little longer than normal), and if he's open to the idea, then he'll flirt back. No?
@206 EricaP
Happy Valentine's Day.

Yeah, it can be dangerous for guys although I've never felt threatened. Flirting among all orientations is tricky. People aren't open books. I agree that no one has a right to know your orientation. But if you tell me lies that's something else. I was thinking more about the social consequences of invisibility than about the difficulties of hooking up.
Should that be "societal" not "social"?
It seems to me in regards to how one arrives at that “bi” designation, that there are the dual issues of attraction and behavior.

Attraction is unintentional and uncontrollable: we lust after whom we lust after (or as Woody Allen could have put it: “the libido wants what it wants”). There can be degrees of attraction and they can also vary not only from individual to individual, but across gender lines, so that someone might be much more attracted to women—many women and with great frequency—and only occasionally attracted to men, or be attracted more strongly to women and attracted to men with as much frequency, and in as great a number overall, but in a more watered-down way than he or she is towards women. Whether acted on or not, I would expect that if I felt either one of those kinds of attractions to people of both sexes, I would consider myself bi (or at least straight-bi, as Mr. Ven proposes, or a ‘little bit bi,’ or hetero-flexible, the three of which I consider to be synonymous).
Behavior is somewhat different. It is possible to be attracted to someone and not act on that attraction (it happens to monogamous people all the time, as well as to people who are attracted to people who aren’t available or appropriate sexual partners).

For the purposes of determining orientation, it seems to me to make sense to limit ourselves to the kind of sex partner that one *chooses*, when given a truly free choice: in other words, excluding the prison example, but including the example of Mydriasis’ high school years, in which she found herself horny at a party with a number of willing and pretty girls and a dearth of good-looking boys from which to choose.

It’s at the intersection of attraction and behavior that there is unambiguous bi-sexuality, and where the label is probably easiest to self-apply. But I think it is possible to use it where there is either one or the other of the two factors, as long as the sex is a function of free choice. I think that to discount attraction alone as a basis for the designation based on the idea that the person doesn’t actually have sex (which for purposes of this discussion, I’m going to define in the loosest way possible as any kind of sexual contact or act, including making out) with members of both sexes is sort of silly. After all, would we consider telling a man who was attracted to women but wasn’t having sex with them—due to religious vows or another ideological renunciation, or because he was unable to find a willing partner, or was in jail (and not having sex with a man there), or for a medical condition—that he wasn’t heterosexual, because he wasn’t exhibiting the behavior, he wasn’t actually having sex with a woman? Would we tell him, “Nope, you aren’t having sex, so therefore you are asexual?” We would not.

This is where the fantasy question came in, but fascinating as I find it, I don’t think it’s enough of a Rorschach inkblot test for determining people’s sexuality. (There is a whole separate discussion about the nature of fantasy that was started and which would be a great topic, but isn’t really germane to this “when is it bi and when is it not” question.)

Some people fantasize about non-human things; some fantasize about things they would never want to do in real life. While it is definitely convenient to say if both men and women make appearances in your sexual fantasies you are bi, and if one gender/sex is absent, then you’re not, I don’t think it can work that way, in those absolutes. It might come back to the first point I made about degrees of attraction. Maybe you don’t as a general rule find member of the opposite sex attractive enough to fantasize about them in the abstract, so they don’t show up in your scripted, intentional fantasies (the kind EricaP has, as opposed to the kind of pop-up, unplanned fragmentary fantasies Mr. J has).

I confess that to me the hardest thing to understand has been several people’s (notably EricaP’s and Mydriasis’s) statements that they have sex with women even though they claim not to be attracted to women as a matter of course (in other words, not through desperation—and no, I don’t consider a three-week dry spell a condition to make one desperate). Not only would the behavior seem to indicate at least a little bit of bi-ness (straight-bi), but I’m having a hard time with the concept of voluntarily having sex with someone whose gender and genitalia at best, don’t arouse, and at worst, repulse you. This is new for me, and no doubt speaks of my unenlightened state, but I can’t imagine doing it, myself. As always, I thank the contributors of this comment thread for exposing me to new ideas.

As to ankylosaur’s equation of having sex with someone whose genitals and gender you’re not attracted to with sitting on the couch and watching a television program with someone as an act of accommodation, and finding some small thing to like about a show which you wouldn’t choose if given free access to the remote control: I find the analogy unsupportable, if only because (to me, at least) sex isn’t something I share indiscriminately and with such little expectation of satisfaction as to be analogous to spending a half hour on the couch finding something to appreciate in the animation of a piece of dreck children’s programming. I care about sex more so I’ve got more invested in it. I can watch tv with practically anybody.
Saying "I am not attracted to women. I let them finger me/fuck me with a strap-on/eat me because I want sex or want to be watched having sex, but I won't reciprocate because, well, ewww, and fortunately I'm so darn sexy and hottt that I can be selfish that way (or I reciprocate but I have to virtually hold my nose as I'm going down on them, because, ewwww") sounds to me like saying, "I am in the mood for dessert, but I hate chocolate and coconut. But since the only thing on the menu is a chocolate-coconut souffle which takes a half hour to prepare and costs a lot, I'll order it, because, you know, I have to have some sugar somehow."
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!! XOXO
@ 209, nocutename: Epic piece you wrote there!
Take your bows. :-) Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone.

I like how you put this one part: "Attraction is unintentional and uncontrollable: we lust after whom we lust after..."

I agree. For me, I know that I am only attracted to men, but actually, one particular man.

I dunno: I've never been amongst my own personal quagmire of bisexual attraction. I love and admire women greatly, but for whatever reasons, I don't feel sexual attraction to them. Sometimes, I wish I knew what that felt like (don't we always want what we don't have, or, what's on the other side of that fence in that other yard there...), but that rarely lasts beyond a few seconds. I would be a lot less at peace and unhappy had I never met the love of my life as I did some sixteen+ years ago.

When you connect with someone who really is a healthy, well-rounded complement to your own personality, it can make all of the difference in the world.

I never thought I would find someone who would love me for me, and who I am as a soul. But I did :)! Not only does this man possess my heart, but he's smart as fuck, about as attractive as they get and we both share a similar sense of humor. It *still* blows me away that I ever encountered and fell in love with him in the first place. To think I was working in a sub shop behind the counter...and then I saw him walk along the front sidewalk and into the shop...and into my un/consiciousness ever since :) .

What you wrote is great, nocutename. Very detailed and elaborate. I myself don't bother trying to be intimate with someone I'm not physically-attracted to (meaning, craving their genitalia, as well as the rest of him). I guess I've always known who I am enough to know that it would be an exercise in homoflexibility at best, and a possible disaster as a worst-case scenario (not being able to get it up and pleasure a woman the best she deserves).

I don't stress the fact that I'm really just gay, with next to no biflexibility or any of that.

I don't mind. Jesus, isn't there enough crazy interpersonal dynamics to grapple with between two people? Who needs more people in that stew? Not me! I don't know how people can juggle multiple interests like that without their very heads spinning off of their shoulders like some whack supernatural b-movie horror film lol.

Who knows? It's Tuesday after all lol.

Cheers :-) . Happy Valentine's Day 2012, One & All.

@209, great essay, fun read - thank you!

nocute finds it odd I would voluntarily have sex with someone to whom I'm not attracted.

There's a side question here, about whether it's odd to have (voluntary) sex without arousal. I would say that most women I know have had plenty of sex by acquiescence, sex they didn't want & weren't aroused by, but tolerated for other reasons.

But to get back to her essay, she rejects the comparison to TV because she has much higher expectations of satisfaction from sex.

Sex with my husband is satisfying, but, indeed, when I engage in indiscriminate sex (the kind nocute doesn't have), I have little expectation of sexual satisfaction. Mostly, I'm doing it for other reasons, not to orgasm or even to have an wonderful physical experience.

I like being looked at, I like being admired, and I like giving pleasure - so those are usually my motivations. I have never come from sex in public, or with a woman, nor even gotten close. Does giving pleasure count as seeking sexual satisfaction? Hmm... I await elucidation...
Okay real quick...

@209 "and no, I don’t consider a three-week dry spell a condition to make one desperate"

People are different from eachother. After three weeks I have a tough time functioning correctly. Actually after two weeks I have a tough time, it takes an additional week for me to consider women.


Yep. I'm a bitch.

okay wow that's where we differ.
Though I've had promiscuious sex, I've never had "indiscriminate" sex in the sense that I had no expectation of getting off.

That's why I have sex. Peroid.

And also - re the whole "bad dessert" analogy from cute, Erica said "and I like giving pleasure - so those are usually my motivations."

She likes giving pleasure. A lot of women do, including myself. So that's why those poor, poor women likely got with me on my terms.

And I'm off for now
@ 213, EricaP: To quote you, if I may:

"...when I engage in indiscriminate sex (the kind nocute doesn't have), I have little expectation of sexual satisfaction. Mostly, I'm doing it for other reasons, not to orgasm or even to have an wonderful physical experience."

With all due respect to you Erica, if you're not having a nice enough experience where you are getting off on who you're with, then why bother at all? It seems like an exercise in misery, to read it. What other reasons can there be besides (maybe) ego-gratification or a desire to be with someone, even if they don't get you off particularly (just winging it here: by no means a character assessment or anything :) )?

I realize some people have intellectually-fed reasons for wanting to be with someone intimately, but if you're not having a really;) pleasurable time of it, then why put yourself through all of that? I couldn't. If I'm not really into someone or duly turned on, I'm not going there. There's only so many hours in a day. Why settle for a bit less-than when you don't need to?

"I like being looked at, I like being admired, and I like giving pleasure - so those are usually my motivations."

I get that sort of satisfaction from light flirting here and here. I don't mind being looked at when I look and feel good, but otherwise, I much prefer to slide under the radar. It's easy to attract attention to yourself. It's sometimes harder to play that down and be quiet, but I opt for that more often than not.

I enjoy attention from others, but fucking them 'cos they thought I was cute and I didn't feel anything other than intellectual-curiosity...

It wouldn't be enough for me. I need to want you and wanna fuck you in order for me to sleep with someone. But, we all are different, so there you go: to each their own, indeed. :)

@ 216, an embellishment:

Erica, I meant anyone other than your hubby about this part: "With all due respect to you Erica, if you're not having a nice enough experience where you are getting off on who you're with..."

Forgive me for having painted that otherwise.


Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone.


@214 mydriasis
You're a bitch only if you aren't upfront with these ladies about what they're getting into. I rather doubt that's the case, and anyway the situation doesn't arise very often. You've clearly got someone who keeps you from having to wait for weeks.
@216, it's hard to explain being driven by kink (submission, exhibitionism, service & masochism) to people who are driven by sex. Take my word for it, I like my life :-)
@ 219, Erica: Fair enough :-) ! As long as you are happy and into what you do, then I am happy for you :-) . I can get the thing about enjoying the submission, exhibitionism, and service.. All are part and parcel to enjoying what gets you off.

Isn't kink in effect an extension of sex, though? At the very least, it sounds like suitable foreplay leading up to a hopefully fulfilling physical encounter.

Hey: as long as you're happy, I'm happy :-) .
Have a Good Night, Everyone.
@220 "isn't kink in effect an extension of sex?"
For me, no, if by sex you mean a sphere of activity revolving around genitals and orgasms.
@203(Mr.J), I was highlighting the difference I saw between your viewpoint and Mydriasis, but let me say I don't imply any criticism. If you want to apply labels by behavior -- i.e., sex with both sexes happen = bi, regardless of attraction -- that is a valid way to do so, and as long as people are aware that that's what they mean, it will work fine.

Maybe it's simply the old story about 'what words mean to me and you.' Because I can imagine myself doing things I don't like, I don't consider doing these things very important to who I am and how I identify myself -- the reason I did them was not that I liked them, but something else (my wife asked me, a friend needed a favor, it's for my daughter's birthday party, etc.). When I choose a label to apply to myself, I prefer it to reflect who I think I am. Yes, that may change with time, and so will the label -- I don't expect people never to change the labels they use for themselves, be they professional labels, family labels, or sexual orientations.

So if I call myself straight, I do so because, up until now, only women have really attracted me. I have never had sex with a man (though I came close twice), but I don't rule it out -- as a favor, for instance, or as part of some D/s fantasy with a mistress. But this is, to me, unimportant to my thinking I'm straight (just like all the Dora the Explorer episodes I've watched don't change my impression that I'm a "serious" movie admirer.)

But you use words differently; you'd maybe say I'm "slightly bi" (if you need actual behavior, I suppose you'd have to wait for me to actually have sex with a man at some point before, but still). And that's fine by me, because you're using the word to mean not that I'm attracted to men (which I'm not), but that I am not against having sex with men despite not being attracted to them -- I don't rule out the possibility (I'm not repulsed, as Mydriasis put it).
Mydriasis: I didn't say you were a bitch, and I don't think you are. You offered your own experiences about having sex for sex's sake without being attracted to the person who was willing to service you on your terms. I believe that you used the word "shallow" to describe yourself in those circumstances, but as you were talking about high school, that makes sense!

I was commenting on the (mysterious to me) fact of you and EricaP choosing to have sex with people whom you admit you aren't attracted to, and whose very anatomy you find a turn-off.
By the way, I understand that three weeks without any sexual release might easily be too much for some people, but that would seem to me to be what masturbation is all about. It wouldn't occur to me to let someone to whom I wasn't attracted go down on me so I could get off just to let off sexual steam, especially as I am a zero on the Kinsey scale: I doubt I could get into the act enough to be able to come, which is another reason that, were I you, I would define myself as straight-bi or heteroflexible.

@213 (EricaP): I would say that indeed you do get sexual satisfaction out of having public sex with women to whom you give pleasure--you just get the sexual satisfaction at a delay, when you think about what you did later as you masturbate or when you tell your husband about it later and it arouses both of you to think of what a shameless little slut you are and you two have hot sex and you come like gangbusters.

If that is what drives the actual acts themselves, which might not lead to satisfaction in the moment, I can see what you're doing with women in public as providing you with indirect sexual satisfaction, and my guess is that over time, as more and more positive-though-delayed responses are associated with the acts of public woman/woman sex, it may even become more arousing to you.

I thought that since you are a sub to your husband, it might be part of a power play: you don't actually like having sex with women, but your body and sexual activity aren't autonomous but rather under the control of and at the whim of your husband. If he wants/orders you to service women publicly, you comply. That is part of your kink dynamic, which I see as being sexual as well as kinky, since ultimately you get sexual satisfaction from it. For some people, an aspect of submission has to do with the withholding of satisfaction until getting approval, anyway.

@nocutename, I don't think the differnece is caring more or less about sex, but how much the idea of having sex with a non-preferred partner (same sex if you're straight, opposite sex if you're gay) squeaks you. Is sex good if you're doing it for the other person -- you don't feel aroused, you aren't interested in it right now, but you're sorry for your partner so you go along with it for his/her sake? It's not "good" in the sense of leading to orgasm for me, but it may be good in the sense that I like doing it for my partner. Just as I can sit and watch a movie I don't like, because I happen to like the person I'm watching it with. There's a difference of intensity here, but not a difference of kind, I don't think.

I find what you said about "caring a lot about sex" interesting. I've seen similar reactions from other people, which made me ask myself how much I actually care about sex. I like sex, quite a lot actually, but I don't care about it in the sense that I don't think it is a "serious big thing" with deep personal/metaphysical consequences (like a vocation/career or a relationship is). Sex is an enjoyable activity, which I can fruitfully compare with other enjoyable activities even if I enjoy them less than sex.

I certainly like sex more than movies, and as part of my relationship to other people it plays a more important role than watching movies. But sex is not the relationship, nor is it the most important thing in my life. Which is enough, to me, to make it comparable to other meaningful activities in my life. In other words, I don't think sex is a world by itself, so different in kind from all other pleasant things as to be incomparable. Sex isn't "magic," or a transcendent thing like one of Plato's ideals projecting shadows in our cave. It's just part of life.

But I see it is a frequent opinion in Western culture that "sex is different," that it is so different and so important as to deserve a category of its own. Like love (about which I have a similar opinion).
@213: Also, interesting point about women who "have had plenty of sex by acquiescence, sex they didn't want & weren't aroused by, but tolerated for other reasons." I would think that the difference between them and your particular circumstance is that either:

1) they didn't know beforehand that the sex wasn't going to be arousing

2)the sex was coerced or forced--downright rape

3) the sex was motivated by love and affection or a sense of obligation, sometimes combined with love and affection, and sometimes an irritating term of a bargain made for economic or social reasons


3) they are paid sex workers who are being compensated directly and explicitly for the sex.

What you're describing is different: you say you have no attraction to women sexually, but you force yourself (or allow your self) to be sexual with women in public, knowing you won't find it arousing. You don't *have* to have this sex, and it doesn't somehow just seem to sort of happen to you; you have to deliberately seek it out.

I would contend that in fact you do derive sexual satisfaction and arousal, not from the sex itself and in the moment, but in the idea of what you've done and who saw you do it at a later moment in time, all of which complicates the idea of "bi-ness" even further, since the satisfaction probably (I'm just guessing here) comes at the direct hands either of your husband or another man, or yourself when it acts as a narrative to move you to orgasm.

In such a case, I would agree that you are more straight than anything else. Straight, but hardly narrow! Happy Valentine's Day!
nocute, your analysis @225 is mostly right on, but it still doesn't make me feel very bi -- not until that future day arrives when, as you predict, "it may even become more arousing to you." But in the meantime, I won't argue with "straight-bi," to help counteract the invisibility of bi people that bugs Mr. J.
@nocutename, EricaP: I think EricaP has touched on the essential point here, namely: that what nocutename finds difficult to understand is the idea that one could have sex with not-so-high expectations. Curiously, I think I understand EricaP very well here, because I also don't see sex as soooo terribly important and identity-forming (i.e., I also don't have such high expectations) about it.

Is sex without arousal every a good idea? In my previous comment I mention doing your partner a favor and having sex with him/her even if you're not in the mood. I've done that occasionally, and I don't think it was a bad experience.

Is sex as a favor -- because you see someone you're not attracted to really wants it so much (remember the old 'he wants it so much and it costs me so little'? :-) also ever a good idea? Again, I've done that, too (call this 'pity' or 'mercy sex'), and you can wonder if it was, all in all, good for the other person; but speaking for myself, the fact that I didn't really enjoy it (I didn't orgasm) doesn't bother me. I did it for other reasons, and I'm fine with that.

So the final question -- would sex with a man (which I haven't really had so far) be also so much of a bad idea? I really seriously ask myself this question: would I be disgusted, would I feel violated, would I feel de-personified, etc. etc. -- whatever bad consequences people with high expectations for sex (like nocutename) think that sex without attraction might have -- or would I not? All I can say is, I would have to have a strong motivation (I really like the guy, I'm really doing him a favor, etc.); but given said motivation, I think the absence of arousal in me and the absence of an orgasm at the end wouldn't be oh so terrible. It's not simply "I would survive"; it's also "I'd do this for him."

In other words: I don't think that would damage me in any way. It would just be boring, but there would be no damage. It wouldn't turn me psychotic, it wouldn't traumatize me, I wouldn't become a victim. Again, it would just be (sexually) boring (though maybe interesting from some other perspective -- just as it was interesting to watch Dora the Explorer with my daughter, despite the fact that I personally found it boring as a movie.)

So I see myself agreeing with EricaP. I wonder if this comes from the fact that both of us are rather kinky with submissive tendencies. (EricaP tried to differentiate kink from sex above, which is something I've often wondered about. I think kink is sex, but it somehow offers you a way of differentiating yourself from sex, of de-identifying yourself with the kind of sex you like. Like those deep meditation exercises that de-identify you with some specific cognitive structure -- 'watch yourself thinking; now, who is doing the watching?' -- I think kink helps you de-identify with sex and sexuality, de-identify with fucking or being fucked as part of "who you are" rather than being "things you do".)
@nocutename, who wrote:
What you're describing is different: you say you have no attraction to women sexually, but you force yourself (or allow yourself) to be sexual with women in public, knowing you won't find it arousing. You don't *have* to have this sex, and it doesn't somehow just seem to sort of happen to you; you have to deliberately seek it out.

And here is the question: should this be strange, in principle? I mean, can't someone enjoy having sex for non-sexual reasons (some of which you pointed out)? Is it the case that whenever we do something the motivation is the supposed specific reward that that activity gives us -- we only watch movies because of the aesthetic experience, we only talk because we're interested in the topic, we only have sex because we're aroused? Can't there be other valid reasons?

You mentioned sex workers. If a sex worker does indeed consent in sex for money, then clearly sad sex was not consented to for the purpose of sexual gratification. (Some sex workers do derive sexual gratification from having sex for money, but that's a logically independent fact.) I suppose this would be a valid reason, to you? So here's the question: if I said I could engage in sex with a man -- sex with someone whose genitals do not arouse me -- for money, would it seem easier for you to understand? I.e., if I said I could be a male prostitute (it wouldn't satisfy me sexually, but hey, the money is good), would that seem easier to understand/accept?
Oh, and: of course, Happy Valentine Day to everybody! (It's already over here...)
@227 "I would think that the difference between them and your particular circumstance is that either 1, 2, 3, or [4]..." So I guess I'd be #5.

But, except for #2 (rape), I'm not sure what's gained by breaking it down into categories. (Especially since there's a lot of overlap in those categories). In all those cases, an adult is choosing sex for reasons other than immediate sexual gratification. I'm with ankylosaur, I think people have complicated reasons for studying, for calling their moms, for choosing fruit instead of cake, for driving fast, etc. And for having sex, too. I'm someone who finds orgasm hard to come by, so I've found other reasons for having sex. Probably my itty bitty genes, hard at work trying to reproduce themselves :-)
@232, curiously for a guy, I also tend to think that having my orgasm is not the main point of sex for me; I'm more into the playful aspect, the laughs, and the signs of arousal in me and in the other. Maybe it's the D/s tendencies in me, but I tend to like it very much if my female sexual partner doesn't pay any attention at all to getting me off. (I do like to make her get off, though -- accuse me of being inconsistent or of harboring sexist double standards...) I have actually have sex a number of times with the woman orgasming but not me. Again, this speaks to the submissive in me.
I feel as if I'm spinning my wheels trying to be understood and I'm being misunderstood in a variety of ways by EricaP and ankylosur.

So, for the record:

* I am submissive. And kinky. I understand those tendencies.

* I don't orgasm easily and never without my vibrator, and have had lots of sex without any expectation or hope of orgasming during it.

* I understand and have also had sex which sole purpose is to do a nice thing for another person.

* I don't only have sex with people I love or think it has to always be a transcendent experience. I have been incredibly promiscuous in my life and am perfectly capable of viewing sex as a kind of carnal recreation (although if it is good, it pretty much beats even the very best TV hands down). I may discriminate more now than I used to or than some people do; I do this only because I have learned that for me, sex is better if I know and like the guy a little bit! The more connection I feel, the more revved up I am.

* Unlike ankylosaur, who is doing a lot of theoretical hypothisizing about what sex with a man to whom he is not really all that attracted to might be like, I've tried to have sex with a member of my own sex, and was not indifferent, but repulsed. All the fellow-feeling I might have for another member of humanity isn't going to make up for a gigantic lack of attraction bordering on revulsion. And why, ank, under what circumstances, supposing I'm not a sex worker or that I love that person and want to make her happy, would I want to subject myself to sex which isn't just not "magical," but which disgusts me? What is the point of that? Or, if I may risk sounding so shallow and self-centered, where's the payoff? Most people want to enjoy the sex they're freely choosing to have.

* @232: I was trying to break down the reasons pepole have sex without hoping for sexual satisfaction because you had made a statement that likened the kind of sex you have that began this conversation about orientation with all other reasons a person might have sex without attraction or expectation of fulfillment. I think, in light of the fact that you are having voluntary, unpaid, recreational, non-emotionally-connective, deliberately-planned sex (which might lead one to conclude that you're getting something out of it, which something under ordinary circumstances might be assumed to be sexual pleasure) it is rather unexpected to hear you say that not only are you not getting any sexual satisfaction out of the sex, but that you are actually turned off by your partners. As your partners are female, and you are having sex with them by choice, it seems a logical conclusion that you're a tiny bit bi; when you say that you are not, as evidenced by the fact that you find female genitals unarousing and they don't enter into your fantasies unless you're trying to write your personal Title IX grant, that makes me wonder why you're bothering to have this kind of sex. I think it is relevant to distinguish it from other kinds of "less than magical" sex.
@234 heard and understood and (mostly) agreed with :-)

I think it's reasonable to say that I am "a tiny bit bi"; the girls don't turn me off, they just don't smell right so something else has to turn me on (like thinking of my husband's excitement, or the excitement of the audience admiring me).

Sorry for misunderstanding you before!
@234 (Also, I totally agree with this: "sex is better if I know and like the guy")
Good to know!

I don't find the anatomy a turnoff, I just don't find it a turnon. Why would I be bothered by the same kind of anatomy I have? It doesn't bother me for the same reason it doesn't turn me on. "Oh, word. I see that every day."

As for masturbation, I'm not a huge fan.
Hooking up with a woman is essentially the same (lack of attraction, lack of repulsion, but getting off regardless due to physical response) except better.

Having something happen to you is wayy more of a turn on than doing something to yourself. Ever try to tickle yourself? Doesn't work does it. The excitement of not knowing what's going to happen and not having control over the situation is something you can't get by yourself. Plus also makeouts are fun.

I could define myself as straight-bi... but it seems weird to define myself on a few experiences I had many years ago. I feel straight, you know? Sure, it might be more fun and interesting to identify otherwise but it would feel like a lie. When more detail is needed I bring up Margaret Cho's crack that "bi is just another word for 'slutty'"

(And NO I'm not trying to claim that's true, so no shitstorm, please. Just in MY case, that seems to be an apt analysis)
Also: a fun story for anyone still checking in here.

One year (in highschool, actually) when I was at Pride with a couple good friends, I broke off with one other for a minute to go get popcicles. So we're walking back to meet our friends and this woman wearing mardi gras beads instead of a shirt and this man with her come up to us. He asks "excuse me - are you two lovers?"

We laugh and say no we're just friends.
She asks us what our orientation is. My friend says she's bi, and I say I'm straight. The guy says to us "Honey I could tell." I ask how and he says "by the way you're each eating your popsicles"

Maybe everyone should just forgo the introspection and just do a quick popcicle test.
Thanks for the clarification.

I'll take you at your word that you feel straight (and of course, you have the right to define yourself any way you like), so you are straight.
@nocutename, I also used to feel revulsion at the sight of genitals similar to my own; this has changed a little through time, though, so I don't think this would bother me anymore. I do get what you're feeling, though, since I also used to feel it. All I'm saying is it isn't like that for me anymore (and, who knows? maybe someday it won't be for you either), and that a good deal of the revulsion I originally felt was clearly culturally based, not really instinctive.

Sorry if I misunderstood your standpoint. If you do see that sex can be good (or at least willingly consented to) even when there's no big sexual gratification for it, then indeed I misunderstood something in what you said -- again, sorry about that. I think maybe the misunderstanding was that you were thinking of sex with someone you're repulsed by (something I would never do either), whereas I was thinking about sex with someone I'm just not really turned on by -- to me, a totally different situation.
@238, I wonder if that would work for men.

Ultimately, I also do think that self-identification is more about what you think feels true for yourself, not about a specific set of behaviors that you have to have in order to live up to the category. (Of course, this opens up the possibility that you might be lying to yourself, for whatever reason; but what's wrong here is the lie, as it is anytime you lie to yourself, not your sexual identity being what feels right to you.) Behavior can have explanations other than sexual orientation.
@ 221, EricaP: Would the kinks you enjoy be at least titillating? There has to be some degree of pleasure out of being restained and stuff, I'm thinking.

@242, I get a lot of pleasure out of it, it just doesn't involve my genitals or any orgasms.

Think of it like massage, and meditation, and a good exercise workout -- all fun things, just not involving one's genitals or orgasms.
@ 243, EricaP: I see what you mean now. Some things can titillate without making you orgasm or anything.. Getting them tingles of pleasure from what gets you off, where the hairs on your arms stand on end and you get goosebumps.. Kind of sounds like sweet-sounding foreplay, actually.

I bet when it comes time to actually go at it and make love, you're quite fired up from enjoying the preliminaries of what you enjoy kink-wise.

You sound hip, happy and content, and that makes me happy. You go girl! ;-)

I don't really like massage or exercise for exactly that reason (massage I'm just indifferent to, exercise I hate with every fibre of my being). What the point of being touched or getting sweaty if you're not going to come?

But that's me. As for meditation I wouldn't even put it close to sex, exercise or massage, but hey.

It's interesting how different people are from eachother.
@245 yep!
@245, you betcha! I always considered that the most important reason why it is better to actually interact with people than avoid them. :-)
PP is always under attack. PP has been under attack for the entire duration of its existence. Which is why it needs so many friends!
@153, are you still there?
@245: I third it!

@248: The key here is to weaken PP's attackers, which might require more than a circumcision. Hit 'em where it hurts! Eliminate the root of all the woman hating evil: their tainted corporate funded blood money and what hangs in the gross imbalance, and---voila! Problem solved.

Of course, you're talking about an very ugly, very bloody revolution if it ever gets to that point. I'd rather round up and ship the assholes one-way to a desert island filled with rats, fatally poisonous spiders, and snakes.
That would at least save us taxpayers a shitload of hard earned money.
@ CCC, I agree. If your friend is on Grindr and sending FACE PICS, then at least part of him wants to be out. It might be subconcious or whatever, but closet cases who want to stay closet cases dont send face pics over the Internet.

My guess is that he's nervous about coming out and maybe wants help. If he denies it outright, just drop it for now. If he knows you're 100% comfortable with him being gay, it will prolly help him get 100% comfortable soon too.

Case in point, my ridiculously hot boyfriend got drunk and made out with a rather hot "straight" guy at a party that was about 75% homo. Rather than being pissed, I thought it was awesome (and a little hot). Within seconds, the entire party of 30+ people knew the two of them were making out, and I stood there smiling knowing that 1) boyfriend was still going home with me that night, and 2) he was probably helping the poor str8 boy come out.

From talking with str8 boy's friends, no one ever brought that night up with him, and to this day, he's the same closet case he was pre public-make-out session.
@171 It seems no one finished revising the Kinsey scale, so I feel compelled at this late date to chime in with my version. (Other folks besides me must have fun reading through the archives sometime!)

I think 0s and 6s are people who would only have sex with their preferred gender, even trapped on a desert island, and are squicked by the idea of sex with the "wrong" gender. 1s and 5s aren't really turned on by the "wrong" gender, but aren't totally turned off and wouldn't necessarily kick the person out of bed. 2s and 4s are mostly attracted to their preferred gender, but also somewhat/sometimes turned on by the other. 3s are equally turned on by either gender.

So, how about:

0 heterosexual
1 heteroflexible
2 heterobisexual
3 bisexual
4 homobisexual
5 homoflexible
6 homosexual

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