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Know Thyself: How Homo Are You?

Perhaps Know Thyself (KT) polls will become a regular feature…it’s so important to really put time and effort into understanding your own darker corners, and there are so many questions that are so easy to avoid…like this one:

How Homo Are You?

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I think society makes this question way too easy for most people to avoid, by giving the usual possible answers as “all”, “half” or “none”.  Those might be good basic answers for teenagers to wrestle with, but they’re insanely oversimplified if you’re talking about almost any sexually-active adult human being.  The barely-defined, simplified labels let us rest on our social laurels, confident that now that we’ve grabbed a tag (“gay”, “straight”, “bi”), we can tuck it away and be done thinking about it.

Not in my book, yo.  One of the fundamental principles of Knowing Thyself is that the harder a question is to ask, the more important it probably is that you answer it. Easy questions like “do you prefer the city or the country”  won’t tell you half what you’ll learn about yourself by honestly answering something really prickly.  (And as topics go, sex is almost always prickly!)

For me, Knowing Thyself is half about development, and half about knowing where the wasp in the room is.  For a topical example, when I thought I was simply “straight”, it upset me greatly when I found myself thinking or responding in ways that didn’t fit that label.  (And it’s not about lifestyle — a normal adult is going to encounter things that challenge them sexually.  All living a restrictive lifestyle will do is make it harder to deal with some challenges when they come — whereas knowing yourself will make it easier.)

Approaching the question honestly, I realized that I am in fact about 10% homo — a percentage I mostly arrived at by gut feeling, but which I can sum up as “I automatically fixate on men, am happy in a hetero marriage, and could probably go my whole life without acting on my attraction to women…but it is there.”  Having that realization really let me relax and not worry about it…Which is great because obviously it’s nothing to worry about!

So there’s another fundamental principle:  The known is always less scary than the unknown, and fear of ourselves is never helpful.

In slightly-related news, this is a rather shallow, but interesting, article on how species that have designated “non-reproducing” members have a gigantic evolutionary advantage.  You can’t draw any real conclusions about people from the article, but it’s still a neat idea.

Non-Reproducing Organisms Vital to Species Success | Wired Science

(I didn’t actually write this in response to California’s recent stupidity, but I would like to take the opportunity here to extend them a hearty middle finger and a Certificate of BassAckwardness!)

3 comments

1 Jadelyn { 05.27.09 at 11:26 pm }

I think another interesting thing to consider here is that, given the three basic categories we’re socially allowed (hetero, homo, bi)…at what percentages do we take on various identities? I’m one of those who identified as 70%. Depending on who’s asking, I’ll either call myself bi, queer, or if I’m really wanting to be specific, mostly-lesbian bisexual. But there have also been times when I’ve identified as lesbian when asked, because that was what felt right to me at that time. Is 70% an acceptable threshold to ID as lesbian, if I’m going to stay with one of the big three descriptors, or do I stick with bi? Would 80% be enough? 90? 100? Where is the line? How homo can one be before one should identify as something other than straight?

Long way of saying, this is why I like the term queer. It encompasses it all, for me.

2 puredoxyk { 05.28.09 at 10:11 am }

Yes, having only a handful of labels that are socially understood makes things harder for everybody, I think. Of course, not too long ago we didn’t even really have “bisexual”, so it’s not as if things aren’t improving…just way, way too slowly.

Personally, I’m all about giving people the room to identify themselves however they choose to, including with an explanation if necessary — don’t ask if you don’t want an answer, including one that might not easily fit a common category. Then again, I also think more people should take advantage of “don’t ask”, and keep their noses out of business what isn’t theirs…or at least realize when they’re crossing a line and be accordingly polite.

3 Bruce N. Stein { 05.28.09 at 11:38 am }

I chose 10% as I like chicks plain and simple. However, I don’t find male affection repulsive by any stretch, and do have a (mostly academic) interest in it in regards to my own experimentations. However, there’s also a very specific (and hilarious) m/m/f situation that I have on my “List of Things to Do Before I Die”, and accomplishing such would require at least some level of “teh gay”. It is the case, though, that the f/f/m situations that are locked in my head are far more numerous and much more preferably. However, none of them are on my List… huh.