Mix of topics: teaching, academic research, travel, politics, TV/movies, married life...
Friday, November 21, 2008
Is homosexuality only "okay" if it isn't your choice?
As part of giving a lecture on homosexuality in my developmental psychology class, I looked up Lisa Diamond's new book, because in past year's I've had to point out that most of the work on homosexuality is on male homosexuality -- it feels funny to spend an hour on theories of why men become gay addressing a room of 70 students that is 85% female.
Is love "blind" when it comes to gender? For women, it just might be. This unsettling and original book offers a radical new understanding of the context-dependent nature of female sexuality. Lisa Diamond argues that for some women, love and desire are not rigidly heterosexual or homosexual but fluid, changing as women move through the stages of life, various social groups, and, most important, different love relationships. This perspective clashes with traditional views of sexual orientation as a stable and fixed trait. But that view is based on research conducted almost entirely on men. Diamond is the first to study a large group of women over time. She has tracked 100 women for more than ten years as they have emerged from adolescence into adulthood. She summarizes their experiences and reviews research ranging from the psychology of love to the biology of sex differences. Sexual Fluidity offers moving first-person accounts of women falling in and out of love with men or women at different times in their lives. For some, gender becomes irrelevant: "I fall in love with the person, not the gender," say some respondents. Sexual Fluidity offers a new understanding of women's sexuality--and of the central importance of love.