Gay Marriage

 

Among ‘international news’ heard this day in June 2012 was an item that some 40,000 people had marched in a ‘gay-rights’ parade in Chile, demanding the right to civil union.

What bearing does this business have on sex and the enjoyment of it?

The amount and quality of sexual encounters enjoyed is one measure of how good a sex life is. Another is the degree to which these conform or clash with the person’s values. Quality and enjoyment are determined by different things. The readiness to become quickly bored, versus the appreciation of lasting commitment or affection, for example. Overlapping with this spectrum is that of the range of flavours the person likes to taste.

One individual likes variety, another prefers to concentrate deeply on one flavour. This is rather like the difference between specializing in a small area or dealing broadly with a range of things professionally: choosing to be an obstetrician instead of a general practitioner. Yet other doctors prefer to super-specialize and spend a lifetime inserting devices into obstructed coronary blood vessels or operating on the bile duct alone. The joys resident in these options are of very different kinds. Miniscule nuances interest the super-specialist but leave the generalist cold.

Adopting the identity of ‘gay’ is a kind of specialization. A specific set of stimuli and activities, and not others, become the focus. The same of course applies to those who see themselves exclusively ‘straight’.  People in both categories have chosen to specialize, like doctors in the previous example, probably because this is for them the route to greater satisfaction. The equivalent of those more aligned to the ‘generalist’ extreme would do well not to specialize on one sex or the other.

The specialized gay role narrows the range of potential partners further, for epidemiological reasons.  The specialist straight person has the vast majority of the opposite sex as potential sexual partners. But given the minority status of specialized gay persons, the segment of humanity potentially sexually available to them is far less. No matter, those who genuinely prefer to concentrate on a small area of operations would probably say. But for someone who prefers to savour more of the range of tastes in the buffet, the exclusive gay choice is likely even more restricting than the pure straight one.

When those calling themselves gay fight for the right to marry, they are expressing a desire to move from an already limited field of operations to a hugely more restricted one. There is potential for great joy there, but only for those inclined to super-specialism.

 

 

 

 

 

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