James W. Hicks, M.D.

William Shakespeare

In Flexible People on September 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm

The greatest writer in the English language was probably bisexual.

The majority of Shakespeare’s sonnets, written 400 years ago, were addressed to a young, beautiful, male beloved, perhaps the same “Mr. W. H.” to whom the book of sonnets was dedicated. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” and many other famous lines were written about this young man and muse, the “master mistress of my passion.”

But Shakespeare also married a woman, fathered three children, and referred passionately in other sonnets to a dark-eyed, female mistress.

Shakespeare might exemplify a sexual type that I have not included in my list of a dozen types, because it is rarely encountered in the contemporary Western world: the inter-generational lover. But in most cultures throughout history (think ancient Greece and Rome, the Islamic caliphate, empirial China, etc.), adult men have been able to have both women and male youths as lovers. The older man offered experience, patronage, and wealth, while the beloved had beauty. Contemporary culture values egalitarian relationships and is fearful of the exploitation of minors, so inter-generational desires and relationships are viewed, at best, with skepticism.

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