Researchers did a ten-year longitudinal study of female bisexuality at the University of Utah, and one of the most interesting things they discovered is that women tend to date men if they are most often around men, or women if they are most often around women.

This made me think about camping with the survivalist. I had just turned 21, and was heartsick. I never wanted to speak to a woman again. In fact, if one tried to flirt with me, I went catatonic. I had absolutely no intention of having sex with anybody ever again. Particularly not women. So I went camping with the survivalist. It was like a sortie. We spent two days using his financial aid to buy gear from several different stores; he kept telling me I needed a Therm-a-Rest and a rain jacket and a bunch of other shit. But I didn’t even take a change of clothes. I used the sleeping bag I’d had since junior high and brought a huge packing roll of bubble wrap as ground cushion. We stowed it all in his Jeep and went to the Air Force survival training mountain. I ate ants. He showed me how to crush their heads first so they wouldn’t bite back. And we hiked around whacking stuff with sticks.  It was like being ten. He didn’t even try to touch me.

And when he told me his impression of that camping trip (after I’d returned from Europe and suddenly remembered that I love sex) he said I’d been high voltage. I avoided women because I couldn’t bear to think about touching one. I just wanted static. I cut everything familiar out of myself, and then practiced something else. It was a method of healing. I needed men to get back to women. Except I didn’t want women. They were endlessly heartbreaking. Only I did want them.  Heartbreak beats the cold every time. Until it feels like infection, and then I’ll hack off the gangrene. Ping. Pong. Ping. Pong.

My personal longitudinal study also spanned a decade: from a sortie camping trip to leaving my husband. I didn’t have a serious girlfriend during that period of time, and that may have a lot to do with why I considered myself bisexual then. Boys never broke my heart. They never got to me the way girls did. Maybe it’s reductive to define sexuality by the aftermath of relationships. But at some point, I stopped avoiding women to avoid injury, and started avoiding injurious women instead.

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