This weekend, "Hung" star Thomas Jane 'fessed up to being a hustler in real life when he was 18, homeless and starving in L.A. In the new times we live in, he fully owns letting "a guy buy me a sandwich" and acknowledges he was experimenting with his sexuality. What he says next ruffled some feathers amongst the commenters over on Towleroad but I feel largely sympathetic to his point.
"Jane: You're a lot more open to experimentation as a young man. And for me, being a young artist and broke in Los Angeles, I was exploring my sexual identity. And probably because of my middle-class, white blue-collar upbringing, I would have never had the opportunity to confront some of my own fears and prejudices had I not been hungry enough to be forced to challenge myself in that way.
Interviewer: So then it was productive for you in terms of self-knowledge?
Jane: Yeah, absolutely. It blew the doors off of my conventional upbringing and thinking and opened up possibilities for me that were akin to World War III. And then you actually have a choice, and I chose to be a heterosexual guy because that's what my DNA dictates and my nurture dictates that I am.
Interviewer: Then is that a choice?
I don't know. I think up to a point it's a choice. But I'll tell you what — it's not a choice until you're open enough to experience both male and female sexuality. Until you've tasted the food, you don't know whether you'll like it or not, as my mom always said."
His reasoning and expression of it is a bit rough, but the point I hear him trying to make is that we ultimately choose how to channel our sexuality, and I agree with him - with qualifications of course - on that point. I'd much rather stand proudly and own my sexuality as something I've "chosen" after having explored, experimented with and ultimately found a particular category that best fits me and my inclinations and desires than the passive-aggressive "It's not a choice!" which could just as easily be interpreted, "I'm a victim, here!", depending on the context.
More importantly (?), the message is you gotta try shit out first before you KNOW. I feel like this is pretty damn fundamental in every other area for Americans, EXCEPT sexuality. I also feel like this is not so true of the young generations coming up now. And - all jokes aside - I think it'll only be when they have that freedom to experiment with different expressions of themselves and their sexuality (within reason?) without condemnation that we'll truly begin to experience sexual freedom.