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Bisexuality – The Pandora’s Box
Articles - Sexuality
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 16 April 2006 03:31
Last week, Pleinelune discussed the scientific position on bisexuality. Today, she shall exposit on the troubles bisexuals face.

So, one fine day, Pleinelune logged on to her computer, and immoralfear alerted her to a Fridae article, named The Bisexual Boogie Man. After one read through it, Pleinelune had to take a walk around the house to calm myself down. It is one thing to be reading homophobic trash at some anti-gay website, but entirely another to be reading a biphobic article on Asia’s largest gay portal.

Then Pleinelune came back to face my second heart attack: the comments on the article. Surely, Pleinelune thought, people would be bashing the author for such idiotic trash. Instead, Pleinelune found her Sapphic sisters bashing bisexuals. Among the expletives and insults thrown were ‘bisexuals cannot be trusted’, ‘get out’, ‘greedy’ and ‘liars’.

[Slightly out of point, but tangentially relevant: this author’s personal favourite comment is ‘pure passive lesbians r different, they're born 2 detest men & they r e 1s who really stays...’ Everytime she looks at this, she doesn’t know whether to laugh, cry or pound her head against the wall]

Alright, stepping back from that article for a moment, let’s review what bisexuals have been charged with, in the court of Homopolis.

Bisexuals…

1. are just ‘pretending’ to be gay or straight for reasons unknown, or in denial
2. cannot make up their minds between men and women
3. will leave their lesbian lovers for a man eventually
4. …are just in transition to being gay
5. are promiscuous
6. [insert your favourite misconception about bisexuals]

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:39
 
Bisexuality – The Scientific Perspective
Articles - Sexuality
Written by Indu   
Monday, 10 April 2006 03:32

This is the first part of a three-part series on bisexuality. This article explores bisexuality from a scientific viewpoint.

Bipride Flag

Image taken from biflag.com

Not gay, not straight. The never-never land between heterosexual and homosexual: the B word.

What does it mean, specifically? The dictionary defines it as a person who is attracted to both males and females. To what degree, it has never specified. The Kinsey scale hypothesises everyone as innately bisexual, except for a minority on the extreme ends of the scale.

Image taken from iss.co.za

While the Kinsey studies have their own opponents, it has proven to be a fair approximation of the ground situation. The distribution would not look like a normal one, where intermediate values are most common, but (according to this author's untested hypothesis) more like this.

Bisexuality, along with homosexuality is a well-documented phenomenon in the animal kingdom. [Click here for an exhaustive scientific paper on this] It is common, in fact, for most animals to engage in bisexual behaviour than exclusively homosexual or heterosexual. The bonobo chimpanzees, in fact, are 100% bisexual, as stated in the paper.

But how is it possible that one is attracted to both sexes at the same time, some might ask.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:36
 
And i loved a boy.
Articles - Sexuality
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 09 March 2006 00:00

Is it wrong for us to be so happy?

-From the series “P.S. I love you”-

This picture of a girly one, an androgynous one and a squirrel got me laughing. The squirrel seems to hold a wistful or puzzled look. And the couple appears to be asking the furry animal, “Is it wrong for us to be so happy?” You got to know a bit of my history to know why i had barrels of laughter upon seeing this… When i was with my ex-boyfriend, i called him “Squirrel”.

In the aftermath of the break-up, there are many friends, male and female alike, who told me not to “lose hope”… because some boy will come along someday and whisk me off my feet… and he would be Mr. Right… and that I don’t have to “off-guys” just because i had bad experiences. That was their first response when i told them the next person that i am dating is a girl. I was amused by their reactions. Deeply rooted in their unconsciousness: a girl involved with a boy will not fall for another girl, unless she received deeply etched scars from some male bastard. And deeper than this is the notion that: Lesbian relationships are of second class order.

(It is my fault partially. I never quite explained why i gave up the four year plus relationship I had with Squirrel. Let’s just say that when discontent comes, it is multi-layered and multi-faceted… and using someone’s weak points to break-up is merely a reason in disguise. After all, who’s perfect?)

And then there are close friends (and my mother) who exclaimed in bewilderment, “But you have always been straight!” Straight = physically with someone with the opposite sex? What about the mental aspect? I had my first crush on an androgynous-looking girl when i was 14. Why didn’t i tell anyone? Oh well, blame it on homophobic behavior… since i was not involved with any girl at that time, i didn’t see the benefits of taking the risk.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 15:44
 
Seeking “Repair”?
Articles - Sexuality
Written by AnJ   
Monday, 27 February 2006 00:00

Are you seeking to “repair” yourself?

Check out the profile of potential reparative therapy seekers… They look like a bunch of self-hating, guilt-striken and confused lot- is that you?

PROFILE:

A. Intrinsic religious orientation

Your religion is the centre of your life and your religion condemns homosexuality.

Major reasons surrounding religion for seeking reparative therapy includes:
1. Religious guilt *thanks to preachers who are prigs*
2. Rejection by the church community *You don’t need people who don’t love you as you are.*
3. Fear of eternal condemnation *roll eyes*

B. Lack of quest orientation

“Quest” is the search for ‘truth’. People with this quality keep seeking answers to contradictions raised by what they see. They are open to uncertainty and doubt. So, if you accept the interpretations that your organization as the ultimate truth… and you do not like to bother about resolving contradictions… chances are you will seek “repair”.

C. Low levels of identity development

This consists of both self-identity formation and group-membership identity formation. Self-identity formation is “coming out to yourself” as we know it. And group membership formation is feeling a sense of belonging to the gay community- people who label themselves “lesbian” and “gay”.

This consists of both self-identity formation and group-membership identity formation. Self-identity formation is “coming out to yourself” as we know it. And group membership formation is feeling a sense of belonging to the gay community- people who label themselves “lesbian” and “gay”.Those who are in the early stages of identity developement may experience intense feelings, such as confusion, anger and guilt, which arose from a homophobic society. They are most likely to seek reparative therapy whereas gay people who are in the later stages of identity development do not seek reparative therapy.

D. Internalized homonegativity

Higher levels of internalized homonegativity is correlated with lower levels of identity development. Such gay people tend to view gay culture negatively i.e. believing homophobic media messages. In fact, internalized homonegativity is the main reason why homosexuals seek reparative/conversion therapy.

Higher levels of internalized homonegativity is correlated with lower levels of identity development. Such gay people tend to view gay culture negatively i.e. believing homophobic media messages. In fact, internalized homonegativity is the main reason why homosexuals seek reparative/conversion therapy.

And here is the most interesting bit: Those who are homophobic (straight people who discriminate against homosexuals) have the exact SAME profile on the above characteristics. They are also low on identity development. For someone who has a mature development, he/she would be respectful of orientation-differences. Coz it entails not just acceptance, but understanding.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:55
 
Neither here nor there
Articles - Sexuality
Written by Guest Writer   
Thursday, 23 February 2006 00:00

I am often faced with this question from my girlfriends: Am I straight because I am with you? One was even a medical student.

I am not sure what to answer. I have curves that rival most women but I feel strange saying that I am 100% woman.

I have ovaries, but no womb: so no kids for me. I am not complaining. But how do you explain to girlfriend that you have fleeting feelings about your phantom body parts, cut off before you were even aware of its existence?

“Easier for the doctors to make a hole than to make a pole”. That’s what I was told.

In the Indian culture , someone like me is respected and honored because it is said that, my words, whether curses or blessings, being from someone straddling both genders, will come true. But, that is fear, not understanding.

I am not angry. I am just tired. Tired of being used to all this stuff happening, just because I understand how others don’t understand. I wish people around me could accept both parts of me: in a shaved head, packing, male looking body as well as a sari clad jewellery wearing one.

I am both and neither. Neither here, nor there.
I am not whining. Just hoping that my words will make you think, wonder and try to gain the answers.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 15:37
 
Why Homosexuality is NOT a Mental Sickness
Articles - Sexuality
Written by AnJ   
Tuesday, 31 January 2006 00:00

Foreword

Before i begin, i want to state something with respect to Liberty League:

It is acceptable for someone to have negative views on homosexuals… After all, it’s their right to choose what they wish to believe in. Freedom of faith, yes?

BUT, it is NOT acceptable to LIE about what mental health professionals are saying about homosexuality. You want to have bad thoughts about homosexuality… Sure- but don’t you dare support that with scientific claims. That’s LYING.

It is VERY UNACCEPTABLE to advocate, and put into praxis, a therapy (i.e. reparative/conversion therapy) that has an extensive pool of research that indicates its harmfulness to one’s mental well-being.

Some of us think that counselling is “Words! How much damage can words do?!” Words are easy- but they have a certain power to them. Have you ever been hurt by what a teacher said to you in your younger years? Ever heard of VERBAL ABUSE? Has anyone said anything encouraging such that it changed an aspect or a period of your life? There- i just demostrated the power of words in your life.

Now that i got that off my chest… i am going give you an insight as to why homosexuality is not considered a mental sickness by up-to-date psychologists (and other mental health professionals). Knowing that there is nothing wrong scientifically is not enough- you need to know why that conclusion was made.

What is abnormal behavior?

Abnormal behavior (mental sickness) has been defined in a number of ways over the years. Let’s look at some of the definitions that have been used. And finally, we will touch on what is best used- which is the eclectic approach (combining multiple perspectives for a more balanced view).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:49
 
Reparative therapy & Homosexuality
Articles - Sexuality
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 19 January 2006 00:00
What does Psychology say about Homosexuality?

Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II) in 1973. It was replaced by ‘sexual orientation disturbance’- specifically for homosexuals who are in conflict and wish to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual. The term ‘ego-dystonic homosexuality’, which was introduced in DSM-III, captures the same essence. However, this term was eventually removed in 1987 as well, marking the most significant step. Despite these changes, many mental health professionals (especially those who are conservative Christians) continue to regard homosexuality as an abnormality that requires ‘correction’. The last decade has seen a resurgence of research on reparative therapy (also known as conversion therapy) as the dialectic between proponents and opponents of this therapy intensifies.

Theories of homosexuality:

The psychoanalytic perspective indicates that homosexuality results as a developmental disorder (during a pre-oedipal crisis)- when the child failed to attach to same-sex parents or peers. Hence, they develop inferiority towards same-sex others (Morrow & Beckstead, 2004). Father is experienced as distant and cold (Bright, 2004). The child attaches to his mother, adopting a female identity. To compensate for the lost male identity, male child ‘absorbs’ masculinity by ‘feeding upon’ other men (Bright, 2004). Reparative therapists believe that’stronger and more confident gender identification’ would help (Spitzer, 2003). This was later translated as more masculine for men and more feminine for women- a reinforcement of traditional gender roles (Beckstead & Morrow, 2004).

Sanor Rado laid the foundations for reparative therapies (Halpert, 2000). Sanor Rado replaced Freud’s model with one of inherent bisexuality, where heterosexuality is the correct outcome of sexual orientation. Socarides popularized ‘domineering mother and absent father’ model of psychopathology. He proposed a conflict model, where intrapsychic forces come into play, and hence defining homosexuality as an illness. Ovesey (1969) took gender roles into the theory and proposed a behavioral approach that requires engagement in heterosexual intercourse to over phobia of the opposite sex (Halpert, 2004).

What is Reparative therapy?

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:47
 
Sexual Identity and Identity Development
Articles - Sexuality
Written by AnJ   
Friday, 30 December 2005 00:00

You may wonder:
Why do i need to know what are “sexual identity” and “identity development”?

Of course it is important… Knowledge is empowerment!

For starters, you must be able to identify yourself- am i gay? What makes a person gay? Behavior alone does not make you gay. It takes many aspects (refer to part 2).

Secondly, it puts things into perspective. Sexual identity is only one aspect of you. If you face discrimination based solely on your sexual identity, you will know that it is unfair and unreasonable. Especially if it is irrelevant to whatever is at hand i.e. seeking a job as a lawyer. Your vocation and intellectual identities would be more pertinent.

Third, a person who is in confusion is malleable (Refer to Part 3). If you are confused about your sexuality, you are susceptible to messages and may be inclined to “change” your sexuality. Knowing who you are and being equipped with the necessary knowledge will put you in good stead. First of all, you need to know that sexuality is not easily malleable (Refer to article of reparative therapies for a quick read). There are highly probable adverse consquences.

This post alone will not give you enough to conquer the world. But it’s a start!

In your exchanges with homophobic peeps, remember:
Locate the premise on which the argument (against your sexuality) is based as well as the linkages. Then attack them. The fact is: these arguments are flawed and cannot stand up to scrutiny. *Applicable to ALL sexual orientations.

For a better understanding of sexual identity, let’s delve into some psychology nonmenclature.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:45
 
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