The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round


Well that's such b.s. - I mean when it's time to actually have sex which one the writer prefers ? Either dick or vagina or both - regardless which type of person those are the only 3 variations.
I don't get why it's worth the argument to say it's NOT an orientation. Regardless of how you or I feel (I don't feel informed enough to have an opinion), it's clear there are a lot of people who identify as poly or D/s, so why offend those people by arguing that theirs isn't a legit orientation?
I think Dan's point was that it's not an orientation for all people. Some people may feel that their certain desires, practices, etc are an innate orientation. But you can't say that BDSM or whatever is an actual orientation when there are others who can choose to participate in those activities, or may desire them only temporarily. It's not the same a sexual orientation, where one or the other is attractive or repulsive, permanently, for a lifetime.

For instance, a person can be sexually attracted to another race and not their own, and call that an orientation. But others can be open to having sex with a variety of races, including their own, and might have a white boyfriend then an Asian boyfriend. So, is it an orientation? For some, maybe, but you can't say it's an orientation for all as a blanket statement.
Whether or not being poly or D/s or monogamous is a sexual orientation is entirely dependent on the definition of the term. Is it sexual? Yes. Can it be considered to have to do with the way people are oriented? Yes.

Does have strong connotations of the gender of the person to whom one is naturally and irrevocably attracted? Nope. The meanings of words change, but right now, I'd say no, being poly does not fit the current definition of "sexual orientation."

I'd be more willing to believe that D/s is a sexual orientation than that poly is, but I'd call being D/s a sexual tendency or a pattern of attraction.
I think the easiest way to tell if it is an "orientation" is to look at what that person does when he cannot get it.
If you claim your orientation is "poly" but the person you are trying to talk into a threesome says no would you still have sex with her?

Compare that to gay/straight.
If you are gay and the cute gay guy you're hitting on says no then do you start hitting on the cute straight woman? Probably not. Unless you're really bi.

So if your orientation is D/S and the cute person you've just taken home isn't into that do you drive them back to their place and spend the evening looking at D/S porn instead?
JaxBriggs @1, Bisexual is an orientation.

It is quite possible to not care whether the object of desire possesses a penis or vagina because the traits which really matter aren't linked to the X or Y chromosome.

In that light, I can see this guy being described as a bisexual who is into D/S.

I can also see how his attraction to doms may be so strong it overwhelms all other possible traits and becomes an orientation.
By this logic, my wife is me-oriented. Does everything have to be an orientation?
@5 I think you've nailed it for me.

To the writer of this letter. You didn't know what it was, but in the end you still would've gotten boners (or lady boners I didn't notice a gender pronoun in there) for sex that wasn't D/s.

Can you surround yourself in that lifestyle now? Yes! Awesome! Are you maybe looked down on by holier-than-thou douchebags? Yes. Boo!

Laws should stay out of the fucking bedroom between consenting adults. Period.

But arguing a definition to someone who supports your lifestyle seems to be missing the big picture.
#5: (Fairly unbalanced): Yes. That is exactly what i do if the cute person i've just taken home wasn't into what they said they were. Or i go home.
@ 8 (Pick1): I've never had sex without serious bondage involved and never expect to. I do not get hard without it and never have. My first sexual memory is seeing a cartoon character helpless, and i have never fantasised sexually about a scenario without such a thing involved.

I agree it's a misguided thing to whine about the label, but your assumptions about the letter writer are off.
"Gender is and was irrelevant."

There's an app for that! It's called either bisexual or pansexual.
I think terms like sexual orientation should be controlled by how they function in rights discussions. I would not want to derail the gay rights movement with an internal discussion of oppression faced by D/s community members, but acknowledge that feeling comes from my position outside the D/s community.

It's more an issue of whether you can be two things at once for me. Can I be a gay D/s? Yes, so being D/s is something not related to being gay and it's okay to use a different category of terms for it. I recognize some people feel left out of recent civil rights victories and want to make the claim that they should be included because they are something other than traditional, but from my position of oppression by heterosexist laws--you feeling left out isn't as important as the clear communication of the material rights I'm entitled to.

I'm making a prioritization. D/s isn't a sexual orientation.
This proliferation of "orientation" is bullshit. I've always known I'm attracted to brunettes (really). Every girl I've ever had a crush on has been a brunette. I dabbled with blondes in college but quickly realized they weren't for me, and every girl I've dated since then has been a brunette. My wife is (naturally) a brunette. Therefore, I'm brunette oriented.

Ummm... no. I certainly have a strong preference for brunettes, just like I'm sure the LW strongly prefers D/s. But I wouldn't turn away a smoking hot blonde just because of her hair color. Just like I'm sure the LW wouldn't turn away a smoking hottie of whatever gender who was offering vanilla sex.
"I hate screen names" @13

I think you are missing the point. You prefer brunettes, but they do not define your sexual attraction or you wouldn't find a blond hot.

This person (male or female, don't know why I assumed male earlier) is saying they are exclusively drawn to dominance, male or female. It is not appearance but personality and behavior that defines the attraction. If this is the case, then a timid, submissive person would never be "hot".
I can relate to the LW in that I always knew that I wanted to be a girl but didn't know it was actually a thing that could be accomplished. When I did and started transition it is all I've ever wanted and never had a doubt in my mind about living the old way but that is my Gender Identity!! Identity not orientation, it's never been a gender orientation. My sexuality is and always has been bi, that's my sexual "orientation". The two are completely separate. I believe the LW has a D/s identity and whatever his sexuality is..
Maybe I'm comparing apples to guavas who knows.
Thank you, Kat. Despite it being said repeatedly that other things don't even get some of us hard i see people saying 'you'll find someone else hot', which is silly projecting.

But it undermines actual rights discussions to whine about the label we get. So i'm still broadly on the side of hte people doing hte projecting, i just hate seeing that assumption repeated. If not for bondage i'd never have even bothered with sex :p
This is complete BS. Sexuality is something that is outside preference or interest. Poly, D/S etc etc is irrelevant to sexuality, gay, bi, straight, anyone can have those conditions (in a sex positive way). I can't marry my BF because I am a man and so is he. THAT is the issue.
@14: No, you're missing the point by fighting the example. All that does is cause me to give other examples.

For instance, I have an even stronger preference for smart girls. I am entirely unable to find dumb girls hot-- believe me, I've tried. Under your logic, intelligence defines my sexual attraction. I'm "smart-oriented."

Thus far, I've had an absolute preference for girls roughly my age. I have never, ever found an eighty-year-old hot (though that may change in a few decades!). Therefore, age also defines my sexual attraction. I'm "age-oriented."

I have a friend who is exclusively attracted to Asian girls. Is he "Asian-oriented"? Is my chubby-chaser friend "weight-oriented"? Etc.
@18, The point of my post was actually in what I wrote after my comment on your example, and your new examples tell me you are still missing it.

The letter writer claims D/s as the underlying requirement for all attraction, much as gender is to most people.

I can imagine a person for whom D/s is such a powerful force of attraction that it is the requirement which defines the attraction. As I've been told by my gay and straight friends, "preference" is not at all the same thing.
Claims like this just seem to me to be appropriating a term without any real cause. Utterly regardless of whether or not poly, D/s, or any other non-gender aspect of a person defines your attraction to them, "orientation" has a specific meaning and is in widespread use employing only that meaning. Trying to use the term to mean a much (and given that I'm certain you could find examples of this same thing with just about every widespread kink, fetish, and sexual practice out there, I can't emphasize "much" enough) broader range of potential descriptors is just muddying the waters.

The letter writer's orientation, as described, is bisexual (or pansexual). That is by definition the sexual orientation that allows for attraction without (or with greatly reduced) gender preference. This does not mean that D/s is not the fundamental underpinning of their sexual identity, but that's not what the term "orientation" seeks to define. You may as well answer "left handed" when asked for your race.
The only reason anyone gives a rat's ass about all these debates over "orientation vs choice" is because of some deep left over religious bullshit. Who cares? Express yourself as you choose, and if people judge you based on their own narrow world view, congratulate yourself on being smarter than at least one segment of the population. Those of us who are already open minded are really bored with this topic, now.
From Websters:

: the inclination of an individual with respect to heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual behavior…

Being Poly, or Dom or into feet or whatever may be an innate part of someone's sexual identity, but sexual orientation specifically refers to the gender(s) a person is or are not sexually attracted to.

I'm all for Poly rights, or the freedom to identify as whatever you want, but these other things are NOT sexual orientation. They are sexual identity. Deal with it.
I'm only attracted to brunettes. Seriously. Does that mean I get to call that my sexual orientation? So now I'm not a bisexual who is only into brunettes, I'm a brunette sexual.

Culturally, we use the phrase "sexual orientation" to refer to gender preferences. It doesn't mean other forms of preference have less value, it just means we use different words to describe them.
Personally I just think the new orientations brigade want to add even more letters to our alphabet soup. Maybe their caps lock key hasn't been getting enough of a workout?
Well I for one approve of this "brunette-sexual", orientation! Keep fighting the good fight I say...someday marriage equality will be yours! (or at least I'll be married again).
@#17 - and I cannot marry my two female partners ( I am male). What exactly is your point?? Got news for you sunshine, gay people not being able to marry is not the ONLY issue out there. Damn people here can be as dogmatic as any right wing blog I have ever run across.

No poly is not an orientation, but an identity. However Dan's asinine comment that it is a choice is about as valid as saying gender identity is a choice.
Poly or D/s is something people do. I think it's fair and accurate to describe those things as similar to sexual fetishes in that they might be central to a person's sexual expression, or they might even be vital to the process of getting turned on and reaching orgasm, but they aren't a sexual orientation in the sense that homo-/bi-/hetero-sexuality are.
My orientation is "no cuddling." Your gender is irrelevant to me; I don't want to cuddle with you.
@12 has it right. A person can be gay and D/s or bisexual and non-D/s but a person can't be bisexual and gay or gay and straight at the same time. That's a good non-semantics-derived argument.

As for Webster, yes, this proves that D/s does not fit the current definition of "sexual orientation." However, remember when dictionaries had the words "man and woman" in their definition of marriage? Meanings can change over time. Right now, D/s doesn't fit "sexual orientation," but that might not be the case in twenty years.
Quoth @19:
The point of my post was actually in what I wrote after my comment on your example, and your new examples tell me you are still missing it.

The letter writer claims D/s as the underlying requirement for all attraction, much as gender is to most people.
I like how you have no rebuttal to the examples. My Asian-fetishist friend has Asian (and female) as underlying requirements for all attraction. Seriously: he doesn't even look at other women. So how is that different than your D/s example? Answer: It isn't-- under your theory.

Let me boil things down for you: whether an attraction rises to the level of "identity" is defined by other people, not by you. The question is whether they use that attraction to identify the person having it-- and whether that identification results in differing treatment. My Asian fetishist friend has an absolute attraction to Asians, but no one really cares (other than good-natured ribbing from everyone, including his wife). My Asian fetishist friend also has an absolute attraction to women, and people do care about that. If he were only attracted to guys, or if he were also attracted to guys, employers and customers and friends and family and people on the street are likely to treat him differently. That's why heterosexuality is an orientation, while yellow fever is a preference.

Note that the notion of "sexual orientation" is relatively new from a historical perspective. That's because earlier societies didn't really give a shit whether folks slept with men or women, so long as they produced heirs. Hence being gay/straight/bi was more of a preference back then. And gawd willing, it will become a preference again once the right-wing crazies crawl back under their rocks.
Well, that's just like your opinion, man.
Psychology terminology changes over time as we get a better idea about how the brain works so I wouldn't get too hung up on today's understanding of orientation and identity.

The terms are already getting mashed-up by general public usage anyway, which always wins in the long run over point-in-time semantics.

For example: Websters has a definition for 'aint'.

If someone is politically misusing terminology to repress your rights then, of course, I fully support your right fight it with lawyerly-nitpicking.
Fuck it @31, let's go bowling.
I, Lance, have the solution to this conundrum. 'Preference' and 'orientation' are not different categories. They are, rather, different points on a spectrum, ranging from a mild preference (say, brunettes over blondes, a preference I happen to have, btw.) all the way to a consuming, identity-defining orientation. e.g. full-on homosexuality. No need to bring external, social judgements or definitions into it - that just muddies the waters & is irrelevant.

Lance has spoken. You are welcome.
@26 oh boo hoo. You can at least marry one of them. Incidentally, I wouldn't care if you could marry two in any case. I do think gays should be allowed to marry one first however.
God, so much blonde-hate in this thread. WHY AREN'T WE GOOD ENOUGH?

"The letter writer claims D/s as the underlying requirement for all attraction, much as gender is to most people."

I have a problem with this reasoning. It kind of seems to imply that just because all the people a person has been attracted to are of one gender, that this is the sole underlying requirement for all their attraction. What if the sole underlying requirement actually is that they all have enormous breasts? What if the sole underlying requirement is that they share a sense of humor?

Basically, I think people are giving the phrase "sexual orientation" too much weight- there is no "sole underlying requirement" for anyone's sexual preferences, and defining orientation in such a way is not really helpful. Sexual orientation is just about the genders of the people one dates. That's all. You might exclusively date liberals, and be bisexual; you might exclusively date chubby people, and not care about gender, but these are not sexual orientations. They are identities. Sexual orientation is about letting everyone know what genders they can expect you to date.
Coming back with a little clarity, D/s is better described as a sexual role than a sexual orientation. If you're talking about the position in a relationship you want to occupy, that's you're role. You may feel oriented towards that role, but we're using orientation differently that we are when we say "sexual orientation". You can also be "oriented" on you back, facing east, or whatever.
It seems that everything is an orientation. Every "preference" under the sun. What's next - someone claiming that doggy-style is their orientation?
@30 You said that by fighting the example I was missing the point, so I avoided your examples. Make up your mind!

In any case, allegorical evidence is basically meaningless. But since we're talking about it, I know people who want to live a D/s lifestyle, all the time. They want to be master and slave, dom and submissive, in public, not just in sex. This would (and does) result in them being treated differently by people in general... so does that define an identity to you?

Don't get me wrong, I'm on the fence about whether D/s should be considered an "orientation". I can imagine it, but I'm not convinced. It doesn't seem that different to me from "gay" or "straight", but I don't get those either.

My sexual orientation of "bisexual" seems to be defined solely on what I do not care about (gender), and not by what I do actually find attractive. Seems like a weird way to classify my sexual orientation, really. Like you said, it does seem to be what other people think that matters.

The terms are already getting mashed-up by general public usage anyway, which always wins in the long run over point-in-time semantics. For example: Websters has a definition for 'aint'.

Bad example; that actually demonstrates the reverse. "Ain't" was legitimate English (and was in the dictionary in the 19th century) until language prescriptivists got snippy about it and declared, despite it being in general public usage, that it was improper English, thus leaving an annoying hole in the list of contractions, just as annoying as the lack of a second person plural. I don't know if it ever left the dictionary, but the artificially-created association with vulgarity and lower social classes has made "ain't" toxic, and I don't see that really changing, unfortunately.
I solve problems. Word problems, automotive problems, engineering problems, financial issues, honey-do list problems, etc. I enjoy solving problems and I can't imagine not. I've always been like this - since before I was interested in girls, and if you put a hex on my hormones so I wasn't interested in women, I'd probably still be solving problems. I guess that's my orientation?

Seriously, I like Lance @34's suggestion of a spectrum. Preferences on one end, orientation at the other. I'd throw kinks and fetishes in there as well. For some, D/s with a red-headed guy, dressed in horsehide black leather and shaved pits might be a must-have and they couldn't get it up or get off unless all of that was present. Clearly, others are rather vaguer or more flexible about the gender, numbers, roles, and sex acts involved.

My orientation might be your preference. Another's slight preference for smart women is must-have for me.
@30 - this thing you said:
"Note that the notion of "sexual orientation" is relatively new from a historical perspective. That's because earlier societies didn't really give a shit whether folks slept with men or women, so long as they produced heirs. Hence being gay/straight/bi was more of a preference back then. And gawd willing, it will become a preference again once the right-wing crazies crawl back under their rocks."

yes. that is relevant.
however, the problem here is people taking their current semantic constructs, and using it to erase others experience. that is not ok. i get what this LW is saying. i id as sub, i wouldn't define it as my orientation, but it is an immutable part of my make-up. and it is how i relate - irrelevant of how the other people in my life see themselves.
i see it as very similar to het/homo style orientation. i can love someone without that d/s dynamic, i can even choose to go to bed with them. but no matter what we get up to, orgasm is extremely unlikely. in fact, i would hesitate to call it sex. i still don't call it an orientation, but i can see how someone would. and i can't understand how anyone who is not that person has any authority to state otherwise.
@42, I tend to agree with you. For what it's worth, here's my $.02 (worth $.02, I guess):

People think "sexual orientation" = "nature", "what I 'really' am", and "sexual identification" = "culture", "what I have become (in my society, through my choices)". Given that, in our culture (!), nature is better than culture, it follows that sexual orientation is better -- more ''legitimate'', ''deeper'', more ''who you are'' -- than "sexual identification" (never mind the word "identity" and its origin)...

Which is why people argue about that. To me, it's not really a question, but a claim about what makes people people, what makes them "who they are", plus a hidden claim about the nature vs. culture debate.

Some people feel a "choice" (for lack of a better word) as if it were their "nature" (culture -> nature; "I'm born gay/straight, there's nothing I can do about it"), whereas others don't ("I'm bi-curious, but it doesn't really do all that much for me", etc.). It may well be the case than in the gay-straight continuum the number of people with well-defined extreme preferences -- 100% gay or 100% straight -- are more numerous than along other continua (say, BDSM vs. non-BDSM, monogamous vs. polyamorous, etc.). So maybe there are more people who feel that they don't have a choice about being gay or straight than there are people who feel they don't have a choice about being BDSM or polyamorous -- and this would be in itself an interesting fact -- but I think it's a difference of degree, not of kind.

To sum up: it's not as the first commenter above said: "it's either dick or vagina or both, only 3 possibilities". Er, no. There are more. There are different intensities and combinations, for starters.

The reason is because it is not an orientation. The reason is because after nearly 250 years since the Constitution was ratified LGBT citizens rights go unrecognized. The world is on the cusp of awakening to a United States of America will be a nation that truly recognizes Freedom, Liberty and Justice for ALL People.

And now we have some punk ass over privileged white males who are trying to derail the equal rights movements by claiming BDSM and Poly are orientation.

Every single one of these fuckers couldn't give a shit about BDSM or Poly, their fucking Republicans using subtlety and lies in order to enforce the traditional bigotry that they know damn well is no longer a majority opinion.

I have nothing against BDSM nor Poly People who are honest, and honest people wouldn't intentionally sabotage gay rights ANY reason, let alone to remain of right wing think tank salary

IT IS A BIG FUCKIN DEAL because the bottom line is that anybody who cries "well that is just the new form of bigotry" is a fucking liar, because the difference is WE RECOGNIZE that it is wrong to discriminate against people period. We are not so blinded by hatred that we lie to ourselves and only view it as acceptable if it's not a choice.


and if you are a bigot, it is not something that you will understand until you wake up one day and realize that it is wrong to hate people who have done nothing wrong.

It is wrong to put people at a disadvantage when they are not criminals, when they are law abiding citizens. They just want to live in peace and not be intimidated.

Bigots are the criminals, bigots are the ones who have character flaws and the ones who need to be reformed, NOT LGBT People