Hugo Schwyzer has an article about his history of attraction to lesbian women. My history is a little different, having identified as a lesbian myself for a while. However, I still find myself attracted to women who are queer or lesbian (Rachel Maddow makes my heart flutter and I know I’m not the only guy who feels that way!)
Lots of people have “types” to which they are consistently attracted. From the time pubescent hormones started surging through my body, I found that I was particularly drawn to female jocks. It’s not as if my attraction was limited to athletes alone; I was a horny teen boy who could be turned on by almost anything that moved. But I tended to get crushes on the same type of girl: the star basketball player, the soccer forward, the swimmer. Some were lesbians. Some weren’t.
In several classes during my junior year of high school, I sat next to “Kendall,” the statuesque multi-sport star. A year ahead of me, Kendall was nearly six feet tall, broad-shouldered, with a jawline that could cut glass. All-League in three sports, she wore her letterman’s jacket almost every day, and would often come to class with her short dark hair still wet from the post-workout shower. Her signature scent was chlorine with a hint of sweat.
Aside from the possibility of a statistical prevalence of certain physical and stylistic attributes that Schwyzer observes (jawlines and haircuts), I think there is probably another reason. Of the men I know who are attracted to Maddow, to use an example (and no, we’re not primarily attracted to her in her news anchor “drag”), we’re all strongly feminist and suspicious of fixed gender roles. It’s possible that women who share these characteristics (and reflect them in their attire and general attitude) are often either queer or lesbian.
Speculating about the cause in a chicken and egg style manner isn’t something I want to write about now, but it’s interesting to think about.
(Don’t get me wrong, I like straight women, too. And I have no desire to date a lesbian-identified woman in order to “convert” her, nor will I date a lesbian who makes an “exception” for me.)
Has anyone ever researched the sociology/psychology of it in comparison to the “one-drop rule”? It seems like calling someone “really gay” when they’re bisexual is similar in that being gay is viewed a kind of “contamination”, like race, and in both cases it’s the contamination/deviation from the norm which determines the identity of the individual.
Of course, in the broader culture male bisexuality is more often reduced to being gay and female bisexuality to being straight. And in some LGBT/queer circles, people can be accused of being “really straight” if they’re bisexual. The latter would fit the “contamination” theory (it’s just that the expectation is of same-sex relationships as the norm/ideal), but the problem of erasing female bisexuality doesn’t fit as directly. I’m sure it has something to do with denying female sexual agency, the objectification of lesbian relationships for male consumption, and etc.
Anyway, just wondering if this has been looked at somewhere.
Yeah, I should have used Google Scholar before posting:
Brekhus, Wayne H. 1996. “Social Marking and the Mental Coloring of Identity:
Sexual Identity Construction and Maintenance in the United States. ”Sociological Forum 11(3):497-522.
Brekhus, Wayne H. 2003. Peacocks, Chameleons, Centaurs: Gay Suburbia
andthe Grammar of Social Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.