I started reading Disorders of Desire by Janice M. Irvine which made me think about gender as an essence. Irvine discusses Kinsey and his work, but one aspect particularly caught my attention, Kinsey’s seven-point scale. I am sure you know what I am talking about, but until I read Irvine’s article I had no idea what this scale was. The scale is a homosexual-heterosexual continuum. Kinsey rated people based on both their physical and psychological experience.

This scale was used throughout the 40′- 80’s even though the Kinsey Institute found the scale to be useless. Kinsey hoped this scale would help other’s realize that people did not fit perfectly into heterosexual and homosexual categories. I the scare is ranked based on the following numbers:

0. Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual

I. Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual

II. Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual

III. Equally heterosexual and homosexual

IV. Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual

V. Predominantly homosexual, but incidentally heterosexual

VI. Exclusively homosexual

I cans see how this chart can be useful. Number three would identify bisexuals, one would identify heterosexuals, and number six would identify homosexuals. Then the remaining few numbers would categories those who experience with their sexuality. I also see why this chart was disposed. Often people do not identify with one sexuality or can be placed into a category. Before taking this course, I always thought sexuality was binary. Honestly, I did not even believe in bisexuality, but now I am realizing just how unique sexuality can be. This chart was probably useful for society to understand that sexuality is not always black and white, heck it was useful for me. What I find even more interesting about this chart and Kinsey is that Kinsey “refused to talk about homosexuality as an identity or about homosexual persons.” Irvine writes on page 32 that Kinsey felt that everyone had the capacity to be homosexual. This simply means that everyone is homosexual in some way. This idea obviously conflicts with most ideas of the church and a lot of people would disagree. I absolutely agree with Kinsey. I think everyone could enjoy a sexual experience or have sexual feelings toward the same sex, but not everyone has to act on their feelings. I find it to be more true with females because society is more accepting of a female who is bisexual opposed to a male being bisexual. The lesbian friends that I do have, have no problem converting a “straight” girl to be with them, sexually of course. Once the converted girls are done being used, they often go back to being with men. This is easier for society to accept because men have always been more accepting of their girlfriends being with other women, the man might even be turned on by this idea. This is less likely to happen for a man because society thinks once you have sexual relations with one man then you are gay. I thought this to be true. It does not work that way. Men can also have relations with a man or two then happily spend the rest of their life with a woman. I rarely hear about a woman who is marrying or dating a guy who used to date other men. I guess it is just one of those many double standards. Anyways, back to the quote, I think Kinsey’s reasoning behind not talking about homosexuality ties in with Grasz’s idea of sexuality being an essence. Each person has their own idea of what sexuality is. I think everyone can find something different about their sexuality or gender that is different from another person. I included this article that gives some ideas about gender being an essence.

 

-Brent Lopez

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