Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Questions and discussion about your sexuality and how it's a part of who you are as a person.
Laima
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Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Laima »

Hello everyone. I don't know if this topic has been discussed before, but I was reading an article on Everyday Feminism about cross-orientation sexuality. From my understanding, this is when someone is romantically attracted to one gender group(s) and sexually attracted to another gender group(s). (Example: a woman who is a homoromantic pansexual would be romantically attracted to women but sexually attracted to all genders).

So my question is, has anyone ever felt this way about their sexuality before?

Personally, I haven't, as I've felt romantically/sexually attracted to men, but found women to be aesthetically appealing (if that makes sense). Nonetheless, I'm curious about how common cross-orientations are. I hope this isn't too personal to ask.
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

You know, I personally find the concept of what a romantic orientation is separate from a sexual orientation, because the origins of romance as a thing, historically and in most cultures, is intertwined with sexuality. So, I'm never sure, to be honest, what someone means when they say they are "romantically attracted." (And from a sexology standpoint, orientation is a framework that was designed to be expressly about sexuality, so I tend to get doubly confused.)

Now, I'm in my mid-forties, so this may be something where there's a concept of this, or romance, that's generational, so while it's murky to me, it may not be to people younger than I am.

But since we have had users here also not sure what "romantic" means separate from something sexual or potentially sexual, if you don't mind, might you preface this conversation with your understanding of what romantic means in this context, or feels like for you as something separate from anything sexual? :)
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Laima
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Laima »

Hi Heather,

I can see how the concept of romantic orientation can be a bit confusing. From my understanding, romantic orientation refers to the emotional sides of relationships, aside from sex. So, in other words, a person may be interested in going on dates, hugging, holding hands, cuddling, spending time with, and perhaps marrying another person, but not interested in any form of sex.

For example, maybe a heteroromantic asexual may be interested in dating/marrying someone of the opposite sex, but they may not be interested in the sexual aspect of those relationships.

I hope this makes sense and clears things up!
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by unchained »

@Laima
That's what I have come to understand romantic orientation as.

I will say, though, that I don't think I have ever seen somebody address mismatched sexual-romantic orientation outside of the asexual community. Then again, I came to terms with my orientation relatively recently and haven't talked about it with many people.

Wikipedia actually has an article about Romantic Orientation. It's kinda short but it also lists some links to sources I haven't checked but might be useful.

The LGBTQ Center also has an article on "Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation" https://lgbtq.unc.edu/asexuality-attrac ... rientation
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and a harm peace of mind?"

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Laima
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Laima »

Hey unchained,

I actually skimmed through both the Wikipedia and LGBTQ Center articles, just to make sure I had the right idea of what romantic orientation is. I though they were both useful. :)

Also, I first learned about romantic orientation when I was reading a comic about asexuality. However, I always wondered if someone could have an orientation like "homoromantic heterosexual" or something similar.

This is the comic in case you are curious: http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/9460 ... sexuality/
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

From my understanding, romantic orientation refers to the emotional sides of relationships, aside from sex. So, in other words, a person may be interested in going on dates, hugging, holding hands, cuddling, spending time with, and perhaps marrying another person, but not interested in any form of sex.
Unless this feels like it pushes into a space you wanted for yourself or something else -- in other words, if it feels like a diversion, feel free to dismiss it and carry on as you'd like! -- how is this different from close, intimate friendship?

The marriage piece is obviously something else altogether (especially since the legal contract for marriage in most places, including in the U.S., literally requires sex, so the marriage piece is counter to any kind of relationship that isn't sexual), but what you're describing here to me sounds like most ongoing and close platonic friendships I have experienced in my life.
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
unchained
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by unchained »

Laima wrote:Hey unchained,
Also, I first learned about romantic orientation when I was reading a comic about asexuality. However, I always wondered if someone could have an orientation like "homoromantic heterosexual" or something similar.

This is the comic in case you are curious: http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/9460 ... sexuality/
Oh, yes, that comic is like the N°1 reference when one is trying to introduce and explain asexuality to someone. I really love it.

Honestly, I have only heard of allosexuals (people who experience sexual attraction) having mismatched orientations, in theory. But I think that might largely be because, for most people, romance and sex go hand in hand.
"So how far did you go for shelter?
How long did it take you to find,
a place to sell your providence
and a harm peace of mind?"

- Shinedown, "I'm Alive."
Laima
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Laima »

Good point, Heather. In fact, when I was writing my response, I thought my description sounded a quite similar to an intimate friendship. Perhaps, romantic relationships and deep friendships are practically the same when one excludes sex.

So, I guess it depends on how the individuals see themselves in a relationship. For example, high schoolers may still consider their relationships with their boyfriends/girlfriends to be romantic, even if they choose not to have sex. I hope my answer isn't too vague. I've never been in love nor had any romantic relationships, so this is the best answer I can come up with.

Also unchained, I agree with your point about romance and sex going hand in hand. However, I also believe that sex can exist without love, and love can exist without sex.
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

But romance and love aren't the same, no? I love my best friend as much as I can love anyone, and the same goes for her little boy. (And there are snuggles, hand-holding, outings and big life commitments all involved.) I don't have sexual feelings for them, though, and I am also not in a romantic relationship with them (though again, I am still not sure I get how those feelings are different from sexual feelings, even if people having them simply elect not to physically express those feelings).

I am wondering, though, if you might be on to something here when you talk about teenage relationships that don't involve sex but DO involve some of the feelings people tend to associate with many ongoing sexual relationships that are more than just booty-calls. I am not seeing people over 30 tending to use these frameworks, but I don't know if that's just about those folks not being in my view.

(And seriously, if my participation here feels at all like stepping on toes, please tell me and I will step back.)

For you, though, going back to where you started with this, it's sounding a little to me like you might be trying to name an experience before you have even had it, based on what you have just added. And that can certainly be a very frustrating enterprise! :)

So, why not set aside the naming of parts of you and your life experiences until you feel like you have enough of that to feel like this all can happen a bit more organically rather than trying to see if it fits pre-existing frameworks before you even know, for yourself, what "this" is and feels like for you?
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
Laima
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Laima »

Hey Heather,

Don't worry, no toes have been stepped on. In fact, I have actually enjoyed this conversation. :)

I agree that romance and love aren't the same. When I was referring to "love" in my last sentence, I was referring to love between girlfriends/boyfriends, significant others, etc., which most would consider "romantic love." Just thought I should clarify that, as "love" has many other forms (e.g. love between family member, friends, etc.).

Also, I have a little saying: "What I lack in experience, I make up for with theory." So, in this case, if I haven't experienced a romantic relationship, I try to get a basic understanding of how one may theoretically work. (if that makes sense). Granted, relationships and feelings are very personal, so they may end up being completely different than how I imagined it!
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

You know, so long as thinking about this all theoretically is something that feels like it benefits you, rather than creates stress, I certainly don't see any harm in it.

However, human relationships, as you know from having some kinds of them already, are so personal, so unique, and so incredibly diverse, as are our experiences in them, and how we feel about them, that trying to name who we are in them and what words best define our experiences in them is a bit of an impossible enterprise if and when we haven't yet had those experiences and thus have no patterns to observe!

Just as an example, I can't imagine, personally, trying to find names for my own sexual orientation before I had any feelings of attraction to even consider when doing that. I feel like focusing on what to call a thing for myself before I had experienced that thing would probably have caused me stress, and perhaps even kept me from just letting myself have those feelings, and then experiences with them, that I was really all-in, rather than one foot out of because I was trying to name them, if that makes sense.

Now, maybe that's just me, and I am certainly someone I know has always been pretty comfortable just letting myself experience things without trying to name the from the front. And maybe that's not you. :) But I guess what I would just do is encourage you to perhaps seek some middle ground here so that when and if you do experience feelings you identify as being in love, or as romantic, and if and when you do explore those feelings in any kind of relationship, you at least make sure you leave room to just be in and enjoy those feelings and relationships as much as you're room for trying to classify them. Just because otherwise, it just seems to me like you might miss out on the good stuff that comes from just experiencing things. :)
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by QueenDee »

I think it's interesting the ways in which things being so commonly intertwined makes it so hard to see them as separate things. I know a handful of people who could be described as heteroromantic pansexuals, in the sense that they would have sex with any person but only honestly fall in love with the "opposite" (for lack of a better word) gender. Specifically I have a friend who I'll call Cher and she has a boyfriend and she sometimes has sex with other women but he is okay with it because she's not bisexual and isn't gonna leave him for a woman (I'm gonna skip over the list of issues with that rationale). I sometimes wonder if it's at all possible that one day Cher could fall in love with a woman and that she just hasn't yet. I think though, that either way in the past 26 years of her life and in the present she has never had a romantic attraction to a woman so it makes sense and is fair that she identifies the way that she does because she can't actually know what she'll do in the future and she can't choose an identifier accordingly.

I also think that the separation of romantic and sexual attraction are more common in the asexual community because they just don't experience sexual attraction. I think that for a lot of people sex is an extremely important part of relationships but there are different ways to do romantic relationships and sex doesn't always have to be inherent or a part of that. Like with the marriage thing, on paper that's a thing (because tradition) but there's nobody checking in to make sure 2 married people are having sex because its not really anybody's business what 2 consenting adults chose to do or not to do in their own home. People do relationships, romantic and otherwise and it's beautiful and valid and great.
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Laima »

Hello QueenDee,

That's really interesting that you know people who are heteroromantic pansexuals!

Also, I agree that sex is important in most relationships, but it doesn't have to be part of a romantic relationship. I think it's up to the partners to set up their relationship in a way that makes them happy. :)
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

(I do just want to note that most relationships people have actually are NOT sexual.

Most of our relationships at any time of life include: friends, family, mentors, teachers, neighbors, healthcare providers and other community helpers, the people who work at the markets, coffee shops, pizza places, transit lines, etc. we frequent, co-workers or co-students, and yep, for many people in time, also lovers, AKA, sexual relationships including partners who may also be family (as in, we have made them part of our family in some way) and, hopefully, also friends. But our relationships that involve sex typically are far, far outnumbered by our relationships that don't.)
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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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Onionpie »

I like.... kind of get this. I don't personally identify with terms like "heteroromantic pansexual" or whatever, I just call myself queer. I do get where people are coming from with it though, because my own personal experience of my queerness is that I'm sexually attracted to all genders, but am most likely (as QueenDee's friend Cher) slash have only ever so far fallen in love with men. So I think this generation defines romantic love as being the sort of EMOTIONAL side of sexuality, like, the feelings you have for your partner are a bit different from platonic relationships, and like, maybe not JUST the literal wanting-to-bone-them sexual feelings.

Or perhaps like. Romantic love is only different from platonic love because it's inextricably linked to sexual attraction, so those two can't exactly be separated, BUT you CAN have sexual attraction without having romantic, ie deeper emotional, feelings for the person. So to have A you must have B but you can have B without A.

Honestly, I'm not particularly attached to any of this because I have the strong suspicion that the only reason I'm NOT particularly romantically attracted to women but I am SEXUALLY attracted to them is because of the FUCKED UPPEDNESS of our society. Namely heteronormativity meaning I just spent my whole life under the assumption that close feelings for women = friendship! which probably makes it difficult for my brain to identify potentially more romantic feelings towards women. AND the fact that women are so sexualized and objectified in our society, that it's a lot easier to recognise "oh yeah, I totes wanna bang her" than it is "oh yeah, I totes wanna date her".
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by QueenDee »

I was on Facebook today and a friend of mine posted this http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/07/cro ... ation-101/ and it's a great breakdown of what this entire conversation is about.
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by Laima »

Funny you should mention that article Queen Dee, because it was the one that inspired me to start this thread in the first place! :)
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Re: Cross-Orientation Sexuality

Unread post by QueenDee »

Oh yeah! I totally forgot that you mentioned it in your opening comment.
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