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No Way to Kill It


No Way to Kill It

The Portland All-Ages Music Scene (That Portland Doesn't Want You to Know About)

<i>Pan</i>: I've Gotta Cringe


Pan: I've Gotta Cringe

It's Bad for Children, Bad for America

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: Natural Born Hermi

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 10:29 AM

first let me thank you for adding quite a few new words to my vocabulary, squicky and poopnoodle being favorites. also i wanted to thank you for being a wonderful writer and at times a smart alec (sp?) now on to my question: are you considered bi, straight,or gay if your long term lover—we've been together for 15 years—is a natural born hermi?

What's My Deal?

My response after the jump...


Before I get to your question—an easy pitch, low and slow, to ease me back in to the SLLOTD swing of things—I want to thank Christopher Ryan, co-author of Sex at Dawn, for guesting here last week. If you haven't read Ryan and Cacilda Jetha's book, here's a taste...

No group-living nonhuman primate is monogamous, and adultery has been documented in every human culture studied—including those in which fornicators are routinely stoned to death. In light of all this bloody retribution, it's hard to see how monogamy comes "naturally" to our species. Why would so many risk their reputations, families, careers—even presidential legacies—for something that runs against human nature? Were monogamy an ancient, evolved trait characteristic of our species, as the standard narrative insists, these ubiquitous transgressions would be infrequent and such horrible enforcement unnecessary.

No creature needs to be threatened with death to act in accord with its own nature.

Buy the book.

And remember kids: Ryan isn't arguing, nor have I ever argued, that all relationships should be non-monogamous or monogamish, or that non-monogamous/monogamish relationships are superior. What we're arguing for is a more general acceptance of the fucking obvious: people aren't bad at monogamy because we're easy, people are bad at monogamy because it's hard—and it's hard for reasons that have nothing to do with your moral shortcomings. (Failing to honor a monogamous commitment, however, can be evidence of a moral shortcoming.) We're also for a little more honesty in our romantic relationships, be they monogamous or not. For some couples honesty leads to an agreement about when, where, and how outside sexual contact may be permissible, for others it leads to a more secure monogamous commitment (because it takes a particular and completely unnecessary kind of pressure—pretending that you're not attracted to anyone but your spouse—off a LTR). And an awareness of the difficulties of monogamy can sometimes help people forgive a monogamously-committed partner who has strayed (instead of instantly slamming the hand down on the divorce buzzer).

Anyway, WMD, I think your deal depends on what gender your natural born hermi presents as—male or female? If male, then gay (assuming you're male). If female, then straight. If your NBH presents as intersexed, then you can ID yourself as gay, lesbian, bi, straight, or "D. all of the above."


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