Saturday, January 20, 2007

I've been mulling this post over for a while, what I wanted to say, how to say it. I'm still not sure it's going to make any sense to anyone else, but what the hell, it's worth a shot.

I'm trying to find a way to describe where I fit on the spectrum of sexual orientation, and of gender identity, and it's not easy. On the surface, to anyone who doesn't know me very well, I look like a very normal person these days. Looks can be deceiving.

Let's start with orientation. I'm bisexual. I've known that since before I knew what the word meant. I'm not right in the middle of the Kinsey scale though, not exactly. When I was in my teens (and younger) I leaned more towards women, and now I seem to lean more towards men. I'm not quite sure why exactly, and I suspect it may be partly because right now I know very few women who could potentially interest me in a sexual way. For some off reason I seem to find myself surrounded by women who are very vanilla, very conventional, and that doesn't really work for me on a sexual level. Even the ones I find physically attractive I suspect I would find very boring in bed.

So that brings us to the men. The older I get the more I seem to be drawn to men on a very visceral level (keep that word visceral in mind, it will be coming up again later). The interesting thing is that the men I find most attractive aren't really particularly "masculine" in a lot of ways.

This is nothing new, of course - I was a teenage goth, so it's not as if androgynous pretty boys are anything new. It is interesting, though - why do I have pretty much no sexual interest in the type of men mainstream Western culture says I'm supposed to find sexy? Athletes with big bulging muscles leave me cold. Overtly macho behaviour turns me off (it turns me off when it's women doing it too, but more about that later). What most people describe as "ruggedly handsome" I perceive as hideously ugly. In fact, it took me until my early twenties to realise that "rugged" wasn't a code word for "Chow Chow the Dog Faced Boy", to realise that other people meant it as a compliment.

I like men who are beautiful. Delicate pretty features, big sparkly eyes, soft skin...basically the men that I love look very much like the evo-psych model of what men are supposed to find attractive in women. Except that, without exception, they all also have something savage about them, something raw and visceral. If they don't then I don't find them sexy, no matter how pretty they are.I think it's a contrast thing.

I like men who are like me. I like men who are adept at operating in polite society, who have perfect manners and strong social skills and a sense of style - but who underneath it all are completely in touch with their dark side. I like them because they are my own reflection.I've never bought the idea that opposites attract. My opposite would be someone ultra-conventional, someone who believed that the traditional way to do things is usually the right one, someone who thinks that the way things are now is just fine. Either that or it would be someone soft and New Age-ey, a lover of Deepak Chopra and angel iconography. I have both kinds of people, and I don't like them. These people and I do not attract, we repel.

So, beautiful men. Pretty boys. Bishonen. That's what works for me. I married one, after all. It occurs to me that many of the men I find sexy would be assumed to be gay by most people. A former boyfriend of mine always was, although in fact he was bi.

And there's another thing. These pretty boys I love? I also love to see them playing with each other. It amuses me that people always assume that if within a couple one person is bi it must be the women, and if they bring in a third party that will also be another woman. That hasn't been the case for me. I used to encourage my ex to hit on guys in clubs just so I could watch him kiss them. Sometimes we used to sneak off into dark corners and both kiss them together. Sometimes we used to do the same thing in public, locked in a tangle of sweat and heat and lust, revelling in the fact that all eyes were on us. Sometimes we used to take them home with us. Sometimes I used to watch my darling boy fuck those other boys. He never let them fuck him, though, because the only person allowed to fuck him was me.

There's the other part. I used to be very much into BSDM. I seem to have drifted away from the scene over the years, mostly because I got bored. I'm not much for rituals, really - generally I live my life in a pretty random way, and after a while I felt like a hamster on a wheel doing the same things over and over again.

That's not the only reason, though, although I didn't realise it at the time. The deeper reason is that I didn't feel like there was a place for me there. What do you call a person who's dominant, who's rough and aggressive and loves skinny boys at least in part because she can throw them around in bed, but who isn't attracted to submissives? Who is in fact rather turned off by people who are submissive in day to day life, but who has a personality that for some reason seems to attract men who want to be dominated?

What I seem to want most is things that feel visceral. Visceral sex, visceral music. Those seem to be the parts of my life where I feel free to let this part of my personality out to play. I'm constantly drawn towards and fascinated with other people who seem to work the same way.

So we're back to the beginning again. I like men who are like me. Soft and pretty and civilised on the surface and all sharp teeth and claws underneath. I like women who are like me, too, although there seem to be less of them out there. Not surprising, since the main aim of patriarchy seems to be to make damn sure that women's teeth and claws are permanently removed.

What do you call someone like me?I'm kind of drawn to the term genderfuck. That sounds right to me, somehow. I look very gender-congruent on the surface, but my personality is anything but. I like men who can often be mistaken for women, at least facially. I don't like butch women, though, which is odd, at least not in a sexual way.

So, once again, where do I fit into the big confusing mess that is gender theory, or queer theory?

That's not a rhetorical question by the way, I really am asking. Because all the recent talk about trans people and differing schools of feminist thought has got me thinking. I've been thinking for years, really, and I still don't know how to define myself. I'd be curious to hear what other people think. Maybe someone more steeped in queer theory than me has a better vocabulary. Maybe there are even other people like we out there.

Side note - the song I'm listening too is AWESOME, and fits my mood perfectly. Hell, it fits my personality perfectly. Download it here.

Dir En Grey - Hydra
password = hydra


belledame222 said...

i...dunno how or even as i'd try to define you, but you do sound like a lot of fun...

i like my boys pretty, too, insofar as i do like 'em at all. i, but i suspect that while i may not be a Kinsey 6, i'm probably higher than 3, at least.

Cassandra Says said...

Why thank you...
I still don't know where to place myself on the scale either. I would have called myself a pure 3 in my teens, but now...maybe a 2?
Eh, maybe I'm just meeting really boring women. I'm not discounting that as a possibility either - if I moved back to London I might feel quite differently.

Cassandra Says said...

I think the reason I'm mulling it over is that I'm not sure that I should be calling myself queer. I do live with a man after all, and I'm not likely to hook up with a woman in the near future because, you know, monogamy and all that. In the past I have been told very firmly by lesbians that the moment I decided to move in with a man I lost the right to call myself queer or anything similar.

Zan said...

I do believe you're my long-lost twin. Everything you wrote rings soooo true to me. And if you want to call yourself queer, you should. It's what I use for myself. I'm not a lesbian, because I love men too much, but I'm not straight either, because I love women too much. So, I'm stuck. Oh well :)

Unfortunately, I keep meeting boring everything :(
I'm hoping that changes soon, since I've only been in this city for a few months. Plus, I'm really damned close to New Orleans. That's gotta be good for something ;)

And I totally get what you mean about liking men who seem soft and pretty but have something dark and savage about them. Gods, how I've tried to explain that! I don't like true subs, because come on, I don't wanna have to make every damned decision. But I can't handle 'macho' either. There's gotta be a better mix.

Cassandra Says said...

Zan - Yep. I drifted away from the organized BSDM scene mostly because I had a hard time finding people who were a good match for me. True subs I don't care for at all - they bore me. I'm way too bossy and agressive to be a sub myself, so I found myself kind of not fitting into any of the pre-established categories. For some reason it was easier in London - the scene here in CA I didn't care for at all.
There IS a better mix. It's just hard to find. Those people are like gold dust.