Does lesbianism exist?
Let me explain, if I may, what I mean.
I do not share the view of some predatory men that lesbians are just unlucky women who are desparately pining for for the attentions of a "true man" (their very own belching, pot-bellied, tobacco-chewing selves, in fact) to liberate them from their sad state of relegation. Not at all. Nor do I think that lesbians are typically ugly harridans, so that, spurned by men, they are forced to seek consolation in the company of other unfortunates of their own sex. This claim is risible on its face. Many, perhaps most "fem" lesbians are attractive by any conventional standard. And butch lesbians have their own authority and dignity.
What may be the case is that female same-sex attraction and behavior is very different from those of men. In my previous posting on biological factors, I have not mentioned women. The reason is that one cannot simply transpose discoveries about gay men to lesbian women.
In fact the parallel betwen gay men and lesbians has only been commonly invoked since 1869, when K. M. Kertbeny introduced the term "homosexual." In surveys of many countries the finding has been repeatedly confirmed that there are only about 40% as many female same-sexers as there are male ones. This fact suggests that the etiologies must be different.
More subjectively, I noted a good many years ago, when I attended consciousness-raising groups consisting of men and women, that over and over the women described life histories of malleabiltiy. That is (from a male point of view), they wove back and forth between heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
In my previous posting I noted the persistent stability of sexual orientation--at least as men experience it. As the Latin proverb has it, no matter how we may seek to expell Nature with a pitchfork, she comes right back. So it has been for most gay men. But not necessarily for gay women. They may, many of them, have achieved the flexibility that seems so much prized in sexuality nowadays.
I do not know whether that is good or bad. I am simply trying to describe, haltingly to be sure, what I perceive as the situation.
Labels: sexual orientation