Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On Sexuality

When I was in college, I took some Psychology courses. And I do want to mention a few things about psychology. My impression of Psychology majors is this: most of them are drawn to the field because of demons in their lives. I know, blanket statement. But I met some really disturbed puppies in Psychology classes. And they talked about their problems – in Georgia. Whatever happened to repressed feelings? It is so much more polite, and as we know, appearances are everything in the south.  Hint: appearances are important could be a central theme of this post.

I learned a lot about sexuality in college. And not just from the boys I dated. Sex seems to be central to a lot of Psychology. I took an "Abnormal Psychology" class, and everything seemed to be based on sex. I know what you are thinking – you would love to get credit for classes about sex. But sex classes are not about body parts, semen and orgasms. Nothing useful. I used to say that it was sex and stats, not human sexuality. By the by, p-values are not what you would think they are. You don't say, "I have a 6 inch p-value" in these classes.

One thing I read was about a sexual scale. Now, I will be getting all of the terms incorrect, so bear with me – the ideas are the important part of this. Everyone has a scale, from totally attracted only to females to totally attracted only to males. And there are only about 10% of us who are on either end of the scale. Then there is the rest of us – where we might be 90% attracted to males, 10% attracted to females. You get the idea – just so that the total is 100%. And I don't want to know people who are 80% attracted to females, 10% attracted to males, and 10% attracted to farm animals. Those are the types I took these classes with. Really.

Anyway. I don't know what my percentage is – it is not like I have ever taken a test. As I recall, there are tests – where they flash up pictures and measure pupil diameter on the theory we contract our pupils on things we don't want to see and open them more on things we do want to see. You know, if they showed me a Toblerone bar right now, my pupils would be doing the wide open happy dance. You know I am hungry when I would rather see a Toblerone than a nice picture of a man's penis. Crap – do you think 5% of my sexuality is devoted to chocolate? I hope not.

Okay this is all of the theory part – you can wake up now.

So here I was in college, mostly attracted to men, but every once in a while, I would see a woman and something inside me stirred. I did not really put the theory together with those inside urges. Synapses just did not connect the two pieces of information.

Now I have written about lesbian encounters before, but I had a short, intense affair with a women when I was in college. We were really good friends, hung out, went out in large groups dancing and to parties. We knew each other well. And we liked each other a lot. Not a "please squeeze me" like, but an intense, you are so wonderful like. Well, we had a lesbian experience that lasted a week (8 days, but who is counting), and I probably would not have labeled it as such at the time, but we were in love.

I mean, I was really drawn to the physical relationship – something very new to me and to her as well, but it was, I think in part based on our innate attractiveness to one another. I have heard about pheromones, stars, and other things that attribute attractiveness, but I think all of those things were bunk. We wanted to be so close to one another – and we were. No saran wrap here. We just wanted to "become one." Okay, the cumming part was nice as well. Crap, I need to get back to reality.

Well, we broke off the relationship, mostly, because of appearances. We did not want to be seen as lesbians – we did not want to deal with all of the baggage. Remember, this was more than 10 years ago, and I am sorry, but there is "baggage" with being labeled as gay. I don't know what my parents would have thought – first thought would have been "no grandkids from her." And I am not sure we would have eventually ended up together. I dated a lot in college, and married no one I dated. Well, hubbie and I did date but post-college.

Now I also wanted children – still want them. Funny thing is that having children was probably the biggest reason for me. I can be so maternal sometimes. And now I have this adorable hubbie and we are striking out on the kiddie front. And it is not that our body parts don't fit nicely together. It is just that his little sperm and my eggs don't necessarily get along. And as the song suggests, "It takes two."

Back to sexuality. For me, the overriding factor is not a question of connectors and slots. Yes, I love hubbie's connector and he adores my slot. But that was not the thing that attracted me to him – he is kind, gentle, funny. We make a good pair. And perhaps I am an 80/20 girl, so that out of every ten people I am attracted to, eight are men.

Most of us pair up and marry when we are young, too young to really know what is important. Perhaps that is part of the reason I am with a man instead of a woman; I don't know. What I do know is that, if we look deep within ourselves, most of us can admit to the fact that we might be at least a teensy bit attracted to the same sex.

End note: Sorry this is so long, but one other thing should be mentioned. I am just talking about female-female attractiveness, partly because I have limited experience with this, but I think the same can be said about men. The thing is that in our society it is taught from an early age that male homosexuality is wrong/bad. How many would think little of watching a sexy lesbian porno, but their stomachs would turn at the thought of seeing guy-guy action. Personally, I think society teaches us that. But think of all of the men bending over to accept other men in prison. Limited women and homosexuality doesn't look quite as repulsive. An interesting observation.


Shannon said...

Leesa~ WOW...I dunno what to say here...

I married young (21) but was engaged at 19...I know for certain, I am not the same girl I was at 21 that I am now at 27. I have to say this, my thoughts were always one way, by this I mean..if certain life styles weren't the way I lived my life then I thought it was wrong, I would look down on people and so on. I am now a completely different person. The things I use to loath are now the things I want to understand and no longer judge.

In other words..people change and I for one welcome the change, whatever it may be =)

Edtime Stories said...

Sexuality is so complicated and in so many was a social construct. We allow behavior or not based on what society says. Your experience is good example. However I think with the advent of instant communication and a bit anonymity we are able to explore things now that society wouldn't let us in the past. I will be interested in seeing how we develop as a sexual society. One thing I see as an educator is how young people react to things.
Leesa never apologize for being long in your writing, trust me you are not a boring writer and you bring up fun things to think about. Thank you.
Now I know many women who see chocolate and penises with the same desire. Now there is a store you can go to...;) Be well

Mike said...

I don't sense any writer's block today...great post!!

And bummer about the mismatched parts on the kid front. If this continues I'm willing to offer myself up for adoption....I think I can still act like a kid

Grant said...

I took an abnormal psych class as part of the core curriculum in college, and I think I had a better experience. Sex was listed as a component, but it didn't dominate the course, and most of the students seemed normal (at least by my standards).

Despite that and my respect for the profession and the fantastically cool teacher I had, I think some of that is serious BS, especially when they try to apply algorithms to everything and treat a social science like a hard science.

It reminds me of a writer's group I joined only to discover it was a feminist group with pipe dreams of becoming rich and famous. They started discussing their classes and how they were taught you could calculate societal privilege based on a triple scale of race, wealth, and sex. As a white male, their grid indicated I was at least twice as privileged as any black female regardless of her money or social status. I thought of reminding the women that I was the only one present who had to work for a living (the white women worked part time as teacher's aides, the black women had enough financial aid to cover all their living expenses without supplementing) but if reality hadn't intruded on their studies by that point, nothing I had to say (as an evil white guy) would make much of an impression.

BTW, you forgot the ~ in Deb's name on your bloglist. It's kind of like you've been mispronouncing her name all along. :p

thistle said...

Leesa, thanks for the post about bisexuality. i think your assessment was as accurate as you can be in these things. as grant said above, we do like to apply algorithms to explain complex human conditions. frequently they are too simplistic, but sometimes they reveal essential truths about indivuduals. i think the kinsey and klein scales are both interesting. the klein scale involves self reporting.

btw, i'm married too and come down at about 80/20 like you.


Bruce said...

Ok, as a Psych major, I can see where you're coming from, because there certainly were some squirrely folk(and professors) in my classes. But in my case, I was just attracted to the subject itself. At 19, I wasn't worldly enough to have accrued many demons. Back in my college days(early 70s), sex was not discussed like it is today, or even 10 years ago. Most of what we deealt with in my Ab Psych course was criminal behavior. How times have changed...

Leesa said...

shannon: it is the path and not the destination which important.

ed: just broke my one-page rule; I know there are people thinking, "when is she going to get to the point."

grant: thanks for the catch; I almost missed the sperm's tail in ~deb's name. I did not know there were groups where you could become rich and famous. Son-of-a-witch!

thistle: I did not want to attach Kinsey to the writing - as there are such negative connotations with the research.

bruce: I have a wonderful therapist, so I was not trashing the whole industry. It was just what I saw, almost as if these young people wanted to "heal themselves." And it was not just the guy who wanted me to pee on him; there were a lot of students who had deep issues (child abuse, etc).

Chris-el-da said...

hi leesa
i met to come and comment on your blog a while back.
thanks for stopping by mine!
i used to be a Psych Major.
now i am pre-med wanting to be a psychiatrist and you are right (i will admit, at least in my case) that those in this field have their own demons. serious. intense. demons. And that's maybe why we help other peole so well... because we know they are there and want to know why. who knows. but yes, Abnormal Psych was disturbing.

i love this blog! will stop by more often... i'm adding you to my list? cool??

Mike said...

My attraction to women stems from the fact they are much purtier than us guys.

Just thought you needed to know that.

Leesa said...

*ChRiSeL-DUH*: thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I remember several things from the classes that I now wish I did not know.

mike: we smell better, too.

Mike said...

Come to think of it...yes you do! could I have overlooked that?

ck_dexter_haven said...

Great post Leesa, and I agree with edtime, don’t feel bad about length the bigger the better (so I’ve heard ;) ). I also agree with your final thoughts there. The porn double standard has always struck me as odd, but I know this is a very “male” homophobic culture and women who like porn, I’m sure get a raw deal. I think it is not unusual for guys to have homosexual thoughts however in our culture those thoughts have disgust and guilt attached to them. I have always considered myself 100% straight emotionally and 90/10 sexually. I suppose had I had the male equivalent of your college experience my numbers would be different. It’s something I wouldn’t mind exploring if it weren’t for the fact I was married, and married to a woman who I have dated since high school, by the way. Maybe some of us did make up our minds too early, or changed a little too late.

Edge said...

"We wanted to be so close to one another – and we were. No saran wrap here. We just wanted to 'become one.'"

I think that sums it up for male/female relationships. Sex is about the only thing that can bring two people together and make the feel like one.

I keep thinking of the little saying, "Women trade sex for love and men trade love for sex."

In the end they both get the intimacy they desire.


Leesa said...

mike: and we have other advantages as well.

dexter: every time I go over one page, people say, "long post, I fell asleep during the post." But thanks. I was thinking about going further into the homophobic areas, but because of space and time, I decided that would be another day.

jef: thanks. You said, "Sex is about the only thing that can bring two people together and make the feel like one." I was going to be trite and say "cooking does, too." But really, I think people want to go through life with someone else, a witness of sorts.

Poetnyc said...

Hi Leesa,
I've been lurking but this post made me want to get a blogger account and respond. I've thought about where I reside on that scale. I've also thought about how unfair society is about its judgements. They change all the time, so what's in vogue now may well be out of vogue someday. Women exploring an interest or attraction in women is something men almost universally find arousing, including myself. Men being interested or attracted to other men is not so acceptable. So with slight hesitation I think I am at about 70/30.

Georgiapeach said...

I googled some gay male porn this weekend. It was my first time ever seeing two men having sexual intercourse. It wasn't nearly as repulsive as people lead me to believe. Not at all. Very different but it was still a turn on (maybe I am just

On BBC they have a quiz that you can do to know your brain sex, they also have a quiz that determines if you like more masculine or feminine features:

It's fun.
Great post, and I am loving the comments.

Edtime Stories said...

I dated a woman who had a whole stash of gay porn that she enjoyed. I don't think it is abnormal.
I could never watch it with her though, I just don't see the attraction.
Can't write about it either. It is one of a few things I have trouble with.

Prata said...

One thing you should make note of, is that society and prison society are different. It is a completely parallel culture. So, society very well may teach that male/male sexual relations is wrong/bad. However, that is only today and in America. There have been a great number of cultures (japan, roman, greek, some middle eastern very early day) where homosexuality was in fact an accepted thing. Was it condoned and encouraged? In some cultures yes, in others no; however, they weren't criminalized and considered fundamentally destructive to society as it is today in many/most cultures.

It's very feasible though that sexuality as taught by society is not at all in line with the prison societal structure. They don't necessarily always or even often intersect.

Leesa said...

poetnyc: thanks for the compliment. Imagine creating an account to post a comment. Wow.

GP: I have seen a little, but I have not actively sought it. But you know, if the man was attractive, I still was turned on by the images. I still am a bit turned off with anal, so if that was not there, it was all good.

ed: seems like many women enjoy this type of porn

prata: I don't know much about prison society.

~Deb said...

Hey Leesa,

Great post! I have to say—being a lesbian ‘in my life’---I find that there’s no baggage. There were some obstacles when I was really young---as far as the fear of coming out, but everyone seemed to accept me ‘as is’. I never had a problem with it really. Those who didn’t accept me—-well that was there problem.

Sadly enough, I think your take on ‘appearances’ have something to do with acceptance and the whole outlook on the gay lifestyle. For instance, my mother always said to me, “Please don’t ever start looking like one of those ‘dykes’---keep doing your hair and nails and stay feminine, okay?” As though she was making a deal with me. Here---I’ll let you be gay---if you promise to look like a girl.

Of course the majority of men love looking at two beautiful women have sex in a porno. They’re not ‘real’. (Most of them anyway) They get paid to do that. Look into the real lifestyle of two ‘real lesbians’; two butch women having sex. I think the men would have another take on it. I don’t think they would find it sexy anymore. Well, then again, it does depend on their taste.

Two men together has the same thing. Two beautiful muscular men—hairless chests---clean-cut and just groomed to perfection having sex is pretty sexy… Two lumberjacks doing on another against a tree is a whole other story. The picture in our mind changes.

I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder---and yes---appearance is everything sometimes---when it comes to picturing who’s having sex with who.

Interesting and thought provoking post!

kathi said...

I've not been subject to too much porn, but what I have been didn't really do much for me. What turned me on was watching how much it turned the guy I was with on.

Georgiapeach said...

I don't think I would have ever seen any male gay sex if I had not googled it. It was different but I am glad I confronted it instead of continuing to fear it.

ck_dexter_haven said...

Well stated ~Deb

Lisa said...

Great subject. I think you have given everyone something to think about.

Edtime Stories said...

deb makes a great point. There is a difference between lesbian porn and girl-0n-girl porn. And the fantasy of movies and what happens in real life are always two different things.
I think one of the things that is exciting about that for men who watch women masturbate or have sex with other women taking their sexuality into their own hands (no pun intended). The idea is if they will do that they will do anything....
Anyway Leesa this really sparked some interesting discussion.

Byron said...

I fully agree Leessa..

Giovanna said...

How did I miss this yesterday?

I love this, seriously. I was at work a week or two ago, and we were talking about the Golden Globes, and who looked awful, blah blah... and I said something to effect of Selma Hayek would make me switch teams and everyone at the table practically spit their food out---as if I said something so shocking. There was laughter then, and "oh g, you are a nut, etc" I couldn't help but think they have no idea or regard that I could be really attracted to a women and there is nothing wrong with that, nor does it make me gay.

Great subject.

Leesa said...

~deb: thanks for the thoughtful comments. I was, more than anyone else, wondering what you thought of the post.

And those people in the porn video aren't real? They aren't. Come to think of it, most heterosexual sex may turn people off as well. Think of the average participants, squeezing sex between late night shows.

GP: google is changing our lives.

hot spot: thanks.

byron: thanks.

kathi: I no longer view porn, but that is another story.

g: two things come to mind: (1) who is Selma Hayek? Lots of people think she is attractive and I have not seen her. (2) switching teams - for most of us, sex is not a team sport. When I was younger, that could have been fun, if I had not been so scared of so many aspects of sex.

Sheen V said...

Interesting post and some interesting replies. As ~deb mentioned, porn mostly portrays the 'beautiful' people having sex be they homo or hetero. And the male perspective dominates what is made, so there are a lot of beautiful people having sex in ways that don't always reflect what people are really doing. Its good stuff for fantasies and masturbation, tho.

Kalani said...

I loved this post and did not think it was too long at all. You are a great writer. Fabulous fabulous fabulous.