by Dan Savage
on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Alice Dreger, a regular "Savage Love" guest expert (oh, and a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, la de da), is writing for the the Atlantic now (a big step down from the escort-ad packed back pages of the Stranger, of course, but a girl's gotta eat), and today Alice attempts to answer one of the most difficult questions that confronts modern sex researchers and writers: Straight people? WTF?
Developmental studies by researchers like the University of Utah's Lisa Diamond suggest that women may demonstrate a fair bit of flexibility over the course of their lives in terms of their sexual attractions, relations, and identities, and laboratory studies by people like Chivers and Bailey seem to back up the hypothesis that females are, on average, less rigidly oriented when it comes to sex. At least when you measure their vaginal response, straight-identified women can be aroused by a wide variety of sexual stimuli.
Nevertheless, let's just say, for purposes of argument, that we're willing to accept the existence of some straight females and males as defined above, even if they are not always perfectly straight arrows in the lab. Were they born that way?
And while—spoiler alert!—the jury is still out on how the hell straight people get that way, Alice come down firmly on the side of marriage equality:
Personally, I think it makes sense to let straight-identified people marry, not because they were necessarily born that way, but because it seems silly, in this day and age, to get in the way of their desire to marry and/or to have sex with whatever consenting adults they wish. Given the challenges of attempting a lifetime partnership with a person who will be, on average, fundamentally sexually different from oneself, it seems the least we can do for straight people is to let them get married if they want.