Tangled Nest That Is Attraction

Much has been made of whether or not sexual orientation is a choice. The mainstream LGBTQ advocates insist that it is not, and that discrimination against queer folk is discriminating against something that is basic to a person’s biology. Anti-gay groups insist it is a choice, and an immoral one at that. A few people take the view that the question is irrelevant and that even if orientation was a choice, it does not make it okay to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

I won’t argue any of those points just yet. What is interesting to me right now is the stubborn cultural insistence to inextricably link love, sexuality, and romance.  Don’t mistake me for being so thick to suggest that there isn’t often a connection to these three. Some might say there is always, or at least usually a connection, though I wonder how much of that is because of our cultural expectations and not our emotional and physical needs.

Everything about attraction in our society’s view of it seems to be one more example of our need for either-or propositions: if you are attracted to someone you must love them, you must either be attracted to men or women, you cannot feel romantic love without sexual attraction and on and on. Even most people that accept the Kinsey scale cannot pull themselves out of the absolute primacy of monogamy.

It just doesn’t work like that, though. First off, as a pan sexual I don’t fit neatly on the Kinsey scale. That is not the only way either. I tend to be physically attracted to men, yet for whatever reason find myself romantically drawn to women. I know I am just a sample of one, and cannot be held as evidence, but I have had enough conversations to know that while I am statistically outside the norm, indeed even compared to others that are, I am not alone.

Furthermore I have known people that are all over the place on the romance-attraction spectrum. I have had the opportunity to know people that love so many people, so deeply, yet feel no need to tie themselves to anyone. I have known people that have bound themselves together in polyamorous relationships. I have known romantically monogamous couples that are not bothered by one or the other engaging in sexual relationships with others and I have known people like my parents: each others’ first and only love.

I don’t write all this to advocate for any or all views of love. I hope that you all accept others that engage in relationships different from yours, but if you don’t that isn’t a battle I am interested in fighting today. I write this so maybe you readers reflect on your own views of love and learn to be true to yourselves. I have struggled with this long myself and quite frankly I am not sure 100% what is right for me, but I sure won’t limit my options out of cultural habit.


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