Fluid Dynamics

Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart objects to describing women as more “sexually fluid” than men:

There is some evidence that women experience arousal in response to a wider range of visual stimuli than men do. There’s also a great deal of evidence that females can go from having female partners to male ones, or vice versa. But nowhere in the literature is any firm line drawn between this vague concept of “fluidity” and the other word we use for people who experience attraction to people of both genders: bisexuality. Why don’t we just call it that? …

[A]fter we filter out the sexist idea that women’s sexuality is so completely different from men’s as to be unrecognizable, [all that’s left] is the strong possibility that women are a bit more likely to be bisexual than men are. If this is so, then the negative stereotypes about bisexuals are negative stereotypes about women, and attacks on the legitimacy of bi identities are attacks on the legitimacy of female identities. It’s therefore in the interest of all women to combat biphobia and work for bi acceptance. It’s in the interest of lesbians, who are often bombarded with unwanted advances from men who may believe that the fluidity of female sexuality entitles them to sex with us. It’s in the interest of straight women, whose male partners may use the same logic to attempt to impose unwanted threesomes on them. And, of course, it’s in the interest of bi women, who have no more choice about who they love than anyone else does, even if those loves may come from any gender. What isn’t in our interest is to make women’s sexuality seem confusing, mysterious, or overly complicated.

I have no problem with a greater understanding of and respect for bisexuality. But why would women be more likely to be bisexual than men? Why would their sexuality respond to a wider range of physical stimuli? That’s the question that isn’t answered by renaming it bisexuality. And note the straw woman here: who actually believes that male and female sexuality are so different as to be completely unrecognizable? The question rather is: how are men and women different in their sexuality? And why?

Read our long discussion thread on bisexuality here.