So, earlier today, TheFerrett posted this commentary (you need a Fetlife account to read it) on the cultural trend of straight-identified men interacting with other men sexually while continuing to insist that they are straight.
For those of you who have followed my writing or spent time talking to me about my journey, you may know that I have grappled with the question of my own orientation and identity a number of times over the last several years.
In December of 2011, I wrote a post called What Makes You Bi?. This was one of the first times that I openly acknowledged that I wasn’t 100% sure that the identity of “straight” was completely accurate for me.
About a year ago, I started to say and write that Kink Is My Sexual Orientation. At this point, I have been able to determine that my desire for BDSM exceeds my sexual desire. I have written many times since that given the choice between a completely non-sexual kink experience or a completely non-kinky sexual experience, I will take the kink every time, and I don’t particularly care about the demographics of the individual in question. If we connect through a shared kink, I am down to play.
That confuses things. And to make it more twisty, I have more and more people around me that don’t fit into the binary genders. My wife identifies as gender fluid and we have spent a lot of (very wonderful) time together playing and having sex with her presenting as masculine. There is someone I know who has recently begun transitioning from female to male. I was attracted to them when I first met them as a female. I am still attracted to them now that they are identifying as male. I don’t know what that means for my evolving identity/orientation.
While it hasn’t actually come up, yet, I would have no objection to interacting sexually with a male in the right context. Does that make me bisexual? Once it has actually happened (given the people in my life and their desires, I believe it is a “when”, not an “if”), will I be bisexual, then?
I don’t know. What I have been saying for years is that I base my identity and orientation on my desire, not my behavior. And the fact is that I have not (to my knowledge) ever felt sexual attraction towards someone who was born male or who exhibits the standard characteristics of a cis-male. I’m not against it, it just hasn’t ever happened.
But if I am connecting that to what I said about kink being my primary orientation, then I also have to acknowledge the fact that sexual attraction is no longer a primary or necessary factor in who I pursue as a partner. And if that is true, and if, as I said, I actively desire and pursue play with men, then maybe it’s time to re-think my identity as “straight”.
The Ferrett’s post made me think about this is a more intentional way, today, but the fact is that this has been on my mind for a while. So for now, I think the best thing to do (and what I have done) is set my orientation to fluctuating/evolving and just refer people here for the longer and more complicated explanation of my orientation.
If you don’t understand it, that’s ok. I don’t either. And while I am working to figure it out, I also want to be clear that this isn’t keeping me up at night or anything. I am not so tied to my identity that the prospect of making a change is terrifying to me. I am lucky in that way. I have a lot of really awesome people in my life and absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they will continue to be supportive and non-judgmental as I continue to try and figure all of this out.