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Have you told your kids what "straight' and "gay" mean in reference to people?


poppy
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Well, I don't want to argue about it..but gender isn't really used to define sexuality. A gay boy isn't attracted to someone's gender. He's attracted to their sex.That's why it's called same sex attraction.

I know people sometimes use the word gender to mean sex, because it's 'nicer' so maybe that's what you meant anyway.

 

If we're talking about the spectrum, has intersex come up for anyone ? I don't think I've ever talked to my kids about intersex and what it means.

 

I agree with you that they're two different things.  I thought that putting something that has some similar associated social issues (discrimination) but that my child understood easily, might help clarify what he found hard to understand about sexual orientation.  

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My children haven't brought it up.  But honestly, this thread (and others) have gotten me thinking that I don't really understand sexual orientation at all.  I definitely chose my sexual orientation (by marrying a man) and until recently thought it was that way for everyone.  Gay people date/marry the same gender, straight people date/marry the opposite gender.  Clearly we choose our romantic partners.  Apparently, everyone else views this differently.  Every time  I try to figure it all out, I get more & more confused.  So . . .

 

Long story short, if my kids did ask I would honestly say that I didn't know and refer them to their father.

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No, it's not.

 

Edit: I should expand.

 

Let's consider celibacy. You must know of people who are celibate not because they're uninterested or even because they can't get anybody but because of religious/philosphical reasons. Perhaps they've taken a vow of celibacy or don't believe until sex until marriage.

 

A celibate person might still be attracted to other people. Probably is - most humans are. That feeling of "Wow, this person is attractive" or "I'd like to date that person" is what's responsible for orientation. You are interested in this sort of person, or fantasize about them, or whatever.

 

Gays are primarily interested in people of the same sex/gender. However, this doesn't mean that they only marry/date people of the same sex/gender! Throughout history, a great many gay people have either remained celibate or entered into marriages with people of the opposite sex/gender, generally where it was unsafe to be open about being gay. But they didn't magically stop feeling attracted to other people of the same sex/gender once they said "I do". (And some of them went back on their vows of celibacy or monogamy. It's just a disaster all around when you do things this way.)

 

Or consider bisexuals. Bis would say they're mostly equally interested in men and women. But in our society most serious relationships are monogamous. Entering a monogamous relationship doesn't make a bisexual person no longer bisexual. It makes them a bisexual person who is monogamous. They might still look at other people and be attracted to them, and those people might be of any sex/gender.

 

And this is true for all of us, really. Many women are married to men, and many men are married to women, but that doesn't mean they don't have opinions on which celebrities are so hot and which are so meh, right? It's that feeling that matters, even though odds of any of us marrying any celebrities (or being in a position to cheat on our partners with celebrities, whether or not we go through with it) are really, really slim.

 

Edited by Tanaqui
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But you can be gay/straight/bi without marrying or dating anybody.

 

I understand that many people define think of sexual orientation in terms of who people are attracted to.  This is a new idea for me.  I have listened to a bunch of threads here and googled around, but "attraction" is such an esoteric concept.  I certainly couldn't explain it to a young child.  How would you? 

 

A year ago if you had asked me, lesbians were women who dated other women.  I understand romantic relationships.  I understand love.  Little children understand love.  Attraction?  Still a mystery.  So unfortunately I am unqualified to handle this area of parenting.  

 

I am going to be honest here, and I don't mean this as a humble brag.  Attractiveness wasn't on my list of attributes for a boyfriend/husband.  I chose my husband because he was he was a good boyfriend, and I thought he would be a good husband and father.  He has many positive qualities and I love him but, he isn't really attractive.  So . . . for me it was always about making a good choice, not affirming my sexual orientation.  

 

This new (for me) paradigm is so confusing.  It was never about who you choose to love?

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...

 

If we're talking about the spectrum, has intersex come up for anyone ? I don't think I've ever talked to my kids about intersex and what it means.

I discussed intersex people during our family conversation that was primarily about transgender people. The existence of intersex people helped solidify the idea that people aren't always born clearly male or female. This helps dispel the myth that sexual biology and gender are always the same thing.
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I certainly couldn't explain it to a young child.  How would you?

 

Some people like to kiss, or think about kissing, boys. Other people like to kiss, or think about kissing, girls. And some people are interested in both, or neither. Yes, I know right now you think all kissing is super gross, but that will probably change when you're older.

 

Actually, now that I think about it, this is the conversation I had, and I even remember the context - explaining to them that no, I'm not dating Dr. Horrible, nor even Neal Patrick Harris, just because his image was my computer background. Man, I had completely forgotten about that until just now. Mmm, I could look at that background all flipping day.

 

This new (for me) paradigm is so confusing.  It was never about who you choose to love?

 

Well, I mean, I think for most of us romantic love is easier with sexual attraction. There must be millions upon millions of people out there who are potentially good partners, so it's a bit easier to make a decision if I also want to screw their brains out on the regular, right? And enjoy their company otherwise, but that's different. (It also works other way around. Lots of people I'm attracted to, but some of them are really awful people and others I just could never live with.)

 

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One thing I would consider ... what is considered "knowledge" in this area today is likely to be different from what is considered "knowledge" 10 and 20 years from now when it matters differently to today's young kids.  Terminology in particular is rather fluid.  Another reason to avoid the apparent focus on boxes and what they are called and who fits into them.

 

Another reason I don't define these things for my kids is that I am not the person to explain what other people feel.  I would rather my kids understand that other people are following their own various paths and they are the best person to articulate what's going on - if they want to.  Sometimes they are still not sure themselves.

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I understand that many people define think of sexual orientation in terms of who people are attracted to. This is a new idea for me. I have listened to a bunch of threads here and googled around, but "attraction" is such an esoteric concept. I certainly couldn't explain it to a young child. How would you?

 

A year ago if you had asked me, lesbians were women who dated other women. I understand romantic relationships. I understand love. Little children understand love. Attraction? Still a mystery. So unfortunately I am unqualified to handle this area of parenting.

 

I am going to be honest here, and I don't mean this as a humble brag. Attractiveness wasn't on my list of attributes for a boyfriend/husband. I chose my husband because he was he was a good boyfriend, and I thought he would be a good husband and father. He has many positive qualities and I love him but, he isn't really attractive. So . . . for me it was always about making a good choice, not affirming my sexual orientation.

 

This new (for me) paradigm is so confusing. It was never about who you choose to love?

Most people need a basic level of "I am capable of being aroused by people of that sex" in order to sustain a conjugal relationship (like marriage) with an individual.

 

For the majority of people this "preference" or "orientation" limits the scope of choice for potential spouses to members of one sex. (The minority of people who would be able to be sexually aroused by a suitable member of either sex are generally called "bisexual" -- though more nuanced terms are also used.)

 

People tend to choose one person to love (if they intend to be monogamous) from among the population that they "prefer" -- the sex they are "oriented" towards. This does not imply that they are equally "attracted" to all members of that population, nor does it imply that their eventual choice will be based on how "attractive" an individual is within that population. (Smart people choose spouses for good reasons, and love is not the same as infatuation.)

 

So, yes, we choose someone to love. When choosing a spouse, it is often a choice not from among 'all humans' -- but a choice from among people towards whom we are sexually oriented. "Attraction" is a way of talking about orientation, but it is true that we don't find every member of that population *actually* attractive... and that is a detail that matters.

 

People don't usually have a choice about their orientation. They have many choices within their orientation. (People who perceive their own orientation to be a choice might be bisexual but making a choice.)

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Responding to previous posters talking about sexual orientation as a mechanism for narrowing down a enormous pool of potential partners:

 

I can only speak for myself, but it wasn't like that.  I didn't have a sea of options.  I have never been interested in a person I didn't know well.  So a good friend and I hit it off and we start dating.  One of us decides we aren't compatible and breaks off the relationship.  Eventually I date a guy who I start to think about in terms of marriage.  He passes the good daddy/good husband metric and we get married.  I never dated a woman.  We live in a hetero-normative culture and none of my female friends ever asked.  I don't know how I would have handled it if they had.  I can imagine saying "no, I'm straight", I can imagine it sparking introspection about my sexual orientation, and I can imagine saying "sure, we'll see where this goes".  No idea what would have happened, because it didn't.  

 

But you hit on something that has been bugging me.  I understand finding celebrities interesting.  But that isn't what the gay rights movement was about.  It wasn't about the right to covet celebrities of the same sex.  It was about the right to marry, to have spousal rights, to form a family.  Yes?

 

Lets imagine a bisexual woman who has been married to a man for 30 years.  They have loved each other, made a life together, raised children together.  Isn't that what matters?  Now, yes she is still bisexual.  She has found noticed the occasional beautiful woman, and fantasized about the occasional celebrity.  But why does that matter?  Isn't the life she chose more relevant than the one she didn't?  

 

Like I said, I don't get it.  I can (and probably will) tell my children Tanaqui's explanation about who you want to kiss.  It just feel a little disingenuous because it doesn't reflect their parents marriage.  

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We've discussed intersex because we have a lovely young woman in our LGBT community who speaks all over promoting equality and identifies as intersex and transgender. She fought for all gender bathrooms at our local college that she attends. There are now around 20 of them on campus and growing.

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I think many (most) people are guided by sexual attraction, which makes sense - most of us are heterosexual, and being guided by sexual attraction towards the opposite sex is biologically adaptive - it lets us perpetute the species!

 

For the minority who are same sex attracted - well, we're not clear on why that's a positive adaptation - but I bet there is benefit somehow, because otherwise it's a trait that would die out. But yeah, same sex people want to have sex with people of the same sex.

 

Romantic love is sort of the icing on the sexual attraction cake, lol

 

If we didn't, generally, as a species, experience sexual attraction, we wouldn't survive. So I don't think it's really hard to understand ?

 

Obviously, I disagree.  It isn't like I haven't tried to understand.  I'm not stupid, I just don't have that kind of marriage. 

 

I have three bio-children, I would love a fourth.  I understand the drive to reproduce both intellectually, and personally.  It makes sense that a sex drive is of biological value.  

 

What doesn't make sense to me, is that people seem to place so much value on what class of people they find "attractive", an intangible quality they rarely act upon.  It seems to me, the important thing is who you actually decide to have children with.  

 

We look down upon gay men (for example) marrying women and having bio-children.   Because people seem to think that to do so violates something about the essence of who they are.  But what if that is what he wants.  Don't get me wrong I am all for marriage equality.  If a gay man wants to marry another man, and form a family that way more power to him.

 

I am apparently asexual (a term I didn't even know a year ago).  Does that mean I should have consigned myself to a life of spinsterhood, so I didn't violate "who I really am"?  Ridiculous.  The life I chose is what is important, not who I am or am not attracted to.  

 

I apologize for the bunny trail.  But I have been eager to talk about what it means to be straight etc. with a real life person for some time.  A thread about explaining such to children seemed an appropriate place to get people to explain.  

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But you hit on something that has been bugging me. I understand finding celebrities interesting. But that isn't what the gay rights movement was about. It wasn't about the right to covet celebrities of the same sex. It was about the right to marry, to have spousal rights, to form a family. Yes?

 

Well, that was part of it! But not all of it. It was also about the right not to be fired or kicked out of stores based on your sexuality, and the right to have casual hookups without getting murdered, and the right to have your particular medical issues taken seriously (AIDS isn't gay only, but when people thought it was they sure as heck didn't take it seriously!), and all sorts of things other than marriage or kids.

But it's okay to tell your kids "This is how it is for a lot of people, but it wasn't like that for me." It's better to do that, actually! They might be like a lot of people, or they might be more like you, or they might be totally different altogether. Better that they have some idea of the amazing diversity of the human experience :)

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I understand that many people define think of sexual orientation in terms of who people are attracted to. This is a new idea for me. I have listened to a bunch of threads here and googled around, but "attraction" is such an esoteric concept. I certainly couldn't explain it to a young child. How would you?

 

A year ago if you had asked me, lesbians were women who dated other women. I understand romantic relationships. I understand love. Little children understand love. Attraction? Still a mystery. So unfortunately I am unqualified to handle this area of parenting.

 

I am going to be honest here, and I don't mean this as a humble brag. Attractiveness wasn't on my list of attributes for a boyfriend/husband. I chose my husband because he was he was a good boyfriend, and I thought he would be a good husband and father. He has many positive qualities and I love him but, he isn't really attractive. So . . . for me it was always about making a good choice, not affirming my sexual orientation.

 

This new (for me) paradigm is so confusing. It was never about who you choose to love?

Attraction isn’t strictly based in looks, though. There are several famous intellectuals who aren’t particularly physically handsome, but sure could make me melt, given the opportunity! ;-)

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Attraction isn’t strictly based in looks, though. There are several famous intellectuals who aren’t particularly physically handsome, but sure could make me melt, given the opportunity! ;-)

Yeah, I wasn't physically attracted to dh when I first met him but after a few hours spent talking...😜 We were married 4 months later.

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No, it's not.

 

Edit: I should expand.

 

Let's consider celibacy. You must know of people who are celibate not because they're uninterested or even because they can't get anybody but because of religious/philosphical reasons. Perhaps they've taken a vow of celibacy or don't believe until sex until marriage.

 

A celibate person might still be attracted to other people. Probably is - most humans are. That feeling of "Wow, this person is attractive" or "I'd like to date that person" is what's responsible for orientation. You are interested in this sort of person, or fantasize about them, or whatever.

 

Gays are primarily interested in people of the same sex/gender. However, this doesn't mean that they only marry/date people of the same sex/gender! Throughout history, a great many gay people have either remained celibate or entered into marriages with people of the opposite sex/gender, generally where it was unsafe to be open about being gay. But they didn't magically stop feeling attracted to other people of the same sex/gender once they said "I do". (And some of them went back on their vows of celibacy or monogamy. It's just a disaster all around when you do things this way.)

 

Or consider bisexuals. Bis would say they're mostly equally interested in men and women. But in our society most serious relationships are monogamous. Entering a monogamous relationship doesn't make a bisexual person no longer bisexual. It makes them a bisexual person who is monogamous. They might still look at other people and be attracted to them, and those people might be of any sex/gender.

 

And this is true for all of us, really. Many women are married to men, and many men are married to women, but that doesn't mean they don't have opinions on which celebrities are so hot and which are so meh, right? It's that feeling that matters, even though odds of any of us marrying any celebrities (or being in a position to cheat on our partners with celebrities, whether or not we go through with it) are really, really slim.

If most older men are attracted to young women does that make them juven-sexual?

 

(random thought sparked by your post).

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I guess my point is:

1. I am unqualified to discuss GLBT issues with my children, because I don't understand them myself.

2. I am struggling to find a way to understand and honor other people's journey in attraction, love, relationships & family.  While not devaluing myself and my actual life.

3. I wanted to perhaps have a discussion about innate sexual attraction v. chosen romantic/familial relationships. 

 

Unfortunately I have to go be a wife and mommy now.  Hopefully the discussion will still be going when I return.

 

Later internet friends.

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I am apparently asexual (a term I didn't even know a year ago).  Does that mean I should have consigned myself to a life of spinsterhood, so I didn't violate "who I really am"?  

 

Asexual is not a synonym for spinster, and if you and your spouse are happy with your arrangements, no one has a problem.

 

I'm still heterosexual even though I'm single, celibate, and likely to remain so.

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Obviously, I disagree.  It isn't like I haven't tried to understand.  I'm not stupid, I just don't have that kind of marriage. 

 

I have three bio-children, I would love a fourth.  I understand the drive to reproduce both intellectually, and personally.  It makes sense that a sex drive is of biological value.  

 

What doesn't make sense to me, is that people seem to place so much value on what class of people they find "attractive", an intangible quality they rarely act upon.  It seems to me, the important thing is who you actually decide to have children with.  

 

We look down upon gay men (for example) marrying women and having bio-children.   Because people seem to think that to do so violates something about the essence of who they are.  But what if that is what he wants.  Don't get me wrong I am all for marriage equality.  If a gay man wants to marry another man, and form a family that way more power to him.

 

I am apparently asexual (a term I didn't even know a year ago).  Does that mean I should have consigned myself to a life of spinsterhood, so I didn't violate "who I really am"?  Ridiculous.  The life I chose is what is important, not who I am or am not attracted to.  

 

I apologize for the bunny trail.  But I have been eager to talk about what it means to be straight etc. with a real life person for some time.  A thread about explaining such to children seemed an appropriate place to get people to explain.  

 

 

Also there is the issue of what a person believes to be right or wrong regardless of how they feel at any given moment in time.  Or for long periods of time.  

 

But I do agree we put far too much emphasis on physical attraction.  It took me over 20 years to comprehend how destructive this can be......I married a man who put so much importance on that that he destroyed his life.  

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I do not recall this trend. 

 

It was definitely not trendy where I grew up. More like "guarantee of even more ostracism than being awkward and generally a nerd would get you." Or that was my experience, anyway. I was the first kid in my high school to come out as gay while still in school, in 1994.

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One thing I would consider ... what is considered "knowledge" in this area today is likely to be different from what is considered "knowledge" 10 and 20 years from now when it matters differently to today's young kids.  Terminology in particular is rather fluid.  Another reason to avoid the apparent focus on boxes and what they are called and who fits into them.

 

Another reason I don't define these things for my kids is that I am not the person to explain what other people feel.  I would rather my kids understand that other people are following their own various paths and they are the best person to articulate what's going on - if they want to.  Sometimes they are still not sure themselves.

 

I am definitely a little unclear about pansexual vs bisexual. How many people are bisexual who aren't pansexual?  And all pansexual people are polysexual-right?

I don't mean this dismissively or disrespectfully , I truly am fuzzy on these details.

 

DESPITE that, I do think it is a fundamental knowledge gap to not know what "gay" and LGBT refer to. Which is certainly OK for little kids.  But it is not a matter of "I don't want to stuff people into labels", it is basic cultural literacy. 

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It was definitely not trendy where I grew up. More like "guarantee of even more ostracism than being awkward and generally a nerd would get you." Or that was my experience, anyway. I was the first kid in my high school to come out as gay while still in school, in 1994.

 

I graduated the same timeframe and. Yeah.  We had ZERO out gay or bi kids in my high school .  Sounds like some people were lucky to be in progressive ares.  Best case scenario in my school was being mocked. I am 100% sure it was a matter of physical safety for boys to not come out.  Now that we're in our early 40s I know, through Facebook, a  few kids I went to school with who are raising families with same sex partners.

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I am definitely a little unclear about pansexual vs bisexual. How many people are bisexual who aren't pansexual?  And all pansexual people are polysexual-right?

I don't mean this dismissively or disrespectfully , I truly am fuzzy on these details.

 

DESPITE that, I do think it is a fundamental knowledge gap to not know what "gay" and LGBT refer to. Which is certainly OK for little kids.  But it is not a matter of "I don't want to stuff people into labels", it is basic cultural literacy. 

 

FTR my kids certainly know (on a basic level) what the L, G, and T mean - and maybe the B, I don't know.  They have learned this just by living in the world.  Same way I learned it.  I guarantee my parents never sat me down to talk about it.  :P

 

My comments about "boxes" were in response to the posters who stated that of course their kids know what gay is because they have a gay uncle.  Well my kids have a gay uncle, but that isn't how I talk about him, whether my kids are present or not.  There are so many more important things for my kids to know about their uncle than his sexual preference and activities.  They did pick up on the fact that he and Mr. ___ are a couple, and they asked about it, and I provided a response that answered their question without trampling on Uncle ___'s right to speak for himself.  The word "gay" was not part of that discussion.  FTR Uncle ___ is not officially "out" except to certain people.  That is HIS choice, not mine.

 

And my kids don't need to be trying to categorize people based on what they know into sexual preference categories.  Just like I don't want their friends deciding that I must be ___ because I am unmarried and live with adult women.  I really don't think it serves a societal purpose.

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Also there is the issue of what a person believes to be right or wrong regardless of how they feel at any given moment in time. Or for long periods of time.

.

There’s also the issue of people being pressured by cultural or religion to do the “right†thing rather than following their true selves and the deep psychological and relationship damage that can result for everyone involved.
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Yes, when they were quite a bit younger due to friends. We have always explained it like they do at our church: There are all kinds of families.  When they were young age they described as "We know some 'mommy and daddy families' and '2 mommy families" and '2 daddy families'" and they also knew that sometimes parents don't always live together but they love their children...that one (divorce) was actually much more difficult to explain. My younger son found that to be a little bit upsetting

 

 

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Well, I don't want to argue about it..but gender isn't really used to define sexuality. A gay boy isn't attracted to someone's gender. He's attracted to their sex.That's why it's called same sex attraction.

I know people sometimes use the word gender to mean sex, because it's 'nicer' so maybe that's what you meant anyway.

 

This is just not true for all people. There are some gay men who date trans men and some lesbians who date trans women because they are attracted to people based on gender. And, of course, some who do not. But your answer is just not monolithically true.

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Because conversations expand and T is part of LGBTQ and gender is typically used to define sexual orientation before getting into nuances.

 

 

Well, I don't want to argue about it..but gender isn't really used to define sexuality. A gay boy isn't attracted to someone's gender. He's attracted to their sex.That's why it's called same sex attraction.

I know people sometimes use the word gender to mean sex, because it's 'nicer' so maybe that's what you meant anyway.

 

If we're talking about the spectrum, has intersex come up for anyone ? I don't think I've ever talked to my kids about intersex and what it means.

 

I could have and maybe should have taken the time to phrase it better but, as I said, "before getting into nuances".  People generally assume the sex of a person based on their gender presentation, and their orientation based on the gender presentation of their partner.  Without being privy to their personal information, we don't really know.  That is how we typically define people in the absence of detail.  

 

Intersex tends to be even MORE private and, while I know a parent in that situation, I haven't personally met anyone who shares that information publicly.

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Obviously, I disagree.  It isn't like I haven't tried to understand.  I'm not stupid, I just don't have that kind of marriage. 

 

I have three bio-children, I would love a fourth.  I understand the drive to reproduce both intellectually, and personally.  It makes sense that a sex drive is of biological value.  

 

What doesn't make sense to me, is that people seem to place so much value on what class of people they find "attractive", an intangible quality they rarely act upon.  It seems to me, the important thing is who you actually decide to have children with.  

 

We look down upon gay men (for example) marrying women and having bio-children.   Because people seem to think that to do so violates something about the essence of who they are.  But what if that is what he wants.  Don't get me wrong I am all for marriage equality.  If a gay man wants to marry another man, and form a family that way more power to him.

 

I am apparently asexual (a term I didn't even know a year ago).  Does that mean I should have consigned myself to a life of spinsterhood, so I didn't violate "who I really am"?  Ridiculous.  The life I chose is what is important, not who I am or am not attracted to.  

 

I apologize for the bunny trail.  But I have been eager to talk about what it means to be straight etc. with a real life person for some time.  A thread about explaining such to children seemed an appropriate place to get people to explain.  

 

I suspect a lot of people just find sexual attraction a bit more moving than you do.  That being said, actually, I don't think you are really wrong.  I think there is a lot more cultural element to it than many are willing to allow, and our culture generally has gotten away from the idea that is it possible for that to be the case, or that really union for sexual reproduction often isn't about people being wildly attracted to each other.

 

After all, we can see pretty big differences in behaviour over different cultures and situations, and not just in terms of people repressing their sexuality either.  But with supposed homosexual attraction there have been societies where almost everyone was doing it at some level, and presumably not wishing they were not obligated to do so.  Or on the other hand, we know of places where it wasn't taboo, because no one ever thought of it.  

 

Our culture does seem to place more emphasis than many on defining sexual attraction into boxes and that being a kind of important part of identity, even though historically it hasn't been a part of identity at all, and even places where it was practiced didn't have the sense of it as a discrete category.

 

Anyway - what all this tells me is that I have no doubt there is significant biological element, sexual expression is also significantly about social construction and just plain old customary usage.  It's suited our worldview to play that down.  I think partly that was an effort to try and overcome social taboos around homeosexuality, but also it seems to me to have a kind of Romantic element.

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I suspect a lot of people just find sexual attraction a bit more moving than you do.  That being said, actually, I don't think you are really wrong.  I think there is a lot more cultural element to it than many are willing to allow, and our culture generally has gotten away from the idea that is it possible for that to be the case, or that really union for sexual reproduction often isn't about people being wildly attracted to each other.

 

After all, we can see pretty big differences in behaviour over different cultures and situations, and not just in terms of people repressing their sexuality either.  But with supposed homosexual attraction there have been societies where almost everyone was doing it at some level, and presumably not wishing they were not obligated to do so.  Or on the other hand, we know of places where it wasn't taboo, because no one ever thought of it.  

 

Our culture does seem to place more emphasis than many on defining sexual attraction into boxes and that being a kind of important part of identity, even though historically it hasn't been a part of identity at all, and even places where it was practiced didn't have the sense of it as a discrete category.

 

Anyway - what all this tells me is that I have no doubt there is significant biological element, sexual expression is also significantly about social construction and just plain old customary usage.  It's suited our worldview to play that down.  I think partly that was an effort to try and overcome social taboos around homeosexuality, but also it seems to me to have a kind of Romantic element.

When it comes down to it, romantic love, as such, didn't really exist as a thing until the 14th century. The fact that our entire way of dealing with relationships in the modern Western world is based on it can make that hard to wrap one's head around. I think the modern categories we have around sexual orientation specifically evolved in our culture within that context of romantic love as the basis for life-partner/spousal relationships.

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When it comes down to it, romantic love, as such, didn't really exist as a thing until the 14th century. The fact that our entire way of dealing with relationships in the modern Western world is based on it can make that hard to wrap one's head around. I think the modern categories we have around sexual orientation specifically evolved in our culture within that context of romantic love as the basis for life-partner/spousal relationships.

 

Yes, I think that's probably true.

 

I do have my romantic tendencies, but for whatever reason not so much around marriage - I always think romance or romantic is a crazy basis for marriage.

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That is a fairly recent view.

How do you figure that?

 

Those who have chosen to be celibate aren’t usually asexual and never have been. Most experience sexual attraction at some point in their lives to men and/or women.

 

ETA- I strongly considered becoming a nun when I was a teenager. But I was definitely attracted to males. I could have chosen to remain celibate despite that attraction. I still would have been heterosexual.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Heterosexual = other, different sex relationship

 

Homosexual = same sex relationship

 

It's pretty straightforward. If you're wanting to be in a sexual relationship with someone whose sex is other than yours, you are straight.

 

I really think you should probably refrain from defining other peoples' sexuality for them.

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When it comes down to it, romantic love, as such, didn't really exist as a thing until the 14th century. The fact that our entire way of dealing with relationships in the modern Western world is based on it can make that hard to wrap one's head around. I think the modern categories we have around sexual orientation specifically evolved in our culture within that context of romantic love as the basis for life-partner/spousal relationships.

 

I don't think this is accurate.  There are plenty of much older stories that involve romantic love.

 

Whether or not marriage customs reflect romantic love is another question.

 

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What doesn't make sense to me, is that people seem to place so much value on what class of people they find "attractive", an intangible quality they rarely act upon.  It seems to me, the important thing is who you actually decide to have children with.  

 

Although why exactly is that at all important (to me or you)?

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How do you figure that?

 

Those who have chosen to be celibate aren’t usually asexual and never have been. Most experience sexual attraction at some point in their lives to men and/or women.

 

ETA- I strongly considered becoming a nun when I was a teenager. But I was definitely attracted to males. I could have chosen to remain celibate despite that attraction. I still would have been heterosexual.

 

Because homosexuality, or heterosexuality, weren't concepts in the same way.  People weren't defined as categories or identities around their sexual preference.

 

So it's more like, if you really wanted to be a vegetarian, and also you happened to be unlucky enough to live in the Arctic so that wasn't really possible, we'd not consider that person a vegetarian just because that might be what they'd do if they had the opportunity.

 

Doing was more important than ones internal desires.  In so far as there were terms that correspond to the ones we use, they were focused on what people actually did.  

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I don't think this is accurate.  There are plenty of much older stories that involve romantic love.

 

Whether or not marriage customs reflect romantic love is another question.

 

 

Well, there are ones that involve sexual attraction, and all kinds of emotions and such.

 

They often didn't end well though.  And they still were very connected to physical outcomes.

 

The late medieval period was where you see this real development of the idea of romantic love.

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Well, there are ones that involve sexual attraction, and all kinds of emotions and such.

 

They often didn't end well though.  And they still were very connected to physical outcomes.

 

The late medieval period was where you see this real development of the idea of romantic love.

 

I have probably read different things from what you have read.

 

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I don't think this is accurate.  There are plenty of much older stories that involve romantic love.

 

Whether or not marriage customs reflect romantic love is another question.

 

 

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/arts-blog/did-love-begin-middle-ages

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalric_romance (see extensive references at the bottom).

 

The most recent treatment of the topic I have read/heard is in The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell.

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http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/arts-blog/did-love-begin-middle-ages

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalric_romance (see extensive references at the bottom).

 

The most recent treatment of the topic I have read/heard is in The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell.

 

From your first link:

 

It's important to bear in mind that I don't think people have changed,' said Professor Ashe. 'People in every time and culture have fallen in love, but not every culture has written about love or valued it in the same way.

 

'In the 12th century, romantic love became something that was worth celebrating and exploring in songs and stories - and you only have to look at modern film and music to see that legacy is still with us.'

 

So are we talking about literature or are we talking about real life?  I thought we were talking about real life.

 

Also they seem to be focused on Western literature, while I was not.

 

Furthermore I guess the Bible and other holy books don't count as literature ....

Edited by SKL
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There’s also the issue of people being pressured by cultural or religion to do the “right†thing rather than following their true selves and the deep psychological and relationship damage that can result for everyone involved.

Are you implying that religious belief cannot be a significant element of a person's true self? Sexual attraction and sexual expression are more real and valid than religious sentiment, belief, and expression?

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Are people being purposefully dense?  :lol:

 

Sorry...I'm kidding, but I think love is a loaded word.  We can love lots of people we don't necessarily want to have sex with.  When talking about sexual orientation we are speaking straight up about who someone would want to (literally or hypothetically) have sex with.  Right? 

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Because homosexuality, or heterosexuality, weren't concepts in the same way.  People weren't defined as categories or identities around their sexual preference.

 

So it's more like, if you really wanted to be a vegetarian, and also you happened to be unlucky enough to live in the Arctic so that wasn't really possible, we'd not consider that person a vegetarian just because that might be what they'd do if they had the opportunity.

 

Doing was more important than ones internal desires.  In so far as there were terms that correspond to the ones we use, they were focused on what people actually did.  

 

 

See Bluegoat's post above.  That is what I was referring to.

 

How do you figure that?

 

Those who have chosen to be celibate aren’t usually asexual and never have been. Most experience sexual attraction at some point in their lives to men and/or women.

 

ETA- I strongly considered becoming a nun when I was a teenager. But I was definitely attracted to males. I could have chosen to remain celibate despite that attraction. I still would have been heterosexual.

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When it comes down to it, romantic love, as such, didn't really exist as a thing until the 14th century.

 

Huh? There is plenty of literary evidence against this statement.

There is love poetry from the Ancient Greeks that very clearly speaks of romantic love. And early medieval song, too.

Edited by regentrude
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