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7 of 7 – Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey form Nausea to Commitment

Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment 

An occasional piece by
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
For The Journal of Bisexuality’s 10th Anniversary Issue
Hi dear readers!
This seven-in-one piece will be great fun–yours truly promises.  Find out all the ins and outs of 10 years of Bisexuality!  What does “epistemology”mean?  Big word, right?  Well, all it means is that when you’re making love you’re producing knowledge.  A good thing!
We follow What Wisdom Accrued to Me? with the Conclusion.  If you followed us this far, we hope you found this seven-in-one piece really revealing of all those things about bi you’ve always been curious about.  Why is it so good?  What can it do for you?  For the planet?  For the future?  For authentic intimacy?  It’s all here, spiced with a bit of irony and critique of why we’re so behind on our agenda.  What’s keeping us from being more efficient.
Also arcane words you’ve been told have no meaning unless you got a PhD are explained–made very easy!  “Nausea,” “existentialism”: it’s all about the chakra system–really.  Commitment?  It’s not about going to jail (as in, “being committed”).  But rather, it’s about “being-in-action” about things.  Being the one who makes the difference!  No mysteries.  Woooooow!  Come back for more, will you?  We’ll post every week, on Tuesdays.
Namaste,

Serena

7. Conclusion
At the end of my journey, I would like to conclude with a few remarks about the itinerary.  I was not sure how I would respond to the call that so acknowledged me as one who had at least tried to do my part.  Now I have done it, and I can claim that the very act of doing it is proof of my commitment.  Yet it’s not so simple. 

In a decade of assault on civil liberties, cuts to education, disparagement of public service, augmented pollution, an expanded military machine, human rights violations, climate instability, and continuing fears of infection and accompanying fears of physical and emotional intimacy, it has not been exactly easy to keep running this Journal.  Its central trope–when considered in its holographic multiplicity, in its plural transdisciplinary perspectives–sears through the barriers of blindness and mistrust at the root of the misdirected energies and use of resources we’ve been witnessing.
Fritz Klein, of 100 % intimacy
The editorial wisdom of rhetorician extraordinaire Jonathan Alexander has been of much help in maintaining the amplitude of the discursive arena while improving the quality of the issues.  Yet this is not sufficient.  Research is done on a scientific basis, and therefore is neutral–transparent if you wish.  However, research has an effect on people.  Why do I have to hear that bisexuality is so under-resourced?  Do we need the Human Rights Commission to remind us that funding is necessary when it comes to seeding the culture of research in bisexuality the Journal needs to prosper and serve its multiple constituencies–let alone the culture as a whole?  Ten years of bisexuality can mean ten years of research production and access to reliable knowledge about this trope that really empowers bisexual people to live better and more authentic lives.  It can produce an appreciation and reverence for bisexuality and for the multiple talents it inspires in the arts of loving.  It can empower its practitioners’ enhanced capability to produce what Fritz Klein called “100 Percent intimacy.”  Have we done this?  I wish I could say yes.  A new decade of bisexuality is beginning.  Let’s keep that vision in mind when we proceed.
Works Cited
Anapol, Deborah. “A Glimpse of Harmony.”  In Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio ed.  Plural Loves: Designs for Bi and Poly Living: 109-120.  New York: Routledge, 2005.
______  .  Polyamory in the 21st Century.  New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.
______  .  Polyamory: The New Love without Limits.  San Rafael: Intinet Resource Center, 1997.
Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena.  “A City in the Forest: Gaia in the Postmodern Contact Zones of
Auroville’s Wider Intentional Community un Tamil Nadu, India.”  In Fatima Viera ed, Spaces of Utopia: An Electronic Journal: 1 (Spring 2006): 56-89. <http://ler.letras.up.pt > ISSN 1646-4729.
______  .  “In Absentia: Eulogy and Introduction.”  The Journal of Bisexuality: 6: 4 (2006): 1-5.
______  .  “Bisexual Games and Emotional Sustainability in Ferzan Ozpetek’s Queer Films.”  The Journal of Bisexuality: 6: 4 (2006): 121-134.
______  .  Gaia and the New Politics of Love.  Berkeley: North Atlantic books, 2009.
______  .  “The Lie with the Ounce of Truth: Lillian Hellman’s Bisexual Fantasies.”  In Women and Bisexuality: A Global Perspective: 87-116).  New York: Routledge, 2003.
______  .  “Plural Happiness: Bi and Poly Triangulations in Balasko’s French Twist.” In Bisexuality and Queer Theory.  The Journal of Bisexuality 9: 3-4: (July-December 2010): 343-362.
______  .  Poly Planet GAIA.  http://polyplanet.blogspot.com
Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena ed.  Women and Bisexuality: A Global Perspective.  New York: Routledge, 2003.
______  ed.  Plural Loves: Designs for Bi and Poly Living.  New York: Routledge, 2005.
Alexander, Jonathan, and Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio eds.  Bisexuality and Queer Theory: Intersections, Diversions, and Connections.  The Journal of Bisexuality: 9: 3-4 (July-Dicember 2009). 
Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena and Brian Zamboni eds.  BiTopia: Selected Proceedings from BiReCon, the 2010 Bisexual Research Conference.   The Journal of Bisexuality, in production.
Balasko, Josiane.  French Twist.  France: Claude Berri and Pierre Grunstein, 1995.
Bass, Alison.  Side Effects.  Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2008.
Dean, Tim.  Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking.  University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Dodson, Betty.  “We Are All Quite Queer.”  In Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, ed.  Plural Loves: Designs for Bi and Poly Living: 155-164. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Edlow, Jonathan.  The Deadly Dinner Party.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.
Fitzgerald, Randall.  The Hundred-Year Lie.  New York: Plume, 2007.
Freud, Sigmund.  “Lecture XXXIII: On Femininity.”  In The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud.  Strachey tr. .  Vol XXII: (112-135).  London: Hogarth Press, 1964.
Halperin, David.  One Hundred Years of Homosexuality.  New York: Routledge, 1989.
Human Rights in Puerto Rico.  http://derechoalderecho.org
Kinsey, Alfred.  Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.  Philadelphia: Saunders 1953.
______  .  Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.  Philadelphia: Saunders, 1948.
Klein, Fritz.  The Bisexual Option: Second Edition.  New York: Harrington Park Press, 1993.
LGBT Advisory Committee.  Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations.  San Francisco Human Rights Commission, 2011.
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia.  One Hundred Years of Solitude.  New York: Harper, 2006.
Nafisi, Azar.  Reading Lolita in Tehran.  New York: Random House 2008.
______  .  Things I’ve Been Silent About.  New York: Random House, 2010.
Ozpetek, Ferzan.  Hamam.  Rome: Checchi Gori, 1997.
______  .  The Ignorant Fairies (a.k.a. His Secret Life).  Rome: Medusa, 2001.
Reich, Wilhelm.  Character Analysis.  New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1980.
______  .  The Function of the Orgasm: Discovery of the Orgone.  New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1986.
Pallotta-Chiarolli, Maria.  “Outside Belonging.”  Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio ed.  Women and Bisexuality: 53-86.  New York: Routledge, 2003.
Peterson, Melody.  Our Daily Meds.  New York: Picador, 2009.
Sartre, Jean Paul.  Nausea.  New York: New Directions, 2007.

#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #

Yours truly appreciates your attention.  Stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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6 of 7 – Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment

Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment 
An occasional piece by
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
For The Journal of Bisexuality’s 10th Anniversary Issue
Hi dear readers!
This seven-in-one piece will be great fun–yours truly promises.  Find out all the ins and outs of 10 years of Bisexuality!  What does “epistemology”mean?  Big word, right?  Well, all it means is that when you’re making love you’re producing knowledge.  A good thing!
We follow The Issues with What Wisdom Accrued to Me? and will have one more post.  Really revealing of all those things about bi you’ve always been curious about.  Why is it so good?  What can it do for you?  For the planet?  For the future?  For authentic intimacy?  It’s all here, spiced with a bit of irony and critique of why we’re so behind on our agenda.  What’s keeping us from being more efficient.
Also arcane words you’ve been told have no meaning unless you got a PhD are explained–made very easy!  “Nausea,” “existentialism”: it’s all about the chakra system–really.  Commitment?  It’s not about going to jail (as in, “being committed”).  But rather, it’s about “being-in-action” about things.  Being the one who makes the difference!  No mysteries.  Woooooow!  Come back for more, will you?  We’ll post every week, on Tuesdays.
Namaste,

Serena

6. What Wisdom Accrued to Me?
As a guest editor with a transcultural, interlinguistic, and transdisciplinary perspective, I have endeavored to unfold the discourse of bisexuality to include voices that introduced ideas capable of expanding one’s thinking about this multifaceted trope well beyond what’s commonly understood.  I have enjoyed the privilege of having enough space to publish articles that really make a difference, that present arguments complex enough and articulate enough and profound enough to be likely to have a role in the paradigmatic shift the third planet is going though with all of us in it, toward knowledge based on love. 
This blank page, this slate without definition has been empowering to me, both as an editor and as a contributor.  There have been no word limits to the length of a piece–just its own organic completion.  No indirect censorship based on assumptions of what is and is not appropriate or correct in a given discursive arena.  Pure invention guided by insight and intuition with wide ranging knowledge and reading.  As an author whose literary initiation took place in Europe, I have a bit of an auteur syndrome.  I like to be free.  No Hayes Codes applied to my creativity.  My inspiration has been honored here.  And I have really felt like this is my cup of tea. 
My contributions have been hosted with the highest respect for their originality and uniqueness.  I tend to respect New Criticism because its practice of direct reading empowers students of literature to respond with their own emotional intelligence, rather than with surrogate constructs preapproved by their teachers.  However, I believe that everything is political, including, of course–and perhaps most of all–literature, and other visual arts that have been the object of my analysis on these pages, including cinema.  By “political” I mean embedded in a web of cultural and discursive practices related to geography, history, the sex/gender system, the race/class system, and other politically charged dynamics.  However, I tend to write about texts that inspire me.  As a scholar activist, I would not waste my time on something I don’t have the highest respect for.  Therefore, I write against the grain of being “critical,” of attacking a piece.  Sometimes people think I’m stupid, because I don’t dissect something I critique.  The things is, I am a peace activist even when I practice literary criticism, therefore dissecting is not my cup of tea.  I’d call my method of literary and cultural criticism “holistic.”  Why?  Because it integrates all the different approaches into a whole.  My piece on Lillian Hellman in the Women and Bisexuality issue is perhaps the most exemplar of this (87-116).  It is extremely political, as it dissects the lie of calling this inspiring author a liar, just because her political allegiances were against the grain of McCarthyism and the bipolar politics of the Cold War period.  Yet it also goes very deeply into the textual analysis of two texts by this author, to access the bisexual aspect of the author’s erotic fantasies that inspired them.  Obviously, this requires discussion of texts, contexts, biography, history, social, gender, and racial dynamics as an integrated whole.  When this piece found hospitality in these pages, it had been rejected a number of times for doing its job too well.  “Why does the author focus so much on the texts?” peer-reviewers wondered in cultural studies journals not aware of bisexuality’s existence.  “Doesn’t she know we want what’s ‘political’?”  In those discursive arenas, it was believed that close reading and cultural criticism could not get along.  The Journal of Bisexuality knew better than this.  This is the time to acknowledge its respect for my skills.
The Journal also hosted two articles on film.  There too, my attention was devoted to auteur films in the European tradition that paid special attention to bisexuality as an element of sustainability in relational patterns that involved several participants.  These include Hamam and The Ignorant Fairies (a.k.a. His Secret Life), by Ferzan Ozpetek, and French Twist, by Josiane Balasko.  It is often said that only negative representations of bisexuality are visible in film.  This might apply to Hollywood film production.  However, in the films I chose bisexuality is a factor for inclusion in amorous communities and expansion of the ways in which love can be practiced therein.  These articles appeared in 2005 issue (now the book Plural Loves) and 2010 (Bisexuality and Queer Theory).  I am grateful that they could be included in integrity with their holistic intent.

 

#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #

Yours truly appreciates your attention.  Stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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5 of 7 – Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey form Nausea to Commitment

Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment 
An occasional piece by
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
For The Journal of Bisexuality’s 10th Anniversary Issue
Hi dear readers!
This seven-in-one piece will be great fun–yours truly promises.  Find out all the ins and outs of 10 years of Bisexuality!  What does “epistemology”mean?  Big word, right?  Well, all it means is that when you’re making love you’re producing knowledge.  A good thing!
We follow Klein’s Option and Other Classics with The Issues, and will have two more posts.  Really revealing of all those things about bi you’ve always been curious about.  Why is it so good?  What can it do for you?  For the planet?  For the future?  For authentic intimacy?  It’s all here, spiced with a bit of irony and critique of why we’re so behind on our agenda.  What’s keeping us from being more efficient.
Also arcane words you’ve been told have no meaning unless you got a PhD are explained–made very easy!  “Nausea,” “existentialism”: it’s all about the chakra system–really.  Commitment?  It’s not about going to jail (as in, “being committed”).  But rather, it’s about “being-in-action” about things.  Being the one who makes the difference!  No mysteries.  Woooooow!  Come back for more, will you?  We’ll post every week, on Tuesdays.
Namaste,
Serena

 

5. The Issues
Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli
This was on the back of my mind when, as one who practices love as the art that heals on a personal, local, professional, and planetary scale, I set out to devote my time to the four mentioned issues, Women and Bisexuality (2003), Plural Loves (2005), Bisexuality and Queer Theory (2010), and BiTopia (2011).  The tropes are interrelated and organized around the commitment to bring forth the value of bisexuality as an epistemic portal to a world where the fear of love gives way to the love for love, or erotophilia.  The 2003 issue focused on women whose participation in bisexual cultures and communities came in a variety of ways, including appreciating the erotic sensibility of their bisexual male partners.  This was the first and has been the only issue on women with a global perspective.  In Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli’s article, “Outside Belonging” (53-86) women married to bisexual men were interviewed.  As an epistemic portal, bisexuality cannot be reified to a sexual behavior.  Pallotta-Chiarolli, an award winning author and a professor of health and social development in Australia, brought out their voices as they declared that the way their spouses practice love between men made them more well-versed and sensitive lovers of women.  I agree!  Bisexuality is interpreted as a healthy artistic sensibility that enhances the production and fruition of erotic and affectional love.  The wider horizon this collection embraced allowed for an expanded view of what bisexuality can bring to people’s existence.  This issue is now available as a Routledge book.  
Plural Loves, the 2005 issue opened up the conversation of monogamy, as a cultural institution that interferes with Fritz Klein’s auspicated ideal of “100 percent intimacy.”  How can people structure amorous lives that are inclusive of partners of different genders when the cultural norm still dictates exclusivity–and does so even more pervasively and insidiously as fears of infection and contamination have increased under the presumed threat of disease?  How can non-monogamy be practiced in ways that do not perpetuate double standards of male privilege?  Polyamory appeared to me as a subculture whose styles of inclusiveness honored gender equality, disclosure, and integrity in maintaining one’s multiple commitments.  It is, indeed, the only known contemporary non-monogamous subculture that includes women as equals.  The other two, bare-backing and polyginy (which includes Islamic polygamy), exclude women and subject them to male rule, respectively.[1]
 
Betty Dodson
This issue brought the voices of two female leaders in the sexual liberation movement to speak into the discourse of bisexuality.  In “We Are All Quite Queer” (155-164), Betty Dodson, artist of the erotic and the nude, tells the story of how she became an educator in the arts of loving too, with self-love as her specialty.  Her workshops and videos have helped generations of women develop their self-pleasuring skills, to great enjoyment for those who participate in the sacred rituals too.  Dodson’s essay brings to bear on the epistemic value of bisexuality.  When can all touch our genitals, and feeling no pleasure at all in doing so is quite difficult.  So when we practice the art of self-pleasuring we are loving a person of our own gender, and that’s bisexual.  We are also activating a modality of knowledge and self-knowledge that’s quite significant to our health and well being, and those we love too.  Nature, our teacher extraordinaire explains, makes our species capable of self-pleasuring through our hands and fingers.  We can of course add playful toys as much as we please.  The only way to keep bisexuality from being so pervasive, natural, and efficient would be to make our arms much shorter by genetic engineering!  
Dodson explores the most personal aspects of bisexual energy, while Anapol’s expands to the most inclusive ones.  A founder of the polyamory movement, Deborah Anapol is also a respected teacher of sex and consciousness, a coach, and workshop leader.  Her books include Polyamory: The New Love without Limits, and Polyamory in the 21st Century.  Her piece, “A Glimpse of Harmony” (109-120), registers her participant observer’s interpretations of today’s Hawaiian culture and its roots in pre-Western languages and traditions.  Exclusivity comes from competition.  Cultures that interpret abundance as natural can effortlessly practice amorous inclusiveness.  Anapol’s narrative extends the concept of erotic pleasure to giving birth and bonding with one’s infant in one of today’s Hawaiian Jacuzzis, to the initiation of children to erotic pleasure in traditional Hawaiian culture, and to reverence and respect for punaluas, the partners of one’s partners, or what today’s polys call metamours.  Can you imagine gently massaging your baby girl’s genitals as you clean her, as a cultural norm that favors her development into an amorous, joyful woman?  Gently blowing air into your baby boy’s penis to prepare him for future enjoyment of sexual pleasure?  Allowing sex play among children as a way to prepare for puberty?  These, and other initiation rituals were common among the natives, who called Westerners haole, or people without breath, without spirit.  Here we see that Reich’s sense of the subconscious is not so extreme.  We may not all literally want to go back to the womb.  But babies born in water adapt more gradually to post-natal life as animals born to breathe because water provides continuity with pre-natal life in amniotic liquidity.  Girls whose mothers massage their labia will enjoy the arts of loving in adulthood.  Peace loving people are aware of these things, because peace is based in love for love, or erotophilia.  Today one gets thrown in jail for doing this.  As a result, we have lost the knowledge to initiate the young to love amorously and artistically.  There is another area where bisexual epistemology could help revive lost knowledge and generate more healthy and loving intimacy.
The subsequent two issues are still very fresh and I’d rather refer you to the source, dear reader.  The labor of love of Bisexuality and Queer Theory was shared with Jonathan Alexander, rhetorician extraordinaire and faithful intermediator.  That of BiTopia with Brian Zamboni, who had a glimpse of what working on bisexual research means.  Regina Reinhardt was always vigilant behind the wings.  It is wise to allow time to distill what matters in the experience.  In perspective, one’s work acquires a variety of unexpected meanings it would not be cautious to try and anticipate here. 


[1] My sources are Tim Dean, Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking  (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran (New York: Random House 2008), and her Things I’ve Been Silent About (2010).
#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #

Yours truly appreciates your attention.  Stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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4 of 7 – Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment

Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment 
An occasional piece by
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
For The Journal of Bisexuality’s 10th Anniversary Issue
Hi dear readers!
This seven-in-one piece will be great fun–yours truly promises.  Find out all the ins and outs of 10 years of Bisexuality!  What does “epistemology”mean?  Big word, right?  Well, all it means is that when you’re making love you’re producing knowledge.  A good thing!
We follow The Journey with Klein’s Option and Other Classics, and will have three more posts.  Really revealing of all those things about bi you’ve always been curious about.  Why is it so good?  What can it do for you?  For the planet?  For the future?  For authentic intimacy?  It’s all here, spiced with a bit of irony and critique of why we’re so behind on our agenda.  What’s keeping us from being more efficient.
Also arcane words you’ve been told have no meaning unless you got a PhD are explained–made very easy!  “Nausea,” “existentialism”: it’s all about the chakra system–really.  Commitment?  It’s not about going to jail (as in, “being committed”).  But rather, it’s about “being-in-action” about things.  Being the one who makes the difference!  No mysteries.  Woooooow!  Come back for more, will you?  We’ll post every week, on Tuesdays.
Namaste,
Serena

4. Klein’s Option and Other Classics
Sigmund Freud
Speaking of classics, many were of course in the back of Fritz’s mind when he wrote the book.  One is Freud’s “On Femininity,” an essay of 1933 often simplified to a diagnosis of “penis envy” for women.[1]  Women, explains Freud, have a more difficult time adjusting to adult normativity in a homophobic social order because it requires giving up the gender of one’s first object of erotic desire, the mother, and the first site of female self-pleasure, the clit.  That’s why, I observe with my students when we read it in the class on practices of love in Western cultures and traditions, if you follow the logic of Freud’s argument, in a social order where homophobia has disappeared, you’d have to prescribe bisexuality as a path to healthy development for all women.  But Freud of course could not recommend what Fritz wished for all healthy bisexuals, “100 percent intimacy,” or else he would have been fired and accused of the very same “perversion” he was trying to cure.  “When one gets into action there comes commitment, and thereby freedom appears, in Fromm’s sense of being free,” recites the existential litany.  I am a woman, and when I was younger, in the age of fertility, I used to think that existentialist dilemmas were a peculiarity of masculinity.  Women don’t wonder about the meaning of existence.  We simply make the effort of existing relationally and in communion with other beings.  “That must be why I’m so confused,” I mused.  My inner landscape was still not settled enough to begin, especially the solar plexus and heart chakra regions.  “The age of wisdom must bring existential dilemmas to women too,” I concluded. 
Erich Fromm
I knew Fritz.  I was familiar with his playful, carnivalesque, iconic persona at play parties of the bisexual community, with his symbolic presence and significance at the Bisexual Forum meetings.  I have anxiety of influence and so it is difficult for me to muster the humility to really surrender to the aural force of iconic figures.  Much to my own damage sometimes, I often tend to resist it.   But it’s also a self-preservation skill that evaporates when I read them.  I had read The Bisexual Option in the early days as part of the San Diego bisexual community.  And I remember being struck by its insightfulness, clarity, complexity, simplicity, authenticity, erudition, accessibility, and realism.  These qualities are not easily found in one book!
Solitude, community, I said.  What did Fritz say about it?  Freud believed that the body of the mother is what we all fall in love with since infancy.  Eros, the energy of love, is activated as soon as we exit the womb.  For Reich, this happens even before we do, and in fact, we all long to go back in to cozy and protected pre-natal existence wrapped into our mom’s placenta and amniotic liquid.[2]  Yes, loving the mother is what we really want to do, like Oedipus, who managed to marry her too and re-enter the birth channel with his penis.  Further, for Freud taboos exist because otherwise we would all do what’s forbidden.  Wooooooow!  When I read Klein, in the early 1990s, I was not sure about all this.  His theoretical framework did not go back that far, and was actually founded on the Kinsey scale, the result of quantitative studies done in the post World War II period.[3]  Klein utilized this scale to estimate the bisexual population in the United States at 25-30 million (1993, 11).  He developed the Kinsey scale into the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid (KSOG) to get past mere sexual behavior and into future, ideal, and fantasy, as ways to assess bisexuality as the potential to be intimate, sexual, and loving with people of all genders (1993, 17- 22).  Yes, fantasy counted for Fritz, as a way to assess one’s potential for sexual expression and emotional intimacy.  Obviously, with the Klein Grid, almost everyone would qualify as potentially bi.  Who hasn’t had a same-sex erotic fantasy at least once?  But where could this potential be actualized in a world where the practice of love was organized around the homo/hetero divide?  What was missing for bisexuals in Klein’s mind at the time he wrote the book, in early 1980s?  Bisexuals, Klein observed, were in a “limbo” (117), and when asking himself what was needed to exit the limbo, his answer was clear: “a valid sense of identity, of community” (117).
So I went back to my own work with The Journal of Bisexuality, the four issues I’ve guest edited over eight years, seeking a connectedness, a link to what had inspired me to embrace this community–and be hugged back profusely–in those early years as a solo female immigrant from the European Union to the United States.
What had moved me?  What still resonated with me?  Had I been seduced to embrace something that ultimately rejected me–that betrayed me–that ignored and misunderstood the depth and complexity of the inner landscape of my existence?  Or was it that the community itself offered an oasis of sexual fluidity and amorous inclusiveness where love could be practiced without fear?
If we agree with Klein that almost everyone has the potential to be bisexual, and that only some people are fortunate enough to actualize this potential, this applies even more clearly to those infants who are born of the same gender as one’s mother.  How can a woman love and find intimacy if the whole gender of her first love object is forbidden?  How can she experience pleasure if the first site of pleasure she discovers in her body as an infant is ignored in the staple sexual act she’s supposed to submit to, the famous “missionary position”?  Klein’s realism comes when he gets to “adjustment,” which in Freud is another word for repression.  In Freud’s discourse, repression of same-gender desire and of clitoral pleasure are the way to become a well-adjusted, psychologically medicated, middle-class wife in Vienna’s well-to-do society, and “penis envy” is the side effect of this adjustment.  But for Fritz Klein repression should be minimized to obtain what he calls “healthy bisexuality.”  A healthy bisexual is capable of 100 percent intimacy because s/he is not afraid to love, be intimate with, and be aroused around people of any gender (1993, 29-37).  This resonates with Jiddu Krisnamurti’s wisdom that “it is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
According to Klein, therefore, the task at hand is not “adjusting individuals” but rather changing society to where it can accept them for what they are.  That’s why he founded Bisexual Forums in New York and then San Diego, where I joined in under the coordination of Regina Reinhardt, and then under my own with another non-partnered female participant. 
Now I realize what Forum means.  Not a support group.  Not a social meet-up group.  Not an advocacy group.  But a “forum”: a place to discuss what a culture that values bisexuality as a virtue looks like, feels like, smells like, tastes like–what it is like to get one’s life organized around it.  In the San Diego years (1991-1997, narrated Eros, my memoir of that period), the experience of that–and what I learned–has guided my efforts and dedication to the guest-edited issues in the subsequent years in Puerto Rico.
What is, in retrospect, the wisdom of those years?  That bisexuality needs to be treated as a holographic research trope to be studied in all possible contexts and from all possible perspectives.  The Journal of Bisexuality has fulfilled this mission in these past ten years, with many valuable contributions from multiple authors, guest editors, and editors.  It has been a blessing to have this Journal around because it has provided a haven from other models of research that are far less visionary.  For example, in the AIDS era, the medical model of research has operated on a mode that inevitably pathologizes bisexuality, not because there is anything unhealthy about bisexuality, but because–prevalently in the US but also well beyond its precincts–medical research today is slave to the greed of Big Pharma, with doctors and medical researchers reduced to salesmen of products from the pharmaceutical industry–what the Greeks called pharmakon, a word that in the wisdom of that ancient language also meant poison.[4]  This model of research on bisexuality is a complete betrayal of the legacy of Fritz Klein because he claimed that bisexuality is healthier than any monosexuality as it involves “100 percent intimacy.”


[1] The essay appeared in English in the Hogarth Press standard edition of 1964. 
[2] My references are Wilhelm Reich: Character Analysis (1980), and The Function of the Orgasm: Discovery of the Orgone (1986).
[3] My references are Alfred Kinsey: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).
[4] My sources are a whole spate of new books on the theme: The Deadly Dinner Party (2011), The Hundred-Year Lie (2007), Side Effects (2008), and Our Daily Meds (2009).

 

#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #

Yours truly appreciates your attention.  Stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
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3 of 7 – Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment

Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment 
An occasional piece by
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
For The Journal of Bisexuality’s 10th Anniversary Issue
Hi dear readers!
This seven-in-one piece will be great fun–yours truly promises.  Find out all the ins and outs of 10 years of Bisexuality!  What does “epistemology”mean?  Big word, right?  Well, all it means is that when you’re making love you’re producing knowledge.  A good thing!
We follow the Introduction with The Journey, and will have five more posts.  Really revealing of all those things about bi you’ve always been curious about.  Why is it so good?  What can it do for you?  For the planet?  For the future?  For authentic intimacy?  It’s all here, spiced with a bit of irony and critique of why we’re so behind on our agenda.  What’s keeping us from being more efficient.
Also arcane words you’ve been told have no meaning unless you got a PhD are explained–made very easy!  “Nausea,” “existentialism”: it’s all about the chakra system–really.  Commitment?  It’s not about going to jail (as in, “being committed”).  But rather, it’s about “being-in-action” about things.  Being the one who makes the difference!  No mysteries.  Woooooow!  Come back for more, will you?  We’ll post every week, on Tuesdays.
Namaste,
Serena

3. The Journey
Solitude, community.  Separation, intimacy.  Nausea, freedom.  Nausea, a manifesto of 20th century existentialism in Europe, is the first novel by Jean Paul Sartre, the French philosopher who was offered the Nobel Prize in Literature and had the gall to refuse it!  The novel was published in France in 1938, the fatal year when all bets were off for peace in that region.  The protagonist, Roquetin, felt nauseous from inaction in a world where love for love was disappearing, and was being replaced by fear of love, or erotophobia.  In trying to respond to the invitation to contribute, my mind went to this book.  What did Sartre’s nausea have to do with me?  Was I trapped in an existentialist dilemma like Roquetin? 
While in the throes of this, through the research networks that serve me I came across the latest report on bisexuality by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission: Bisexual Invisibility.  The Report identifies the bisexual contingent as the largest segment in the population that constitutes the LGBT community.  In this contingent, the majority are women to a much higher degree than in the general population.  The Report also establishes that biphobia, or the fear of bisexuality, runs rampant in LGBT institutions and the population they serve.  Last but not least, the Report also quantifies this invisibility in terms of US public funding earmarked for knowledge production and dissemination related to bisexuality.  Of the several millions in public funding received by the LGBT community, not one round cent was earmarked as bi in recent years. 
Of this I can give personal witness.  My period of collaboration with The Journal of Bisexuality  largely coincides with the probationary and tenured period of my academic career at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.  Its internally funded research programs have been quite generous until last year.  The Journal has benefitted from UPR’s internally funded research programs a great deal.  How else would I have edited four issues?  What is more, by choosing to fund and tenure me based on my guest-edited issues, the UPR Mayaguez campus has perhaps inadvertently produced the only known full professor based at an institution of the Western Hemisphere whose tenure is significantly based on bisexuality research.  The other two academics, also women, are quite well known and respected in the US, but they are from other hemispheres.  Public US grant institutions classify Puerto Rico as UMI (United States Minor Outlaying Island), which suggests scarce awareness of the island’s population of about four million.  US-based public and private funders have turned down my recent grant proposals, predictably.  In addition, the assault on the public sector the Republican governor Fortuño has been perpetrating in the past two years has wiped out any vestige of human rights at my institution.  It is causing all international colleagues to flee, with the likely effect to plunge the university in the throes of parochialism and fear.[1]  As a scholar activist, I have publicly embraced the project of educating the Federal Government grant institutions that have invited me to resubmit.  “Biphobia is not in the public’s best interest,” I’ve claimed, “let’s use public funding more efficiently.”  The mentioned report Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations, has been the reference document for this.  Here, I am offering my reflection as a way to educate private funders too, on the difficulties and life-threatening risks of doing the bisexuality research we do.  Thanks Human Rights Commission!  You are saving my life too.
Fritz Klein
Feb 8, 2004, Dawn at Auroville
Anniversaries are occasions to celebrate.  And the rhetoric I needed to get started on this piece was just not channeling in.  What should I do?  With this context in mind, dear reader, perhaps it won’t be too difficult for you to empathize with my predicament.  What sustainable course of action could I choose that would correspond to authenticity?  Five years have passed from the “In Absentia” semi-trance piece.  Where was Fritz Klein?  What about his legacy?  My mind went to my extended research visit to Auroville, in Tamil Nadu, India, also funded by the UPR system in its golden years.  Auroville is an oasis of international creativity and a “city of dawn” founded in 1968 and named after its spiritual leader, decolonization activist and eclectic avatar Sri Aurobindo.  There, in 2004, I studied patterns of organization, expansion, and sustenance in intentional communities.  I noticed a certain staleness and indecisiveness.  Some would call it lack of vision.  I listened to local informants in the best cultural anthropology, cultural studies tradition.  “What’s the problem?” I asked the ones with most acumen.  “Dead guru syndrome,” they chimed, “we’re stuck between interpreting his word and allowing the vision to evolve as the world does and as he would if here.”  Ouch! 
“Perhaps this applies to my case too,” I reflected, “where is my copy of Fritz’s book?” Maybe that’s where I’ll find inspiration for the right rhetorical mode for this.  I own a copy of the second edition.  And yes, it was all there, the eclecticism, the dialogic ambiguity, the irony and sometime irreverent humor, the admixture of registers from colloquial to erudite, and the searing fearlessness.  The dead often visit me.  And when they do, a magnetic force gets me to open their books and listen to the voice that’s alive still beyond the page and is witness to a life spent in the endeavor to write what has the makings of a classic, something that speaks across time and space to new generations of readers.


[1] The issue of human rights in Puerto Rico has been addressed by the ACLU and Rep Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, among others: http://derechoalderecho.org/2011/02/14/human-rights-crisis-in-puerto-rico-aclu/
#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #

Yours truly appreciates your attention.  Stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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2 of 7 – Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment

Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment 
An occasional piece by
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
For The Journal of Bisexuality’s 10th Anniversary Issue
Hi dear readers!
This seven-in-one piece will be great fun–yours truly promises.  Find out all the ins and outs of 10 years of Bisexuality!  What does “epistemology”mean?  Big word, right?  Well, all it means is that when you’re making love you’re producing knowledge.  A good thing!
We follow the abstract with the Introduction, and will have five more posts.  Really revealing of all those things about bi you’ve always been curious about.  Why is it so good?  What can it do for you?  For the planet?  For the future?  For authentic intimacy?  It’s all here, spiced with a bit of irony and critique of why we’re so behind on our agenda.  What’s keeping us from being more efficient.
Also arcane words you’ve been told have no meaning unless you got a PhD are explained–made very easy!  “Nausea,” “existentialism”: it’s all about the chakra system–really.  Commitment?  It’s not about going to jail (as in, “being committed”).  But rather, it’s about “being-in-action” about things.  Being the one who makes the difference!  No mysteries.  Woooooow!  Come back for more, will you?  We’ll post every week, on Tuesdays.
Namaste,
Serena

 

2. Introduction
It is an acknowledgement to be invited to contribute to this anniversary issue.[1]  Ten Years of Bisexuality is how fellow-traveler eclectic and queer-theory pioneer David Halperin would probably call this–not to mention Nobel Laureate in Literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who might have preferred Ten Years of Solitude.[2]  Let this occasional piece be an opportunity to analyze the miracle of planetary consciousness and political circumstances that has been at cause of my being part of it, and reflect on what we might learn from the results.
 In 2003 I was invited to guest edit the issue that became Women and Bisexuality: A Global Perspective.  Regina Reinhardt, the journal’s associate editor, was a close collaborator of Fritz Klein, founder of the journal.  She offered the opportunity and the issue ended up collecting articles from four different continents.  In 2005 I invited myself to guest-edit an issue on the intersections of polyamory and bisexuality.  Fritz Klein initially resisted the idea.  As a seasoned good listener who would allow eloquence and a good argument to convince him, he eventually agreed.  It became Plural Loves: Designs for Bi and Poly Living, now an appreciated book in poly communities for research and practice.  Fritz Klein passed in 2006, and I remember writing, in a post-traumatic state of semi-trance from the death of a respected friend and intimate leader, “In Absentia,” a short introductory piece for the issue about to go to print.  When Jonathan Alexander came in as editor-in-chief anointed by the Fritz Klein legacy that funds this initiative, I proposed Bisexuality and Queer Theory (2010).[3]  This issue is now in production as a book that promises to bridge the discursive gap between practice and theory, communities and ivy leagues, or the body and the mind, to use shorthand from new age speak.  There were no conferences in North America in years subsequent to Klein’s passing that would offer spaces for continuance of the integration of discourses auspicated by the activist scholarship to which I devote my energies.  When the energies for one such conference jelled in England, in 2010, I was invited to keynote and sparkled the idea of the proceedings volume that became BiTopia, now in print as a journal issue.[4]
Every issue has been a labor of love devoted to the overarching commitment to the scientific invention of a world where love for love, or erotophilia, is revered.  As an activist scholar, I don’t follow trends that promise prestige.  I chart new fields that offer the opportunity to make the world a better place for those who love love as I do and are willing to stand for an inclusive amorous vision beyond binaries and divisive dualisms.  This requires a public profile that involves risk.  It also involves the effort of being beyond the lateral hostilities that often make coordination among activists, communities, advocates, and academics difficult, as well as a vision whose horizon is wider than the sum of often conflicting academic sectors and disciplines.  I hope to have kept faith to my overarching intent at all times, even though I am aware that in some cases this is just wishful thinking.
Over this period I have considered myself a participant observer and research activist of bisexuality, as an in-flux identity, a diverse community, a subculture interspersed with tropes from other, contiguous groups, and a practice of love rich with many variations.  Bisexuality is just as healthy as any other sexual orientation, Fritz Klein established with his seminal work in the mid 1980s, The Bisexual Option.  If fact, when social and cultural causes for neuroses that can accrue from it are removed, it is even healthier since it corresponds to the potential for “100 Percent Intimacy,” as indicated in the subtitle he chose for that book.[5]  Klein focused on how this applies to the individual, as in the kind of therapeutic approach that can help a bisexual person feel comfortable with her/his orientation and related practices of love. 
Today cultural discourse about the interconnection between sexuality and consciousness has developed much further.  Many of us believe that active sexual education and amorous expression, not the stillness of a couch with the “talking cure,” is where the healing begins.  We are also more aware of planetary consciousness, or the noosphere–which has been further activated by cyberspace interactivity.  In this evolving cultural context, Klein’s claim about the health of a bisexual person can be projected on the wider horizon of global ecological health, which can thrive on the expansion of human sexual fluidity and amorous inclusiveness.  In a homeopathic rhetorical turn, one might theorize bisexuality, and/or the fear thereof, as the “problem” which is the solution, the “disease” which is the cure, the “lie” which is the truth, in an algorithm with the potential to heal personal, relational, cultural, social, ecological, emotional, and economic wounds all the way back to Plato’s dualisms. 
When we look forwards we can envision bisexuality as an engine in the paradigmatic shift toward a future of sexual fluidity and amorous inclusiveness where the energies of love and life are revered.  In other words, bisexuality is the foundation of a new epistemology based on love for our hostess, third planet Gaia, and the mantle teeming with life that she has enshrined herself in to welcome the life journeys of an amazing range of interdependent beings, from humans to bacteria and everything in between.[6] 
If bisexuality is an epistemology–or at least a significant element in the new episteme toward which planetary consciousness is shifting–then we may want to go back to literature, the art of wordsmiths, to sort out what this means.


[1] Jonathan Alexander, the editor-in-chief whose rhetorical expertise has been so instrumental in keeping the Journal going since Fritz Klein’s death, is the one who helped me see the call to contribute to this issue as a form of recognition for my role in affirming the Klein legacy.  I owe him many of the insights of this piece.  Our conversations were very inspiring.  Another debt is owed Regina Reinhardt for also insisting.  Thank you!
[2] My references are David Halperin, One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, and its palimpsest, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by now two respected classics in their own discursive ambits.
[4] Introduction pre-published on Poly Planet Gaia, here: http://drserenagaia.wpengine.com/search/label/BiTopia%3A%20Intro%20to%20BiReCon%20Proceedings%20Volume. My contribution to this issue, from my keynote, is also available on Poly Planet Gaia, here:
[5] The Bisexual Option was published in the early 1980s with the subtitle A Concept of One Hundred Percent Intimacy.  It went into its second edition in 1993. 
[6] The reference here is my own work on bisexuality and global ecological theory, in Gaia and the New Politics of Love (2009).

Yours truly appreciates your attention.  Stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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1 of 7 – Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment

Bisexual Epistemologies: A Journey from Nausea to Commitment 
An occasional piece by
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
For The Journal of Bisexuality’s 10th Anniversary Issue
Hi dear readers!
This piece will be great fun–yours truly promises.  Find out all the ins and outs of 10 years of Bisexuality!  What does “epistemology”mean?  Big word, right?  Well, all it means is that when you’re making love you’re producing knowledge.  A good thing!
We begin w/ the abstract, and will have six more posts.  Really revealing of all those things about bi you’ve always been curious about.  Why is it so good?  What can it do for you?  For the planet?  For the future?  For authentic intimacy?  It’s all here, spiced with a bit of irony and critique of why we’re so behind on our agenda.  What’s keeping us from being more efficient.
Also arcane words you’ve been told have no meaning unless you got a PhD are explained–made very easy!  “Nausea,” “existentialism”: it’s all about the chakra system–really.  Commitment?  It’s not about going to jail (as in, “being committed”.)  But rather, it’s about “being-in-action” about things.  Being the one who makes the difference!  No mysteries.  Woooooow!  Come back for more, will you?  We’ll post every week, on Tuesdays.
Namaste,
Serena


Abstract
Fritz Klein
This occasional piece captures the experience of being a guest editor for four issues of Journal of Bisexuality, from 2003 to the present time.  It is also a reflection on that experience. What is there to learn from it?  Is it possible to create a culture of research on bisexuality that empowers people to live authentic lives–and fulfill Fritz Klein’s promise of a healthy bisexuality whose gift to the world is the joy of 100 percent intimacy?  The article is made of an introduction to the four issues, on women and bisexuality in a global perspective, on polyamory and bisexuality, on bisexuality and queer theory, and on community-related research about bisexuality that gives off the effect of a bi utopia, or bitopia.  It discusses the Fritz Klein intellectual legacy and what it means in terms of understanding the role of bisexuality in today’s world and its potential to contribute to a paradigm shift towards an epistemology based on love for love, or erotophilia.  It discusses in depth the circumstances under which the “miracle” of “ten years of bisexuality” has been possible in a decade of planetary disarray and human distress.  And it gives special attention to the circumstances in which the four issues came into being.  The article further samples significant contributions to the issues, including those by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Betty Dodson, and Deborah Anapol, all of whom pioneers and leaders in the sex-positive movement.  Finally, the article also positions the author as a scholar activist whose method of criticism can be termed “holistic” because it integrates correlated approaches synergistically, including close reading and cultural theory. 

Keywords: healthy bisexuality, erotophilia (love for love), erotophobia (fear of love), holistic cultural theory, epistemology (how we get to know things, what we think knowledge is), utopia (ideal world), women, polyamory, Fritz Klein, love, existentialism (what makes existence meaningful), Sigmund Freud

Yours truly appreciates your attention.  Stay tuned for more wonders.

Namaste,

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other books
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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