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COLUMN

Savage Love

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You say you "occasionally have sex with guys," BONER, which means this guy isn't your first. He's just the first guy – ­perhaps the first person – that you couldn't get hard with. Let me guess: This has never happened to you before. Of course it hasn't – you're 19. But it happens to every guy sooner or later, and you're much likelier to seek an explanation or attach some deeper meaning to it the first time it happens. (Maybe I'm not bi! Maybe it was guilt!) Don't waste your time, BONER. Sometimes a soft dick is just a soft dick. If it keeps happening, well, then you may have a problem. But if you go on obsessing about an isolated incident – perhaps brought on by nerves (you liked this guy, right?) – you run the risk of creating a problem.

I was on a layover in San Francisco. My attractive, bearish, platonic, straight male coworker would like to know if it is weird that a guy complimented his shoes while at the urinal in the SFO bathroom.
Rhymes With Larry Craig
?

Yes.

As I was reading the letters in the last Savage Love, it occurred to me that the debate over polyamory as a "sexual orientation" is primarily one of definitions. Some folks who are poly see that as just as "core" to their nature as their gender preference. Therefore, I propose the following framework. We all have a sexual identity composed of four components:
1. Our gender identity ranging from cis to trans.
2. Our sexual orientation ranging from homo to hetero.
3. Our sexual exclusivity ranging from purely monogamous to purely polyamorous.
4. Our sexual interest ranging from asexual to highly sexual.
In my view, these four components are equal in that they are all things that we are rather than things that we choose. While it is possible to choose a lifestyle that deviates from one's sexual identity, in all cases doing so entails stress, cognitive dissonance and some degree of self-loathing. Like all conceptual frameworks, this one is not necessarily complete. It fails to include sexual interest in animals, particular age groups or any of several hundred kinks, all of which are traits that seem to be more identity than choice. That said, I do think there is something unique and universally applicable in the four-component scheme, and I think that we should as a society set a goal of acceptance and nondiscrimination surrounding all aspects of sexual identity.
Just My Thought
s

I like your model, but it has to be said: At a certain point, endless Tumblr-enabled debates about sexual identity, gender identity, sexual orientation and sexual interests take on the flavor of those how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin debates that obsessed theologians in the Middle Ages.
For the record: Each of us is free – and remains free – to identify however we wish and to apply the labels "identity" and/or "orientation" however we please. If a particular person isn't trying to take anything away from you, then the fact that the person holds slightly differing views on identity or orientation, or the meanings of those words, or just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, well, it really isn't an enormous fucking deal, is it? And, in my opinion, those who spend their time debating, classifying and unpacking sex and identity run a very real risk of disappearing up their own ass in a puff of santorum. Which is my way of saying …
No, I won't be giving a column over to angry letters from buttsore people who feel that D/s is their sexual orientation, despite being told that I must because last week I suggested that, from my point of view, D/s is a sexual identity, not an orientation, and I gave a column to angry poly folks so it's only fair and blah blah blah.

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