Listling Without Commentary: How You Described Your Sexual Orientation On The AS Reader Survey

2012 AS reader survey results (click to enlarge)

Last week’s Autostraddle Audience Survey was a smashing success, garnering a record response rate and consequentially producing heaps of data for Meredydd to geek out over! While she’s doing math or whatever, I’m looking into more important matters, like “how many of y’all identify as queer?” (48.5%, FYI).

Question #40 asked “which term(s) best describe your sexuality? (select all that apply)” and offered a list of options (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, pansexual, sexually fluid, questioning, straight, asexual) and also invited respondents to select “other” and then “please specify.” It turns out there are so many more things in the alphabet.

Below are just some of the descriptions you gave of your own sexual orientation in the 2012 Autostraddle Reader Survey.

How You Described Your Sexuality On The AS 2012 Reader Survey: 

1. my sexual preference is often, babe

2. I have no idea what to label the damn thing

3. sexy

4. maybe jesus will tell us if he ever shows up

5. agronsexual

6. i’ll try anything twice

7. fuck labels in the ear with a banana

8. I used to like men and women, but men kind of suck, so I’m sticking to chicks for the time being.

9. i just really like butts

10. In therapy to determine best label.

11. Alone

12. bossy bottom boned by butch

13. funsexual – i only date fun people

14. Emma Watson

15. NOT QUEER ENOUGH

16. I can like dudes sometimes, until he pulls his pants down

17. nun-like

18. Fucking awesome

19. inexperienced

20. i wish i knew

21. everything all the time

22. big homo

23. ALL THE LABELS

24. one night stands with a side of straight up trust issues

25. unicorn

26. lesbian with a fetish for geeks of all gender (does that make me bi? I don’t know))

27. Life is easier in the bathtub

28. pussy 4 dinner

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Riese is the CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1680 articles for us.

80 Comments

  1. Thumb up 5

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    #16 describes me perfectly. It’s always uncomfortable when people ask me if I like guys and I’m like, “…yeah. Kind of. I DON’T LIKE PENIS.” And then I gag because I said the p-word.

  2. Thumb up 1

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    Oh no, I didn’t do the survey :( Reise I’m so sorry! It didn’t work on my phone and I never got around to doing it on my laptop :( I wouldn’t have been as amusing as the people on this list though.

    If I can still do the survey someone should def let me know and I’ll get on it.

    • Thumb up 0

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      the don’t want a penis uproar has apparently taken over the spirit animal uproar, ie, don’t appropriate someones _______ uproar (I can’t remember exactly what that was, so many uproars to roar about these days on AS) so I think I can laugh at your post except now I am sure someone will sternly say something to me. As long as it’s not about a penis I don’t care. Actually I was waiting for someone to uproar about #26. “lesbian with a fetish for geeks of all gender (does that make me bi? I don’t know)”–I mean the possibilities for uproar are numerous. You call yourself a lesbian but fetish for geeks of all gender??? YOU ARE NO LESBIAN!!! You mentioned bi???? oh lord. And really liking butts is dismissive of other worthy body parts and I am really disappointed in this site.

      • Thumb up 8

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        but genitalia IS a big deal to some (not all) ladyhomos when it comes to sex
        im not saying we shouldnt question #16 or point out that its not representative of all gay ladies

        but

        it is ok to have boundaries/things you do not like when it comes to sex!!

        • Thumb up 1

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          Okay, but categorically dismissing some women (who happen to have penises) is pretty bent and transmisogynistic. People with that “boundary” need to examine themselves to determine whether or not that “boundary” is borne out of gender essentialism and transphobia. And some of these comments echoing the “eeeeieeew! peeeenises!” are really immature and unnecessary. Disappointing.

        • Thumb up 6

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          i don’t know i feel like there’s a difference between:

          ‘i refuse to accept anyone with a penis is a women’
          and
          ‘i’m a person who likes women and does not like penises’

          i mean there are lesbians who are not transphobic but who don’t like penises…
          for some people desire is about other’s bodies and not their identities. i don’t think that is bigotry – it’s just the way attraction/ sexual orientation works for some people

        • Thumb up 6

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          I also think it is rather condescending of you to say that because a lesbian or queer woman does not find a penis attractive, that she is cissexist, transphobic, and transmisogynistic. That is exactly the words you used and it is quite a leap.

          Exactly like amy said above me, there is a very definite difference between the two scenarios

          Some or most lesbians simply do not like penis, /regardless/ of who it is on. Correct me if I’m wrong- lesbians aren’t attracted to men and thus aren’t attracted to penises and male genitalia? I don’t see the problem.

        • Thumb up 4

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          WOW. Check your cissexism. Seriously. The PROBLEM is that you just equated penises with the male gender identity, which is of course gender essentialist and cissexist. This is autostraddle, and you clearly have an internet connection, so you have no excuse to be ignorant about what that means, especially on a site that’s supposed to be all inclusive and has published many articles about the trans* community (I mean, hello, there ARE lesbians who WRITE FOR THIS SITE who are non-cis!). Before you call me condescending for simply stating that the preference for some cis lesbians to only want to date other cis lesbians might be rooted in some problematic assumptions on their part, rethink your decree about what “male genitalia” is. Your statement about what counts as “male genitalia” is the reason many trans* folk don’t feel safe or accepted in lesbian spaces. I’ll gladly rethink my comments if you’re equating “male genitalia” to any genitalia owned by a MALE (cis or otherwise), because it sounds like you’re saying that penis = male (to use your words: “lesbians aren’t attracted to MEN and thus aren’t attracted to PENISES and male genitalia?”). And my statement (“exact words”) was “Okay, but categorically dismissing some women (who happen to have penises) is pretty bent and transmisogynistic”– because if you’re boiling down a woman’s identity/personality/attractiveness to their genitals and only that, then you’re being shitty, and you saying “Welp, lesbians aren’t attracted to penises” is basically you giving the finger to pre-op/non-op trans lesbians/bisexuals.

        • Thumb up 10

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          You can spit out all the rhetoric you want and use all the terms that you want, but people are attracted to whomever they are attracted to and sometimes “parts” play a role in that attraction and sometimes they don’t.

          If a woman only wants to date a person with a vagina – regardless of how that person identifies or appears to others in public – then that is okay. It doesn’t make her “phobic” in any way shape or form. It makes her human to have a preference.

          THAT is the real world. Your rhetoric is theoretical because you can’t cut people into little boxes based on identity and then command certain boxes of people to like each other and have sex with one another.

        • Thumb up 2

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          why are you assuming that the men who pull down their pants (as referenced in the survey response in question) have penises?

        • Thumb up 2

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          honestly, I think we are talking about two different things. You seem to be very paranoid and are actively seeking out signs of transphobia, etc to incite argument. When I said lesbians don’t find penises attractive, it doesn’t mean that lesbians can’t be attracted to the person that it is connected to, who would be transwomen. Lesbians can and are attracted to transwomen because transwomen are women. Attraction can be romantic or sexual.. and I would think that a lesbian is not /sexually/ attracted to a penis. However, the penis is traditionally a male appendage however you may want to argue it.

          “The PROBLEM is that you just equated penises with the male gender identity”
          and this statement I would really, really like you to clarify and explain the reasoning behind why this is both cissexist and gender essentialist. Afterall, the penis forms when male androgen and testosterone production in the testes kick in both in the mother’s womb and during puberty, is that not true? That is most essentially a male process and therefore it is part of the male gender identity.

        • Thumb up 1

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          i think different ideas about woman/female/man/male make conversations (especially about anatomy) a minefield

          i do find it hard to wrap my head around calling a penis female
          to me my entire girlhood and womanhood were/are based on the fact that i was faab
          my anatomy did mean things for me
          like sexism (!) putting me in danger/ making me feel awful

          so it’s genuinely not a case of not seeing transwomen as women
          but i don’t relate to the womanhood they refer to?
          and i think people do see things differently based on experiences
          which is why i find it hard to see why a penis would be female, even if it does belong to a woman

          it’s hard to word this. so i hope it made sense(ish)

        • Thumb up 2

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          “Okay, but categorically dismissing some women (who happen to have penises) is pretty bent and transmisogynistic”– because if you’re boiling down a woman’s identity/personality/attractiveness to their genitals and only that, then you’re being shitty, and you saying “Welp, lesbians aren’t attracted to penises” is basically you giving the finger to pre-op/non-op trans lesbians/bisexuals.”

          I really don’t understand this line of thinking. It’s not transphobic or transmisogynistic to not be attracted to someone. I’m not attracted to men (cis or trans) and, while some women with penises are attractive, I would not have sex with a women with a penis because I’m turned off by penises which would make sex very un-enjoyable for me. I don’t think they are any less of women, but I love, want, and am turned on by vaginas and I’m turned off by penises. It’s not boiling down women’s identities to their genitals; it’s just being honest about what turns me on and what doesn’t.

          There are plenty of traits that don’t turn me on. For instance, I’m not attracted to short women. I’m just not attracted to them. It says nothing about their inherent attractiveness, it just says that I am not attracted to them. Maybe I would be attracted to that same woman if she was 6 inches taller, but the height she is, I just am not attracted to her. Maybe that’s “boiling women down to their heights” but I’m still not attracted to short women. I can’t make myself be turned on by something that simply does not turn me on…and I don’t have to! My body and sex is not a public service that everyone needs to have equal access to, so the only people I should be having sex with are those who turn me on completely. Every person has the right to say “I’m not attracted to this” without being accused of being a bigot.

        • Thumb up 1

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          And I never said finding certain genital alignments attractive was a prerequisite for not being transphobic– making snap judgements about someone based on their genitals is.

        • Thumb up 3

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          Nowhere did anyone categorically dismiss women who happen to have penises. You may have misconstrued the statement and read extra meaning into where there wasn’t. Human beings can and will have preferences and that is natural and is not always something rooted in discrimination or phobias. I feel like you are making a blanket statement essentially saying all gay men and lesbian women are cissexist and transphobic for being homosexual and liking what they like, which can be read as a form of homophobia. Your statement is further problematic because under that requisite, hetereosexual people can be considered all of those things as well for innately preferring sexual relations with individuals of genitalia owned by their preferred gender. Also, you are invalidating post-op transpeople who choose to undergo the procedure to acquire the genitalia of their true gender.

          “I mean, unless they dislike all genitals owned by men, that is.”

          also, what other genitals do men own? The penis is the primary and only genital.

        • Thumb up 3

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          ‘what other genitals do men own?’
          Some transmen have vaginas, as do some intersex men, just as some transwomen and intersex women have penises.

          I agree that we are attracted to whoever we are attracted to, and we might find a person’s genitals attractive or not, just as we might find a person’s nose attractive or not.

          I think it can be difficult to understand another person’s pain when we feel defensive, because our own discomfort means we stop trying to understand them, because we do not want to think we are terrible people. We aren’t; we’re just naturally ignorant of issues that are outside of our experience. But it is up to us to try to listen and understand where the pain is coming from, and try to avoid causing pain in that particular way in future.

          In this case, I think the pain was caused by the assumption that a man ‘dropping his pants’ would necessarily reveal a penis. This was not specified in the original comment, but rather inferred by several subsequent commenters. I think the assumption caused pain because it suggests that pre-op or non-op transwomen who are lesbians might be rejected *as women* by some commenters simply because of an accident of birth. I suspect most commenters did not mean to suggest that, and simply had not thought it through in terms of what it would mean to a transwoman, because it is outside their experience.

          But I am only guessing here. Perhaps someone with personal experience of trans* issues would correct me if I am wrong?

        • Thumb up 4

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          I like women and I have an aversion to penises. This means I don’t want to have sex to women with penises. They’re still women, they’re just (probably) women I don’t want to have sex with. I’m not attracted to men with vaginas, either, because they’re men.

          Some people have a huge problem with this, but I don’t control it. I can’t make myself feel attraction for body parts I don’t feel attraction for; I tried to for years and it didn’t work. That’s part of this whole thing we’re struggling for, right? The right to feel what we feel, and act on it?

          I would say the original statement is cisnormative, not cissexist. The person is *not* stating that being a cis guy is somehow better, simply has forgotten that not all men have penises. While it would be good to remind people that this isn’t true, it’s not an attack on trans guys. It could be assumed the person in question would be pretty pleased with a man with a vagina.

        • Thumb up 2

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          I don’t mean to sound dismissive or callous. I really, really wish I could enjoy a woman’s penis. I’m just fairly certain I can’t, and it would hurt me to try. And her. I still support her womanhood, her right to live as her own gender, all that.

        • Thumb up 0

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          You can make your case and state your opinions til the cows come home but do not tell me I cannot have an immature response to a body part when it is simply and only that, devoid of politics or gender or trans* issues, religion, vegan preference, type of car I like, etc. I have every right to do so and it is rather none of your business if I choose to. Is your mission to suck the humor out of life? Sorry no pun intended.

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          Was reading down the long list of comments while rubbing my throbbing temple and then this happened! Dearest sweet and lovely MKR, oh how I’ve missed your wit and wisdom.

    • Thumb up 1

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      From my point of view, I’m not a big fan of cis-men. I tend to like boyish girls, studs, pretty bois etc. though. The transwomen who grace my life are all femme, and I’m not into femmes right now so I see us as very sisterly. If I ever met a studly transwoman I’d be so down though.

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      You’re right. I apologize for my comment above relating to how I agree with #16—it was thoughtless, and I’m in the process of trying to undo my lifetime of cissexist conditioning. I guess I had to stumble at some point. I really am not attracted to penises, though, regardless of who they are on. I guess that was what I identified with within response #16, not the fact that penises are intrinsically linked to dudes. Because I know they’re not. Thanks for pointing this out.

  3. Thumb up 1

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    26, yes! We are kindred spirits. I’m a lesbian, but have a crush on this skinny Chem major boy from Califirnia. What does it mean???? Ugh. But he and my ex-girlfriend look so similar…?

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      I think labels are more helpful politically than they sometimes are in accurately describing our attractions. Sometimes, they can be no better than a straight-jacket that prevents us understanding our attractions.

      Up until 3 years ago, I thought I was totally straight. When I realised that I wasn’t, it resulted in me re-thinking a lot of things. Like crushes I hadn’t recognised as crushes (thanks, social conditioning!). Like the way that my partner of 21 years was regularly mistaken for a slightly butch woman, right up until he decided to grow a beard five years ago. Do I wish he was a woman? Not at all! I love him as he is. Just as I love my female partner as she is. It turns out that my primary attraction is to geeky, feminine-looking, slightly-butch/androgynous people, regardless of gender. Perhaps yours may be too?

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