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Sexuality and Definitions

QuidQuid The Fifth HorsemanRegistered User regular
edited May 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
So there's far more context around here but I'll just go off of this quote:
_J_ wrote: »
It's a problem of language of sexuality. When a person claims to be "bisexual" or "homosexual" or "heterosexual", that indicates something. The question is what it indicates.

If different people utilize the same term to communicate different concepts, then this creates problems.

So, we try to articulate a clear and distinct definition for a particular term, so that whenever any person uses the term, everyone clearly understands what is meant.

If you don't think that's a problem? Ok. But your not thinking it is a problem doesn't in any way mean that I am trolling, or accusing people of lying, or advocating rape.

_J_ believes that attraction requires action. Specifically as regards bisexuals who are in monogamous relationships who would no longer (presumably) be available to one of the genders.

I contend this is woefully incorrect given the actual definition of the word attraction.

PSN: allenquid
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Posts

  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    Attraction is ones disposition and desire towards something, not the act of being.

    Is a closeted gay man in a loveless man/woman marriage a heterosexual?

  • BandableBandable Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    _J_ wrote:
    If different people utilize the same term to communicate different concepts, then this creates problems.

    I would really like _J_ to demonstrate or show how this is a phenomenon that is happening to a larger degree than any other term ever. People confuse words all the time. That doesn't mean we throw out the current definitions and get new ones. We simply educate and correct improper usage.

    We also don't say that bisexuals are confused and are really hetero/homosexual just because they got married and are monogamous.

    Bandable on
  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    So according to _J_ the chaste are simply asexual?

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    James Deen is both an actor AND in the sausage business.
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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    So according to _J_ the chaste are simply asexual?

    Until you demonstrate otherwise (to what degree exactly?).

    Unless it is a heteronormative definition, and that you are heterosexual and not a deviant until you deviate. You deviant.

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  • Boring7Boring7 Registered User regular
    Infidel wrote: »
    Tox wrote: »
    So according to _J_ the chaste are simply asexual?

    Until you demonstrate otherwise (to what degree exactly?).

    Unless it is a heteronormative definition, and that you are heterosexual and not a deviant until you deviate. You deviant.

    *Dr. Heteronormative twirls his moustache evilly*

    "Just as planned."

    Thanatos wrote: »
    Goldman Sachs may as well be named COBRA.
  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    Fuck this heteronormative earth.

    jBEKRTH.png
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    I think it would be helpful for J to provide description for what he believes 'action' to be.

    I mean, when a person 'feels' sexually attracted to another and undergoes physical arousal, is not the manifestation of that arousal(getting hard, neuro chemical alterations, etc) an involuntary action? I suppose there's debate there in a reaction/action sense, and the amount of control the person has as observer of stimuli, but, yeah.

    Lucid on
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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Bandable wrote: »
    _J_ wrote:
    If different people utilize the same term to communicate different concepts, then this creates problems.

    I would really like _J_ to demonstrate or show how this is a phenomenon that is happening to a larger degree than any other term ever. People confuse words all the time. That doesn't mean we throw out the current definitions and get new ones. We simply educate and correct improper usage.

    We also don't say that bisexuals are confused and are really hetero/homosexual just because they got married and are monogamous.

    It's an unusual phenomenon in that sexuality is one of the only spheres in which we give priority to a person's desires rather than their actions.

    There are good reasons for doing so, but it does make things a bit wonky.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    Why are we limiting this to sexuality? From what _J_ is saying and what I gleaned from the other thread, definitions need some basis in behavior. At some point, simply asserting you are something, sexuality or otherwise, isn't enough to make you "really" that thing which you assert.


    For example, I am a vegetarian and introduce myself as a vegetarian. Yet I eat fish and poultry and beef. Does that mean I'm not really a vegetarian? My mother is self identifying as a Christian who believes in reincarnation and doesn't actually believe in the resurrection or other important points of faith in the bible. Is she really a Christian?

    I don't see how sexuality is different when ascribing definitions.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    zerg rush wrote: »
    For example, I am a vegetarian and introduce myself as a vegetarian. Yet I eat fish and poultry and beef. Does that mean I'm not really a vegetarian?

    Yeah, actually, that's exactly what that means.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Being a vegetarian is defined by action. Being bisexual is defined by desire.

    Desires are not defined by being met.

    You can desire:
    Sex with men
    Sex with women
    Sex with space aliens
    Sex with a plugged-in toaster
    Fame
    Fortune
    A 10" penis
    A 10" vagina
    The Perfect Cast
    The Anti-Life Equation
    Wings
    Wiiings
    Hot Wings
    A harem
    Hair

    And so on. You don't have to actually seek and you sure as hell don't have to actually get it for those to be true about you. This is especially true when one desire (Safety) overrides another desire (Sex with a plugged-in toaster).

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • KanaKana Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    There's sort of, kind of, a point there, but not really the one _J_ was going for. Up until the last 175 years or so, at least in the western world, you weren't "A gay man" or "A Lesbian", you were just "A wo/man who happens to have sex with the same sex." It wasn't really an identity the way we consider it now, it was just something you did.

    There's also the argument that started with Kinsey and his been argued more convincingly since that using Straight, Bisexual, and Homosexual is inaccurately delineating and that sexuality is pretty much just a sliding scale. There's a pretty fair historical argument to be made for this too - lots of ancient cultures didn't consider the occasional homosexual encounter to be non-standard, China, Japan, Greece and Rome... Pretty much wherever there's honest cultural records about sexual activity.

    But as far as _J_'s actual point? I fine it ironic that in his very post where he talks about the need for clear understanding through the use of commonly understood definitions for words, he bases his point on requiring his own custom definition for "attraction". The "action" meaning of attraction also attaches a lot of baggage to the idea of "attraction" that I doubt he intends. Does it mean that you're therefore attracted to anyone you have sex with?

    And anyway, being attracted IS an action - eyes glance, heart rate quickens, hormones release, blood vessels open up and various other physical responses to stimuli all take place.

    None of us are having sex with either of these people, but our physical responses - our attraction - will vary from reader to reader depending on our sexuality

    Anna+Kendrick+Profile+and+Biography.jpgbrad-Pitt.jpg

    Kana on
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  • BandableBandable Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Bandable wrote: »
    _J_ wrote:
    If different people utilize the same term to communicate different concepts, then this creates problems.

    I would really like _J_ to demonstrate or show how this is a phenomenon that is happening to a larger degree than any other term ever. People confuse words all the time. That doesn't mean we throw out the current definitions and get new ones. We simply educate and correct improper usage.

    We also don't say that bisexuals are confused and are really hetero/homosexual just because they got married and are monogamous.

    It's an unusual phenomenon in that sexuality is one of the only spheres in which we give priority to a person's desires rather than their actions.

    There are good reasons for doing so, but it does make things a bit wonky.

    I dunno, if someone tells me that they really like comic books, just because I find no evidence to back them up doesn't mean I challenge their claim. Now if I saw them burning comic books, I might then question if they were confused when they called themselves a comic book lover.

    This is the issue, actions counter to a claim generate an understandable curiosity. However, lack of action confirming a claim of preference is not enough to challenge their statement.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Bandable wrote: »
    I dunno, if someone tells me that they really like comic books, just because I find no evidence to back them up doesn't mean I challenge their claim. Now if I saw them burning comic books, I might then question if they were confused when they called themselves a comic book lover.

    This is the issue, actions counter to a claim generate an understandable curiosity. However, lack of action confirming a claim of preference is not enough to challenge their statement.

    Thing with this example is that not all comic books are the same. You can absolutely love comics and still consider Loeb's work something in need of burning.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    zerg rush wrote: »
    For example, I am a vegetarian and introduce myself as a vegetarian. Yet I eat fish and poultry and beef. Does that mean I'm not really a vegetarian?

    Yeah, actually, that's exactly what that means.

    I could just not be a very good one. Similar to straight men who have sex exclusively with other men, yet profess they're exclusively straight.

    At a certain point you just gotta say that someone's self identification is wrong, regardless of what their professed desires are.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    zerg rush wrote: »
    For example, I am a vegetarian and introduce myself as a vegetarian. Yet I eat fish and poultry and beef. Does that mean I'm not really a vegetarian?

    Yeah, actually, that's exactly what that means.

    I could just not be a very good one. Similar to straight men who have sex exclusively with other men, yet profess they're exclusively straight.

    At a certain point you just gotta say that someone's self identification is wrong, regardless of what their professed desires are.

    This is not a major problem though.

    And more importantly, sexual preference is defined as just that, preference. J contends it's based solely on actions, such that a person in a monogamous relationship can not be bisexual.

    PSN: allenquid
  • EchoEcho staring is caring Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Quid wrote: »
    J contends it's based solely on actions, such that a person in a monogamous relationship can not be bisexual.

    Guess all my bisexual buddies that are now in a relationship just went through a phase, then.

    I also guess the phase will start up again at the end of the relationship.

  • BogartBogart Mr. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    If you are a man, every moment your penis is not firmly ensconced within a vagina you are asexual. Same goes for women who do not currently have at least one penis inserted somewhere inside them.

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck NONSTOP INFINITE CLIMAX POSTING you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    i am hired as a sexuality assistant for government purposes, to make sure that people are the correct sexuality when they sign their forms

    obF2Wuw.png
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Why are we limiting this to sexuality? From what _J_ is saying and what I gleaned from the other thread, definitions need some basis in behavior. At some point, simply asserting you are something, sexuality or otherwise, isn't enough to make you "really" that thing which you assert.


    For example, I am a vegetarian and introduce myself as a vegetarian. Yet I eat fish and poultry and beef. Does that mean I'm not really a vegetarian? My mother is self identifying as a Christian who believes in reincarnation and doesn't actually believe in the resurrection or other important points of faith in the bible. Is she really a Christian?

    I don't see how sexuality is different when ascribing definitions.

    This sexuality thing is bringing about the worst analogies.

    More like "I claim to be a Christian but wasn't at church on Sunday. Am I really a Christian?"

    Failure to exhibit 24/7 = liar.

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  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Yeah, food analogies like vegetarianism or carnivore have all sorts of goofy connotations when talking about dicks, vaginas, anuses, and what you like to do with them.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    If I understand the issue here, _J_ is saying you can't be bisexual unless you're sleeping with both sexes, or at least trying to?

    I don't think that's a common way to interpret that term at all. My wife has been attracted to other women, both before and after we were married, but we're a monogamous couple. I have never been attracted to a man. She's bi and I'm straight. There's some argument about this? She doesn't stop being bi because we're committed to an exclusive relationship that lasts until one of us dies.

    @zerg rush Terms like "vegetarian" are exclusionary by definition. You are a vegetarian if you don't eat meat - that's what the term means. If you eat meat, you might be trying to be a vegetarian, but you are failing.

  • TheBigEasyTheBigEasy Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    spool32 wrote: »
    @zerg rush Terms like "vegetarian" are exclusionary by definition. You are a vegetarian if you don't eat meat - that's what the term means. If you eat meat, you might be trying to be a vegetarian, but you are failing.

    Besides, the example @zerg rush used basically means everyone is a vegetarian. I eat greens as well as beef and stuff. Does that mean I am a vegetarian as well?

    As for _J_ - yeah, I read the other thread and that example is simply not a good one. Also, what about people who never had sex so far in their lifes (no matter the actual cause)? What are they? And what if some of them identify as bisexual? Does the universe explode because of the paradox?

    TheBigEasy on
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    Vegetarianism isn't a proper analogy for sexuality because, as mentioned, it is a state of being defined by a person's actions. If you say "I am vegetarian, I eat vegetables and grains, but not meat," you're defining yourself according to your actions.

    Sexuality is a state of being that is defined by desires. The fact that we can't directly perceive a person's desires, and the fact that we can't know whether they are honestly reporting them or even truly able to grasp what they "really" desire, complicates this, sure.

    If you say "I am homosexual," meaning that you are attracted to the same sex, but you sleep with people of the opposite sex, it might cast your claim into doubt - maybe you have misreported your sexual attraction out of denial or dishonesty, or made some other kind of category error - but it doesn't preclude you from being homosexual. We all know of marriages that have collapsed because a homosexual individual was in denial and forcing themselves to act as though they were heterosexual, out of fear/denial/ideological conflict. Obviously they were not heterosexual while they were in this marriage; they were suffering from cognitive dissonance and repressed sexual urges, because their desire was still there.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    Sexuality is a state of being that is defined by desires.

    Can I add the word 'recurring' in front of your 'desires'?

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Being a vegetarian is defined by action. Being bisexual is defined by desire.

    Desires are not defined by being met.

    You can desire:
    Sex with men
    Sex with women
    Sex with space aliens
    Sex with a plugged-in toaster
    Fame
    Fortune
    A 10" penis
    A 10" vagina
    The Perfect Cast
    The Anti-Life Equation
    Wings
    Wiiings
    Hot Wings
    A harem
    Hair

    ...don't stop

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Just to finish off the food analogy, the proper thing would be to say that you're an still an omnivore even when you decide only to eat vegetables.

    spool32 on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    syndalis wrote: »
    Is a closeted gay man in a loveless man/woman marriage a heterosexual?

    How about if he says he's heterosexual?

  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    @zerg rush Terms like "vegetarian" are exclusionary by definition. You are a vegetarian if you don't eat meat - that's what the term means. If you eat meat, you might be trying to be a vegetarian, but you are failing.

    Actually, I chose vegetarianism because it is very apt. Every vegetarian I know, (barring a theoretical vegetarian born to vegetarian parents, whom I do not know), has eaten beef in their lives. To claim that vegetarianism requires you to never eat meat would exclude every vegetarian I've ever met from the definition. Simply cannot be an exclusionary definition or it would be a definition consisting of zero people, right next to the true scottsman.

    Vegetarians then must be defined by how long they go without meat or by what percentage of their caloric intake is meat. An average omnivore will go maybe a couple of hours between eating meat and their caloric intake may be as much as 50% meat (seriously, it's goddamn unhealthy). An average vegetarian may go maybe a couple of weeks between meat (hey, I live in cali which means most of them love sushi), and have their diet be 1-2% meat. I tend to go about a week without meat at a time, but enjoy some steak every once in a while (though in small portions), and meat maybe makes up 5% of my diet. That's clearly closer to vegetarianism than it is to most omnivore's food habits. Maybe I'm bi-vegetable.

    Going back to sexuality and my original point, intentions are not enough. If you don't like vegetarianism, there are a number of labels that exist solely in based on preference alone. Sexuality is one, Religion is another, and there's political affiliation too. You can't really know if someone prefers democratic economic policies in their heart of hearts, so you can't really define them. But for all practical reasons, if you see somebody saying they love democrats, but they've got Romney2012 stickers on their car and they've donated $1000 to the GOP, it's only right and prudent to call them a republican even if they say they prefer otherwise. Similarly, if you see someone call themself a straight man and then suck some cocks day after day after day, you define them in a different class as someone who professes they are straight and then only has sex with women.

    I guess my TLDR is that I think a person's intentions and self labels are insufficient for definitions, regardless of the class of label.

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    why do we identify ourselves by things we have no control over anyway

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  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    Vegetarianism isn't a proper analogy for sexuality because, as mentioned, it is a state of being defined by a person's actions. If you say "I am vegetarian, I eat vegetables and grains, but not meat," you're defining yourself according to your actions.

    Sexuality is a state of being that is defined by desires. The fact that we can't directly perceive a person's desires, and the fact that we can't know whether they are honestly reporting them or even truly able to grasp what they "really" desire, complicates this, sure.

    If you say "I am homosexual," meaning that you are attracted to the same sex, but you sleep with people of the opposite sex, it might cast your claim into doubt - maybe you have misreported your sexual attraction out of denial or dishonesty, or made some other kind of category error - but it doesn't preclude you from being homosexual. We all know of marriages that have collapsed because a homosexual individual was in denial and forcing themselves to act as though they were heterosexual, out of fear/denial/ideological conflict. Obviously they were not heterosexual while they were in this marriage; they were suffering from cognitive dissonance and repressed sexual urges, because their desire was still there.

    There is an interesting problem that arises out of this though.

    Can I have desires that I'm not aware of?

    If so, can I actually be wrong about my own sexual identity? Like, can I not only say I'm heterosexual, but think that I'm heterosexual, yet be mistaken? Because it seems like in the end of your thought here, you come close to that kind of idea (with the cognitive dissonance and repression). If so, then how can I possibly judge the sexual orientation of another (setting aside not being an accurate judge of my own)? They could say one thing, do another, and have a third set of desires that they aren't aware of.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    Yar wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Is a closeted gay man in a loveless man/woman marriage a heterosexual?
    How about if he says he's heterosexual?
    If you claim to be heterosexual but are attracted exclusively to men, you are a homosexual, but no one can really tell.

    Here's the thing: does the phenomenon of people claiming to be bisexual when they're actual homo- or hetero-sexual actually occur? Yes, absolutely. Just as claiming to be heterosexual when you're homosexual occurs all the time, and I'm sure the reverse has happened a few times, even. However, given that attraction is purely a mental/emotional state (though their can be physical symptoms), there is no way to prove someone isn't bisexual. Therefore, if someone tells you they're bisexual, you just take them at their word; don't be an asshole.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    Can someone claim to be homosexual but really be hetero?

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Yar wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Is a closeted gay man in a loveless man/woman marriage a heterosexual?

    How about if he says he's heterosexual?

    Presumably if he's closeted then he does say that he's heterosexual.

    This whole "sexuality requires action" thing seems problematic in the case of people with pathological sexualities. Pedophiles and nymphomaniacs frequently require counseling to manage their sexuality; isn't it kind of a problem to say that the guy who isn't (and perhaps hasn't ever) actually acting on his desire to have sex with kids isn't a pedophile? If he wants to have sex with kids, he should be talking to someone about that. It's not quite the same (not least of all because it only applies to people who have actually done the thing in question at least once), but people who are addicted to various things are still addicts despite not having done them in a while.

    I don't see how it's different to say that a person who wants to have sex with (their/their opposite) gender
    is the appropriate sexuality. I mean, not in the sense that someone should stop them before they have sex with a man/woman, but in terms of identification.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Attraction is not merely intention.

    Sexuality is not based solely on preference and I think, in noting that, I've found where you went off the rails.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    Yar wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Is a closeted gay man in a loveless man/woman marriage a heterosexual?

    How about if he says he's heterosexual?

    Saying it doesn't make it so, since sexual orientation is not defined by our self-description.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    I said it in the last thread, I'll say it in this one:

    Stop being so hung up on labels, what consenting adults get up to in private or semi private is non of our business. Leave kids and animals alone and have fun, people.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    Vegetarianism isn't a proper analogy for sexuality because, as mentioned, it is a state of being defined by a person's actions. If you say "I am vegetarian, I eat vegetables and grains, but not meat," you're defining yourself according to your actions.

    Sexuality is a state of being that is defined by desires. The fact that we can't directly perceive a person's desires, and the fact that we can't know whether they are honestly reporting them or even truly able to grasp what they "really" desire, complicates this, sure.

    If you say "I am homosexual," meaning that you are attracted to the same sex, but you sleep with people of the opposite sex, it might cast your claim into doubt - maybe you have misreported your sexual attraction out of denial or dishonesty, or made some other kind of category error - but it doesn't preclude you from being homosexual. We all know of marriages that have collapsed because a homosexual individual was in denial and forcing themselves to act as though they were heterosexual, out of fear/denial/ideological conflict. Obviously they were not heterosexual while they were in this marriage; they were suffering from cognitive dissonance and repressed sexual urges, because their desire was still there.

    There is an interesting problem that arises out of this though.

    Can I have desires that I'm not aware of?

    If so, can I actually be wrong about my own sexual identity? Like, can I not only say I'm heterosexual, but think that I'm heterosexual, yet be mistaken? Because it seems like in the end of your thought here, you come close to that kind of idea (with the cognitive dissonance and repression). If so, then how can I possibly judge the sexual orientation of another (setting aside not being an accurate judge of my own)? They could say one thing, do another, and have a third set of desires that they aren't aware of.

    Of course you can have desires that you aren't aware of, or refuse to be aware of.

    I have never experienced it myself, so this is not firsthand experience. But from what I've read, even the most closeted/repressed person is aware, on some level, of their sexual urges, though they may hate those urges and reject them.

    A person's claims about themselves are notoriously untrustworthy in many situations, though (since we are no more qualified than they are, in many cases) we generally trust their own self-perception unless their self-deception is clear and harmful to themselves or others.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    I said it in the last thread, I'll say it in this one:

    Stop being so hung up on labels, what consenting adults get up to in private or semi private is non of our business. Leave kids and animals alone and have fun, people.

    I'm going to bang my four sisters who are also my wives and you can't judge me. YOU CAN'T JUDGE ME!

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    Realistically, I don't think that people's sexual preferences and behaviors are conducive to an ordered, logical classification system. I don't think the problem has an elegant solution you can put on graph paper.

    Can a person be a closeted heterosexual? I'm pretty sure I've known at least two.

    If a bisexual is committed to a monogamous relationship, what makes them bisexual?

    If person A insists he's hetero but you suspect he's in the closet, and person B is a open homosexual but a Christian group thinks he could be "cured" of it, what's the difference there?

    I think these are the kinds of logical quandaries that _J_ perhaps wants to avoid by defining a codified matrix of allowable sexuality labels.

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