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Question about gender and attraction

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
This is primarily for bisexual mamas, but since I believe in a continuum of sexual orientation rather than three distinct definitions of straight, bi, and gay, I'll pose it to anyone who wants to respond...

Is gender an issue for you in attraction? In other words, is it that you find both men and women attractive, or is it that you find certain people attractive and gender is kind of irrelevant?

I used to think the former, but lately I have been more aware that people who make my head turn just have a certain quality and their gender isn't even something I think about right away. I'm starting to believe that being bi isn't so much about being attracted to both sexes as it is about not being affected by gender.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 17
What a good question! I consider myself a lesbian, but I still find myself attracted to a man occasionally. Not that I would consider taking that attraction any further, but my being a lesbian isn't about not finding any men attractive. I must say, though, that the vast majority of people that I am attracted to are female.

Plus, there's a difference between that initial physical attraction and the emotional attraction that a person develops once you get to know someone better. That's the difference for me between my attractions to men versus women - for me, with men it stays at the physical level and never goes any further. I find that I can have both with another woman.

A close friend of mine swears that for her it is the person, and that gender has nothing to do with attraction. She was happily married to a man for several years before he died in an accident, and since then she has been in a 10+ year relationship with another woman. I believe that if anything happened to her current partner, my friend would be equally likely to end up with another woman as she would a man. So maybe it just depends on the person.

post #3 of 17
Yeah, I find I am attracted to certain similar qualities in men and women. Those qualities are socially considered "male". Basically I dont dig girlie girls and sensitive new age fellas. Its interesting.
Offpoint: (?) I consider gender to mean an expression and sex to mean sexual markers. My wife's gender is certainly NOT female.
post #4 of 17
Hey Luna...hmmmm...I know we've talked about this IRL, but yeah...there are new theories out there stating that for bi-affiliated folks attraction and affection and emotional connection are not gender/sex specific...it transcends their physical characteristics or behaviors. But for others, gender/sex IS important. This absolutely makes sense to me and for many bi women I know, this is how they identify...they fall for the person regardless of gender/sex.

Yet...there are many many many ways to define someone who is bi so it is hard to say. I am married to my husband and am physically attracted and emotionally attracted to him, but am primarily attracted, physically and emotionally, to women...I think of myself as bi but I know for me the emotional connection to woman is much stronger. Am I bi...am I a lesbian like Kelly states???...I know that except for my husband, I have really never had strong intimately emotional connections with men and while I enjoy a good looking male...in many many ways that is sort of where it begins and ends for me, except for my husband. Can you tell my mind has been churning these days????!!! Boy I need to respond to your email!!!

I think it is different for every person and ANYTHING is certainly possible in how you define yourself...this is why I think it is Klein's theory about bisexuality and the other theory (who's I can't remember...) are in conflict in some ways but BOTH make sense.

Seedgirl...I appreciate you clarifying gender and sex...its important, particularly when considering transgender issues, to keep those ideas straight. And I know what you mean...my attractions tend more towards male gender expression and female sex markers...a soft butch does a lot for me!!!
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am loving all these replies...I'd love to hear more!

Kelly, your statement about how being a lesbian is not about not being attracted to men. Makes perfect sense, and it's interesting to think about it in the reverse...how many straight people define themselves as being straight specifically because they are not attracted to the same sex? None, I'm sure!

Seedgirl, I like the distinction you made, too. If I think about it that way, I can see that the women I am attracted to are both female (obviously) and feminine, but by feminine I definitely do not mean "girlie." In fact, stereotypical "girliness" is a huge turnoff to me. The women who make me stop in my tracks are the ones who are feminine in a very earthy way, not in a makeup and nail polish way!

And conversely, I tend to be turned off by stereotypical masculine behavior in men (and women, too). I tend to go for the softer, more sensitive, artsy guys. I think part of my difficulties with my husband is that he is a little of one and a little of the other!

Robyn, I completely understand the emotional connection you are talking about, and it is very easy for me to see which relationships in my life, both current and past, had that connection and which did not. The majority of those that did were and are with women rather than men, but not all. There have been men I've been physically attracted to, and it ended with that, too.

This certainly is a lot to think about...
post #6 of 17
I can only speak for myself obviously, but I find both genders attractive. In some things, like shared interests gender doesn't matter. Someone that stimulates my mind is important to me. But as far as physical attraction, I'm attracted to both. I don't really fall into the " I'm attracted to the person and gender doesn't matter" camp.

great discussion !!
post #7 of 17
I do want to say there are clearly certain QUALITIES that generally attract me...like arduinna said...intellectual connections matter a lot to me...that and being able to make an intimate emotional connection. I guess that is why I feel like I am more female focused than male. But I find that the traits my husband has are quite similar to the traits my dear friend in Ohio has (Luna you know who I am talking about...) and it is uncanny how similar they are...both of them excite me in the same way and that is what drives my connection to both of them. So I think there are some universal traits BUT physical and emotional attraction pull me too.

OK...the intellectual geek in me is thinking...what goes into attraction...intellectual, physical, emotional, interest similarity...what else? Is it possible that we may choose to be more attracted to one gender/sex or another based on the relative importance once places on those items. For me...emotional is MOST important, followed by intellectual, physical, and interests. All are important but if I had to prioritize, that is where I would lean. Does this make ANY sense? For some, physical may be important so the physical make up of someone, sex markers, is very important...sorry this may sound all over the place but my brain is moving faster than my fingers can type and I'm trying to fix my thoughts in a coherent way!
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey Robyn, let those fingers of yours send me an e-mail...

post #9 of 17
I'm at a conference right now...juggling email and stuff while I read papers...sigh...I'll email you tonight...I PROMISE!!!

Lots and lots to catch up on...its been a weird few weeks...
post #10 of 17
When I was a girl I like girls "that way." Now I'm a woman and I like women "that way." I like men a lot, just not "that way." It's really a physical attraction for me to women.

Of course for the last 10 years I've only had eyes for dp. (Really, she's that amazing.)
post #11 of 17
this is a great thread!
personally, i think that i am attracted to gender and to individual personality traits. i love womyn for being womyn and men for being men. i could say that gender doesn't matter, but both sexes are physically different and it's those differences that i love. i love many different body types in womyn. i couldn't chose one over the other. so, though it starts with a physical attraction, what takes it to the next level is a connection, not a gender.
on another note, perhaps my attraction to both sexes is what draws me to gender blenders and others who fall into the trans "category". feminine men and manly womyn usually catch my eye ... and my hormones!
post #12 of 17

Re: Question about gender and attraction

Originally posted by LunaMom
or is it that you find certain people attractive and gender is kind of irrelevant?
Yes, that's it for me. Though once I have the initial attraction, there are also things I find attractive about a person's gender.

post #13 of 17
I second seedgirl's call for more clarify of terms. I am attracted to certian features of sexed bodies (both male and female) and I am also attracted to certian gender qualities (with gender delinked from sexed bodies). I am attracted to a mix of masculinity and feminity - but not the either one by itself. My partner is a very feminine man (gay men come on to him all the time - which he loves !), and I am also attracted to women with this same mix - not to femme but not too butch.

post #14 of 17
I am a gay man in a woman's body.. : :LOL

Now really.. I am a very girlie looking girl, but i compartmentalize,deal with things, think, what ever you wanna call it, more like a man.. My dh loves it, and is a little confused by it all at the same time..

I am emotionally attracted to people i am physically attracted to.. I hope that makes sense.. I love beauty, and I am not particularly interested in the form it takes.. Man, woman, whatever.. I notice beautiul women more than my dh does, and more than beautiful or attractive men.. And i live near a big college town.. I enjoy women, but I married a man.. He is the most beautiful man though...

I am attracted to peoples physical aspects to start, but if i can not connect with them emotionally, then there really isn't going to be any thing there whether they have a penis or not..

Warm Sqiushy Feelings..

post #15 of 17
Originally posted by megandavisdon
I am attracted to certian features of sexed bodies (both male and female) and I am also attracted to certian gender qualities (with gender delinked from sexed bodies).
Yeah, that too

I'll just add that to my thoughts above.

post #16 of 17

person specific

i like the term person specific.. i guess it encompases anyone and everyone. ive fallen in love with men and women and its way more to do with who they are then what sex they are..but it always seems i fall for femmy boys or boyish girls.. ! i agree with you luna..its like like living in a world without borders and walls- because when it all comes down to it gender isnt what defins us its who we are.
post #17 of 17
A friend of a friend came up with this definition. This is me to a "T."

sapiosexuality "sA-pE-O-sek-sh&-'wa-l&-tE"

To become attracted to or sexually aroused by intelligence and its use.

Me? I don't care too much about the plumbing. I want an incisive,
inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom
philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with. I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual.
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