I think that in 1992 in my Advanced Placement Psychology class I was exposed to the work of Alfred Kinsey, and it made a ton of sense to me. At the time, I had a girlfriend who probably most people knew was my girlfriend, and my parents were disturbed by it and made me leave my bedroom door open suddenly in my sophomore year and bought bunk beds for me–hahahaha, neither were a deterrent. Anyway, I started thinking today about how overly simplistic his research was, and it was the ubiquitous white man research which was common until very recently. Also, it was likely a self-of-therapist activity for him because he was actively bi-sexual and his wife was cool with it, which is super evolved for the 20s and 30s. Again, lucky that he was a white, educated guy and could act on his orientation.
So, it’s a 0-6 point scale and you had to, through interview, talk about your sexual experiences with people so Kinsey and his researchers could determine your sexuality. It’s pretty concrete and reductive. “0” meant that you were heterosexual and “6” meant that you were homosexual. Men would sometimes say in interview that they only received oral sex from other men and that they were decidedly straight. It sounds much like conversations that I had with straight girls in college who said that they were virgins and had provided oral sex all weekend, and every weekend at fraternity parties to 18-20-year-old guys.
Kinsey himself knew that sexual behavior changes over time. I think it’s helpful for me to think about that because at least one of the reasons that my marriage ended was because my ex-wife wants to explore men. I actually think that the sexual thing will have to be shaped, but in terms of my friendships with men, they’ll be a good match for her. She’s really quiet and in her head. Men, who I have been friends with anyway, have shorter conversations with me, unless they want to talk specifically about music, books or an activity. Women, who I’ve known, tend to flow through tons of topics in one sitting. One of my friends was playing pickleball with three girlfriends and the men playing on the court next to them said, “Please stop, you’ve definitely filled your word quota today.”
After I graduated from high school, I spent at least 6-years REALLY wanting to be heterosexual. Much of it was because my brother was killed and I’m a surviving child and wanted to produce offspring and become conventional in the eyes of my mother. My Dad was so easy to come out to when I did so with nearly everyone at the age of 33. He said, “Live your life and be happy.” My Mom never dealt with it nor did she accept it; although, she adored my ex-wife. My Mom tended to worry about me anyway so I’m sure that she got a lot of solace when my ex-wife told her that she was going to take good care of me the afternoon before my Mom died. I used to call my Mom coming off a mountain or two from the highway so she wouldn’t know what I’d just done.
I spent 9-years married to a man. He’s bookish and introverted. He does that thing too wherein he can’t read body language and won’t tie up a conversation in which it can alter into a monologue. Sexually speaking there were some things that I have no interest in at all. Additionally, I just look at male arms and sometimes legs. I think that I’m envious of the amount of lean muscle. It’s not a thing that I want to touch. I feel 5ish.
Kinsey was completing this interview research in the 50s and then in the mid-80s it was detailed and looked at from the lens of ensuring that gay and lesbian people were appropriately sampled in the research. What now with folks who are decidedly bisexual or pansexual? What about people who don’t have any sexual inkling for whatever reason and are asexual? Of course many of these orientations are also related to gender identity and maybe somewhat gender expression. That would have to be included too.
Kinsey’s construct made sense to me when I was 18 and 19 and now that I’m not only reflecting on my life, and also talking to people about sexuality and gender, I wonder what truly applies on a 0-6 scale? My best friend told me a couple of weeks ago, “All women are bisexual.” I don’t think that is true. I think that what you’ve explored physically for people who are not asexual gives you good information, and I like that now I know that will change over time. I asked her if she and her husband ever swung with a couple and she said that freaked him out when he was asked and that he wants to be her everything. No one is complete for anyone. That is bizarre. It applies to sex too, I would imagine. I’m thinking about people, sexuality, gender and where people are with their own 0-6.
[…] thinking is inflexible. It is. It’s a scale. Lots of women lean toward the middle on Kinsey. It would be so cool to find some 5-6 scale women on either or both coasts and some 3-4 women who […]