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Compulsory Heterosexuality (But You Knew That Already)

In yesterday’s New York Times Book Review, Katie Roiphe writes about how depictions of sex by the “Great Male Novelists of the last century” have changed since the 1960s. Although she mentions that all of the authors she writes about are American, she says nothing of them in regard to other aspects of identity, e.g., (duh…) sexual orientation.

Given that all of the examples Roiphe offers are of male characters having sex with female characters, it would seem that the changes she describes say something about heterosexual male characters and the writers who create them (who, in these examples, are also het). Her essay is published in the straight-white-male-canon-worshipping NYT, so apparently the straightness of all involved is supposed to go without saying.

What should go without saying is that such a default position is bullshit. If my gay ole opinion isn’t important enough (but, oh, it most certainly is), consider that not all straight dudes are alike, not even sexually. (Duh…)

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