Is Sexual Orientation a choice?

We are all unique when we are born.  We have a unique genetic code that decides what color hair we will have, will it be straight or curly, how tall will we be, what our skin tone will be.  It tells us what color eyes we will have, hazel, green, brown or blue.   Our DNA decides if we will be born with all of our body parts and brains fully functioning, or if we are missing a chromosome, or piece of DNA it decides if we will have Down’s Syndrome, or autism, or any myriad of genetic birth defects.

That being said, what about gender and sex?  Of course we know our physiological sexual characteristics are decided by our DNA, but gender? Gender is fluid and is a social construct and we are socialized to be one gender or another.  And what about sexual orientation? Is sexual orientation a choice? Or is it hardwired into our DNA?
Many people will say that people CHOOSE to be gay or straight.  Many say they are born gay or straight.  I am not a scholar and I have not done enough research to determine if the scientific data supports either theory.  All I can tell you is what people have told me.

One day, while waiting for a professor to show up for a class, my classmates and I started having a discussion about sexual orientation.  I said I don’t like to
“classify” my sexuality, and told them that I am vague because I don’t like to categorize myself as one thing or another.  I am not straight.  I like guys, but I also like women. I have been in a wonderful relationship with a woman for over 10 years, and I expect to stay in that relationship until I die.  If something were to happen to her and I wanted to be in another relationship  have no idea what gender that person might be.  They could be male, female, transgendered….who knows.  I don’t rule anything out and definitely don’t really have a certain “type” of person I am attracted to.  According to my college friends this makes me a “pansexual”

I had never heard of Pansexuality before and of course I looked it up and did some research, and I realized she was right, and that described me perfectly.  I am not attracted to just one type of person, I can be attracted to any type of person.  What matters to me more than their sexual anatomy is who they are as a person, their heart and personality.  Those are the things that draw me in and makes me attracted to someone, not their gender or physical features.

During this discussion with some of my classmates, we started talking about sexual orientation and whether it was a “choice” or how we were born.  Someone said,  “You know, I hear people say that gay people choose to be gay, but I am here to tell you that is not true.  Why would I choose this lifestyle?  Choose being discriminated against?  Choose a lifestyle that made my friends and church family abandon me?  Choose an orientation where I can’t even walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand? Who would choose that? Nobody would.”

That young man articulated the thoughts that I believe MANY LGBTQ people have had.  Why in the world would we CHOOSE to be born that way?  A life of discrimination, ridicule and being treated differently?  A life where you still can’t have a legally binding civil union or marriage (or whatever term you prefer to use) in every state in this country.  A lifestyle where you get bullied and picked on in school.

These are questions that anyone who feels being gay is a choice should ask themselves.  It would be much easier to be heterosexual.

So for anyone who thinks LGBTQ people wake up one day and consciously make a choice to take a more difficult path through life, ask yourself, “would I chose that?”  If the answer is no, then that is all you need to know.  Being gay, or straight, or bisexual, or asexual, or bisexual is not a choice, it is hardwired into our DNA and it is how we are born.

So in the words of Lady Gaga, we were “Born This Way”!!

A History of Gay Marriage in the United States

I started blogging in 2010.  Somewhere in the first year I was blogging I ran across a Blog called “Doorknobs that Lock”.  You have to read the very first post that S wrote to understand the meaning of that one.  🙂 I was intrigued because they, S and E were two women who met after S had a child and he was 10 years old.  They met, fell in love, and got married in a few years.  Their son M is in scouts like Joe Cool and is the same age as Joe Cool.  We had so much in common and I have followed her over the years.  She is even in my Blog Roll. S has been tracking the history of states allowing same sex unions and marriages over the past 10 years, and has compiled a wonderful list with details.  So I asked her if I could use her history of gay marriage in the united states on my blog and she agreed!!  So without further ado, here is the roundup, as written by S.  Check out her blog too, it is cute, and funny, and interesting.  All the things a blog should be.  And she always has awesome pictures on her blog!!!

gay wedding

Carol over at Coffee, Clutter and Chaos asked if I could do a roundup of all the marriage blog entries. Thanks for asking! It’s the perfect opportunity for me to ignore the impending blizzard and exercise my Type-A personality to its max, and so I decided to make as comprehensive a listing as I could of the evolving legal landscape of same-sex relationship recognition in the US. Not only that, I decided to do it 2 different ways. This is the state-by-state version; a timeline version is in the post above. The “more” links refer back to the more detailed blog posts I’ve written about many of these changes.

Alabama : marriages began 09-Feb-2015 more

Alaska : marriages began 12-Oct-2014 more

Arizona : marriages began 17-Oct-2014 more

Arkansas: marriages began 12-May-2014 more
Arkansas: marriages halted 16-May-2014

California : domestic partnerships began 02-Oct-1999
California : marriages began 16-Jun-2008
California : marriages halted 05-Nov-2008
California : marriages resumed 28-Jun-2013

Colorado : designated beneficiary agreements began 01-Jul-2009
Colorado : civil unions began 01-May-2013
Colorado : marriages began 06-Oct-2014 more

Connecticut : civil unions began 01-Oct-2005
Connecticut : marriages began 12-Nov-2008 more

Delaware : civil unions began 01-Jan-2012 more
Delaware : marriages began 01-Jul-2013 more

Florida : marriages began 06-Jan-2015 more

Georgia: no legal recognition

Hawaii : reciprocal beneficiary registration began 08-Jul-1997
Hawaii : civil unions began 01-Jan-2012 more
Hawaii : marriages began 02-Dec-2013 more

Idaho : marriages began 10-Oct-2014 more

Illinois : civil unions began 01-Jun-2011 more
Illinois : marriages began 01-Jun-2014 more

Indiana : marriages began 26-Jun-2014 more
Indiana : marriages halted 27-Jun-2014
Indiana : marriages resumed 07-Oct-2014 more

Iowa : marriages began 24-Apr-2009

Kansas : marriages began 10-Oct-2014 more

Kentucky: no legal recognition

Louisiana: no legal recognition

Maine : domestic partnerships began 30-Jul-2004
Maine : marriages began 29-Dec-2012 more

Maryland : domestic partnerships began 01-Jul-2008
Maryland : marriages began 01-Jan-2013 more

Massachusetts : marriages began 17-May-2004

Michigan: marriages began 22-Mar-2014 more
Michigan: marriages halted 22-Mar-2014

Minnesota : marriages began 01-Aug-2013 more

Mississippi: no legal recognition

Missouri: no legal recognition

Montana : marriages began 19-Nov-2014 more

Nebraska: no legal recognition

Nevada : domestic partnerships began 01-Oct-2009 more
Nevada : marriages began 09-Oct-2014 more

New Hampshire : civil unions began 01-Jan-2008
New Hampshire : marriages began 01-Jan-2010 more

New Jersey : domestic partnerships began 30-Jul-2004
New Jersey : civil unions began 19-Feb-2007
New Jersey : marriages began 21-Oct-2013 more

New Mexico : marriages began 19-Dec-2013 more

New York : domestic partnerships began 03-Feb-2006
New York : marriages began 24-Jul-2011 more

North Carolina : marriages began 10-Oct-2014 more

North Dakota: no legal recognition

Ohio: no legal recognition

Oklahoma : marriages began 06-Oct-2014 more

Oregon : domestic partnerships began 04-Feb-2008
Oregon : marriages began 19-May-2014 more

Pennsylvania : marriages began 20-May-2014

Rhode Island : civil unions began 02-Jul-2011 more
Rhode Island : marriages began 01-Aug-2013 more

South Carolina : marriages began 20-Nov-2014 more

South Dakota: no legal recognition

Tennessee: no legal recognition

Texas: no legal recognition

Utah : marriages began 20-Dec-2013 more
Utah : marriages halted 06-Jan-2014
Utah : marriages resumed 06-Oct-2014 more

Vermont : civil unions began 01-Jul-2000
Vermont : marriages began 01-Sep-2009 more

Virginia : marriages began 06-Oct-2014 more

Washington: domestic partnerships began 22-Jul-2007
Washington : marriages began 06-Dec-2012 more

Washington DC : domestic partnerships began 11-Jun-1992
Washington DC : marriages began 03-Mar-2010

West Virginia : marriages began 09-Oct-2014 more

Wisconsin : domestic partnerships began 03-Aug-2009 more
Wisconsin : marriages began 06-Jun-2014 more
Wisconsin : marriages halted 13-Jun-2014
Wisconsin : marriages resumed 06-Oct-2014 more

Wyoming : marriages began 21-Oct-2014 more

Lesbian Bed Death: Fact or Fiction

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Okay, so this is an article I have wanted to write for a long time, but as you can imagine with a title of “Lesbian Bed Death“, it has taken me some time to gather the courage to actually write it. So you might ask, “Then why even write it?”.  You have an argument, except for the fact that when I have these ideas churning around in my head (this one for years), I have to eventually get it out!

I first heard the term “Lesbian Bed Death” aka LBD when I was 18. Women would mention it and say that is was real, and it happened to women after they had been in monogamous relationships for many years.  I was never worried because I was quite young and was not in a monogamous relationship, so I didn’t even give it a thought.

Fast forward to me at age 38.  I was back in a relationship with a woman after being married to a man for 9 years, and having had two babies.  I met my partner while I was in the Navy and we were best friends for over a year.  Then one day I woke up and realized I was in love with her and lucky for me she was in  love with me as well.

I was single and therefore available for a relationship, and this one flourished! When our relationship started we were both on the verge of turning 40, and there was definitely NO LBD in our lives.  We lived apart (she in Pennsylvania, me in Virginia) for the first two years of our relationship so the lack of physical contact definitely lowered our ability to be intimate, but the desire was not lacking.

Then my partner developed cervical cancer.  It was sudden and shocking and she had to undergo a radical hysterectomy.  She had her uterus removed, and the surgeon said she was left with only one functional ovary.  She recovered well, and is currently 6 years cancer free!

However, she had a physical consequence to the surgery that saved her life.  Due to the fact that she only had one viable ovary her hormones were lowered, and as a result she entered Peri-menopause. When this happened her libido dropped tremendously.  It wasn’t that she no longer loved me, or was no longer attracted to me, there was just a decreased interest in sexual intimacy due to her hormone levels being low.  She was 41 at that time. Then the next shoe dropped.  I entered Peri-menopause, and my hormones also changed.  I was 43, and began experiencing hot flashes, mood changes, difficulty sleeping and loss of libido.

As these changes affected our lives, and I noticed our intimacy getting less and less frequent the though of LBD returned to me.  But I suddenly realized LBD isn’t about not loving your partner or lack of desire for your partner, or even the sexual intimacy not being up to snuff.  It had to do with hormones and loss of libido.  It all made perfect sense to me.  LBD was never talked about with young women, it was always said to happen to women who had been together for “a long time” because they had become bored with each other and therefore the sex stopped.  I now know from personal experience this is untrue.

I think there is another reason for LBD.  It has been my experience  that women in relationships with women have deep emotional intimacy.  I have been in relationships with men and women.  The ones with women have always had a deeper emotional connection.  It is my opinion that the deeper emotional connections can at times preclude the need for physical intimacy required to make a connection.

When I did some research on this topic, I found that others also believed hormone fluctuation was the cause for lesbian bed death.  I am 48.  Most of my friends are in heterosexual relationships and most are approximately my age.  They talk about “not being in the mood” as often as their husbands/boyfriends.  This is because men do not have the same hormone fluctuations as women do.  This would also account for the fact that we don’t hear about gay men having a “bed death”.  Think about it, if the female half of a a heterosexual partnership is less interested in sex, what do you think happens when both partners are women?  The libido drop due to hormonal changes is 100% in the relationship.  Hence Lesbian Bed Death. So I wondered if Lesbian Bed Death was Fact or Fiction?

In my opinion Lesbian Bed Death is not a myth, it is a fact.  However, I think the true reason is different than what the “rumor mill” would have us believe. Interestingly there have been many studies done and quite a few articles written about LBD and I was fascinated with one theory about why women in lesbian relationships have sex less frequently.

A survey conducted by the Institute for Personal Growth (IPG) in New Jersey with 104 self described lesbians and 89 heterosexual women found that although lesbian couples did have fewer sexual experiences than the heterosexual women, the lesbian women reported fewer sexual problems than the hetero women, and  90% of the lesbian women stated they achieved orgasm during their sexual encounters as compared to 73% of the heterosexual women.  In addition, the lesbian women not only achieved a high rate of orgasm, they experienced multiple orgasm most of the time they had sex.  Also, the sexual encounters lasted 30-60 minutes while the heterosexual encounters were generally 10-30 minutes.

So while hormone fluctuations can definitely account for a percentage of why Lesbian Bed Death is a reality in lesbian relationships, maybe another part of the reason for this phenomenon is that women in lesbian relationships have such excellent sexual experiences (encounters lasting longer, higher percentage of orgasm, and multiple orgasm) that the sexual relationship is healthier and more satisfying. IPG significantly linked these facts to the women being more satisfied with the sexual,emotional, and affectionate aspects of the relationship.

Therefore it is entirely possible that as a lesbian relationship lasts through the years, although lesbian women have some hormonal issues that stand in the way of sexual encounters, overall they are quite satisfied with their relationships, and one could even argue that since the sexual encounters they do experience are so satisfying the need for them is lessened.  When one looks at it that way, we should be proud of Lesbian Bed Death, not afraid of it.