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Changing Your Sexuality

124678

Posts

  • AntimatterAntimatter if you want to talk to me look elsewhere.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Antimatter wrote: »
    okay. maybe not the correct word.

    but, it's a very hard concept to explain. my male body does not feel right. i have dysphoria, and i hate my body. i hate how bulky it is, i hate my genitals, i hate having masculine physical traits.

    I'm curious.

    Was there a specific point at which you started feeilng this way? I don't imagine that a 2 year old would hate its body.

    i have identified closer with women more than men since i was a child
    i enjoyed playing with stereotypical female toys when i was in daycare

    i didnt have any idea what the real differences between males and females were until fifth grade, when i was told that they went through different things during puberty

    and i wondered to myself

    why did someone have to be restricted? why couldnt they be male or female if they wanted to be either?

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    I can sort of see where J is coming from on the disease thing, but I think he's going about it the wrong way.

    I don't think it's necessarily wrong to argue that it might be the result of some sort of physiological abnormality in the brain, and I don't think it's scientifically responsible to eliminate that as a possibility, given how little we know. It could be a missing protein, a mutated receptor, too much of one hormone, not enough of another, a rare gene...who the fuck knows.

    Supposing that it is an abnormality as such, do you believe it's pathological? Is it hurting anybody? Is it spreading? Is it otherwise causing any sort of actual problems or inconveniences whatsoever? The resounding answer to all three questions seems to be no. So why try to cure it? You're just needlessly complicating things.

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    I would hope the second part of my statement would address that though.

    yes, and like you previously mentioned, homosexuality could once be marked as a disorder if a person felt uncomfortable with it. I don't know about the deliberations that caused homosexuality to be removed and not hyposexuality, but if you are bothered by your own asexuality, the doctor could put that on your chart and try to find a way to cure or manage it. With homosexuality, a person can be told that it's not a disorder - even if they feel uncomfortable with it. Of course, if asexuality is bothersome, but not really indicative of any harm or cost, the doctor can decide that it doesn't qualify as a disorder. Or the doctor can decide that it does qualify as a disorder; it's the doctor's decision. Therefore, there is currently a difference, at least in psychiatry.

    Technically, feeling distress due to one's perceived sexual orientation can still potentially be diagnosed as a disorder, it's just that the (proper) therapeutic approach would now be to deal with the personal (and other) issues that cause that distress rather than attempting to change someone's sexual orientation.

    I think that's the key here. With the disorders, you try to get to the bottom of the issue, looking at and ruling out factors that could have caused the disorder. You don't do that with homosexuality.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Yeah, I think it's kind of an apples and oranges thing. Although homosexuality itself may in fact have a single physical cause and a "cure", the tension with one's own sexuality probably has other, completely separate causes (such as a homophobic upbringing).

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Antimatter wrote: »
    okay. maybe not the correct word.

    but, it's a very hard concept to explain. my male body does not feel right. i have dysphoria, and i hate my body. i hate how bulky it is, i hate my genitals, i hate having masculine physical traits.

    I'm curious.

    Was there a specific point at which you started feeilng this way? I don't imagine that a 2 year old would hate its body.

    I tried to crush my testicles when I was 3 because they felt so wrong to me... so alien. I also would subconsciously try to scratch them off in my sleep. I mean, it tends to hit most trans people around puberty SUPER hard since thats when the sexes really start to diverge... but yeah, most people have a sense super young.

    Also, it doesnt have anything to do with sexuality really. Its about innate sense of gender. Sexuality is about the innate sense of who you are attracted to.

    This seems to indicate that gender isn't a social construct.

    Correct me if I'm mistaken, but trying to crush one's testicles at three years old doesn't seem like a rebellion against social norms, or even a manifestation of learned behavior. I doubt that any three year olds would "know" that there is an alternative to having testicles.
    Also: I think sexuality is much more mutable than people think. I do know a LOT of people (me included) who's sexuality has changed over time. Some of that is in regards to how I am viewing people and gender and whatnot. I really dont agree with the line "you are born this way, and your sexuality doesnt change ever" that is used in all the pro-gay arguments. However, I abhor the ex-gay movement because of how damaging it is. I guess I see sexuality is fluid and you just have to kind of go with it. If you find someone you are attracted to, cool! Doesnt really mater what sex or gender they are.

    Would you say that gender is as fluid as sexuality? Or is one's gender self-identification more permanent that one's fucking preferences?

    On the gender being a social construct or not, I look at it this way: gender identity, the innate sense of gender and sense of body, is not a social construct. It is a construct of the brain structure and what not (there have been some studies that fully indicate this is true). Gender presentation, how one expresses that gender (dresses, pink, blah blah blah) IS completely a construct of society.

    I mean, I know TONS of trans women who are 'tom boys'. They actually express their gender in a pretty masculine way. So sex was male assigned at birth, gender identity is female, and gender expression is in the masculine range. Its a smorgasbord.

    Now, as far as gender's fluidity... I kind of think it is pretty fluid, especially for some people. For me, it IS pretty fluid. My gender identity fluctuates between being agendered and being female depending on the day. Interestingly enough, lots of days i feel agendered are also the days i feel like presenting the most feminine. Again, presentation and gender identity are not necessarily congruent.


    Now.. asexuality. Yay, im also asexual. And i dont view it as a disorder. Lots of people tell me I'm broken but I dont see it that way. The distinction, and this is what anything in the DSM points to is whether or not it causes significant distress. For me, being asexual does not cause any distress aside from bizzare social pressures. But for me, its fine. I dont care that I dont desire sex. I'm actually quite clam about it and happy and content. I know of other people who, say due to medication, lost their sex drive. And it was painful for them. This WAS a problem and they wanted to get it back. I have no such desire. I do crave intimacy, but not sex. I am in a long term relationship with another girl, and we are romantic, but no sexual. And its awesome. I actually have a hard time understanding people who ARE sexual actually. Its weird to me.

  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEEN Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Even if they are "curable" goings-on (which I wouldn't doubt that one day we may be able to take a pill to adjust sexuality), I'd rather our time and money be spent on disorders that are actually harmful.

    eG9gdum.gif
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Depending on what you take to be a negative consequence, we could say that asexuality has negative consequences. The chick in the bbc article is totes cute, and since she's asexual no one gets to fuck her. That's a negative consequence. Or maybe it pisses some people off.
    I think this needs to be quote because...what the fuck, _J_?

    Yea this is fucked up. Girls are not put here for you to fuck. Thats pretty messed up.

  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEEN Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Depending on what you take to be a negative consequence, we could say that asexuality has negative consequences. The chick in the bbc article is totes cute, and since she's asexual no one gets to fuck her. That's a negative consequence. Or maybe it pisses some people off.
    I think this needs to be quote because...what the fuck, _J_?

    eG9gdum.gif
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Nevermind. It's late. I'm going to bed. I'm not up to this.

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Even if they are "curable" goings-on (which I wouldn't doubt that one day we may be able to take a pill to adjust sexuality), I'd rather our time and money be spent on disorders that are actually harmful.

    Every time you say that a sexual psychologist clutches their precious R01 all the more tightly

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo HAPPY WAALUWEEN Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Yeah, I'm tired and totally missed your post, Dirty.

    eG9gdum.gif
  • AstaerethAstaereth Registered User regular
    If an asexual patient walks into a doctor's office and says "I feel distress because people make fun of me for not wanting to have sex," that's not a disorder. If an asexual patient walks into the office and says "I feel distress because a component of my life is absent and I cannot fully connect to the people around me" that's a disorder. Asexuality is sometimes an impairment, like deafness, and sometimes an orientation, like homosexuality. Both the impairment and the orientation should be given respect.

    Pedophilia (which is different from child molestation, an action that may not come from pedophilia) is a sexual orientation; but some of the other examples listed in this thread are more like paraphilias. The difference is in whether or not the subject can/does maintain interest in other sexual targets. You can't be 100% gay and attracted to a woman; but it is possible to have a preference for dead or animal sexual partners and still be attracted to live human partners. Both an orientation and a paraphilia should be given respect (although I believe preferences can be introduced, altered, strengthened, or weakened deliberately), which does not excuse the actions those people take. If it is illegal/immoral to have sex with children, it is illegal/immoral to act on the desire to have sex with children, even though you may have no control over that desire and it may be innate and immutable. If the only way for you to be sexually fulfilled is illegal/immoral I call that tragic.

    Someone changing their sexuality is, by the way, the best fetish of all, whether it's possible or not*. This is true in all directions (except pedophilia and asexuality). The problem is when society expects or pressures someone into changing their sexuality.

    *As far as I know science at present has no way of determining the difference between "I was homosexual and now I'm heterosexual" and "I was always bisexual" from an objective standpoint.

    Find more of my writing at The Thieves' Den.
    Currently airing: Killtoberfest 2: Kill Me Twice, Shame On Me.
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I think sexuality is more informed and "built" by culture than people think. Some people are born definitely attracted to just men, or just women, or to both genders, sure. But circumstance also plays a big part. In the 1800s, it was practically unheard of for a woman to be in a lumber camp. So the men there slept with men, as a matter of course. In that little subpopulation it was normal. Was it because all those lumberjacks happened to be gay or bi? Weeeeell, I have a hard time believing that. I think it was more about the way their subculture had constructed masculinity. You could sleep with another guy and still be a manly man--as long as the other guy was younger than you (perhaps a teenager), and was "on bottom" during sex, and did all your cooking and sewing and cleaning. Sexual roles tied up with gender roles tied up with cultural expectations . . .

    As I said, I definitely believe some people are born liking ONLY men or ONLY women and that's that. But . . . I think it's also more complicated than "10% of the population has always been gay/bi".

    LadyM on
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote: »
    It should be very difficult to label asexuality as a disorder, since absent of any additional information it isn't one.

    Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a thing. I didn't make it up.

    Paladin posted this. So, yey.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    I'm also wondering what things the royal we doesn't much care for that should be impermissible even though they do not harm anyone, simply because they are arbitrarily defined as "abnormal".

    That's a question of how we define / discern harm.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Sex is meant for reproduction.

    Only if you have a God in your ontology to posit meaning onto it.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Do you see how easy it is to use your line of thinking and apply it to the agenda of homophobes?

    Sure. Which is why at multiple points in this thread I acknowledged the possibility and attempted to fend it off.

    That being said, though, I don't think we can discredit an argument by saying "if a homophobe changed all the words, they could use that structure to defend being a homophobe!"
    Anything that people get up to that isn't causing them undue harm (and I'm also a fan of letting people do whatever dumbass thing they want to themselves, generally so this is a hazy line for me) isn't any of my business. My personal moral code doesn't come into it.

    We're talking law, not morality. There's a difference.

    There is a difference between law and morality, yes. But given that we share the same planet, and have causal relations to one another, it's very difficult to permit anyone to do anything they want.

    Permit in either a legal or moral / ethical sense.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Depending on what you take to be a negative consequence, we could say that asexuality has negative consequences. The chick in the bbc article is totes cute, and since she's asexual no one gets to fuck her. That's a negative consequence. Or maybe it pisses some people off.
    I think this needs to be quote because...what the fuck, _J_?

    That was meant as an example of something that could be taken as a negative consequence. You say, "that's not a negative consequence, wtf is wrong with you?"

    To which I say, "Exactly. Defining what counts as a negative consequence, or harm, is problematic."

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    On the gender being a social construct or not, I look at it this way: gender identity, the innate sense of gender and sense of body, is not a social construct. It is a construct of the brain structure and what not (there have been some studies that fully indicate this is true). Gender presentation, how one expresses that gender (dresses, pink, blah blah blah) IS completely a construct of society.

    I'm curious as to what that innate sense of gender / body is independent of its expression through social artifacts. You were posting about trying to smash your testicles at three years old.

    It's strange to think that a three year old would have that compulsion, some innate sense of wrongness. I'd be interested if you happen to know of any studies, off the top of your head, that explain what's happening when a child has that thought.
    My gender identity fluctuates between being agendered and being female depending on the day. Interestingly enough, lots of days i feel agendered are also the days i feel like presenting the most feminine. Again, presentation and gender identity are not necessarily congruent.

    There's that "feel" word again.

    I think it's safe to say that most people don't have gender transitions on a daily basis. You seem to have a very unique sense of self. I'm trying to figure out what story could be told that makes your situation...not sensible...but...

    Why do you have a gender impermanence, when so many other members of your species have a permanent sense of gender? What's causing their sense that you lack, or what's causing your sense that they lack?

    Is it possible that your brain chemistry changes on a daily basis? Or...I'm just not sure what story can account for that 'feeling".

    Now.. asexuality. Yay, im also asexual. And i dont view it as a disorder. Lots of people tell me I'm broken but I dont see it that way. The distinction, and this is what anything in the DSM points to is whether or not it causes significant distress. For me, being asexual does not cause any distress aside from bizzare social pressures. But for me, its fine. I dont care that I dont desire sex. I'm actually quite clam about it and happy and content. I know of other people who, say due to medication, lost their sex drive. And it was painful for them. This WAS a problem and they wanted to get it back. I have no such desire. I do crave intimacy, but not sex. I am in a long term relationship with another girl, and we are romantic, but no sexual. And its awesome. I actually have a hard time understanding people who ARE sexual actually. Its weird to me.

    The thought I'm having now is that the bulk of your narrative is based upon self-report. Or, well, all of your narrative is based upon self-report. And "distress" is also something that is based upon self-report.

    This speculation might piss people off, but here we go: Maybe in addition to lacking that which gives persons a sense of sexuality and gender permanence, you're also lacking that which gives persons a sense of distress when that gender permanence isn't there.

    I worry when so much of a situation is based upon a person giving their own account, because we've lost any sense of objectivity.

    Though, from your perspective, it's not a problem because you aren't distressed and you're doing what feels correct. So, that's cool. But as me, with my consistent self-narrative and gender identity, it's very weird to try to imagine myself into your situation and make it sensible.

    I'm not saying you are wrong or incorrect. I'm trying to understand what it is like to be you. And I'm trying to fathom what can possibly explain a person having that life experience.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • ClipseClipse Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Lawndart wrote: »
    It should be very difficult to label asexuality as a disorder, since absent of any additional information it isn't one.

    Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a thing. I didn't make it up.

    Paladin posted this. So, yey.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    I'm also wondering what things the royal we doesn't much care for that should be impermissible even though they do not harm anyone, simply because they are arbitrarily defined as "abnormal".

    That's a question of how we define / discern harm.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Sex is meant for reproduction.

    Only if you have a God in your ontology to posit meaning onto it.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Do you see how easy it is to use your line of thinking and apply it to the agenda of homophobes?

    Sure. Which is why at multiple points in this thread I acknowledged the possibility and attempted to fend it off.

    That being said, though, I don't think we can discredit an argument by saying "if a homophobe changed all the words, they could use that structure to defend being a homophobe!"
    Anything that people get up to that isn't causing them undue harm (and I'm also a fan of letting people do whatever dumbass thing they want to themselves, generally so this is a hazy line for me) isn't any of my business. My personal moral code doesn't come into it.

    We're talking law, not morality. There's a difference.

    There is a difference between law and morality, yes. But given that we share the same planet, and have causal relations to one another, it's very difficult to permit anyone to do anything they want.

    Permit in either a legal or moral / ethical sense.
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Depending on what you take to be a negative consequence, we could say that asexuality has negative consequences. The chick in the bbc article is totes cute, and since she's asexual no one gets to fuck her. That's a negative consequence. Or maybe it pisses some people off.
    I think this needs to be quote because...what the fuck, _J_?

    That was meant as an example of something that could be taken as a negative consequence. You say, "that's not a negative consequence, wtf is wrong with you?"

    To which I say, "Exactly. Defining what counts as a negative consequence, or harm, is problematic."

    You don't seem willing to apply equal scrutiny to the claims "All (healthy) human beings are sexual beings" and "All (healthy) human beings are reproductive beings". The latter, of course, leads to the homosexuality-as-disorder result that you want to deny -- but rather than actually addressing why you think one of these assumptions is inarguable and the other false, you immediately attack the semantics of any post bringing it up.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    If an asexual patient walks into a doctor's office and says "I feel distress because people make fun of me for not wanting to have sex," that's not a disorder. If an asexual patient walks into the office and says "I feel distress because a component of my life is absent and I cannot fully connect to the people around me" that's a disorder.

    If you read The Mask of Sanity, though, you'll get a glimpse into the stories of sociopaths / psychopaths who, by most objective standards, have a disorder but report no feelings of distress.

    That's why I'm reluctant to make "disorder" and "distress" reliant upon each other. There exist fucked up people, who are demonstrably fucked up, but who feel not distress over their being fucked up.

    So, there has to be something more to disorders than "makes the person who has it feel distress."

    Because, again, serial killers.
    Astaereth wrote: »
    Asexuality is sometimes an impairment, like deafness, and sometimes an orientation, like homosexuality. Both the impairment and the orientation should be given respect.

    No.

    Asexuality is either an orientation or an impairment. It can't be both.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Astaereth wrote: »
    If an asexual patient walks into a doctor's office and says "I feel distress because people make fun of me for not wanting to have sex," that's not a disorder. If an asexual patient walks into the office and says "I feel distress because a component of my life is absent and I cannot fully connect to the people around me" that's a disorder.

    If you read The Mask of Sanity, though, you'll get a glimpse into the stories of sociopaths / psychopaths who, by most objective standards, have a disorder but report no feelings of distress.

    That's why I'm reluctant to make "disorder" and "distress" reliant upon each other. There exist fucked up people, who are demonstrably fucked up, but who feel not distress over their being fucked up.

    So, there has to be something more to disorders than "makes the person who has it feel distress."

    Because, again, serial killers.
    Astaereth wrote: »
    Asexuality is sometimes an impairment, like deafness, and sometimes an orientation, like homosexuality. Both the impairment and the orientation should be given respect.

    No.

    Asexuality is either an orientation or an impairment. It can't be both.

    I don't agree with that, because that implies there's a unified cause and impact for asexuality, which thus far has yet to be scientifically established. Some people are asexual for reasons that can be chemically verified: their hormonal make-up is abnormal compared to other people, and this (relative) imbalance causes a distinct lack of sexual urge.

    In such cases, the person may cognitively feel a need to interpersonally connect with others on an emotional level, but due to their verifiably abnormal hormone make-up they do not feel any sexual component to that need. They are asexual for reasons that we can consider safely to be a physical impairment, in so far as their hormone system is unable to create the normative hormonal state.

    Not all asexual people have abnormal hormone levels, however.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    @Clipse

    I meant regulating sex and sexual related things, nothing beyond that.

    What consenting adults get up to behind closed doors or open windows has nothing to do with me. I thought I was clear on the scope of my statement, if not I apologize and hopefully this clears things up.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Clipse wrote: »
    You don't seem willing to apply equal scrutiny to the claims "All (healthy) human beings are sexual beings" and "All (healthy) human beings are reproductive beings". The latter, of course, leads to the homosexuality-as-disorder result that you want to deny -- but rather than actually addressing why you think one of these assumptions is inarguable and the other false, you immediately attack the semantics of any post bringing it up.

    Attacking semantics is actually addressing the point: Sexual activity and reproductive activity aren't the same thing.

    Sexual activity is the sex act. When persons engage in the sex act, we can say they are engaging in the sex act, since they are engaging in the sex act. People who have sex have sex.

    Reproductive activity is a second layer of meaning posited onto the sex act. When two people are fucking we cannot say that the two people are engaged in reproduction, since that is a claim beyond what we are observing. All we can say is that they are fucking, and we can then attempt to discern whether or not, in addition to having sex, they are oriented towards reproduction or not.

    The desire to have sex isn't the desire to reproduce. Sex can occur without reproduction.

    So, yeah, they're different. "I want to fuck" doesn't mean "I want to has a baby."


    The only way to make them equivalent is to posit a deity into one's ontology who created sex with the purpose towards reproduction.

    Good luck with that argument.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I think the asexuality thing is a little clouded by the fact there are medical reasons someone might not have sexual desire on top of nonmedical reasons, where as there's no medical state that makes one a homosexual.

    Asexuality is either an orientation or an impairment. It can't be both.
    Depends on the cause.

    Styrofoam Sammich on
    sig.jpg
  • ClipseClipse Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Clipse wrote: »
    You don't seem willing to apply equal scrutiny to the claims "All (healthy) human beings are sexual beings" and "All (healthy) human beings are reproductive beings". The latter, of course, leads to the homosexuality-as-disorder result that you want to deny -- but rather than actually addressing why you think one of these assumptions is inarguable and the other false, you immediately attack the semantics of any post bringing it up.

    Attacking semantics is actually addressing the point: Sexual activity and reproductive activity aren't the same thing.

    Sexual activity is the sex act. When persons engage in the sex act, we can say they are engaging in the sex act, since they are engaging in the sex act. People who have sex have sex.

    Reproductive activity is a second layer of meaning posited onto the sex act. When two people are fucking we cannot say that the two people are engaged in reproduction, since that is a claim beyond what we are observing. All we can say is that they are fucking, and we can then attempt to discern whether or not, in addition to having sex, they are oriented towards reproduction or not.

    The desire to have sex isn't the desire to reproduce. Sex can occur without reproduction.

    So, yeah, they're different. "I want to fuck" doesn't mean "I want to has a baby."


    The only way to make them equivalent is to posit a deity into one's ontology who created sex with the purpose towards reproduction.

    Good luck with that argument.

    You didn't address my point at all. I did not say the two claims were equivalent; I asked on what basis you consider one inarguable and the other false, because I do not see any clear argument (from eg evolutionary biology or simple descriptive statistics of the current human population) that supports one and not the other. I literally have not seen anything other than vague hand-wavey support of the claim "All (healthy) human beings are sexual beings" from you, and the statement:
    _J wrote:
    If you don't grant the premise that human beings are sexual entities, entities who have sexual desires, then we're probably not going to have a productive conversation.
    seems to suggest you are so entrenched in this belief you aren't even willing to discuss it.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Pony wrote: »
    I don't agree with that, because that implies there's a unified cause and impact for asexuality, which thus far has yet to be scientifically established. Some people are asexual for reasons that can be chemically verified: their hormonal make-up is abnormal compared to other people, and this (relative) imbalance causes a distinct lack of sexual urge.

    In such cases, the person may cognitively feel a need to interpersonally connect with others on an emotional level, but due to their verifiably abnormal hormone make-up they do not feel any sexual component to that need. They are asexual for reasons that we can consider safely to be a physical impairment, in so far as their hormone system is unable to create the normative hormonal state.

    Not all asexual people have abnormal hormone levels, however.

    This will be fun.

    If we accept that asexuality can be either an orientation or an impairment, depending on the case, then wouldn't this hold for other sexual preferences? So:

    Asexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Homosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Heterosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.


    If we acknowledge that an asexual habit can be an orientation, or a disorder...
    If we acknowledge that "normal" sexual practices may be a cultural artifact, and not "real" or "natural" or whatever...

    Then it seems like any sexual habit could be construed as an orientation or an impairment, depending on the person.

    _J_ on
    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    I do agree that defining something as a disorder or disease based exclusively on whether or not it causes distress to the person experiencing it is an approach fraught with difficulty and easily opens itself to criticism by people who insist there's nothing wrong with them and they in no way feel negatively about their condition.

    However, defining something as a mental disorder is behavior-oriented. Defining something as a physical disorder is based on physically observable and testable symptoms.

    If I say have postherpetic neuralgia (a form of nerve pain that results from an outbreak of a form of herpes, typically herpes zoster aka the shingles), that's very difficult to scientifically quantify. I tell a doctor I'm in pain. There's pain scales I can try to measure it against, but it's all self-reporting. They sorta have to take my word for it. They could measure my heart rate, flush responses, etc. for physical signs of suffering internal pain, but those can be tricky too and can actually be faked on many but not all levels.

    However, having a case of herpes zoster, the preceding disease to postherpetic neuralgia, is verifiable. You can test for it. The lesions are observable and lab samples can be tested if so desired. So, while how much I am suffering the neuralgia or not might be in question, the cause of the claimed suffering is evident.

    You can verify some forms of asexuality as a physical disorder of the person's body and brain. You can measure hormone levels and draw neurological conclusions based on how such levels would impact a person's urges and desires. Like neuralgia, whether or not they feel bad about it isn't really verifiable or all that relevant; the cause can be confirmed and, if the patient wishes, potentially treated with medication.

    Contrast that with say, if I'm diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder, a psychiatric diagnosis of an abnormal behavior and response pattern. The physical and neurological reasons for bipolar disorder are many in their theorized vectors. Some figure it's chromosomal/genetic, others think it is engaged or aggravated by external environmental factors, etc.

    What is the most likely theory is that there is many medical reasons that behaviors within the bipolar spectrum are observable in a person, ranging from genetic to environmental to whatever. The causes aren't necessarily consistent, all that appears to be consistent along that continuum are the effects on the individual, which get defined into types and subtypes and the like.

    Likewise, asexuality and indeed any type of sexuality in general can have a myriad of causes, what we label and observe are results. When a person self-identifies as asexual, they're doing so based on their external behaviors and their stated internal feelings. Their internal feelings cannot be verified, but their external behaviors can. A person cannot in good faith call themselves asexual and then turn around and have a jolly good time fucking someone. That'd be dishonest to the label. Their external behaviors are observable. Their internal processes aren't.

    If you look at the DSM-IV criteria for basically any psychiatric diagnosis, it focuses on external observation and self-reporting. People don't get blood tests to determine if they have schizophrenia. Their behavior is abnormal in a way that is observably consistent with the definition of schizophrenic disorder.

    Classifying asexuality as a disorder in this fashion would require establishing consistent patterns of behavior, via self-report and external observation, and subjected to a uniform standard. Creating a spectrum disorder to account for the many types of asexuality would still require establishing a baseline by which other variations are measured against.

    If you can do that, be my guest.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    If we accept that asexuality can be either an orientation or an impairment, depending on the case, then wouldn't this hold for other sexual preferences? So:

    Asexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Homosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Heterosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Do you know of a medical condition that causes homosexuality? Because we're aware of many that remove or suppress the sex drive.

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  • AstaerethAstaereth Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Astaereth wrote: »
    If an asexual patient walks into a doctor's office and says "I feel distress because people make fun of me for not wanting to have sex," that's not a disorder. If an asexual patient walks into the office and says "I feel distress because a component of my life is absent and I cannot fully connect to the people around me" that's a disorder.

    If you read The Mask of Sanity, though, you'll get a glimpse into the stories of sociopaths / psychopaths who, by most objective standards, have a disorder but report no feelings of distress.

    That's why I'm reluctant to make "disorder" and "distress" reliant upon each other. There exist fucked up people, who are demonstrably fucked up, but who feel not distress over their being fucked up.

    So, there has to be something more to disorders than "makes the person who has it feel distress."

    Because, again, serial killers.

    I disagree with this, actually. A sociopath who does not feel distress and whose actions are not illegal/destructive does not have a disorder in any meaningful sense. The only purpose in labeling something a disorder is so that you can correct it. You can say that a sociopath is abnormal because they are a minority, or that they are impaired because they are missing a common component of human experience, but there's no point in saying they have a disorder unless the status causes harm to themselves or others.

    Serial killing is an action, not a disorder, the way that child molestation is a separate issue from pedophilia. A serial killer may or may not be a sociopath, but if he is, his sociopathy is a disorder because of the harm it leads him to inflict on others.

    So you're right in that there's slightly more to that definition: disorders "make the person who has it feel distress or cause distress in others through harmful actions".

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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    I don't agree with that, because that implies there's a unified cause and impact for asexuality, which thus far has yet to be scientifically established. Some people are asexual for reasons that can be chemically verified: their hormonal make-up is abnormal compared to other people, and this (relative) imbalance causes a distinct lack of sexual urge.

    In such cases, the person may cognitively feel a need to interpersonally connect with others on an emotional level, but due to their verifiably abnormal hormone make-up they do not feel any sexual component to that need. They are asexual for reasons that we can consider safely to be a physical impairment, in so far as their hormone system is unable to create the normative hormonal state.

    Not all asexual people have abnormal hormone levels, however.

    This will be fun.

    If we accept that asexuality can be either an orientation or an impairment, depending on the case, then wouldn't this hold for other sexual preferences? So:

    Asexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Homosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Heterosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.


    If we acknowledge that an asexual habit can be an orientation, or a disorder...
    If we acknowledge that "normal" sexual practices may be a cultural artifact, and not "real" or "natural" or whatever...

    Then it seems like any sexual habit could be construed as an orientation or an impairment, depending on the person.

    That's not really very different than how we currently operate, in a psychiatric sense.

    Heterosexuality, despite being considered a culturally normative behavior and sexual orientation, can have a disordered outcome. People can be diagnosed as hypersexual regardless of their orientation (nymphomania and satyriasis being standard labels for this behavior in women and men, respectively). In those instances a person's heterosexuality itself can be considered to be disordered, rather than strictly an orientation, if they are heterosexual (since, by definition, calling them heterosexual encapsulates who they are sexually interested in, not how much).

    Now, whether you agree with hypersexuality being considered a disorder or not is your own opinion, but some medical professionals treat it as one, going so far as to consider hypersexual dependency a form of addictive behavior similar to other addictive disorders.

    If you consider hypersexuality to be a disorder, then likewise hyposexuality can be considered a disorder. Whether or not asexuality is equivalent to hyposexuality is a little trickier, since the DSM uses troubling terms like "persistent" and "recurrent" to describe forms of hyposexuality without actually defining what those terms mean.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    If you look at the DSM-IV criteria for basically any psychiatric diagnosis, it focuses on external observation and self-reporting. People don't get blood tests to determine if they have schizophrenia. Their behavior is abnormal in a way that is observably consistent with the definition of schizophrenic disorder.

    Classifying asexuality as a disorder in this fashion would require establishing consistent patterns of behavior, via self-report and external observation, and subjected to a uniform standard. Creating a spectrum disorder to account for the many types of asexuality would still require establishing a baseline by which other variations are measured against.

    If you can do that, be my guest.

    It's interesting that you brought up schizophrenia. It doesn't seem like someone could perform the actions that are labeled schizophrenic, and not be considered to have a disorder. Regardless of how the schizophrenic feels about it, they're a fucking schizophrenic.

    I know there is a group...I can't think of the name at the moment...but a group of people with mental disorders who refuse to take treatment because they don't consider themselves to have disorders, they're just "differently rational" or some shit. But I think most people think of the group as kinda kookie, insofar as they're demonstrably acting like crazy people.

    Yet with something like asexual, we get very nervous about labeling that as a disorder. And I'm not sure why we do that, other than at some point in human history we decided that it's bad to tell people they're wrong.

    So, if it walks like a schizophrenic, and it quacks like a schizophrenic, then it's schizophrenic and we medicate it.

    But if it walks like an asexual, and quacks like an asexual, we have to sit down and have a conversation regarding how it feels about being asexual.

    That's odd.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    If an asexual patient walks into a doctor's office and says "I feel distress because people make fun of me for not wanting to have sex," that's not a disorder. If an asexual patient walks into the office and says "I feel distress because a component of my life is absent and I cannot fully connect to the people around me" that's a disorder. Asexuality is sometimes an impairment, like deafness, and sometimes an orientation, like homosexuality. Both the impairment and the orientation should be given respect.

    It's worth noting that deaf activists sometimes contest the claim that deafness is a disorder, as opposed to simply a different way of being--they contend that most of the challenges of deafness come from the fact that we structure our social world to solely accomodate the hearing. I doubt that this is totally the case, although it is closer to being the case than many people realize.

    In any case: people here seem to be ready to endorse a view (which I read into your post above) wherein social pressure is never a valid reason for medical intervention. But although this seems attractive in the abstract, it becomes less so when we consider certain examples. For instance: certain physical deformities, like cleft lip and palette, present little to no objective obstacle to normal human function. However, they attract a great deal of negative social attention: as such, people often advocate (and desire) their surgical correction, which is not terribly difficult. But if social pressure really were never a valid reason for surgical intervention, then we ought tell those people with cleft lips and palettes to go fly a kite--theirs is not our lot to medically correct.

    My worry is this: it is easy to say that just wanting to fit in is a bad desire when we ourselves already fit in. But what about those of us who don't? It seems that when we prevent them from taking steps to fit in, the end result is that they suffer all sorts of social ills for the sake of our principles. In other words, we sacrifice others' happiness on the altar of our high-minded beliefs. There is something profoundly troubling about a bunch of normals telling the freaks and geeks: "hey, don't try to be like us (with all the advantage that gains)! You should celebrate your difference (and all the crushing life problems it engenders)!"

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    I don't agree with that, because that implies there's a unified cause and impact for asexuality, which thus far has yet to be scientifically established. Some people are asexual for reasons that can be chemically verified: their hormonal make-up is abnormal compared to other people, and this (relative) imbalance causes a distinct lack of sexual urge.

    In such cases, the person may cognitively feel a need to interpersonally connect with others on an emotional level, but due to their verifiably abnormal hormone make-up they do not feel any sexual component to that need. They are asexual for reasons that we can consider safely to be a physical impairment, in so far as their hormone system is unable to create the normative hormonal state.

    Not all asexual people have abnormal hormone levels, however.

    This will be fun.

    If we accept that asexuality can be either an orientation or an impairment, depending on the case, then wouldn't this hold for other sexual preferences? So:

    Asexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Homosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.
    Heterosexuality is sometimes an orientation, sometimes a disorder.


    If we acknowledge that an asexual habit can be an orientation, or a disorder...
    If we acknowledge that "normal" sexual practices may be a cultural artifact, and not "real" or "natural" or whatever...

    Then it seems like any sexual habit could be construed as an orientation or an impairment, depending on the person.

    That's not really very different than how we currently operate, in a psychiatric sense.

    Heterosexuality, despite being considered a culturally normative behavior and sexual orientation, can have a disordered outcome. People can be diagnosed as hypersexual regardless of their orientation (nymphomania and satyriasis being standard labels for this behavior in women and men, respectively). In those instances a person's heterosexuality itself can be considered to be disordered, rather than strictly an orientation, if they are heterosexual (since, by definition, calling them heterosexual encapsulates who they are sexually interested in, not how much).

    Now, whether you agree with hypersexuality being considered a disorder or not is your own opinion, but some medical professionals treat it as one, going so far as to consider hypersexual dependency a form of addictive behavior similar to other addictive disorders.

    If you consider hypersexuality to be a disorder, then likewise hyposexuality can be considered a disorder. Whether or not asexuality is equivalent to hyposexuality is a little trickier, since the DSM uses troubling terms like "persistent" and "recurrent" to describe forms of hyposexuality without actually defining what those terms mean.

    My thought was more that we'd opened the door to claiming that someone was "really" a homosexual, but they're acting like a heterosexual. or they're "really" asexual, but they're acting like a bisexual.

    Playing up the reality / appearance distinction that is lurking in the thread, where we make a rigid distinction between internal self-conceptions and outward presentations or acts.

    It creates a very real epistemological problem when we make a sharp distinction between what someone "is" and how someone "acts".

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    It's morally permissible to have your own standards, yes. Does it make you kind of a douche? Also yes.

    That's a contradiction.

    Only because I don't have the vocabulary to properly articulate what I'm trying to say.

    There's a shit load of grey area here and J phrased the question in a very black and white manner. I guess my answer should have been something like that.

    That said, I can't think of a single good reason why a guy couldn't be in a relationship with a trans girl. I assume that she's just like any other girl in this scenario? She's emotionally stable, healthy, attractive, and the only issue he has is that she was born with a penis (even if she is in current possession of a vagina)? What's his problem? He was hell-bent on impregnating her and personally witnessing as she carried their child to term? I can't think of many scenarios that don't boil down to transphobia, here.

    His sexual and gender identity and preferences don't involve transwomen. I don't think that equates to transsexism by necessity - insofar as it might be substantially more argument is required to demonstrate this.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    It's worth noting that deaf activists sometimes contest the claim that deafness is a disorder, as opposed to simply a different way of being

    It should be noted that if we want to maintain a distinction between "disorder" and "different way of being", we have to ask "different from what?"

    Given that multiple people have poo-poo'd the notion of "normal". The only way "different way of being" is sensible is if there is some norm against which one is being different.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    I know there is a group...I can't think of the name at the moment...but a group of people with mental disorders who refuse to take treatment because they don't consider themselves to have disorders, they're just "differently rational" or some shit. But I think most people think of the group as kinda kookie, insofar as they're demonstrably acting like crazy people

    You're thinking of the 'hearing voices' movement. They are also less kooky than you portray them here: their main ideas are that a) hearing voices doesn't mean you're incapable at life, and b) the best way to cope with hearing voices might not be medicalized intervention. In any case, as far as I know none of them are interested in defending the rights of those schizophrenics who are actually dangerous to avoid medical treatment.

    I think this is also a very real difference you are eliding. Schizophrenics are often a danger to themselves and others. Asexuals, as far as I know, are not. No one has ever had an 'asexual break' wherein they broke into a neighbor's house or cut off their own ears--which, coincidentally, are both things that schizophrenic relatives of mine have done.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    If you look at the DSM-IV criteria for basically any psychiatric diagnosis, it focuses on external observation and self-reporting. People don't get blood tests to determine if they have schizophrenia. Their behavior is abnormal in a way that is observably consistent with the definition of schizophrenic disorder.

    Classifying asexuality as a disorder in this fashion would require establishing consistent patterns of behavior, via self-report and external observation, and subjected to a uniform standard. Creating a spectrum disorder to account for the many types of asexuality would still require establishing a baseline by which other variations are measured against.

    If you can do that, be my guest.

    It's interesting that you brought up schizophrenia. It doesn't seem like someone could perform the actions that are labeled schizophrenic, and not be considered to have a disorder. Regardless of how the schizophrenic feels about it, they're a fucking schizophrenic.

    I know there is a group...I can't think of the name at the moment...but a group of people with mental disorders who refuse to take treatment because they don't consider themselves to have disorders, they're just "differently rational" or some shit. But I think most people think of the group as kinda kookie, insofar as they're demonstrably acting like crazy people.

    Yet with something like asexual, we get very nervous about labeling that as a disorder. And I'm not sure why we do that, other than at some point in human history we decided that it's bad to tell people they're wrong.

    So, if it walks like a schizophrenic, and it quacks like a schizophrenic, then it's schizophrenic and we medicate it.

    But if it walks like an asexual, and quacks like an asexual, we have to sit down and have a conversation regarding how it feels about being asexual.

    That's odd.

    Now, here's where you start leaving psychiatry behind and you start talking about ethics.

    The reason we decided at some point that it's bad to tell people that asexuality is a disease or a disorder is because we have a long, sad history of mistreatment of people whose sexuality we have defined as medical problems.

    That's why. Homosexuals in particular have been subjected to involuntary and unethical medical treatment in a variety of different parts of the world up to and including the 20th century, and I'm sure if you looked around at some real shit-holes of the Earth you'd still see this going on.

    We balk at labeling things like asexuality as a disorder because politically, that can later get used as ammunition for oppression. Seeing homosexuality not just as a religious sin but as a medical disorder has recently led to it being considered a capital offense in Uganda, for example.

    We do not have to sit asexuals down and have a conversation regarding hot they feel about being asexual. That is not our duty or our right as a society. If an individual asexual feels themselves at odds with their own lacking in a physical sex drive, then that's a problem to medically treated because they want it to be.

    You are trying to treat harm as some kind of nebulous concept that can't be defined. It can. Individual, external, and societal harm can all be defined but it requires the construction of an ethical framework to establish. In most ethical frameworks, the limit of harm where society feels behooved to involve itself is when a person harms another in a clear physical, mental, or emotional way, or a person harms themselves in a way that is likely to cause their injury or death.

    Trying to argue that asexuals hurt themselves or others via their asexuality is so very outside the majority of ethical frameworks that it doesn't really serve as a reasonable thrust to classify asexuality as a disorder via harm to oneself or others.

    Nobody needs to treat, question, interrogate, or investigate asexuality or asexuals, unless those who self-identify as such wish it to be so or it can be substantiated that their asexuality represents a specter of clear harm and danger to themselves or others.

    Good luck with that.

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    On the gender being a social construct or not, I look at it this way: gender identity, the innate sense of gender and sense of body, is not a social construct. It is a construct of the brain structure and what not (there have been some studies that fully indicate this is true). Gender presentation, how one expresses that gender (dresses, pink, blah blah blah) IS completely a construct of society.

    I'm curious as to what that innate sense of gender / body is independent of its expression through social artifacts. You were posting about trying to smash your testicles at three years old.

    It's strange to think that a three year old would have that compulsion, some innate sense of wrongness. I'd be interested if you happen to know of any studies, off the top of your head, that explain what's happening when a child has that thought.
    My gender identity fluctuates between being agendered and being female depending on the day. Interestingly enough, lots of days i feel agendered are also the days i feel like presenting the most feminine. Again, presentation and gender identity are not necessarily congruent.

    There's that "feel" word again.

    I think it's safe to say that most people don't have gender transitions on a daily basis. You seem to have a very unique sense of self. I'm trying to figure out what story could be told that makes your situation...not sensible...but...

    Why do you have a gender impermanence, when so many other members of your species have a permanent sense of gender? What's causing their sense that you lack, or what's causing your sense that they lack?

    Is it possible that your brain chemistry changes on a daily basis? Or...I'm just not sure what story can account for that 'feeling".

    Now.. asexuality. Yay, im also asexual. And i dont view it as a disorder. Lots of people tell me I'm broken but I dont see it that way. The distinction, and this is what anything in the DSM points to is whether or not it causes significant distress. For me, being asexual does not cause any distress aside from bizzare social pressures. But for me, its fine. I dont care that I dont desire sex. I'm actually quite clam about it and happy and content. I know of other people who, say due to medication, lost their sex drive. And it was painful for them. This WAS a problem and they wanted to get it back. I have no such desire. I do crave intimacy, but not sex. I am in a long term relationship with another girl, and we are romantic, but no sexual. And its awesome. I actually have a hard time understanding people who ARE sexual actually. Its weird to me.

    The thought I'm having now is that the bulk of your narrative is based upon self-report. Or, well, all of your narrative is based upon self-report. And "distress" is also something that is based upon self-report.

    This speculation might piss people off, but here we go: Maybe in addition to lacking that which gives persons a sense of sexuality and gender permanence, you're also lacking that which gives persons a sense of distress when that gender permanence isn't there.

    I worry when so much of a situation is based upon a person giving their own account, because we've lost any sense of objectivity.

    Though, from your perspective, it's not a problem because you aren't distressed and you're doing what feels correct. So, that's cool. But as me, with my consistent self-narrative and gender identity, it's very weird to try to imagine myself into your situation and make it sensible.

    I'm not saying you are wrong or incorrect. I'm trying to understand what it is like to be you. And I'm trying to fathom what can possibly explain a person having that life experience.



    Yeah, 'feel' is an... incomplete word. But unless you experience it, its REALLY hard to explain. For me these 'feelings' are more akin to urges. Kind of on a biological level. Like 'feeling' tired, or hungry.

    And as far as what its like to be me, its a hard thing to answer because I dont really know what its like to not be this way. I dont think I'm terribly special, I think I was just forced to be more aware of it all because it was at odds with how I was assigned at birth. But functionally it doesnt really have much impact on my day to day life. My gender identity and its fluctuations are very... personal and internal. Externally, I have a very standard 'female' name and am comfortable with that. I'm comfortable with female pronouns and being seen as female regardless of my internal sense at that moment. So really, I'm pretty much like any other girl, just a bit more ... cognizant of the ebbs and flows of my gender.

    As far as the cause of the fluidity, it might just be reaction to society. I dont know. A lot of times I do feel kind of 'outside' things based on what Ive been thru. I've changed something that is often considered one of the most fundamental things. SO after that, everything else feels more ethereal. *shrug* hard to say. I mean, maybe I do lack the things that make me feel distressed at a lack of gender permanence. Its kind of a 'who knows?" thing. But, in daily life, it really doesnt matter to me much so I just kind of roll with it. I dont doubt that other people feel differently, and so its really whatever works for the individual. Find what makes you happy, and comfortable, and do that.

    As far as studies that point to biological origins of trans-ness, you can search "transgender brain structure" and find things. Here is one of the latest ones I've heard about: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19341803

    There was also something I remember reading about a certain gene that may be linked to causes of transgenderism. The gene was linked to how the body reacted to sex hormones. Not enough to matter in adult life, but the theory is that in the womb, when the brain structures are developing, and the wash of sex hormone happens, this gene makes you less sensitive to it, and therefor your brain doesnt develop fully 'male', and the structures that say "this is your gender and the parts you have" are more closely related to that of a cis-womans. (in the case of a male to female trans person).

    Anyway, its time for me to go to bed.

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    It's worth noting that deaf activists sometimes contest the claim that deafness is a disorder, as opposed to simply a different way of being

    It should be noted that if we want to maintain a distinction between "disorder" and "different way of being", we have to ask "different from what?"

    Given that multiple people have poo-poo'd the notion of "normal". The only way "different way of being" is sensible is if there is some norm against which one is being different.

    Different from statistical normalcy: not every way of being different from most people is a disorder. After all, geniuses are different from the statistical norm.

  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Vanguard wrote: »
    You can choose who you fuck, but you can't change what you prefer to fuck.

    Does this hold with anything else?

    You can choose what you eat, but you can't change what you prefer to eat.
    You can choose what you drive, but you can't change what you prefer to drive.
    You can choose when you sleep, but you can't change when you prefer to sleep.
    You can choose how you walk, but you can't change how you prefer to walk.
    You can choose where you live, but you can't change where you prefer to live.

    Liberals have been conditioned to maintain the preference / act distinction with respect to sexuality. But when you try to play that out in other realms it starts to be quite goofy.

    Perhaps this indicates that the distinction is, itself, goofy.

    _J_ these are all extremely different behaviors that are controlled by completely different neural substrates, they are non-equivalent on even a purely biological level.

    I could say "You can choose when you breathe, but you can't change when you prefer to breathe."

    So, sex is a super-special thing?

    The conversation has moved on, but I wanted to address this:

    (1) "Super-special thing" doesn't really describe any particular aspect of human behavior as each aspect relies on it's own array of unique structures, cell types, and messaging modalities. For instance, sexual behavior is largely associated with areas within and surrounding the hypothalamus, yet other emotional behaviors tend to rely on the limbic system. Your brain is not like a computer in that it's not just some sort of general computing platform where you run eating, sleeping, walking, and screwing on the same circuits: there is no difference between "hardware" and "software", so essentially everything that your brain is capable of has its own unique system of structures dedicated to that task (though obviously some structures are shared between many different systems, but this is besides the point). It's not just that sex is special, but eating is special, and sleeping is special, and walking is special: they are all unique and vary considerably in a lot of important aspects, including plasticity and what causes are capable of changing them.

    (2) Admittedly, though, there is a sense in which sex is special among preferences. Like I said previously, sexual behavior is associated with the hypothalamus rather than the limbic system, and in fact the hypothalamus is also associated with aspects of human behavior like hunger, thirst, temperature perception, and fatigue. What is worth noting about these things is that while you may be able to develop ways of distracting yourself from them or working around them, these are things you cannot change purely through willpower or logic (short, of course, of physically satisfying them). So honestly if you wanted to go back to the analogies you were making before "You can choose when you eat, but you can't change the fact that you get hungry" is really the most apt.

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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    For my own personal feelings regarding the original post and topic, I actually do feel that if the medical capability exists to alter a person's sexual orientation, then much like altering their physical body to match their psychological gender identity I think it's something that should be available to them without judgment if they want it.

    I think that all of the currently touted methods of "curing" homosexuality are hokum and problematic by their very nature of claiming to "cure" it, rather than "alter" it. Transgender people don't state that they need to "cure" their body, they need to alter it to suit their psychological state.

    However, as a theoretical possibility, I'm absolutely fine with a person having the ability to change such a thing. I think that to do so honestly and in any sort of real fashion you'd first have to medically and scientifically establish why a person has any sexual orientation, and good fuckin' luck there, champ.

    But if you can hop that hurdle and say "This pill will make you straight" (Which I think as an off-shoot would likely lead to being able to use the same method to develop a drug that makes you gay, if you could change such a thing in a person through pure chemistry), and someone wants to take it? That's their business. Do I think they should? If ultimately it will have a positive benefit on their life then that is their decision to make.

    For me, this crosses into being a transhumanist issue. I embrace transhumanism as a concept. In doing so, I accept that a logical outcome of that concept is that people will alter their bodies and biological chemistry in a myriad of ways that are not mine to predict or necessarily to control, beyond what could be reasonably considered to be harmful to others.

    If a person wants to change their physical sex, and we can? Do it. If they want to change their sexual orientation, and we can? Do it. If they want to turn themselves into a freaky tiger-man with fur and claws and stripes? That's their god damn business. Humanity is alterable. Appeals to nature can suck ten dicks for nine dollars.

    The boundaries of gender, race, sex, sexual orientation, and interhuman relations are meant to be pushed. They have to be nudged, sometimes gently, rather than violently thrust up against, but if someone wants to institute such a small change (assuming they even could!) like altering their sexual orientation, then by all means, let them.

  • AstaerethAstaereth Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Astaereth wrote: »
    If an asexual patient walks into a doctor's office and says "I feel distress because people make fun of me for not wanting to have sex," that's not a disorder. If an asexual patient walks into the office and says "I feel distress because a component of my life is absent and I cannot fully connect to the people around me" that's a disorder. Asexuality is sometimes an impairment, like deafness, and sometimes an orientation, like homosexuality. Both the impairment and the orientation should be given respect.

    It's worth noting that deaf activists sometimes contest the claim that deafness is a disorder, as opposed to simply a different way of being--they contend that most of the challenges of deafness come from the fact that we structure our social world to solely accomodate the hearing. I doubt that this is totally the case, although it is closer to being the case than many people realize.

    In any case: people here seem to be ready to endorse a view (which I read into your post above) wherein social pressure is never a valid reason for medical intervention. But although this seems attractive in the abstract, it becomes less so when we consider certain examples. For instance: certain physical deformities, like cleft lip and palette, present little to no objective obstacle to normal human function. However, they attract a great deal of negative social attention: as such, people often advocate (and desire) their surgical correction, which is not terribly difficult. But if social pressure really were never a valid reason for surgical intervention, then we ought tell those people with cleft lips and palettes to go fly a kite--theirs is not our lot to medically correct.

    My worry is this: it is easy to say that just wanting to fit in is a bad desire when we ourselves already fit in. But what about those of us who don't? It seems that when we prevent them from taking steps to fit in, the end result is that they suffer all sorts of social ills for the sake of our principles. In other words, we sacrifice others' happiness on the altar of our high-minded beliefs. There is something profoundly troubling about a bunch of normals telling the freaks and geeks: "hey, don't try to be like us (with all the advantage that gains)! You should celebrate your difference (and all the crushing life problems it engenders)!"

    The bolded correctly states my position. But I don't think you have a problem with my position; you have a problem with several other positions that you've conflated with mine. To wit:

    My position is that social pressure should never be used as a reason for medical intervention.
    My position is NOT that social pressure should be used as a reason to withhold medical intervention.
    My position is also NOT that social pressure should be used to discourage medical intervention.

    In your cleft palate example, if somebody wants to fix their cleft palate they should be allowed to; if somebody doesn't want to fix their cleft palate they should be allowed to leave it the way it is. I'm not averse to informing them as to the risks and benefits of corrective surgery; I'm averse to informing them that they are horribly ugly and should be ashamed. I am also averse to telling them they are horribly beautiful and should be proud. Both of those statements are about manipulating the emotions of another person to create your desired result; that is immoral behavior, at the very least when applied to a situation where the "impairment" does not cause significant harm to others.

    Basically, as I said, people should be treated with respect and their physical or mental condition not subjected to emotional judgments. I might tell the "freaks and geeks" to use your words, "Being normal is pretty cool, but what you are can also be cool. Feel free to make your own decisions about how you want to be and how you feel about that."

    Find more of my writing at The Thieves' Den.
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  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    For my own personal feelings regarding the original post and topic, I actually do feel that if the medical capability exists to alter a person's sexual orientation, then much like altering their physical body to match their psychological gender identity I think it's something that should be available to them without judgment if they want it.

    I think that all of the currently touted methods of "curing" homosexuality are hokum and problematic by their very nature of claiming to "cure" it, rather than "alter" it. Transgender people don't state that they need to "cure" their body, they need to alter it to suit their psychological state.

    However, as a theoretical possibility, I'm absolutely fine with a person having the ability to change such a thing. I think that to do so honestly and in any sort of real fashion you'd first have to medically and scientifically establish why a person has any sexual orientation, and good fuckin' luck there, champ.

    But if you can hop that hurdle and say "This pill will make you straight" (Which I think as an off-shoot would likely lead to being able to use the same method to develop a drug that makes you gay, if you could change such a thing in a person through pure chemistry), and someone wants to take it? That's their business. Do I think they should? If ultimately it will have a positive benefit on their life then that is their decision to make.

    For me, this crosses into being a transhumanist issue. I embrace transhumanism as a concept. In doing so, I accept that a logical outcome of that concept is that people will alter their bodies and biological chemistry in a myriad of ways that are not mine to predict or necessarily to control, beyond what could be reasonably considered to be harmful to others.

    If a person wants to change their physical sex, and we can? Do it. If they want to change their sexual orientation, and we can? Do it. If they want to turn themselves into a freaky tiger-man with fur and claws and stripes? That's their god damn business. Humanity is alterable. Appeals to nature can suck ten dicks for nine dollars.

    The boundaries of gender, race, sex, sexual orientation, and interhuman relations are meant to be pushed. They have to be nudged, sometimes gently, rather than violently thrust up against, but if someone wants to institute such a small change (assuming they even could!) like altering their sexual orientation, then by all means, let them.

    I have a very small number of thumbs compared to the number of thumbs I would like to be holding up to you currently.

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