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Author Topic: Is orientation just about sex?
PoetgirlNY
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Is orientation just about sex?

I don't think so, but some people do. I have heard it said over and over again that sexual orientation is just "what's done in bed" and therefore that it is uneccesary or even inappropriate to come out. So, what do you all think? What else is there to your sexual orientation? Do you think that someone who is celibate can still identify with a sexual orientation?

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Limes Are Sublime


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Rizzo
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This is an interesting topic. I'm not quite sure how I feel. In a way, I think it would be ideal if sexual orientation were just about sex, but I know that as things currently stand, it is not. Certainly someone who has never had sex can have a sexual identity, and so that clouds the issue.

To me, being queer is not about rainbows or leather or earrings or what have you. I think it would be great if straight people were (partially) about rainbows and earrings and drag queens too. I don't like separatist attitudes when it comes to gender, so same goes for sexual orientation. Some groups do share a common history of oppression, and getting together with like-minded people gives a sense of community. Coming out has its purpose to make that community feel validated. But when it comes down to it, it's called "sexual orientation" for a reason. It's all about who you have sexual feelings for.


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Heather
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Great topic, Poet.

And I'd disagree with the "just in bed" tack. Ultimattely, we can choose what we do or do not do in terms of action.

But what has always made things most clear to me both personally and professionally, in terms of orientation, is who people are simply drawn to when it comes to attraction.

It is very hard to "choose" not to notice someone you find attractive. Good luck trying!

And many, many people have very few sexual partners in their lives, and some have none at all. But unless we are saying that we are not sexual beings unless we are sexually active with others, or even ourselves, we cannot say orientation is about sexual activity.

If we do, we refute a lot of very basic facts about human sexuality.

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
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Bobolink
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I knew a Catholic priest who said he was gay but I have no reason to believe that he ever broke his vow of celibacy. If he had not been a priest he would have been actively homosexual. Because he took his vows seriously, did that make him straight? He didn't think so.

BTW the Archbishop of Toronto would have denounced him if he had known.

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Rizzo
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I guess to clarify what I said before, I think sexual orientation should be just about sexual attraction (as opposed to sex).

Also, I'd like to add that I don't think it's necessarily inappropriate to talk about sex, and therefore it is not necessarily inappropriate to come out.


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PoetgirlNY
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I also feel like people who I happen to be sexually active with and are important in my life aren't just important in bed. If my parents say, "Hey, what are you doing this Saturday?" I can say, "I'm going on a date with this cute girl I met last week. I'm really excited." -well, I'm not actually that close with my parents, but hypothetically, we could have that conversation. It would just be odd to say, "I'm going out with this friend that I met last week. Don't notice that I'm putting on my cutest outfit and fussing with my hair for half an hour." I feel that my sexual orientation affects all different parts of my life. Well, maybe not my sexual orientation itself, but who I am attracted to and like. No actually, the orientation itself . . . because what would I tell my parents when I go to the Dyke March? The Dyke March is hardly bed, although sometimes if Riot Grrrl is in the mood and it's hot out and other people are doing it, we occasionally remove our shirts. But nudity does not make a bed. Unless of course you happen to sleep naked and make your bed every morning before you get dressed.

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Limes Are Sublime

[This message has been edited by PoetgirlNY (edited 06-07-2001).]


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John Doe
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Bobo,
The priest you mention is hardly unique. Given the roles that the catholic church has allowed people over the years, one must assume that a very high percentage of priests historically have been gay. After all, if you are only allowed to have sex for procreation. (ie every sperm is scared, even in marriage the only approved use of contraception is to aviod sex durring the most fertile part of the wife's cycle, not very effective which is why traditional catholic families are so large) The only other "moral" choice according to that view is celebacy. Well that pretty much leaves the priesthood. Now what percentage of priests break their vows of celabacy is an open question.
As for the archbishop denoucing him, doing so would be going against church teaching. The essence of which is that god loves the homosexual, but doesn't like any homosexual activity. Thus the priest, by remaining celabate is doing exactly what the church teaches he should be doing.
Back on topic, the true answer to what is your sexual orientation is found not in your activities, but in your dreams and fantisys. Who are you when you are laying awake in your bed at 2 am? What pops into your mind when you jerk off? Who are you attracted to when you met them?

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Lucky1402
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I disagree that orientation should be about sexual attraction. I've been physically and mentally attracted to alot of guys before. I've also been romantically attracted to a few girls- but never so far physically attracted to them. Meaning that I could get into a sexual and/or mental relationship with a man, but I think I would only be able to get into a mental relationship with a woman. Does that mean I'm bi? Maybe, maybe not. But if my orientation was bisexual then apparently it's possible that orientation could be about more than sexual attraction. I find things about about men that I find sexually attractive and I also find things in men's personalities that I find attractive- but so far in my life I've never been sexually attracted to a girl. Only attracted to her personality. Hmmmm. Sure, I've found women to be "beautiful" or "pretty" before, but never sexually attractive like I do with men, though.

So.... I'm babbling again. Anyways, that made sense to ME. That's my two cents.

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Dzuunmod
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My best friend is attracted to me on some level, I think, but that doesn't make him bisexual. He's only attracted to me, from what he's told me, in the sort of way that you describe being attracted to girls, Lucky.

Boys are emotionally attracted to boys all the time, and the same goes for girls, but for it to have an effect on someone's sexual orientation, I think the attraction really has to be sexual.

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Heather
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As a note, working off the Kinsey scale a GREAT majority oof people in the world are STRICTLY heterosexual or homosexual in their sexual attractions.

(And I'm not sure what a romantic attraction is, but when pone says sexual attraction, a psycial component is assumed. In other words, it isn't about liking someone platonically or nonsexually)


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Rizzo
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Really, Miz Scarlet? I always thought according to the Kinsey scale that only a minority of people were STRICTLY homosexual or heterosexual.

[This message has been edited by Rizzo (edited 06-08-2001).]


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Lucky1402
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I guess I meant platonically and non-sexually. It seems hard to explain. I may be attracted to their personality and think they're pretty, but I've just never felt sexually attracted to a girl before.

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DrQuack5
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Yeah, that's how I understood it from the Kinsey scale that about 10% of the population was stictly homo-/heterosexual.
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Heather
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The typo queen stirkes again. Oy.

What I meant was that the great MINORITY of people are strictly hereto or homosexual (0's or 6's).

And 10% is a much higher figure that I've heard before.

And Lucky, that's why I was pointing that out, because sexual orientation isn't about plantonic feelings, but about sexual attraction and relationships.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 06-10-2001).]


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Lucky1402
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Wow, I didn't know that. I've had boyfriends who I've dated because I liked their personality, but what would I be then, if I ever decided to get a girlfriend based on only mental attraction?
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Heather
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I guess the answer to that question is that most people do not choose to date, marry, life-partner or be sexually active with people simply because of their sexual attraction.

I am bisexual, but that doesn't mean I would be attracted to ANY man or woman, or get involved with anyone who happened to come along.

But sexual orientation is simply a term which doesn't cover the whole spectrum of why people are attracted or sexually attracted to others, but is simply a term which defines what gender or genders people are sexually/physically (as opposed to aesthetically) attracted to in general in terms of what "pool" they are selecting from and then narrowing further based on many other attributes. That only covers that apsect. Someone's personality, the color of their skin, the way they dress, their features, their tone of voice, their sense of humour, their interests...none of those things are determined by gender, and so those are not sexual orientation issues.

Make sense?

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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