Happy Coming Out Day everyone. I didn’t know that was a thing, but apparently it is. I love celebrating things, so it’s right up my alley. Tomorrow I think I’ll take a moment to celebrate Old Farmers, Native Americans or Arthritis. Can I instead triple down and celebrate old Native American farmers with arthritis? I think there’d be more than zero of them.
I digress though (which would’ve been the name of the site if I wasn’t so doubtful of its relevance), it’s not Old Farmers Day yet and I completely missed World Porridge Day yesterday, which is possibly the most relevant day of the year for me. Also I can’t believe there’s no Dre Day. Almost like the world forgot about Dre or something.
Dammit, I was supposed to stop digressing. It’s Coming Out Day today, so I thought I’d talk about stuff. Keep in mind anything I say is from a relatively heteronormative cis male point of view, so there’s a likelihood I’ll end up slipping on pronouns and the like. No offence intended, but I apologise if it happens.
So there was a thing called the Kinsey Scale that the character from Mad Men made. For years it’s felt outdated and in need of a refresher, but props still go to trying to look at this wonderful phenomena of same sex attraction through an academic lens. Recently there’s been a link floating around social media containing a new scale of sexual orientation. Langdon Parks from r/asexuality proposed a new way of looking at things. It looks a little something like this. Take your time, digest it a bit.
I’ve been thinking for a while about sexual orientation and my sexual orientation in particular. While I’m not personally fond of the idea of labels (likely as some form of internalised privilege, feeling like they’re not necessary because I don’t stray far from socially expected heteronormative boxes), the idea of concrete boundaries at least allow me the idea to reflect on what it is that appeals and draws me closer, also where I choose to define lines. There’s a definite correlation between dabbling more in sex-positive circles and the idea of exploring how I feel about same sex exploration. I’ve kissed a few guys, more as experimentation to see if it’s my kind of thing, but haven’t interacted in anything more sexual than that. Not because I have an issue with it, but purely because I didn’t feel like I was seeking it out. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to female bodied persons, but I find the softness of body I innately crave intimacy with isn’t present in other male bodies.
I looked at the above scale and it still seems too simplistic to adopt for a spectrum. Perhaps because it was created for an asexual forum, the “E” rating seems almost a bit judgemental of hyper-sexuality and doesn’t leave much shade for gradients. I also think that giving yourself one distinct letter across the board makes the mistake of attaching the same weight of attraction and sexual desire with all partners. For instance with some partners I might be an E, others could be D or anywhere down to A. I can also be attracted to people without wanting to have sex with them. I could (and have) become intellectually enraptured with a person but not desire congress. The issues go deeper than that, but you need to start somewhere. It’s not a perfect tool, but I’m sure it works well for some.
Where it has worked for me though, is it’s made me consider how I feel about same sex interaction and what I actually desire. I’ve never considered myself a complete “0” on the Kinsey Scale, but I’ve felt that other numbers haven’t quite helped either. I often see men on the street and find them attractive, but rarely does that attraction come with tangible desire. I’m not sure if that’s something that calls to me. Who knows? I could see some dude and out of the blue be all “I want my bits to mash with his”. I’m not closed off to it, but it hasn’t happened yet. What I do find that I seek is intimacy of another sort. Looking at the scale, I find that my attraction to other males probably lies somewhere around a “B”. I crave emotionally intimate relationships with other males. I want to be able to share feelings and a certain closeness that classic heteronormative structures don’t approve of. Hugs, reassuring touches on the back or the shoulder that let me know I’m valued and loved, the ability to share private things without being castigated for having emotional openness. I want to know that I can be myself without having to hide behind an absurd list of stoic rules about what defines masculinity. At the end of the day, socialised gender dichotomies are just an artificial construction and you’re attracted to what you’re attracted to.
Go out there and have fun. Just don’t leave stains on the carpet.