It was only after my disaffection that I was able to see a pattern in my life indicating that I was not strictly heterosexual. This is part of a series of posts as I try to account for all the pieces to the puzzle of my sexual orientation. By documenting the pieces of the puzzle, I hope to be able to put the picture together. Only by being as completely honest with myself as I can will I be able to understand who I am. This tenth post in the series will try to put the puzzle together.
Well, I have now examined the majority of the pieces. There are probably some missing details that would help the picture a little. Perhaps there are some memories I have forgotten that will surface with time. But I think this is probably sufficient to get an accurate understanding of the content of this puzzle. So, what does the puzzle show? What label is going to be most helpful going forward?
Perhaps the most useful tool for evaluating the puzzle will be the Kinsey scale and Klein grid. Human sexuality cannot be described as a dichotomy of gay and straight (with perhaps bisexuality in the middle). Just as I learned there are many shades of gray between the black and white dichotomy of "Truth" taught by the church, I learned that there is a whole rainbow of color when it comes to human sexuality beyond the extremes of gay and straight. From Wikipedia:
The Kinsey scale attempts to describe a person's sexual history or episodes of their sexual activity at a given time. It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual.Kinsey himself said:
Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.The Kinsey scale is as follows:
While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history... An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life.... A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist." (Kinsey, et al. (1948). pp. 639, 656)
|1||Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual|
|2||Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual|
|3||Equally heterosexual and homosexual; bisexual.|
|4||Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual|
|5||Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual|
(1) Sexual Attraction: To whom are you sexually attracted?
There was my high school girlfriend (until I fell out of love with her), and I am currently sexually attracted to my wife, but there were also numerous mission companions, and I respond readily to pornographic images of men. I'd have to give myself a 5.
(2) Sexual Behaviour: With whom have you actually had sex?
Officially had sex would only be my wife. However, wrestling with my mission companion to the point of nearly climaxing (and I probably would have continued until climax if I hadn't felt so guilty) might count as well. So this would be a 1 for number of encounters, but a 3 for number of partners.
(3) Sexual Fantasies: About whom are your sexual fantasies?
I think most of my sexual fantasies have been about men. I don't recall ever even having a wet dream about women. I have certainly had sexual fantasies about my wife, but she reminds me that those are probably more about ME with my wife, rather than actually about her or her body. So this one is probably a 6.
(4) Emotional preference: Who do you feel more drawn to or close to emotionally?
In general I am emotionally closer to men and seek out male friendships, rather than female friendships. Of course, it was easy to justify shunning women while a missionary or after getting married "so my heart wouldn't wander." On the other hand, I am very emotionally close to my wife and we have a wonderful emotional relationship and I definitely feel like she understands me better than anyone else. This one is probably a 5 when it comes to the number of relationships.
(5) Social preference: Which gender do you socialize with?
So I pretty much spend the majority of my time with my wife, naturally. However, before getting married, I always hung out with the guys. If I had to choose a group to hang out with, I'd probably choose men (as long as they weren't doing too stereotypically male behavior - like watching a sports game). When I helped out with a recruiting event for the med school recently I ended up at the table with all men. Again, this is probably a 5.
(6) Lifestyle preference: In which community do you like to spend your time? In which do you feel most comfortable?
So I spend most of my time in a heterosexual community, but I have spent an increasing amount of time in the MoHo queerosphere and have felt very comfortable there. I would probably be more comfortable in a homosexual environment if I could get past some of my latent homophobia. So maybe I'll put myself at a 3 right now.
(7) Self-identification: How do you label or identify yourself?
So until recently I identified as heterosexual, then I switched to bisexual to reconcile homosexual feelings with being married heterosexually. Some people interpret the Kinsey scale to mean that anything other than a 0 and a 6 means a person is bisexual. Others interpret the Kinsey scale to mean that only if you are a 3 can you be called bisexual. Overall I think I'm probably a 5 on the Kinsey scale (and I've noticed a sharp turn in my attractions toward the homosexual spectrum since I started to accept my homosexuality). I definitely can't claim to be equally attracted to men and women, even with the abundance of attraction I feel for my wife, so I don't think bisexual is the correct label for me. I guess I'll embrace the homosexual label. Looks like people were right: "Bi now, gay later." I'll put myself as a 5, my wife is a very important exception to my general homosexuality.
And yet, despite accepting myself as homosexual with a 5 on the Kinsey scale, something I read on a website I can no longer find early in my journey, comes back to me. I was researching bisexuality and the site was geared toward a younger questioning audience and said that perhaps the defining question on what being bisexual means is: Who do you see yourself growing old with? And the answer to that is an unequivocal Madam Curie. Our relationship is fantastic on so many levels and I've never met another person who connects so well emotionally or intellectually with me, who understands me so well, or who accepts me so unconditionally. We have built so much together in our life together and I can only see myself in a committed relationship with her. I love her so much! And our sex life, while perhaps unique, works wonderfully well for us.
So, I am gay, and I'm happily, ecstatically married to the most wonderful partner in the whole world. On to figuring out how to make this MOM thing work . . .