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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Genitals

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Author Topic: Genitals
Saffron Raymie
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Member # 49582

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How common is it that orientation is about genitals? As in, it doesn't matter about gender, or breast fat, or facial hair; a person is just attracted to and wants to be involved with someone with a penis or a vulva/clit/vaginal opening? If that someone they were attracted to had sex re-assignment surgery, would it be at all common for the person not to be as interested in them anymore, because of their orientation being based on genitals?

[ 04-06-2011, 04:36 PM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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coralee
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I think the definition of genitals as penis, vulva etc. is perhaps adequate from a medical perspective, but not really adequate when it comes to what people find erotic. For example, what if you find your partner's legs to be extremely arousing, more so than, say, than their vulva? And, what if you aren't even interested in having sex with your partner that involves their vulva and/or vagina? In my opinion, the "importance" of genitals varies among relationships. I can't answer your question of how common it is, but I would think that, for a lot of relationships, genitals are just one part of the overall attraction.
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Heather
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You know, RaeRay, I'm not sure we have the answer to this question when it comes to answering this about big groups, more than asking individuals, one-on-one.

I can take a peek tomorrow to see if there are any broad studies, but off the top of my head, I don't know of any.

For sure, what genitals sexual partners have (or people assume they have), and other kinds of embodiment, clearly matter to a good many folks, and play a part in their attraction to others, though so few people first experience attraction to others when no one has any clothes on that it's also a tricky issue.

In other words, I think it's safe to say most folks don't only get a sense of whether they're attracted to someone or not when they do a panty check. [Smile] That said, I think a lot of people assume that if someone identifies as and/or looks like a certain gender, they'll have a certain kind of genitals, even though those presumptions can be incorrect sometimes.

But again, I don't know of any research done around this, though I can peek around. Not feeling optimistic on finding it though.

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Saffron Raymie
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Hehe Panty Check [Smile] It's true that we never see genitals when we realise we feel attracted to someone.

It was just that the way orientation is often framed, homosexuality is defined sometimes as 'an attraction to someone of the same sex or gender', I understand the gender part, but not really the sex. I used to think it was like being attracted to a certain hair colour, but nobody ever says 'I'm queer because I like blonde as well as black hair.' Is it because there isn't anything considered to a be 'normal' hair colour to be attracted to if you have certain kind of hair yourself? Kate Bornstein in 'My Gender Workbook' I think mentioned that it may be to do with what kind of sex acts people prefer? However, sex is whole body, so I don't understand. Could that be true for some people? Would it still have the possibility to be flexible over someone's life?

Like, I think I like penises because of PIV intercourse, but vulvas because I find them pretty and I love to touch them more than penises, but I often find sex with someone with a penis exciting in a different way.

I agree with you Coralee, in some relationships they aren't important, I just wish they weren't to me. I always say myself as a genderqueer person who didn't believe in essentialism but despite thinking I was in the very middle of the queer spectrum, here I am feeling slightly differently about people based on their sex. [Frown]

I know it's such a tough question, but does anyone have any theories of why what gentials a partner has matter to people so much? Is it maybe caused by hetronormativity or maybe the importance culture places on biological sex?

[ 04-08-2011, 10:13 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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My guess is that it mostly boils down to homophobia and also to people defining or validating their own gender based on that (including embodiment) of the other people around them.

Too, I think we always need to remember how many people conflate sex with gender.

For instance, when people say something like that a pre-op or non-op MTF trans woman who has a penis "is really a man," just because she has a penis, that's conflating sex with gender.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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