Let's talk about sex. You know.... physical attraction, not necessarily the act, itself. But we can talk about that as well. What -- if anything -- influences our levels of attraction toward certain people? What inhibits them? Is it nature vs. nurture? A bit of both? And is it good or bad to assign labels to people's sexuality? Let's explore, shall we.
There are a lot of factors that shape our perceptions of what sexuality is, and those include (but are not limited to): culture, religion, age, environment and life experience. I have my own views of human sexuality. Yours may differ. That's ok. I wouldn't expect us to agree on every single point. Yet I think it's an interesting subject to discuss. The 'life experience' factor is a biggie, probably as influential as religion or culture.
It's true that I've experienced things with guys (yes, more than one) who now have wives and kids. Do I consider them to be gay? No. Is that a controversial opinion? Perhaps. It's based upon observation and experience with the two guys in question. Generally speaking, some folks would never consider messing around with someone who didn't fit into their own sexual outlook (gay or straight). Some people might consider it, but wouldn't do it, due to cultural/societal and/or religious factors. Then, there are those who'd consider and/or act upon having some experiences that would fall outside their sexual norms. I place the two aforementioned guys in the last category.
Indeed, I like to consider everyone on a scale. Alfred Kinsey thought in a similar way. His scale went as follows:
0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual
1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6- Exclusively homosexual
This seems about right, and pretty much fits into my view on where most people's sexuality exists. Interestingly enough, my encounters with folks whose self-descriptions would put them in the # 3 category have, to-the-person, been more like # 2. Not sure what's up there. Perhaps this is what has led to a lot of folks refusing to believe that people can be truly bisexual, that they tend to basically favor one gender over another?
Of course, believing in a scale makes one consider the viability of labels. I happen to be someone who thinks that labels are ok. I'm aware that there are those who hate them but, let's be practical here, we need ways to identify and relate to things. Looking at the above Kinsey scale, we could assign numbers 0-2 as being "straight," number 3 as "bisexual," and numbers 5-6 as "gay." Nothing really wrong with that. Except that some folks don't like being categorized, whether they be gay as straight, or straight as gay. Fair enough. But why should such assignations be so taboo?
We seem to think that we're to be just one thing or another. Why not feel comfortable admitting to belonging to a broader spectrum? I've never been with a woman, but have twice had the opportunity, and with women whom I found attractive. It wasn't enough. But the fact that I even found them attractive enough to consider having sex with puts me in a different placement on the scale than some of my gay brethren. But I'm still gay. Heck, even gay men who have been with women are still gay. And some men who've been with other men are straight.
Not black & white, is it?