A friend of mine recently came out to me as bi (and i felt really special, because i was only i think the 2nd person she had come out to), and she said she wasn't looking forward to coming out to a lot of her friends because have made clear that being gay or lesbian is fine, but that bisexuality made them uncomfortable. I'm so used to either being in queer-friendly places or in combatting heteronormativity that i forget about biphobia (which exists on both sides). I think it (bisexuality) upsets people's neat categories and that disturbs them (much in the same way that trans stuff upsets people, messing with the gender binary and all). We both have faith that her friends will come around, and her parents will definitely be accepting (which is always a blessing -- love and hugs to my parentals, btw, as i haven't said that recently), it's just frustrating.
One of things Mandy and i talked about that long night was sex and how one defines it. She said that for her, she has to make a verbal commitment beforehand, saying "I am defining this action, with this person, as sex," and that actions other than those usually defined (even within the queer community) as "sex" can be included in that, that the focus is more on the partner and the decision. I think that's an interesting and potentially useful way of defining it, but it doesn't work for me. I'm not sure what does work for me, though. I think that gay sex has really upset the traditional definitions. I mean, i'm comfortable with the idea of penetration-as-sex (except in non-consensual situations, where Mandy's definition takes on appeal for me, where one can say that someone forced sexual activity on you and you have been violated and you have been raped but you compartmentalize it outside of the consensual sexual activities you have participated in) but what about oral-vaginal sex. If you go down on a woman, have you had sex? has she? Gay sex also upsets the idea of whether it really matters. Virginity has traditionally been an issue of bride-as-damaged-goods, and retains even in liberal societies the idea of wanting to maintain purity etc. When you bring gay sex into it, you have to question just what all that means. The major issue used to be one of property, of husbands wanting to be sure that all the fruit of their wife's loins was theirs by blood. Without that factor, what is the issue? Is sex an intimate shared experience you want to save for your life partner? I can absolutely understand and respect that and in fact feel similarly myself. Mandy has got me thinking about that, though, because one can certainly have physical intimacy outside of "sex." Is kissing something you want to save for your life partner? We can perhaps put kissing and "sex" on opposite sides of the life-partner-line, but it gets blurry in between.
[edit: I knew there were related things from that conversation i was forgetting. Thankfully i had jotted them down since i knew i wanted to LJ about them at some point.]
One of the things she said was that it's not important how far you've gone with how many people but whether the physical interactions you've had have been significant.
I've also been thinking for a while about the fact that i have fulfilling friendships, which i think is more important than physical intimacy with one single person (though physical affection is important to me).
Okay, sleepy girl should go to bed now.
There was an ad (i think for Bombay Dreams though i really wasn't at all sure) i saw a lot last time i was in London whose focus was the quote "Love like you've never been hurt before." I've seen this in the context of the full quote before and never thought much of it (The "Dance like no one's watching." bit really appealed to me much more.) but seeing it on its own it started to really trouble me. I get what it means, but it's troubling because it's important to learn from relationships, particularly the ones in which you've been hurt. I mean, you shouldn't let a heartbreak prevent you from ever allowing someone else into your heart, but it's also important to not repeat mistakes like getting into relationships with people who are abusive or emotionally unavailable or whatever.