The False Dichotomy of Sexual Orientation

(If you like, you can consider the following post a follow-up to this one.)

You’re either into men, or you’re into women.

Well, except when you’re into both, then you’re bisexual.

Well, except if you’re potentially into anybody, regardless of whether they’re of a classical gender or the ever-growing list of “other” genders. Then you’re pansexual.

If you’re a man into [cisgender] women and trans women, or a woman into [cisgender] men and trans men, you’re heterosexual. If you’re a woman into [cis] women and trans women, you’re a lesbian; if you’re a man into [cis] men and trans men, you’re gay.

On the other hand, if you’re into cisgender women (or men) but not transgender women (or men), then you’re transphobic, no matter how much you may actually see trans people as the gender/s we say we are. If you’re into cis men and trans women, or into cis women and trans men, you’re also transphobic, because your very orientation is only the result of a deeply socialised belief that trans women are “really” men and trans men are “really” women.

What if I told you everything above is false?

The longer I live, the more I think about these things, and the more I realise that the ancients were absolutely correct about one thing: There is no such thing as a sexual orientation. Granted, that statement is only implicit because the ancient Hellenes simply didn’t have a concept of sexual orientation; sexuality just IS. You’re into who you’re into, and while the sexual acts you may with to participate in have a name, and may reflect something about your nature, and certainly says something about your sexual tastes, your sexuality just IS.

The subcultures that have grown up around certain sexual tastes —men into sex with other men (almost) exclusively, women interested in sex with other women (almost) exclusively— and the stigmas attached to those tastes and their respective subcultures are certainly an invention of post-ancient society and may be newer than some self-styled GBLT historians push forth. The pride in these cultures coming out from underground status and hushed tones has certainly been theraputic to many. The tastes are real, the subcultures are real, the benefits of banding together in solidarity against a hostile society is absolutely real.

On the other hand, the idea of a static, lifelong sexual orientation is a modern invention that has proved, time and time again, to be false. Even Kinsey noted the existence of women who were perfectly happy heterosexual housewives to a point, never with any doubt of being both attracted to men and in love with their husbands, and later in life, simply fell out of love with their men, and deeply in love with women. The idea that, every once in a while, an ostensibly homosexual man really does genuinely fall in love with a single woman has been silenced by GBLT leaders in spite of decades of evidence of the phenomenon, at the very least. While ostensibly heterosexual cisgender men are definitely the most prominent population of people sexually attracted to trans women are are currently pre- or non-op below the waist, there have also been informal surveys online (also: a quick web search produces far more threads from the same and similar indexed fora, in addition to some blog polls, as long as you’re wiling to scroll through a plethora of Yahoo!Answers posts of “m i ghey 4 liking shemaylz? lol”) and off that make it very clear that not only are bisexual-identified men clearly in a majority of people consuming “shemale porn”, but yeah, men who would otherwise describe their sexuality as “gay” do sometimes like women, so long as the girl has a cock.

The compartmentalisation of sexuality as a preference for PEOPLE rather than a preference for ACTS has reduced people to sexual objects and has created unnecessary hurt in the process. Only in a post-orientation society can the hurt truly end, and can sexual dignities return to all genders.

The ancient Hellenes certainly recognised those who had preferences for men or women, but this was typically phrased as one who prefers performing certain acts with people of a particular gender. The emphasis was on the action, not on the partner. Respect for one’s partner cannot truly happen with a mindset that interprets one’s sexuality as dependent on a particular gender —no matter how deeply hard-wired into one’s neurology it might be— one only truly respects one’s sexual partners when one thinks of them as simply a partner in an act of sex.

This is not an impersonal matter to myself, and my sexuality is not as simply as some of the words I’ve used to describe it in the past may have made it seem. Ultimately, I am only aroused when thinking of and / or performing certain rather specific sexual acts; these acts are ultimately dependent on partners with certain body parts of varying degrees of functionality —I only hope that my partner is perfectly comfortable and able to enjoy these actions with their body as it is. No, certain instruments sold at stores like SheVibe don’t fulfil me if I were to treat a partner’s dildo the way I might treat his penis, if he had one; they don’t excite me when I use them that way, and if I’m not enjoying what I’m doing, I’m doing a great disservice to myself and my partner. I admit, it is far easier to find partners who are men that meet such a preference, and that’s fine, but I’m just as likely to find women possessing other characteristics I tend to find attractive. I’m not opposed to adopting the “bisexual” or “pansexual” labels, but I find the emphasis that those labels implicitly place on gender unnecessary, and ultimately objectifying; “queer”, on the other hand, still connotes a nuance of its classic definition of “unusual” and is probably the better, if vaguer term to describe my sexuality: I reject the notion of a gender-based sexuality. Sexuality is less about gender and more about action, those sex acts may be easiest to perform with some-one of a specific gender, or one’s personal preferences in the action may, indeed, restrict one’s preferences to include only partners of a specific gender, but ultimately sexuality is far less about gender than it is about activity.

There are many ways to love. There are dozens of ways that one can find another attractive. Most of them have nothing to do with sexual intercourse. The inherently conservative (by modern standards) GBLT agenda of defining GBLT sexuality as a matter of “love” is nothing more than kowtowing to Christian sensibilities. Of course gay men love women as well as men —they love their sisters and mothers and friends and daughters— but that kind of love is not linked with a desire for sexual acts with them. Sexuality isn’t about love or attraction, not completely. Certain kinds of love and attraction can certainly benefit sexuality, and certainly enhance the details of one’s sexuality. But sexuality isn’t about gender or love or attraction, it’s about desiring something and doing something. Experiments will happen, preferences will form, but that doesn’t remove the act of sex from one’s sexuality.

The problem with “pansexual” is it’s intended use. See, I used to be under the impression that the thing wrong with the pansexual label was the fact that there are many people who misunderstand it and end up using it as a shorthand for “I’m especially attracted to trans people”, which is incorrect. The intended use of “pansexual” is “I am attracted to people regardless of what their gender might be”. That’s a problem because it still falsely places the responsibility of sexual attraction on gender itself; it highlights the same old foolishness that sexuality is some sanitised, squeaky-clean aspect of our lives that is only enhanced by the actions of sexual intercourse, whatever forms that may take —it basically says “my sexuality is like everybody else’s, it’s about the emotions and aesthetics of genders —any genders!— and not about that sticky, sweaty, messy business in bed.”

In reality, sexuality IS about the sweaty, sticky, messy, matted hair business in beds —or on coffeetables, or in the shower, or bent over the bonnet of one’s car in the furthest corner of the lot in the middle of the night. It has fuck all to do with gender. A specific gender may be more likely than another to trigger the hard-wiring of one’s libido, but defining one’s sexuality by the gender/s most likely to switch on one’s sexuality is, in essence, to make one’s sexuality a paraphilia: a sexuality about doing things to objects, not about participating in activities with people. The homosexual/bi(pan)sexual/heterosexual dichotomy is false; at its best, it can give a “Big Tent” and incredibly vague description of one’s sexuality while still saying nothing particularly useful, but the reality is that it ultimately does more harm than good when used as social labels.

I find it unfortunate that so many other trans people insist on buying into the lie, given our unique positions that may argueably give us greater opportunity to see that it’s a lie. I suspect that some do this out of a misguided notion of hoping to increase potential “passability” as the gender one says one is. While the desire to be taken seriously as a man or as a woman is certainly noble, one’s desires cease their noble pursuits when the desire allows one to refuse others their dignity.

There is no shortage of trans people who insist that any pleasure derived from the genitals one was born with is either “faked” or nonexistent, and if one is ever to make clear, in no uncertain terms, that yes, they do derive real pleasure from their natural-born genitals, suddenly one’s entire identity is called into question by the kinder folks, and the less-kind will outright insist that the other person is just playing around and somehow making a mockery of “real transsexuals”. Now, to be fair, there is more than one type of person who falls under the “trans” umbrella, and yes, that means sometimes you’ll be talking to a transsexual woman who didn’t start transitioning until she was fifty and so she’s less likely to appear typically feminine, and other times you’ll be talking to a middle-aged man in a dress who just doesn’t care about looking all that feminine. On the other hand, there is also more than one way to be a transsexual woman or man.

The fact that transsexuals, those who completely identify as the gender “opposite” that which they were determined to be at birth (or, in the cases of IS trans individuals, the gender that was assigned to them during infancy), even exist is all the evidence necessary to really grasp the concept that genitals have fuck all to do with how gender develops mentally. While genitals are certainly still given a social status as “proof” of one’s gender, nature herself tells us that the social convention is a fantasy of our own design. While the medical technology certainly exists to create a reasonable facsimile of a phallus and vulva with interior vagina for transsexual men and women, and said people are certainly free (more of less) to decide if they need that surgery to be happy with their gender, “the surgery” is not a necessary path for many TS individuals, and many assert that they are perfectly happy with their genitals as is, regardless of how often the trans narrative party line seeks to covertly silence such people (such as by constantly pointing out that some “non-op” individuals are simply “unable to afford the surgery” or “sex workers hoping to stay in business” and so on).

Upon realising that sexual orientation is little more than an urban legend, and sexuality is about an interest in activities, it’s clear that trans women who keep their penis are simply women physically suited to perform certain sexual activities, like receive fellatio or even penetrate her partner below the waist (often dependent on how her body responds to HRT). Cisgender women and many transgender men may be able to do much of the same with a dildo, but not everyone who enjoys fellating a partner’s flesh-and-blood body is going to enjoy simulating the act on a dildo. Likewise, a transsexual man who makes use of the vag he was born with is then simply a man with a body physically suited to performing certain sexual activities, like receive cunnilingus or be vaginally penetrated. When gender is irrelevant to sexuality, and only the activities all involved parties are interested in matter, it indeed can be far easier to accept trans men and women as men and women, fullstop. The only difference is what one may be able to do; it’s then more on par with any other sexual incompatibility. When a lover’s gender is no longer given a neurotic, paraphilia-like status, but instead “vaginal penetration” and “sex with dildoes” (for example) are just another pair of activities one is simply not interested in, the idea that one’s sexuality is somehow inherently “transphobic” seems utterly preposterous —indeed, other sexual activities may still be engaged in, but if Johnny Transman prefers penetrating his partners with a dildo, and Georgie Cisgender is not at all interested, the issue is not about whether or not Johnny is a “genuine man” who can “TRULY satisfy” his partner, the issue is about long-term sexual compatibility.

Gender-based sexual orientation is one of the great lies of our time, and it could have only been born of the repression endorsed by mainstream Christianity.


4 thoughts on “The False Dichotomy of Sexual Orientation

  1. Pingback: Mustelae crocoton « The House of Vines

  2. Great post. In most pre-contact indigenous cultures, your sexual organs, your gender role in society and who you slept with were all independent aspects of a person that weren’t assumed to all come as a package. There were of course norms that people tended to fall into, but when people didn’t adhere to the norm it was a mystery, and people knew enough to respect mysteries. Of course, in addition to all that, everyone was expected to contribute to the gene pool, even if they weren’t necessarily the one’s raising the children themselves.


  3. Great post. In most pre-contact indigenous cultures, your sexual organs, your gender role in society and who you slept with were all independent aspects of a person that weren’t assumed to all come as a package. There were of course norms that people tended to fall into, but when people didn’t adhere to the norm it was a mystery, and people knew enough to respect mysteries. Of course, in addition to all that, everyone was expected to contribute to the gene pool, even if they weren’t necessarily the one’s raising the children themselves.


  4. Pingback: [PBP2013] GBLT and Queer Spirituality | Of Thespiae

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