There are many theories about what attracts one person to someone else. Most seem like absolute nonsense to me, not only because those in the msm at least tend to be pushing very traditional lines of masculinity and femininity and compulsory heterosexuality.
But even more progressive explorations
of attraction tend to leave out something that's kinda key in my
experience. Mutuality, that hint of possibility, which means I notice
someone in a completely different way.
How does interaction move
to attraction? There are probably about as many answers as there are
people, and for me at least it's been different with different
attractions. The one thing the different people I've been attracted to
have all had in common - they were all open to the possibility of sexual
relationships with women.
I have never been attracted to anyone, genderqueer, trans or cis, who is not attracted to women.
been attracted to all genders more masculine identified than I am, and
more feminine identified. Femme queer women? Potentially sexy as
hell. Masculine queer women? Often delicious. Others who are
attracted to women? Love watching them play with gender expression.
don't mean I cannot admire someone's brain, body or sense of fun if
they are not into women. I just mean that true sexual or romantic
attraction for me doesn't happen without the hint of mutual possibility,
as well as the other things I find appealing. Compassion. Analytical
ability. Fierce commitment to justice and fairness. Playfulness.
Honesty. Sense of humour and delight. Smiling eyes. Physical
competence, whether it's in sewing, cooking or climbing a tree. Joy in
What this means in practise is that for me, when a
straight woman flirts to see if she can get a reaction, I find it
tedious, both homophobic and biphobic. I'm not talking about people
exploring the fluidity of desire, stepping outside monosexual constructs
into something new. But for me the sexiness in connecting with other
women is about knowing the flow of desire is multi-faceted, rich,
imaginative and playful. I want to know they want me, and I want them
to know how much I want them.
Mutuality. Similarly, when my
mother told me once, with longing, that Richard Gere perhaps being queer
was "a waste", I asked if she would really find it sexy sleeping with
someone who was actually wishing she was a man. Who didn't want her
body, the mysteries of her pleasure. It was a somewhat stilted
Why don't we talk about mutuality as part of desire
and attraction? It's scary, right, leaping into desire being a
relational process rather than something which simply objectifies
someone else. It doesn't fit the way we treat bodies in pop culture,
the media, the internet. It asks - I think - slightly harder questions
of us. For me it just speaks to how the whole process works in a way
which is much more true to my experience.