James W. Hicks, M.D.

Posts Tagged ‘metamorphic’

Metamorphic

In Flexible People, Sexual Types on October 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

Metamorphic is a term I invented to capture several different sexual types which have in common some degree of identification with the opposite sex. There are many theories about the features which define and distinguish the different types, for example by contrasting gender identity to sexual orientation, but we do not really have a coherent explanation for the wide range of combinations that exist in real life.

This is the most preliminary and uncertain sexual type in my model, so I hope you will bear with me and continue to give feedback until we get it right. Surprisingly, metamorphic features have turned out to be much more common in the profiles generated by my Flexuality Test than I expected.

In the most common metamorphic presentation, you are not only attracted to the opposite sex, but also sexually excited by the idea of imitating or becoming the opposite sex. As a child, you enjoyed wearing the clothing, shoes, accessories, or make-up of your opposite sex parent or siblings, and at puberty, you found these experiences sexually arousing. But in contrast to some boys and girls who later grow up to identify as gay, you are otherwise typically masculine or feminine and feel comfortable with the sex of your birth.

When you are with a sexual partner as an adult, you may ask to wear his or her clothes. When you are alone, you may cross-dress and arouse yourself in front of a mirror. You may wear undergarments of the opposite sex beneath your regular clothing in public and become aroused later when recalling the sensation. You may switch gender roles during sex, and you or your partner may use a strap-on dildo. You may have heard these sexual behaviors and preferences described as a cross-dressing or transvestic “fetish.”

For some who have these feelings, the desire to inhabit the body of the opposite sex becomes more intense. You may imagine yourself switching places with your partner or think of yourself in the role of the opposite sex when watching pornography. Though you consider yourself straight, you may have homosexual experiences (perhaps while cross-dressing) in order to better imagine what sex would feel like from the perspective of the opposite sex. A few men and women in this category eventually seek to live as the opposite sex, changing their wardrobe, taking hormones, or seeking surgery. Social scientists refer to them as “non-homosexual” transvestites and transsexuals.

In contrast, you may have identified closely, and for non-sexual reasons, with the opposite sex since childhood. You may feel you were born into the wrong body and consider yourself effeminate or butch, respectively, compared to other boys and girls, at least when you were growing up. Your interests and mannerisms may be more typical of the opposite sex. Children with these traits tend to identify as lesbian or gay when they grow up, and may be presumed to be gay by others. Some, who identify most strongly with the opposite sex, may seek to change their gender and may think of themselves as straight from that perspective. Like the other metamorphic type, you may cross-dress, take hormones, and eventually seek gender-realignment surgery, but out of a desire to live as the opposite sex rather than because you find it sexually exciting.

In clinical settings, metamorphic presentations are seen almost exclusively in men, but this may reflect the difficulty and distress felt by men who try to dress as women, rather than the actual incidence of cross-dressing. In Western countries, women can generally get away with wearing men’s clothing without attracting much attention, and “tomboys” are treated better than “sissies.”

Another variation of the metamorphic type would include those who feel that they are neither male nor female. You may dress and style your hair in a way that blurs the distinction between male and female (as opposed to cross-dressers, for example, who may exaggerate the traits of the opposite sex in the process of imitation). Some might feel uncomfortable with gender labels in the same way that others are uncomfortable calling themselves gay or straight. Some in this category may be most attracted to other androgynous individuals.

Finally, some who consider themselves unambiguously male or female may be most attracted to partners whose gender is ambiguous or paradoxically exaggerated, including transvestites and transsexuals. Again, this may be conceptually a very different group, but may also be a variant of the metamorphic type.

A recent example of the metamorphic type is Chastity Bono, the daughter of Sonny and Cher, who has legally and surgically changed his gender, and now goes by the name of Chaz Bono. He grew up lacking the interest of other girls and came out as lesbian before switching genders. The early 20th Century Brazilian, gay hustler, murderer, and transvestite, Joao Francisco dos Santos, portrayed in the movie Madame Sata, is another example. And though I don’t intend to speculate about the artist Prince’s personal sexuality, his stage persona exhibits heterosexual-metamorphic traits, evident in his hermaphroditic outfits, iconography, and lyrics. “If I were your girlfriend…,” indeed!

Women and Gay Fiction

In Media on August 31, 2010 at 4:23 pm

W4M4M
Cintra Wilson
Out
September 2010

An article in this month’s issue of Out magazine describes the growing niche market of gay (or “M/M”) romances written primarily for and by women. Interestingly, the two female authors interviewed for the article describe themselves as identifying sexually with gay male “tops” (i.e., they seem to have metamorphic traits, though they are identified as “straight”).

The M/M market evolved out of “slash” fiction: internet and fanzine-based short stories written primarily by female fans about imagined gay pairings of television and movie characters. Kirk/Spock were the first pair of buddies to be re-imagined in this way, along with Starsky/Hutch and characters from The Lord of the Rings, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Harry Potter more recently.

This trend has also been observed in Japanese yaoi, comic books and novels that feature gay men but that are mostly popular with young, presumably straight women. Why are women interested in gay passion? Academicians have debated whether the phenomenon represents a feminist adaptive mechanism or internalized sexism. Perhaps we should ask the same questions of men who consume “lesbian” pornography.

Sissy Bounce

In Media on July 24, 2010 at 7:34 am

New Orlean’s Gender-Bending Rap
by Jonathan Dee
NY Times Magazine
July 19, 2010

Gay or straight? Male or female? Identity or performance?

A feature article in this weekend’s magazine describes the “sissy bounce” rap scene in New Orleans, where female fans aggressively shake their butts together on the dancefloor in thrall to genetically-male, female performers, at least some of whom are raising children they have fathered. The audiences, performers, and genre all cross boundaries, calling to mind the metamorphic sexual type.

Rome

In Cultures, Media on July 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

In 2005-2006, the HBO miniseries Rome amazingly recreated the politics and personalities of the Roman republic on the verge of becoming an empire under Julius Ceasar. The acting, sets, music, and story are fabulous.

Among it’s other virtues, Rome portrays several different types of bisexuality in an accurate historical context.

Early in the first season, Octavian is taken to a brothel by the soldier Titus Pullo, where he is offered a range of men and women to choose from. It is taken for granted that men are ambisexual and might want to have sex with both genders.

Octavian’s sister, who has previously loved and been married to a man, is successfully seduced by her mother Atia’s arch-enemy Servilia, an older woman who had previously been in love with Julius Ceasar. (Yes, it’s a bit of a soap opera, but so much more.) Atia’s daughter is flexamorous. Servilia’s feelings are unclear.

Servilia also employs a 14 year old psychopath as an assassin who is supposed to poison Atia. This versatile young man becomes a servant by offering himself as a sexual bottom to the senior slave of Atia’s household, but he also flirts boldly with Servilia. For him it is all about the money.

In one episode, Lucius Vorenus’ fellow mobsters anally rape another man, reflecting the sexual violence that can be condoned within a macho sexual culture. Marc Anthony also rapes a passing woman and expects continuous sex from his slaves. He’s never shown having sex with a man (unless you count the orgies in Cleopatra’s court, where he shows off his new tattoos), but he is presumably supersexual.

Vorenus’ tavern manager in the second season, who becomes Titus Pullo’s girlfriend, is portrayed as atypically (for the time) manly and sexually aggressive, suggesting she might have metamorphic traits.

Julius Ceasar is involved only with women in the series, but the real Julius Ceasar was known in his time to have had a homosexual relationship when he was a young man. In fact, he was assumed to have been the bottom, which could have destroyed his reputation if he were not so strongly respected by his men as a soldier. He might have been flexamorous or ambisexual.