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:
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.
(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!)