I want to clarify something from a previous post. I often say that I choose to live a lesbian lifestyle, but it occurred to me that many people may not understand what that means. For some people, lesbian lifestyle means lurking in bars, being addicted to drugs and alchohol, subscribing to butch/femme roles, stalking straight women, and trying to convert young girls. Since my life doesn’t include any of those things, I figure that I need to clarify what I mean by lesbian lifestyle.
I believe that sexual orientation is on a continuum that ranges from heterosexuality to homosexuality. I believe that people fall somewhere on that continuum. We fall close to one end or the other. Rarely are we pure heterosexual or pure homosexual. I lean more towards homosexual orientation which means that I’m mostly attracted to women. I believe that sexual orientation is predisposed genetically with some environmental influences that help seal the deal.
Sexual orientation isn’t the same thing as sexual behavior. That is, one can engage in heterosexual sex while being oriented primarily towards people of the same gender. Sexual behavior is how one chooses to act. Since sexual behavior is a choice, I often say that I choose to be a lesbian and that it’s a valid lifestyle choice. I believe that it’s OK to act on one’s sexual orientation. Could I act straight? Yes I could with cognitive and behavioral modification therapy. Could I be happy? Probably, although I’d probably always struggle with attractions to women. In other words, I’d probably always struggle to stay straight because it’s not my true nature. I don’t have that problem with being a lesbian. Could someone act gay or lesbian? AGain, with therapy I believe they could. I don’t know why anyone would. It’s not that being gay or lesbian is sick; it’s that society doesn’t accept gays and lesbians in the same ways that straights are accepted.
The astute reader would catch that I base “lesbian lifestyle as a valid choice” on the claim that sexual behavior is a choice. So essentially, I’m justifying my lesbianism on sexual behavior. That’s not good, because I don’t want to be defined by sexual behavior. As Mel can tell you, our relationship is not defined by sexual behavior. We are in a caring and committed relationship with each other. We take care of and support each other. We are partners in life. Yes, we’re sexually attracted to each other and the expression of that love has physical outlets, but it doesn’t define our relationship.
So I want a new way to define us. I’ve always identified as a lesbian, and I have hard time rejecting that label. I don’t believe that I should reject that label simply because it has stereotypes associated with it. At the same time, Mel and I live a normal life and most people don’t associate “lesbian” with “normal”. In reality, our life is not much different than the lives of our heterosexual counterparts. Even in terms of sexual behavior, we engage in the same kinds of sexual activities that heterosexuals engage in. The only difference is gender. Of course, from a political standpoint lesbians and heterosexuals aren’t the same (similar to how gays and lesbians aren’t the same). So I want to keep on saying that I’m a lesbian. Yes, I choose a female life partner, but it’s about so much more than sex.