Five point something on the Kinsey scale
August 27, 2018 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Do you experience somewhere between "absolutely none" and "a tiny bit" of interest in a particular gender? How does that influence who and how you date?

This isn't really a question about labels. FWIW, I identify as queer 100% of the time, and sometimes add bisexual (maybe 25% of the time) or lesbian (~10%). I'm okay with this ambiguity.

More narrowly, what I'm concerned with is how much of an effort to make with dating men, if any. My feelings about men are a mixture of things. I don't find men in general attractive, but I'll occasionally meet a cute fella. I don't feel many or any romantic feelings towards men. Mostly I just don't want to have a guy as a partner, and this wanting comes more from a "I don't want this for myself" or "this is not a path I'm open to right now" rather than "I am 100% certain I'll never ever feel like dating a guy." The future I imagine is always with a women or nonbinary partner. That being said, if I loved somebody and they ended up going through a gender transition, I am confident I'd continue feeling the same way about them, so it's not like I feel the need to avoid masculinity in all contexts and presentations. It's not a question of genital arrangements or anything, it's just my heart sings when I think of building a life with somebody who shares queerness and my gender or a close gender to mine. And it sort of... falls flat when it comes to sharing that life with men.

For some reason the "wanting for myself" type rationale maps a little strangely onto what I should concretely do w/r/t dating. Right now, I am visible to men in dating apps, but 95% of incoming inquiries are from (generally straight and cis) men, and I reject 100% of them. That feels kind of silly! The thought of definitively closing the door on all men seems extreme, but I also don't imagine myself really wanting to go on a first date with any guy anytime soon, and so I don't want to be just wasting folks' time, you know?

Any ideas, experiences, guidance would be very helpful, thank you.
posted by Sock Meets Body to Human Relations (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I identify as non-binary, am built male, and am primarily attracted to women. I've met a few guys I'd like to kiss. But by and large I'm just not interested in running with it. It's the masculinity / patriarchy baggage. I know most guys are jerks because I used to be one myself.

That said, there are men who are cute and woke. In the dating apps I include people who identify as non-binary and there are some pretty nice looking apparently male-bodied people I might want to get to know should I ever have any kind of free time.

I feel pretty crap about just instantly discounting most cis male people because of societal baggage, but also I am just not physically intrigued by people with that physique. On the other hand, the women-identified people I am most attracted to are typically those who have strong faces and present very, very butch.

My partner is astonishingly hot to me, and they present as stone butch. A sharp tailored three-piece suit and a nice tight haircut and holy smokes. But the same outfit and haircut on someone who is and was raised as a cis-man would probably not work at all for me. I just don't know why. Attraction is wierd.

I dunno if this helps.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:42 AM on August 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

From a MeFite who would prefer to remain anonymous:
Hi - honestly, I don't think that my sexual preference has affected who I choose to DATE as such. Because you dig who you dig, and in my case "who I dig" has just always happened to be heteronormative. I did have one same-sex encounter once, which was a bit of a surprise incident; it was fun, but didn't affect my dating habits. In fact, it re-iterated for me that my own preference is just that - a preference, the way some people have things for redheads or other people have things for glasses. I just happen to have a thing for a particular gender presentation.

You dig who you dig. If the people you dig all happen to be the same gender presentation, then that's just that.
posted by jessamyn at 10:55 AM on August 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

it's just my heart sings when I think of building a life with somebody who shares queerness and my gender or a close gender to mine. And it sort of... falls flat when it comes to sharing that life with men.
The thought of definitively closing the door on all men seems extreme, but I also don't imagine myself really wanting to go on a first date with any guy anytime soon

You don't have to preclude men from your dating pool, but you don't have to be explicit about being open to dating guys. Like, if it happens organically IRL, it happens, but it seems unnecessary in your case to make an *effort* wrt online dating. Because nb folks and women!!
posted by typify at 11:11 AM on August 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: (just wanted to pop in and say these are exactly the kinds of responses I was hoping for! I was feeling weirdly paralyzed about this, while also not wanting to go back to a Contemplating My Orientation mindset, so this is a good kick in the pants. and seanmpuckett ohhhh do I hear you on that singular, sparking hotness that is butches living their best dapper/on-point/confident lives... ✨✨✨)
posted by Sock Meets Body at 11:17 AM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can close the door to men on your dating apps, but if you happen to meet someone as you go about your life, go for it.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:26 AM on August 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

You seem pretty clear about what you want in life in terms of long term partnership. It seems scrupulous to the point of self-sabotage to include and consider types of people in your current romantic life that don't factor into those plans for the future.

Especially as when it comes to online and app dating the whole system is heavily skewed to make hetero partnerships happen more easily, it's hard enough to make it work as a queer/bi/les woman, and by allowing men to be a presence in your potential matches you might not be creating the kind of dating experience that will make sense wrt what you want and who you want. I think if there is a man out there that is meant for you you will probably meet him organically, and including men on dating apps is not, well, that.

Also as a gay woman who doesn't have hardline 0 interest in men, I appreciate this question. Thank you for asking it1
posted by mymbleth at 11:29 AM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Right now, I am visible to men in dating apps, but 95% of incoming inquiries are from (generally straight and cis) men, and I reject 100% of them. That feels kind of silly! The thought of definitively closing the door on all men seems extreme, but I also don't imagine myself really wanting to go on a first date with any guy anytime soon, and so I don't want to be just wasting folks' time, you know?

Switching your app to women/nb people only won't be the same thing as "definitively closing the door on all men" - you can always switch it back whenever you feel like it, you can always meet and flirt with men in real life, etc.

I'm bi, and on paper I am probably more attracted to men than you are, but at least for the time being I have chosen to only pursue women. I have a lot of reasons for this, some of which sound similar to yours - "building a life with somebody who shares queerness and my gender or a close gender to mine" is a great way of putting it.

Bottom line is, the fact that I am capable of being attracted to men doesn't obligate me to date them, or even to leave the option open. You don't need to feel bad about making that choice if it feels right to you.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:31 AM on August 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

You should totally read this article about Cynthia Nixon, by the way! She got a lot of public flack a few years ago for saying that she had 'chosen to be gay,' and rejecting the label of 'bisexual' while acknowledging that it was technically accurate.

Nixon has long been one of my queer heroes for her refusal to simplify her sexuality for the convenience of a politically expedient LGBTQ narrative. As my colleague J. Bryan Lowder wrote in 2012, Nixon has described the inner workings of her sexual and romantic lives as being driven more by choice than biology. This is a threatening concept for a gay-rights movement that has successfully argued that gay people are “born this way,” and thus deserve acceptance because they can’t help the way they are. Nixon and I both believe that the movement for LGBTQ equality hangs its messaging on a “gay gene” at its peril—that it shouldn’t matter how or why people are gay. They deserve equal protections and rights, unconditionally.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:47 AM on August 27, 2018 [12 favorites]

The way you describe your sexuality is pretty similar to how I experience mine. I am a cis woman and have long identified as bi. I used to think that because I was bi, the chances of me being attracted to any random woman or any random man were equal and that I needed to try to be equally available to both genders (that last part was mostly compulsory heterosexuality speaking). The truth is that there are just many more women I am attracted to that I encounter than there are men and it's very, very rare for me to find a man attractive. I used to think that because I felt the occasional flicker of attraction to a guy, I had to make some sort of effort to date them but the love and emotional attraction never developed with men and I just don't find the idea of being in a heterosexual relationship to be appealing and never have. I know lots of queer women who are not completely and totally gay who feel similarly. It's a totally valid way to be.

I don't feel a need to label myself as much as I once did but some of my friends who have had similar experiences use 'homoflexible.' Queer works too. Or "bisexual and homoromantic." I don't want to disown my history with men or be very rigidly prescriptive about my romantic and sexual future but I no longer make any active effort to date men because I know I'm unlikely to enjoy it, whereas I do enjoy dating women and it's much easier to see a future with them. I used to think this was an invalid way to be--that I either had to be 100% gay or 50-50 bi and devote equal energies to men and women. This in-between fluid sort of mostly gay sexuality is perfectly okay too and not uncommon.
posted by armadillo1224 at 11:52 AM on August 27, 2018 [8 favorites]

I'm demisexual and trend pan in my attractions. Dating apps just don't work for me, and I am not as interested in dating as my friends who basically are like "cute, I would like to get to know you and be intimate with you" as a gigantic drive in their lives.

I've thought about this a lot, and deep down I am not highly attracted to...anyone really. I think some people are cute and nice and it would be fun maybe and I have a little bit of interest, but it's sort of like a 2nd or 4th favorite dessert, I stop caring about it once I have something else I like more that is always a number one for me. And tbh that makes dating hard. But I don't wish to act on something and fake it, when in reality I would find more fulfillment elsewhere. So I think you should just leave a door open for whatever you like, but you aren't obligated to do anything. It's your life.
posted by yueliang at 1:04 PM on August 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

You sound like me, especially this part: it's just my heart sings when I think of building a life with somebody who shares queerness and my gender or a close gender to mine. I've got something in my profile to that effect; I believe it says that I'm only interested in dating queer people at the moment. This, for me, cuts out all the straight men, which is what I'm looking to avoid at this point in my romantic relationships. So, I might suggest adding something like that to yours. Say want to date other people who identify as queer, if that's what you want!

Best of luck; dating is a hellscape!
posted by sockermom at 1:19 PM on August 27, 2018

I would describe my attraction as 90:10 favoring women (people who are neither seem to be on a case-by-case basis.) I identify as “heteroflexible.” I am a trans dude with a female partner, my relationship with whom is simultaneously complicated and simple.

I don’t “advertise” any interest in men, mainly because I feel it’s rude and impractical to reject 90% of men who express interest. There are also many downsides. In particular, advertising that you may be interested in men in an online dating space is like opening a firehose of awful messages, as you may have already discovered. I would suggest closing online dating off to men entirely, but being open to men you meet in daily life, as that’s a pretty good filter. There is no reason to feel like you need to be “fair” with your attraction— you aren’t a public resource, you’re a person who likes what they like.

I also do not bring it up in general because I do not want to be introduced to any dudes because see: rude and impractical to reject so many, it’s annoying when people project their assumptions about the matter (usually that my ratio goes the other way— people seem to stereotype men-for-men attraction as hyperactive or something regardless of the reality) and because mentioning it to a doctor gets me an aggressive sales pitch for PreP, which is not appropriate for me for many reasons. I also don’t talk about my personal life with the vast majority of people I know, because I consider it a “need to know” matter and in this regard I’m a private person. It boils down to— I’m not going to do anything about it, and it doesn’t affect my life much, so why bother inviting the hassle?
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:32 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

From an anonymous Mefite:
Yes. Absolutely. I am very very straight. There are a lot of ways that I could envision myself sharing a life with a female partner. Sex is not included in those visions. I've tried having sex with women. I don't enjoy it. I don't get turned on by women. Have I had satisfying sex with a man who was AFAB? Yuppers. Is it any of your business what their anatomy is? NOPE. Am I qualified to label their anatomy in heteronormative terms? NOPE.

Does that make me weird? Probably?

So, I don't date women. I do date men.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:13 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Why bend so hard for "what if" when there's a "hell yeah!" standing right over there?
Align your effort to your interest: somewhere between "absolutely none" and "a tiny bit."

I call myself a dyke. You could say I'm gay and panromantic. So, I can fall in love with anyone (and have) but 97% of the time I'm only sexually interested in queer/GQ women. The other 3% — ugh, what a stew of mixed, confusing feelings. It's not worth it for me to explore that realm. I live my life to maximize the chances that I'll be attracted to someone squarely, not slantwise.

You don't owe your availability to anyone. Balance isn't required!
posted by fritillary at 4:06 PM on August 27, 2018 [9 favorites]

I joke (and it's not actually a joke) that the Kinsey scale was not build that can contain me. Were I to try to legitimately explain my sexual orientation to someone, it would require at least four axes, a whiteboard, several colored pens, and probably some glitter. But if I'm trying to shorthand it, what I often say is that with women, I am highly likely to be attracted right away to a wide swathe of types of women. With men, other than the occasional STUNNINGLY beautiful movie star, I am basically never gut-level immediately attracted. Sometimes, rarely, if I get to know a man as a friend, attraction develops over time. Once that happens it can be strong and good and wonderful, but it's a lot rarer. I tend to react to nonbinary folks a lot closer to the way I react to women, but then, I have fewer datapoints to work from, and most of my nonbinary friends are AFAB, so I hesitate to make a sweeping statement there.

All of which is to say that if I were in the dating market right now, I'm pretty sure I would not be making any effort to find or date men. The time and effort it takes to meet a total stranger and nurture a newly-dating relationship over weeks to see if that spark might grow, doesn't sound worth it to me when it's so much more likely that I could find someone I spark with right away in the rest of the gender spectrum. Nor do I imagine that most men, if given full disclosure, would be super enthused about hanging out for weeks waiting to see if just maybe one day I'll suddenly see them in a new smoochy light.

I don't think that's quite the same thing as swearing off men for good. Maybe a crush would go from a friendship at one point, who knows? But I don't feel like I would need to date men on principle, and I don't think you do, either.

You sound like there is a group of people you're really excited about dating, and that's awesome. Go forth and date them! You do not owe anyone else your time and attention. If you're one of those people whose attractions are more cyclical and you find yourself more attuned to men in a few months or years and more interested in reconsidering building a life with one, cool, flip the switch back on. Men aren't going anywhere, as far as I can tell.
posted by Stacey at 4:25 PM on August 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

I find women more visually pleasing in pictures but I am 99% attracted to men in real life. I think it's the masculine energy I'm attracted to. There have been a few women who've projected masculine energy whom I've been attracted to. I also find extreme masculine traits a turn off.
posted by kinoeye at 5:27 PM on August 27, 2018

I think it really varies a lot from person to person. I come at this from the opposite direction—I'm a man who is like an 0.5 or a 1 on the Kinsey scale. I am occasionally attracted to men and I have had sexual experiences with men, but it's only a blip in terms of my overall sexuality. It's such a minor part of me that I decided several years ago not to allocate any resources toward cultivating it, and I feel fine about that decision. If I find myself facing the prospect of a homosexual relationship at some point then I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, but mainly I just don't think about it.

You are totally free to choose differently, though. If you want to explore this side of yourself, you can. If you want to actively seek out a heterosexual relationship, go right ahead. You're free to try whatever you like, as long as you're kind to the people you're with. It's not compulsory, but it's allowed. It's totally up to you.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:20 PM on August 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

Sexuality is neither fixed nor neatly categorised - it changes over time and includes things that don't make logical sense. If you are drawn more towards women and non-binary people, go for that. There may be a point later in life when you feel more drawn towards cis men, and then you can pursue that. Dating doesn't have to be about trying to be open to all potential possibilities, no matter how improbable - it can just as easily be about pursuing who you desire. You sound like you know who you desire. As long as you steer clear of rejecting someone you have actually met and actually desire because they challenge what you thought you wanted, I think you're fine.

I started life assuming I was straight, as many people do. In my late teens this began to change and I came out as bi when I was at uni. Despite having a great deal of interest in women, I found it easier to have relationships with men and did mostly that for a while, with a few forays and crushes etc with women (I was also poly at the time). Then things shifted for me when I fell really hard for a woman and even though that was a very unfortunate relationship, when it ended I realised I didn't have much interest in pursuing men anymore. I wondered whether I could still call myself bi - it felt dishonest when all my energy was much more focused towards women, my interest was in women, etc. So I started to think of myself as lesbian, which didn't sit quite right but seemed more aligned with how I felt.

And then I met my partner, who is a trans man. (I initially assumed he was female, easy to do since we met online in a space that was primarily oriented towards women, but it didn't take long for that to get cleared up!) I never expected to be involved with a man again, but I am and it works and is wonderful and I don't really care that it doesn't fit in with the "lesbian" label. I identify as queer, which for me is a comfortable fit, and if people get confused by me being openly queer and having a male partner, too bad. If something changes and I am somehow looking for someone again, I doubt that I will be looking specifically for a man - I still prefer emotional intimacy with women - but life has taught me that surprises happen. Be true to yourself and your desire and your love, not a theoretical construct of who you think you should be or a possibility that may never happen.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:09 PM on August 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm a bi person who doesn't look for dudes on Tinder. Straight men are everywhere! I don't have to specifically seek them out like I do queer women. With Tinder specifically there are so many men on that platform that you won't see any women until you turn the "dude" option off. If I feel like dating a dude, I can always just turn the option back on again.
posted by storytam at 8:13 PM on August 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm a gay trans guy but maybe once every year or two I get heart-eyes-emoji over a woman. I could actually see living with a woman in a very emotionally intimate relationship. And many women are very aesthetically pleasing. But I don't want to have sex with one. Not because genital configurations are important; I wouldn't want to have sex with a pre-op trans woman either. There's just a mental block. It's like straining to understand a language I don't speak. Does not compute. I never ever watch porn with women in it and if I accidentally click on (e.g.) a threesome clip, the presence of a woman makes me lose all interest.

It's possible there's a woman out there who I could form a deep attachment to, but she would need to be perfectly content without sexual intimacy. Since that's extremely unlikely, I don't ID as bisexual anywhere. I only present myself as gay ("queer," in my local community, almost always implies bi/pansexuality, so I rarely use it). When I was on OKC, my messages were about 50/50 male/female and I rejected all the women out of hand. It would have to happen organically or not at all.

Honestly, I don't give it any thought and I certainly don't put forth any effort into finding a "unicorn." I can't say what you should do - I'm not even crystal clear on what your question is - but just keep an open mind, I guess. You're not stuck with one label for eternity.
posted by AFABulous at 8:16 PM on August 27, 2018

Being a social lesbian isn't extreme just because you're not actively repulsed by literally every man that could be in existence. Your denial of your (real, sincere) preferences about dating seems like the result of internalized homophobia.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 3:14 PM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't feel many or any romantic feelings towards men. Mostly I just don't want to have a guy as a partner, and this wanting comes more from a "I don't want this for myself" or "this is not a path I'm open to right now" rather than "I am 100% certain I'll never ever feel like dating a guy." The future I imagine is always with a women or nonbinary partner.

Look for women and nb folks, like you're saying you want to. You don't have to be open to men, and you especially don't have to be open to men on dating apps. I know from living on this planet that there is a huge amount of pressure to just give men a chance because you haven't met the right one and a thousand bullshit what-ifs from straight cis people because they're uncomfortable with us existing.

Live your truth. Go after who you are really interested in. You don't owe men anything, and there are lots of great women and nb folks out there.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:35 AM on December 15, 2018

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