How Sexually Fluid Are Women Really? Ctd

by Phoebe Maltz Bovy

My earlier post on female sexual fluidity-or-lack-thereof has caused some controversy on Twitter. Some are upset that I’m questioning the caller’s own label:

People should, of course, identify as they see fit, and that includes Zen Heathen. I’d merely point out that a) the caller expressed 0% sexual interest in men (we don’t learn what she thinks about the 10% of the time she’s not thinking of women – for all we know it’s that she has to pick up her dry-cleaning – and she could well be with a man because of the social pressures to be with one), and b) if you’re pairing off with someone, and their variant of bisexuality involves preferring the gender you are not virtually all the time, this is maybe a red flag. Or maybe not – by all means, if you find the one person of a particular gender you’re attracted to, enjoy! – but people certainly think so when it comes to men.

Others point out that fantasies don’t necessarily reflect what people want:

This is a fair point. What was clear from the call, but not my post, is that this is a woman who has wanted to date women for years but been too shy. That’s a little different from someone simply having this or that pop into their head during sex. I’d also repeat here, though, that I wonder how blasé and hey-people-fantasize we’d be if this were a man fantasizing 90% of the time about other men. I’d also, while I’m repeating myself, reiterate that fetishes, etc., are different from sexual orientation. Someone might fantasize about scenarios or individuals they’d want nothing to do with in real life. But always picturing men, or always women, or close-to-always, would seem to indicate something.

Oh, and allow me a starstruck moment: Savage himself replied!

Since these other responses arrived only after Savage’s tweets, I for a moment wasn’t quite sure what he meant by “shit storm”-producing “#bisexual activists.” Then I was accused of not believing anyone could be bisexual by a bunch of Twitter users, all because I didn’t think this one woman sounded like she had any interest in men, and of hating bi people and gay people and women and… I think I see what he meant:


So how might Savage have answered the call differently, without bi-erasing anyone’s experiences? He might have done what another Twitter user suggests:

The idea isn’t for the caller to be officially declared a lesbian (as if such a thing were possible), but for her to consider – and, if she sees fit, to reject! – the possibility. She is, after all, soliciting advice. But the main thing I’d have emphasized is that this call would have been received entirely differently if it had come from a man. I mean, there might have been a nod to the possibility that the man was bisexual, but a nod would also surely have been given to the ever-so-slight chance that a self-identified bisexual man with a female partner, but who can’t stop thinking about Idris Elba, is in the closet. I find it hard to believe that – outside whichever limited sphere of bisexual activists – anyone would object to throwing “gay” out there as a possibility.