Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rambling about Kinsey

Kinsey's scale is definitely a big step up from the simple gay-straight-bi classification. I know one of my biggest challenges is falling into all or nothing thinking and failing to recognize the subtleties of human experience (my own as well as others').

Still I think that the Kinsey scale is limited in its usefulness. It creates an artificial continuum of heterosexual to homosexual. I do like the way you've written out the descriptions as they focus more on overt behaviors than on subjective judgments.

One of the reasons I dislike Kinsey's scale is because it assumes that heterosexuality and homosexuality are opposite poles of a single spectrum. My personal experience and judging from the vast majority of men that I have interacted with, is that sexuality is much more like an infinite Stereo equalizer. In an equalizer, each slider controls the volume of a set range of frequencies. Those sliders can be moved independently and only work in relation to the overall volume control. Most equalizers use fairly large ranges and have relatively few sliders. However, it is possible to use much more restricted ranges and have many more sliders. It is also possible to give the sliders a greater ability to increase or decrease the volume of certain ranges.

I believe sexual, (and romantic, physical, and emotional) attractions are largely learned desires. The process of learning those attractions is largely influenced by the genetic and physical composition of the brain, spiritual attributes brought from premortality, and the environment/experiences of the individual. Those attractions can be influenced by very broad ranges or very narrow and specific ranges(i.e. I'm attracted to everything that's human; I'm only attracted to men; My attraction to men is very high, but there is a subtle attraction to women; I'm only attracted to women; I'm only attracted to blonds; I'm attracted to lots of men, but as far as women go I'm only attracted to my wife and Holly Marie Combs.) There are an infinite number of specific attractions that can be learned. For example, I would argue that Polynesian men are not born with a gene that makes them attracted to large women rather than skinny women. Rather this attraction is more the product of their culture. Also consider the learned boundary-for most people-of not being sexually attracted to one's siblings. Despite arguments to the contrary, there really isn't sufficient evidence to suppose that there is an anti-family gene. That's much more of a cultural (a.k.a. learned) boundary.