Anaïs Nin Myth of the Day #1

From time to time, we will post common myths about  Anaïs Nin and to counter them with facts. If you have a “myth” you would like to share, leave a comment or e-mail us, and we’ll address it. If you have evidence to the contrary of our conclusions, we are eager to hear it.

Myth #1: Anaïs Nin was a lesbian or bisexual.

Fact: While there are rare accounts in the unpublished diary (sometimes graphic) of her relations with women, and while she could be erotically aroused by women, she found actual sex with them uncomfortable and strained. She once said, for example, “I never liked kissing a woman’s sex.” In the famous case of June Miller, Nin was brought to the pinnacle of eroticism, but it was a peak she didn’t traverse physically. So, the conclusion is that while Anaïs Nin found some women erotic and actually wound up in bed with a few of them, in the strictest sense of the words “lesbian” and “bisexual,” she was neither.

Comments

9 Responses to “Anaïs Nin Myth of the Day #1”
  1. Kim says:

    Here is a myth, leveled in the most accusatory manner (and I think based on the venomous New Yorker article published in the ’90s): “Anais Nin was a success because of Henry Miller. He taught her to write and she used him. If it wasn’t for him she would’ve been completely unknown.”

  2. jasmine savante says:

    This has to be one of the most appalling “facts” that I have read regarding Anais Nin. If the post’s author has issues with terminology regarding gender- that is one thing- but Nin’s statement that she never liked the taste of a women’s sex does not contradict the fact that she was, indeed, bisexual. She preferred to be the dominant one, and as such could strap on a harness and dildo and fuck her lover without ever having to taste her sex.

    And I believe she would find the experience, and DID find it, quite agreeable indeed.

    If ever there was a female writer who appreciated women, their body, their flesh, their sensuality, it was Anais Nin.

  3. I agree that Anais Nin appreciated the female form, and she wrote brilliantly about it. The post merely posits that she was neither bisexual or lesbian “in the strictest sense of the words.”

  4. S says:

    Indeed, this post reflects a rather narrow view of what bisexuality is, and presumes that bisexual attraction is confirmed only by a specific act of “consummation”. If Nin herself testified that she was attracted to women then she was attracted to women. Her aversion to a specific sexual practice does not undermine that, just as it won’t undermine the heterosexuality of a straight man who doesn’t enjoy giving oral sex to women.

  5. You are correct in your observation that the view is narrow; the intention of the post is to, as it says, view bisexuality and lesbianism “in the strictest sense of the words.”

  6. Ellen says:

    To be lesbian or bisexual “in the strictest sense of the words” means that a woman is attracted to other women, either exclusively or in addition to heterosexual desires; therefore, unless “strictest” means “revisionary” or “obstinately denying” this is no myth. Orientation is determined by desire and attraction, not consummation or any other sexual act.

  7. If the definition of homosexual or bisexual is merely attraction, Anais Nin was bisexual…and so is the vast majority of people–most of us have been attracted by members of our sex, but that is not a “strict” definition. Strict implies a sharp boundary between “heterosexual,” “bisexual,” and “homosexual.” We could rephrase the question: Did Anais Nin enjoy sex with both males and females? The answer is clearly no. She certainly enjoyed the idea of it, but not the act.

  8. Olla says:

    Attraction to both men and women IS bisexuality in the every “STRICTEST” definition of the word I’ve ever seen and I’m an avid and active member of the LGBT community.

    TECHNICALLY, in the strictest sense of the word, most people are some variant of bisexual (it’s not any other way around as you would like it to be. Sorry hon…)

    I had long considered myself bisexual before I had ever touched another woman. I am also not necessarily a fan of oral sex.

    “If the definition of homosexual or bisexual is merely attraction, Anais Nin was bisexual…and so is the vast majority of people…”

    Yep. Sexuality is a spectrum with no clearly defined boundaries as is attraction. Terms such as “homosexual” and “straight” don’t do that reality justice HOWEVER “bisexual” does allow for the fluidity of that reality on many levels even in the “strictest” sense of the word.

    In reality there is usually “mostly attracted to same sex and/or has sexual relations with same-sex” OR “mostly attracted to opposite sex and/or has sexual relations with opposite sex” (these are generally understood as “gay” or “straight” though THAT definition is not strict) OR a variation of the two.

    That variation has always been considered bisexual. Remember, most people who are considered and/or consider themselves heterosexual DO NOT have sexual, erotic or romantic relations with their same sex. ANAIS NIN DID!

    So your “fact” is ridiculous.

    Sexuality is defined by the individual. HOW DARE YOU try to define it for Anais with your own narrow views. She never claimed to be strictly heterosexual.

    If she never claimed to be bisexual it was probably due to societal pressure and the fact that the term was not widely in use in her day. Duh…

  9. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Olla. We are all entitled to our positions on what the “truth” is. Happy to share yours with our readers.

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