Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Men and Women, Men and Men

A straight friend and I were talking about the differences between our two orientations. He apologized for the fact that his being irredeemably straight made it difficult to understand just how gays though/felt/operated when it came to intimate interpersonal relationships. I assured him I felt the same way about straights. I've never really understood what makes them think or behave, when it comes to sexuality, the way they do. Please understand this blog is not intended to lure straights away from heterosexuality, or to claim that being gay is superior to being straight (they are apples and oranges). And I do not intend to--nor could I--speak for all gays, merely for myself based on nearly three-quarters of a century of observation of the differences between men and women and men and men.

I think the majority of heterosexuals would agree to the simple fact that men and women simply do not understand one another. They never have, and it is unlikely they ever will. Though members of the same species, each is engineered differently, both physically and emotionally.

It amazed me, when I was editing half a dozen straight "sex education" magazines which required researched--though largely unread--text (which gave it the legal protection of having "socially redeeming value) and no-holds-barred explicit photographs, to realize how absolutely ignorant straight men are about women's physiology. Gays don't have this problem, since both partners are men. They know pretty much how the male mind works and they know pretty well what the male body finds pleasing, sexually.

In all areas of a relationship, gay men are much more likely to understand the reactions of their partner to any given situation far more easily than straight men can understand a woman's. Disagreements between straight couples are often based in this lack of understanding. Not knowing where the lines are frequently lead to conflict. With same-sex partners this is not so large a factor. But the danger in arguments between gay partners is, as someone once so aptly put it, each partner generally "knows exactly where to sink the knife." This may account for the short duration of many gay relationships.

It could be reasonably argued that same-sex couples tend to be more often more compatible than straight couples simply because they are of the same sex and therefore have the advantages of intrinsically-shared interests and experiences. And while being of the same sex can bond gay couples more tightly than straight couples, the intrinsically different characters of men and women provide something of a balance gay couples may lack.

Throughout our history, social proscriptions have denied gays the same fundamental rights as straights. I always found it ironic that one of the strongest criticisms aimed at gays has been that the gay "lifestyle" is not "normal" while at the same time being doing everything in their power to prevent us from being so. Another fundamental charge is that gays are "promiscuous." (It could be argued that, being denied the right to marry, what other choice do we have?) We have been traditionally criticized for our perceived promiscuity when in fact we all live in a culture in which men tend by nature--and are expected--to be more overtly sexual than women. I have absolutely no doubt that were straight men denied the right to marry, the "promiscuity" rate among them would undoubtedly equal or surpass that among gays. Men are, after all, men, regardless of their orientation..

Our society is, at long last, beginning to emerge from the dark ages, and the gaps are slowly closing--against the still-strong objections of far too many people. It would be fascinating to step 100 years into the future to see how much an issue this man-woman, man-man situation still is.

But when all other factors touched on briefly above are set aside, one fact remains: all romantic relationships, straight or gay, are based on love, and love doesn't give a damn about sexual orientation.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back. And please take a moment to check out for information on Dorien's Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs.

1 comment:

C. Zampa said...

You said they key word: LOVE.

It is the glue that DOES bond those hard-to-understand mixed sex relationships, the one thing that DOES make one WANT to understand the other. Makes one TRY to understand the other. No matter the sexual orientation.

Love, fortunately, isn't exclusive to any gender, so that all...even straight, sappy hold-outs for romance like me...can hope for that special person.

You never cease to thrill me, Dorien, with your practical yet SO beautiful insight into life. I truly enjoyed this post!