One-Offs

For discussion of issues pertaining to sexuality. Warning: Topics within this forum may contain frank discussion of a sexual nature.
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jmb
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One-Offs

Postby jmb » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:22 pm

This topic was inspired by: Michael's Thread about "Simplicity of Asexuality". I didn't want to cloud that thread with a different topic, so I put this here (probably in the wrong forum, Nancy feel free to move as appropriate).

There's a great confusion between sexuality and sexual orientations. People use the words interchangeably all the time. But they're really not the same thing at all. Orientation is one part of sexuality but it isn't the entirety of one's sexuality.

I'm starting to think it's not even the most important part.

Take the idea of the "one-offs" That one relationship that shatters the mould of a person's given orientation. (The one homosexual relationship of a heterosexual, the one sexual relationship for a non-sexual.) And I'm not talking about people experimenting here, nor am I referring to relationships before someone knows/understands their orientation. I'm talking about people who know, understand and are comfortable with their orientation, but they meet, marry, have sex with someone who doesn't follow their given orientation. Does that mean that all along they weren't the orientation they though they were?

I don't think so. I think you can have a one-off and still be whatever your given orientation is. I think you have to work harder at that relationship since it goes against your natural inclinations, but because of all the other factors that go into your sexuality (orientation being one part), I think the one-off is entirely plausible.

It's this plausibility that makes it really important that we not confuse one's total sexuality with one's sexual orientation (one part of sexuality).

I look forward to others' input on this topic.
"He won't be your assistant" - Greg Lestrade
"But I need an audience" - What Sherlock Holmes meant to say.

Michael

Re: One-Offs

Postby Michael » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:36 pm

It does happen sometimes. We hear about middle-aged fully heterosexual politicians who get caught in what appears gay one-offs, sometimes involving rent boys. What else happens in middle age? Their fathers pass away, so it could be the case they're merely seeking intimacy from another male.
My argument is nothing about their sexuality has changed and they're still fully heterosexual, but there were other psychological things driving them.

The problem here is I've contradicted my own argument that anything involving sex is always sexually motivated (apart from rape, which is usually a hate crime committed by someone with an inferiority complex).

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ParaLLL
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Re: One-Offs

Postby ParaLLL » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:38 pm

Hm... I think I agree with you, but I haven't quite detangled my thoughts enough to put them into (decent, anyway) words yet.

What do you think goes into sexuality? Sexual orientation, romantic orientation, behavior, anything else?


Also Michael, I'm going to have to argue about the rape bit; I agree about it being a hate crime, but nothing I've seen or learned seems to indicate that rapists usually has an inferiority complex.

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jmb
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Re: One-Offs

Postby jmb » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:22 pm

ParaLLL wrote:Hm... I think I agree with you, but I haven't quite detangled my thoughts enough to put them into (decent, anyway) words yet.

What do you think goes into sexuality? Sexual orientation, romantic orientation, behavior, anything else?


From a couple research papers I've done in undergrad/grad school, it includes: gender, sexual orientation, romantic inclinations, behaviours, biological functions. (I think there's more, but those are the ones I can name off the top of my head.)

Michael wrote:It does happen sometimes. We hear about middle-aged fully heterosexual politicians who get caught in what appears gay one-offs, sometimes involving rent boys. What else happens in middle age? Their fathers pass away, so it could be the case they're merely seeking intimacy from another male.
My argument is nothing about their sexuality has changed and they're still fully heterosexual, but there were other psychological things driving them.


Your scope or perhaps awareness of this issue is rather limited if you think that was what I was referring to. There are people who have ID'd as homosexual all their lives, but they meet this one person of the opposite sex, say when their in their early 30s, and they decide they need to marry and spend the rest of their lives with that person. Again, I still don't think this means their not whatever they've identified earlier. I guess I'm questioning if orientation means as much as all the discussions seems to make it sound.

Also, I don't think it's as simple as "you can't help who you fall in love with." I think it's partly that our sexuality is very complex and we focus so heavily on orientation, that we forget about everything else and sometimes it's those other factors that are actually more important.


Michael wrote:The problem here is I've contradicted my own argument that anything involving sex is always sexually motivated (apart from rape, which is usually a hate crime committed by someone with an inferiority complex).


And that's my point of making sure we use really clear definitions. Orientation and sexuality are not the same. And not all sex is 'sexually motivated.' Take the biological process of procreation. While sex is necessary for natural procreation to happen, a person's motivation in that sense isn't sex. In that sense, the motivation is procreation. (If they're being intentional in the process - otherwise, procreation happens because of sex, which is a different thing completely.)

I have my own thoughts on your rape comment, but I think I'll wait for your reply to ParaLLL
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Re: One-Offs

Postby ParaLLL » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:18 pm

jmb wrote:
ParaLLL wrote:Hm... I think I agree with you, but I haven't quite detangled my thoughts enough to put them into (decent, anyway) words yet.

What do you think goes into sexuality? Sexual orientation, romantic orientation, behavior, anything else?


From a couple research papers I've done in undergrad/grad school, it includes: gender, sexual orientation, romantic inclinations, behaviours, biological functions. (I think there's more, but those are the ones I can name off the top of my head.)

Hm. I'd be inclined to split those into two categories (or sub categories); sexuality (orientation, romantic, behavior) and gender (gender, sex-as-in-physical-characteristics) (I'm not sure if by biological functions you meant sex, or something else). Basically, splitting 'who I interact with' from 'who I am.' That's purely a personal preference though, mostly because so many people assume that sexual orientation and gender are the same thing or at least way more closely linked than they are, and I'm wary of anything that categorizes them together.

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Re: One-Offs

Postby jmb » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:58 pm

ParaLLL wrote:Hm. I'd be inclined to split those into two categories (or sub categories); sexuality (orientation, romantic, behavior) and gender (gender, sex-as-in-physical-characteristics) (I'm not sure if by biological functions you meant sex, or something else). Basically, splitting 'who I interact with' from 'who I am.' That's purely a personal preference though, mostly because so many people assume that sexual orientation and gender are the same thing or at least way more closely linked than they are, and I'm wary of anything that categorizes them together.


Ah, I wasn't clear, then. Each of the areas listed are already subcategories of Sexuality. So you have -in no particular order, because there may be more than these areas - and I'm tired:
1) Gender (How do you identify your gender)
2) Biology - basic biological/hormonal influences (because even if you identify as one gender, you biologically might be another - or if you're asexual, it doesn't mean your biological/hormonal influences just *poof* and disappear)
3) Sexual orientation (who you'd have sex with on a regular basis)
4) Romantic inclination (who you'd want to 'pair with' on a regular basis)
5) Behaviours (do you have sex, if so - do you stick within your orientation?, if female do you do 'girly things', if trans have you had an operation, etc.)

Hope that's more clear.
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Re: One-Offs

Postby ParaLLL » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:12 pm

jmb wrote:
ParaLLL wrote:Hm. I'd be inclined to split those into two categories (or sub categories); sexuality (orientation, romantic, behavior) and gender (gender, sex-as-in-physical-characteristics) (I'm not sure if by biological functions you meant sex, or something else). Basically, splitting 'who I interact with' from 'who I am.' That's purely a personal preference though, mostly because so many people assume that sexual orientation and gender are the same thing or at least way more closely linked than they are, and I'm wary of anything that categorizes them together.


Ah, I wasn't clear, then. Each of the areas listed are already subcategories of Sexuality. So you have -in no particular order, because there may be more than these areas - and I'm tired:
1) Gender (How do you identify your gender)
2) Biology - basic biological/hormonal influences (because even if you identify as one gender, you biologically might be another - or if you're asexual, it doesn't mean your biological/hormonal influences just *poof* and disappear)
3) Sexual orientation (who you'd have sex with on a regular basis)
4) Romantic inclination (who you'd want to 'pair with' on a regular basis)
5) Behaviours (do you have sex, if so - do you stick within your orientation?, if female do you do 'girly things', if trans have you had an operation, etc.)

Hope that's more clear.

Biology is clearer, but otherwise I understood from your earlier post. I just don't like putting gender as a subcategory of sexuality; I prefer to describe gender (and its related topics/sub categories) as a separate category from sexuality and its sub categories, though one that interacts with it. So that gender, (certain aspects of) biology, and (certain aspects of) behavior would be in the 'Gender' category (or whatever it's called; the 'who I am' half) while (other aspects of) biology, sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and (other aspects of) behavior would be in the Sexuality/'who I like/interact with' category. Gender and Sexuality then are separate categories, on the same level I guess, though they interact with each other (and maybe are themselves subcategories of something larger, say Identity or something, but I'm uncomfortable calling gender an aspect of sexuality).

I don't have any scientific basis for this, of course; it's just how I sort things in my head. Though I am curious now; do you know why gender is considered part of sexuality, scientifically? Is there some basis for it other than just because that's how it's always been done?

Also--due to recent wandering conversations that I won't bore everyone by repeating, I've also started wondering. Has anyone ever considered something like platonic orientations? Who a person prefers non-romantic relationships with? A lot of people seem to have very clear lines about 'I just get along better with men/women better,' and it often doesn't match up with their romantic or sexual orientations, but I've never heard any sort of word or even discussion about it.

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Re: One-Offs

Postby jmb » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:47 am

ParaLLL wrote:I don't have any scientific basis for this, of course; it's just how I sort things in my head. Though I am curious now; do you know why gender is considered part of sexuality, scientifically? Is there some basis for it other than just because that's how it's always been done?


I don't know that there is anything beyond "That's how it's always been done." But, it does make sense, to me, that it is a part of the overall sexuality umbrella. For instance: even if a person is trans, their birth gender/biology will still be present, even if internally they feel they're opposite (until they have an operation/take meds to change things/etc) and even if they DO have an operation, some things will remain as their birth gender (bone structure, for instance) there are certain aspects of biology that medicine/operations can't change at this point in time and that does play into one's sexuality. How others see us does play into our sexuality - whether we admit that or not is another matter entirely.

NOTE: I have seen sexuality as a sub category of gender as well, so the "bigger umbrella" seems to shift depending on how you're talking about different subjects. In this discussion, since I'm saying that sexual orientation is part of a bigger picture of sexuality, I've used sexuality as the primary umbrella. If I were to talk about female vs. male, then gender would become the main focus with sexuality and sexual orientation falling under that. I don't think they're separate, as they are too closely linked.

ParaLLL wrote:Also--due to recent wandering conversations that I won't bore everyone by repeating, I've also started wondering. Has anyone ever considered something like platonic orientations? Who a person prefers non-romantic relationships with? A lot of people seem to have very clear lines about 'I just get along better with men/women better,' and it often doesn't match up with their romantic or sexual orientations, but I've never heard any sort of word or even discussion about it.


I don't think I've seen anything specific to research on "platonic orientations," but there is quite a bit of research on non-romantic relationships/friendships. I personally don't know that I would call such a status an orientation.
"He won't be your assistant" - Greg Lestrade
"But I need an audience" - What Sherlock Holmes meant to say.