Curves straight ahead

Friday, November 26, 2010

Question

I'm a 30 year-old man and I've had a bit of a recurring problem that I first became aware of back in high school. The girl I was in love with at the time asked if I might find men attractive. I think my answer was along the lines of "Well, I could point out which I think are better looking than others, but that doesn't mean I want to make out with him or fuck him".

Since then, I've had several people either deride me for 'being' gay or allude to the idea in various ways. Throughout my twenties, I often wrestled with the question, loosing sleep and generally feeling depressed for months on end whenever I was reminded of the notion that I was in denial and everybody knew something I didn't want to admit. (FYI, I'm not homophobic. I've had gay friends in the past that even hit on me, but I politely turned them down). 

I've only ever slept with women (couple dozen), however I'll be forthcoming and say I have lost my erection with a few of those partners. I use porn (almost daily), but naked women in strip clubs have never made me hard. I often gladly admire the myriad beautiful women in the world but I wouldn't consider myself sexually aggressive or competitive. I'm not very good at approaching women confidently—which I think contributes to people's false beliefs. I thought I'd reached a point in my life where I was secure with my heterosexuality but apparently I was wrong. Yet I refuse to accept that I might be gay or even bi since I am not turned on by men. So why am I still susceptible to people's judgments?

Answer

Hmm…I’ve been poring over the official guidelines for what constitutes non-homophobic behaviour and I can’t find “politely turning down same sex advances in the past” anywhere. Does anyone have a more updated version they can send me that might contain this passage? I’ve also had a good look at my copy of Signs That You Are Straight (with particular attention to the chapter "Hard and Fast Rules") and I can’t find anything specific to genital response in strip clubs and the ability to maintain an erection during every single heterosexual encounter. Clearly what this situation requires is a good phrenologist—unfortunately experts in this field stopped practicing in the late 1800s. I guess it’s up to me and me alone to unravel this zany mess. 

When a suggestion vexes or depresses you, some people might say it’s because you have a phobia of this suggestion. Now, I’m sure your friends and colleagues making this suggestion are nice people so I hope you don’t mind me telling them to fuck off. Here’s why:

Making arch proclamations about someone’s perceived orientation is in fact, bullying. AND WE ALL KNOW WHERE THAT LEADS. Speculating about someone’s sexuality, to their face or otherwise, also implies that there is detrimental behaviour afoot. Even if this were the case, when an intervention is staged in response to self-abuse, it is not done in a way that is designed to engender fear or humiliation or service peoples’ heedless desire to gossip and create drama. 

If you are in fact queer, people needling you that you’re “in denial” clearly isn’t helping. It only creates a situation where you are reluctant to share or explore for fear of justifying peoples’ self-serving remarks. You are in no way beholden to anyone to provide evidence that you are not gay. Who you fuck and why is your fucking business. (But thank you so much for contributing to my income by turning the issue over to me.) And since you did…

Why are you susceptible to—and by that you mean insulted by—peoples’ judgments? Because you are homophobic. That you have been rendered depressed and sleepless by the implication are obvious signs of this. That you equate sexually aggressive and competitive behaviour with heterosexuality is another, more subtle one.