When I wrote a recent blog about what women want from men and what men want from women one irate reader responded by saying she was sick of columns of this kind where homosexuals were marginalized. Why did I not include them in my essay?  

 Indeed, she is right,  and they should be included.  I will try here with my albeit limited knowledge to address the problem to the best of my ability.

Do same sex couples want different things from one another?  My conclusion about heterosexuals was that  though we are all different obviously, we, men and women,  basically want the same things: physical attraction, intelligence,  and the impression that someone will be able and willing and care enough to help the other with his or her life. 

As Blake puts it so wonderfully:

“What is it men in women do  require?

The lineaments of gratified desire.

What is it women do in men require?

The lineaments of gratified desire.”

 Is this different then with homosexual couples?

I suppose there is the possibility that women  want to fuse perhaps more than men do, so that if you have two women with this same desire this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.  With a heterosexual couple one is looking for the familiar but also what is different from the other: the exotic, the strange,  as well as something familiar. “Haven’t I met you before?” is not just a pick-up line but often a real impression.

As for men,  or anyway a number of homosexual couples I have known,  it is true that I have often been struck by their ability to lead separate lives, have separate affairs,  and not be hurt by this. Remembering my own sufferings when my first husband was unfaithful this has always seemed remarkable to me.   I have  married homosexual friends who both have lovers and manage not to let this undermine their relationship.

 Yet,  I’m not at all sure that one can generalize from this that homosexual men are less jealous than heterosexual couples, that they are less possessive and able to lead separate but equal lives.

Surely all of us, homosexual or heterosexual,  are very similar in our demands of the people we love. We want to be loved, cherished, taken care of.  We want understanding, support in our lives,  and ultimately our desires satisfied.   Blake is right about men and women. They want the same things whether they are men or women,  homosexual or heterosexual.

Sheila Kohler is the author of many books including Becoming Jane Eyre and the recent Dreaming for Freud.(link is external)

Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel (Penguin Original) (link is external)by Sheila Kohler Penguin Books click here(link is external)

Dreaming for Freud: A Novel (link is external)by Sheila Kohler Penguin Books click here(link is external)

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