Lecture by a “Professional Bisexual”

Robyn Ochs

Last Wednesday night, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Robyn Ochs, a self-proclaimed “professional bisexual” for 25 years. In addition to being a speaker and teacher, Robyn also edits the Bisexual Resource Guide and Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World (in addition, my school is lucky enough to have the other editor of this anthology as a faculty member).

Robyn started her lecture with a little bit of history, filling people in on sex researchers such as Kinsey, Klein, and Storms and what they did to help map out sexuality and sexual orientation.

She then led the participants in a little bit of an experiment, referring to us as “living data”. She passed out a questionnaire which asked several questions regarding where one might fit on the Kinsey Scale. All of the questions asked us to place ourselves somewhere on the scale, but each time taking something else into account, such as sexual orientation overall, sexual experiences before age 16, where your close friends think you are on the scale, and where you wish you could be on the scale.

After we had all answered the questions and switched papers anonymously with someone else in the room, Robyn had us stand at the front of the room in a real-life demonstration of the Kinsey scale. It was absolutely incredible to see the variation in people’s answers, how many times the living data switched from question to question, and to hear the words and labels people chose to identify with.

So, for those of you interested, absolutely check out Robyn’s website, as she gives a list of her upcoming lectures. I highly recommend attending this lecture, especially since it gave me new insight into the highly-complicated realm of human sexuality.

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About Michaela

Michaela

Michaela is a recent Seven Sisters graduate with a self-designed degree in Sexuality Studies. When she's not blogging, you'll find her teaching Health and Wellness and A Cappella to high school students, helping women find properly fitting bras, and working as an editor on a documentary. She hopes to continue her education one day with a PhD in Feminist Anthropology.

  • http://twitter.com/foxyfolklorist Jeana Jorgensen

    What a tantalizing tidbit–I’d love to hear more about the lecture! (and I’m putting her books on my Amazon wishlist!) Did she talk at all about bisexual identities are often stigmatized or misunderstood as “flaky” or “indecisive”? Did she discuss the implicit duality of the term “bisexual” (as opposed to, say, “pansexual”)?

  • Michaela Schwartz

    Jeana,
    She didn’t speak much to the notion that bisexual identities are considered “flaky”, which I was actually surprised about. But she did discuss the sort of sexual identity binary that comes with the term bisexual. The thing I loved the most about her lecture was her discussion of different words that people use to identify their own sexuality. Some of my favorites were flaming, fluid, dyke, fag, and tranny-lover. :)

  • Kate McCombs

    We did a similar thing in a peer ed group I was part of. It was very interesting to see the Kinsey scale lined up across the room. I remember the mode was a 2, interestingly.

  • Michaela

    Robyn just tweeted about this post! http://twitter.com/robynochs