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Author Topic: sexual fluidity and gender ?
WhiteFox
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I recently read a book called Sexual fluidity by Lisa Diamond.

In it Diamond puts fourth the idea that women are more likely to experience 'changes'(and I'm only using that word because I can't think of anything better) in their orientation for example a long time lesbian woman falling in love with a man.

A lot websites I've visited over the past week have the seem to caught onto the idea as well.

I was just wondering what other peoples idea's where. Do you think women are more sexually fluid then men if so why (or why not)?

http://www.amazon.com/Sexual-Fluidity-Understanding-Womens-Desire/dp/0674032268/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341614855&sr=1-1&keywords=sexual+fluidity+by+lisa+diamond

You can find the book at the like above

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Heather
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Lisa Diamond is a top-notch researcher, for sure, and she's been doing study on this for an awfully long time now. What she's found also squares with earlier research on the same topic from other folks.

And usually, what they'll put about about the why of this, and I'd agree, is that this probably has a lot more to do with social issues and cultural conditioning than anything else. That people raised as women are often -- more so than men -- taught to put person/personality first with the choice of partners (who a person is as a whole person). They'll also often posit, and again, I'd agree, that homophobia is much more intense among men, and put much more intensely on men. To boot, I'd add that I think in most cultures, people raised as women are more supported in developing same-sex relationships of depth than men tend to be.

Btw, I tend to like the notion of orientation being something that is fluid and can shift -- or change, as you put it, either way -- over time, for anyone, as it often can tend to for people of all genders. It can also be helpful to think about orientation as being something that, for some people, is just a non-issue. In other words, how we're "oriented" to people can be about a whole lot of things, not just gender, and just like for some folks what nationality or height someone is can be irrelevant in their attraction to people, the same can go for gender.

(Great topic!)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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WhiteFox
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@ Heather
I agree that diamond is a brilliant researcher and her book is a must read.
But a few things have kinda stood out to me while I was reading the book and later on researching this.

One of them was that some researchers in this field have been making a generalization about male sexuality for instance Diamond herself hasn't said this but another researcher Baumeister has said in one of his reports on the subject words to the effect 'male sexuality seems to be rigid after puberty and his interests fixed'-another researcher has said that the idea of the homo/hetero divide has been rejected in women but is true for men.

I have two problems with these statements 1. this is not what research shows while women are more likely to experience a shift in sexuality it is possible for both gender. Second of all I thought that the idea of a hetero/homo divide had been reject in general, whatever happened to research like the Kinsey Scale?

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Heather
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I'm actually not at all a fan of Baumeister, who often makes gender-essentialist comments. A lot of his work, period, seems to be based very squarely in an essentialist view of gender.

Obviously, we can only talk so broadly about gender in these respects, since cultural issues and mores are a big part of all of this, and aren't universal.

But I do think, if we're talking about western culture, it's fairly safe to say that, on the whole, people raised as men do tend to develop less fluid, more rigid sexualities in some ways, though again, I'd solidly posit this is learned behavior and has way more to do with culture than biology (I suspect, personally, it may have little to nothing to do with the latter at all).

And for sure, I think it's also safe to say that male bisexuality, in straight and queer culture alike, is far less accepted or recognized as real than bisexuality is for women. I'd say we're far more likely to hear people say, for instance, that bisexual men must really be gay or really be straight than women, you know?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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WhiteFox
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I agree with you that in western culture men do seem to form more rigid orientations then women and yes male bisexuality is often treated with a lot more suspicion then female bisexuality.
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14fields
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It's funny, because I've been hearing a lot about this book lately, and while I have not read it, I agree with many of the premises and disagree with some of the premises. One of the things I disagree with the most is that Diamond argues that romantic/emotional/affectional orientation does not exist--she says that it is all from parent-child pair bonding,so it is gender-blind, but this flies in the face of the experiences of many asexual people, who do feel that they have a romantic/affectional/emotional orientation (and many sexual people also describe themselves as feeling like they have one as well). Also, I found that based on my personal experiences, I think that dividing sexual desire into proceptivity vs. arousability is quite limiting, and I don't know where to put my whole entire history of all my sexual desires in that paradigm. Overall (and again, I haven't read her work, so maybe I am mistaken), I feel like her theories help to explain many people in the world, which is great--but I don't feel like they explain all people. To me, sexuality is so complex that no theory can encompass all experiences. But, I suppose that Lisa Diamond doesn't cover all facets of sexuality within a person because that may be impossible, and subject to other studies.
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WhiteFox
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@ 14fields
Your not wrong about Diamonds theory.
She does divide human sexual desire into proceptivity and arousability (I hope I spelled those right) but she never actually says these are the ONLY two types but she doesn't give us third of fourth either.

Your also right about her idea that romantic love is same result as infant-care giver attachmetn

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