Affectional Orientation

Introduction

“Affectional orientation (or romantic orientation) is used both alternatively and side-by-side with sexual orientation. [1] It is based on the perspective that sexual attraction is but a single component of a larger dynamic. To holders of this view, one’s orientation is defined by whom one is predisposed to fall in love with, whether or not one desires that person sexually. Lately, the predominant use of the term “sexual orientation” is considered to reduce a whole category of desires and emotions, as well as power and connection, to sex.

The term affectional orientation is also used by those who consider themselves asexual and only experience mental, emotional, physical (i.e. sensual, tactile), and/or aesthetic attraction(s). The terms used for different affectional orientations are often the same as those for sexual orientations; though “homoromantic,” “biromantic,” “heteroromantic,” and “aromantic” have gained some popularity. Asexuals sometimes incorporate colloquial terms to describe both the romantic and sexual components of their orientation (e.g. gay-asexual, bi-asexual, and straight-asexual).

There are also those who hold the view that one’s orientation is defined by whom one has affection for and that their sexual attraction (or “drive”, perhaps more appropriately) is dependent upon affection for another human being’s personal qualities, regardless of their sex, gender or even outward appearance altogether. This use of the term does not require falling in love but is still based on a personal affection. One might now consider the phrase “conditional sexual attraction” to describe the experience of those who are otherwise asexual, as opposed to “primary sexual attraction” used to describe people who are “sexual”. ” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affectional_orientation)

Criticism

See the website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affectional_orientation

It talks about how this term is more applicable to describe those who have complicated desires, basically something that can not be summarized by bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, pansexual. Sexuality is not simply about sex, which our culture has begun to combine with love, but a combination of many factors that can not be simply understood by labels.

Note

This term is important to consider for people who are transitioning and well, for anyone. American Society today is largely based on love intertwining with sex. Maybe we need to separate the two and see them as factors that influence each other, not as one entity.

Also, this can be an important argument for same-sex marriage if someone who is affectionate towards the same sex (someone who is trans, whatever the situation calls for) and usually finds themselves sexually attracted to the “opposite”, but is in a relationship with someone who, by society, is considered the same-sex, shouldn’t they have the right to get married? America would probably like to encourage monogamous and committed relationships (which marriage encourages, though maybe not…) and marriage sometimes has the ability to do this. I found this draft of an amendment that should be proposed:

Section I. Same-Sex Union

Whereas maintaining the public health requires that lifetime monogamous union be encouraged, and that promiscuity be discouraged, and

Whereas current laws regarding domestic partnership tend to undermine the institution of marriage,

Congress hereby encourages the States to create a legal status of same-gender union between two individuals with the same rights and priveleges as heterosexual marriage, and subject to the same laws regarding divorce. Congress further encourages the States to abolish all laws regarding domestic partnership without benefit of marriage.” (http://www.dogchurch.org/dogpac/gays.html)

Conclusion

Today, Sexuality is mostly thought of in terms of the two interlaced terms: love and sex. Affectional Orientation seems to make and insist that sexuality is more complicated, that love should not be just thrown in with sexuality because love involves a different desire. Maybe, and this is just a beginning, all of us are confused as to the difference between affection and sexual desire. The intention, the feeling behind something, is not always apparent, which is why, possibly, sexuality has been including both affectionate desire and sexual. If two friends kiss each other versus a couple, how is one to measure the difference except for the outcome?

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Filed under Education, glbtq, Queer, Sexuality

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