Hetero-, Bi- or Homosexual?

In your opinion, what are the criteria for being heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual? In another thread, a male stated that he had had sex with another male in the past, but that he was totally heterosexual. I kinda’ thought that would make someone bisexual. Can a man have sex with another man and still call himself heterosexual? (Let’s assume that the sex was not done for money, ie. a porno movie or prostitution.) Does it have nothing to do with sex at all, and only to do with one’s feelings for the same/opposite sex? Mind you, it makes absolutely NO difference to me what someone considers themselves. Personnaly, I could care less, as long as they’re happy people. I’m just curious what the general consensus is on where the lines are drawn.

I saw the post you mention. I guess one possibility would be that he tried it with another guy and decided it wasn’t for him. I’ve read that the same sex encounters that occur in prisons are participated in by people who do not perceive themselves as homosexual.

A parallel thought, or let’s make it into a question, regards change. I knew a guy who announced to the world that he was gay in college. Ten years later, he had decided he was straight. There’s a mannerisms thread going on currently, so I’ll note that this guy is a bodybuilder who really never manifested a gay demeanor. Anyway, I haven’t seen him in a few years, so I don’t know what the story is now. There are manny instances of people “coming out” in their 50’s and 60’s, after having been married and raised kids. I guess the common wisdom is that they suppressed their homosexual desires for a long time. But is it not possible that some people’s sexual orientation might change?

That would be another answer to the question brought up by the statement of the poster we both reference.

I have known men who have had sex with a man and come out of it saying “it mainly verified to me that I am a heterosexual”.

“Cluemobile? You’ve got a pickup…”
OpalCat’s site: http://opalcat.com
The Teeming Millions Homepage: fathom.org/teemingmillions

That’s true, Opal, though it brings to mind a funny line:

“Change one pipe and it don’t make you a plummer. But you suck one dick…!”

I think you can call yourself any damn thing you want to. I don’t care and why would anyone else, unless they want to sleep with you as well…

Okay, I know a LOT of people do care. Doesn’t mean I have to think they’re right or anything…

Yer pal,

Gay, Bi, or Hetero simply describes your sexual preference. If you are attracted only to the opposite sex, you’re hetero. If you’re turned on by both sexes, you’re bi. If you’re only turned on by the same sex, you’re gay.

Whatever experiences you have in your past is irrelevant.

I second dhanson with that thought. You are gay, bi, or straight depending on who you are attracted to. The one clause I would like to add is that many people lie to themselves about being gay. That is one reason why gay people you often don’t see younger people who “are gay”. They stay in the closet until they are at a place in their lives where the repercussions for coming out are less.


“People’s Poet don’t die, we’ll kill ourselves if you do, but first we’ll take off all our clothes.” The Young Ones

I think it’s a matter of self-definition. There are gay men, there are bi men, there are bi men who only sleep with men, there are straight men who sleep with men; there are straight women, there are straight women who have sex with women, there are bi women, there are straight women who self-identify as lesbians for political reasons, there are lesbians who sleep with men. It’s all a matter of self definition and it’s silly and unhumanist to presume to impose a label on someone that s/he disagrees with based on an inventory of their partners’ genitals.

dhanson said:

How can you possibly say this and mean it? Life experience and genetic predisposition are the two things that determine a person’s sexual orientation, as well as everything else about us.

Whether it was bad experiences with members of the opposite sex, or the same sex, or behaviors you observed in your parents, or whatever, a lot of your sexual behavior depends on what happened to you before you woke up this morning. I’m not going to say that some aren’t “born gay,” but I’m certain that nearly as many people’s sexual orientation is founded largely on experience, not genetics.

A relevant quote comes to mind, from the great American philosopher Andrew “Dice” Clay:

“What do these people do, wake up in the morning and flip a coin to decide? ‘Heads I want hair-pie; tails, BALLS ACROSS DA NOSE!!’”

Thank you.

–Da Cap’n

Cap’n said

Wow, that seemed rude…I thought I was in the pit for a minute…

Anyway, it seems that if we spent more time as a society worrying about our own lives and what’s going on, we wouldn’t have to worry about what to call people. Who really cares?

re:OP, I don’t think that a same sex experience “makes” you anything…it’s the life you live that defines who you are.

Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

I have had sex with men in the past, but I consider myself a lesbian, because my first schoolgirl crushes were all on other girls, and I am attracted to women more often and more consistently than I am to men. So I agree, it’s not who you do, it’s why you do them that matters.

Not rude, Zette – Crude. Cap’n Rude is the guy in the next office. :slight_smile:

Cap’n Crude - I said it matters who you are now. If your past experiences make you who you are, then they matter. I can have sex with men all my life, but if I wake up one day and find out I’m only attracted to women, then from that day forward I’m heterosexual. I’m not saying that that is likely (or maybe even possible), but simply that the defining criterion is what my preferences are NOW.

I’ve only ever had sex with men, but I’ve been sexually attracted to other women. (Not that I’ve been brave enough to actually do anything about it.)

What’s that make me? As far as experience goes, I guess I’m heterosexual, but as far as attraction goes, I’m bisexual, right?

(As I said once to a gay man who commented on my rainbow t-shirt: “I’m not a lesbian, but if Angelina Jolie came to my house, I would be very easy to convince.”)

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

dhanson –

You’re right with your last comment, but only if you live in a vacuum. While the matter of your sexuality may be resolved for you, there’s the question of what all your acquaintances believe you are and how they treat you based on that.

Imagine we follow your scenario: you’ve been homosexual al your life. Your friends know this. Your family probably knows this. The guys you’ve banged certainly know this. Let’s say you wake up one morning and think to yourself, “Self, we’ve been fooling ourselves. Women are the only people we’re gonna screw from now on.” Congratulations – you are now heterosexual.

One problem though – who will believe you? Unless you move to a new town and change your name, everybody who knows you will think of you as gay. After all those years, those people can’t switch gears like that, even assuming you yourself can. Most women who find out you used to be gay will probably be turned off because of that. You’ll alienate all your gay friends and lovers, most likely. You’ll still be on the mailing list for magazines like “Manhole” and “First Hand.” I know it sounds like a negation of free will, but your sexual orientation doesn’t necessarily change just because you change who you want to have sex with.

–Da Cap’n

I agree with all of you except Cap’n Crude. As I said in the No Straight Man… thread, I think our labels are often inadequate descriptions of reality. For those who missed my post: I explained that I had had several homosexual(and some odd heterosexual) experiences during a very rebellious time of my life. Likewise, I shot heroin a few times; I’m not a junkie, either.
I haven’t had sex with a guy in 15 years. Maybe 1 out of 100 guys look sexually attractive to me. About 50% of all women do.
I’m not comfortable with the word straight, I’m not gay, and I’m not bi, except maybe in theory. None of the labels really fit. Can I just be sexual? And can my race be human? :slight_smile:

I think that dhanson’s definition is too rigid. By dhanson’s def, the vast majority would be bisexual (more than would admit it, of course), and that doesn’t seem to describe things very well.

FWIW, here’s how I’d lay it down, being intentionally a bit nebulous:

If you prefer the opposite sex to the degree that same sex encounters are unlikely or are unlikely to go beyond basic experimentation, you are straight.

If you prefer the same sex to the degree that opposite sex encounters are unlikely or are unlikely to go beyond basic experimentation, you are gay.

If you have enough attraction to both sexes so that you could have a real relationship with either sex than you are bisexual.

BTW TennHippie, I would call you straight. :slight_smile:

My dad was married for 15 years, yet at this point in his life, it would be very unapt to call him anything but gay.



(courtesy of Bloom County – Berke Breathed is the only person who ever spelled that sound correctly, IMHO)

But seriously, your statement

is absolutely right. Please understand that I don’t much care for labels either. I’m just pursuing this discussion according to the parameters of the OP. I like to argue, y’see. Devil’s Advocate is a time-honored profession, and I take my responsibilities seriously. While the labels we use may be inadequate, and wouldn’t be used at all in an ideal world, this isn’t an ideal world. My purpose was to portray the likely reaction among the general public.

–Da Cap’n

Cap’n: What if you’ve been Baptist all your life, and mostly associating with Baptists, then you get to know Muslims, come to realize that Baptism isn’t meeting your needs, and decide to become Muslim? Are you alternately Baptist around the first group and Muslim around the other? Or could it be that only the individual can say what they are?

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

Rilchiam said:

There’s a very long argument that goes with this, but I’ll sum it up in brief: “No.”

Yes, we all have the right of self-determination, and to follow our beliefs and practices as long as they’re not hurting anybody. But guess what? The rest of the world has the right to ignore your assertions.

Let’s take your Baptist/Muslim proposal. Please note that this is FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT from the hetero/bi/homosexual question which started this thread. That is, unless sexual desire is merely a matter of choice, or religion is a fundamental part of one’s genetic makeup.

The Baptists you knew from church will, by and large, continue to think of you as a Baptist, albeit a lapsed, sinful, or misguided one. The Muslims will think of you as a Baptist who is converting over, and may even call you Muslim, but they will treat you very differently than they would somebody who was raised in the faith. This state of affairs will last many years in all likelihood, until you establish a new identity for yourself in the minds of others. It’s not as easy as it sounds – you don’t simply make a declaration that you’re changing gods and expect anybody to change their minds. My brother converted from Judaism (which he never followed, though he was Bar Mitzvah and confirmed) to Lutheran (which he doesn’t follow, save to wear a crucifix sometimes and make my mom’s blood pressure rise). As much as we’d like it to be this easy, redefining oneself is not an instant process.

Back to the sexual orientation thing now. If you’re a gay man, and you suddenly decide that men’s asses are disgusting and women’s asses are wonderful, you are what you say you are when you’re talking to yourself, or maybe to a therapist – I’d recommend seeing one, 'coz even though we’ve reached the conclusion that homosexuality isn’t a mental illness, changing orientation overnight probably is. The jocks who used to beat you up will still call you a faggot. The women you used to go out with for latte and shopping will be freaked out if you start trying to be a boyfriend. (The exceptions are the women who secretly want to “convert” you to straight, for whatever reason they do things like that.) Very few people who find out you used to be gay will just accept your current straightness. Since we only have the three labels straight, gay, and bi, they’ll probably label you bisexual even if you never want to suck another dick as long as you live.

At no point have I suggested that this is how things should be. Nor have I said that labels are a good thing. I’m just trying to bring this discussion into the real world, which is the only place where it matters.

Now my question is this: let’s say you’re an elf a la JRR Tolkien, and you give up your immortality to live among humans – as Arwen was prepared to do, and as Gilthoniel did long ago. Are you now an elf? A human? One of the Half-Elven? Or a freak?

–Da Cap’n