Their growing popularity has caught my eye
I’m all for letting people define themselves and respecting their self-labeling, as long as they didn’t expropriate the identities of other groups.
Gay Lib, from its inception, always meant two things (often confused):
- The freedom to respect same-sex/gender preference;
- The freedom to have sex with whomever one wants.
I will elaborate on that difference below.
Define and Don’t Deny
Yet, for psychologists, I’ve pleaded for using a new definition of sexual orientation as I found the existing definitions insufficient, if not wrong.
Per my definition, there exists in the human brain in most people not just a notion of wanting to be intimate with people of one gender/sex. It seems that for them, the only way to kill existential loneliness is a steady bond with someone of the preferred gender/sex. That means that a relationship with someone not-of-the-preferred gender or sex might be dependable, close emotionally and physically, warm, loving, intimate, and sexually pleasing, but won’t be sustainable because the partner(s) partnered with the ‘wrong’ sex/gender are slowly dying from unresolved loneliness. The best platonic relationships, even when consummated, still will not do.
Therapists and their theorists mostly seem to define sexual orientation as something one does. You are what you do. But humans are not!
Decades of Gay Lib and the complete exposure of conversion therapy as a massive fraud should have taught us by now that there is such a thing, for most people, as an innate and immutable sexual preference. And that realization can’t live in one universe with the idea that we would be what we do. A Gay man in a relationship with a woman never becomes Straight. And my retired sexology teacher told me a few years ago from experience in his practice: When such a relationship ends, typically, in their next relationship, people often return to the gender of their basic orientation.
For a large minority of women, the line between Gay and Straight seems easier to cross and not as sharply defined as for men. Or, maybe better: There are far more plurisexual (bisexual, non-label, questioning, fluid, pansexual, demisexual, queer, and heteroflexible) women than men.
But there is more. My conclusions a decade ago were:
I. A relationship with the ‘wrong’ gender won’t last because of unresolved loneliness.
II. Seeking sex outside of one’s orientation leads to a sex addiction, deep loneliness, and not a steady relationship.
III. But a one-off relationship with someone of the ‘wrong’ gender/sex, if based on love, may last based on just fancying this special person.
New and Old
Something new is brewing. The notion/ideal/norm that one ‘should/could’ stay with one person for 80 years is waning. Increasingly, young people’s partner choice is ‘good for now.’ The lifelong commitment is vanishing.
With that, the threat of partnering with the ‘wrong’ gender/sex is becoming less relevant. Which has two aspects.
A. It’s nice that gender becomes less normative. Either can be good.
B. This overshadows that there still is, for the vast majority of people, such a thing as sexual orientation/preference.
On the latter point: Not everyone who chooses a same-sex relationship will do so ‘because we should be free to marry whom we want’ (2). Some will do so because that’s the kind of person they need as a partner (1).
More and more people have perfect relationships unrelated to sexual preference (III). Yet, that doesn’t mean that their sexual preference is absent, irrelevant, or unbeknownst to them. It just is not the basis for their current relationship.
Despite this trend, I maintain we’re not just what we do. Sexual preference stays the dominant factor for most people in their partner choice. When they don’t fall in love with someone not of their gender-preference, they will follow their sexual orientation, notwithstanding any trend or norm.
The growing number of people involuntarily single or in a sexless relation saddens me. I hope that the higher turnover rate of relationships makes that more people get a shot at it in their lifetime. Meanwhile, it should become everyone’s human right to influence the next generations, either as a parent, co-parent, family member of kids, teacher, or otherwise.