[Vision2020] [CORRECTED - Citation] Sexuality Menu Could List More Than 31 Flavors

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Sun Sep 2 07:06:47 PDT 2007

>From today's (September 2, 2007) Spokesman Review -


Sexuality menu could list more than 31 flavors
By Jamie Tobias Neely, Spokesman Review

There just may be one more scoop to serve on this week's Larry Craig story.

On Tuesday the Idaho senator firmly announced, "I am not gay." And the
politically correct observation became, "It doesn't matter if he is." When
it comes to politics, I have to agree. But as a student of human behavior,
I've got to say this: The realm of sexual preference and orientation is
simply too fascinating to be ignored.

And so I'm pondering Craig's statement this week. It's one that assumes the
world holds only two possible flavors here: chocolate or vanilla. Gay or
Yet, the famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey said, "Not all things are black
nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely
deals with discrete categories."

And the gay community names at least five flavors: gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender and questioning, in addition to straight. 

So it's quite possible that the full range of human sexual variations hasn't
yet been definitively cataloged. Human sexual preference may be akin to the
flavors of Baskin-Robbins, which have multiplied from 31 to more than 1,000
by now.

At Ben & Jerry's, which has dished up "Makin' Whoopie Pie," certain flavor
names may even constitute clues to clinically diagnosable human preferences:
"Passion Fruit Smooch," for example, or "Chubby Hubby."

It's quite possible that Craig long ago decided the word "gay" was too
imprecise a term to define his actual flavor. Perhaps if he were listed on
an ice cream parlor menu, he'd actually be a bi-berry laced with a ribbon of
anonymous bathroom capers. Maybe Jim West was similar, only with a scoop of
teenage boyberries on top. Bill Clinton, in contrast, appears to be a
straightberry white Wellesley chocolate with a huge waffle cone of
cheesecake bimbo on the side.

I'm convinced we haven't learned everything there is to know yet about human
sexuality. But I'm holding out hope that this scandal will help nudge us

As we expand the potential menu of flavors way beyond chocolate and vanilla,
we'll finally be closer to capturing what it means to be human.

For years the theology I listened to on Sunday mornings struck me as rather
negative and narrow. The secular version goes roughly like this: We're all a
batch of flawed goofballs, our gifts contrasting and blending with our
failings. And it's really only grace that sees any of us through. 

Now that I've lived longer and grown more aware of the goofiness, sexual and
otherwise, of us all, I find that message downright reassuring. What a
blenderful of Half-Baked-Cherry-Garcia smoothies we human beings truly are.

If Craig can ever find the precise language to name his authentic flavor,
and the personal integrity and courage to live it bravely, he certainly may
emerge as a vastly happier, and undeniably gay, man, free at last. Or maybe
he'll find his definition in some other, more nuanced terms.

When the day comes that researchers finally manage to define every possible
variation of human sexual preference, I don't expect all notions of human
sexual morality will disappear. I hope human beings will draw lines
separating sexual activity which enhances the partners' and society's health
and well-being from that which causes harm.

Anonymous bathroom sex strikes me as falling in the latter category.

But when this country becomes wiser about human sexuality in general, and
more respectful of gay men in particular, the dark pain surrounding these
sexual labels may finally melt away.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"We're a town of about 23,000 with 10,000 college students. The college
students are not very active in local elections (thank goodness!)."

- Dale Courtney (March 28, 2007)

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