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So, not to derail the current conversation but my life has once again proven to me that my primary talent in life is being awkward and creating awkward situations. Just need to vent the awkward feelings somewhere, hope you all don't mind.

Spoiled for length:

So my feelings were hurt pretty bad a week ago when I was invited to a BBQ with a bunch of local gamer people and I decided to go as myself, figuring people would accept me or they wouldn't. Things were going well until about half way through when I saw some of the guys laughing and talking and overheard them referring to me as a "Trap".

Crushed, I spent the rest of the night being friendly but reserved and when I went home it was a flop in bed and cry type of affair.

So I finally got the opportunity to talk to one of my friends that was in that group today and express my hurt feelings and he was like:

"I'm sorry we hurt your feelings, but there has probably been some misunderstanding of what we were talking about, though I don't know if it will make you feel better or worse."

He explained that what happened was that while I have always been a small and youthful looking person when I showed up in short shorts and a loose shirt with makeup on and a flower in my hair I was giving off the really, really, really unfortunate impression of looking like a flat chested underage girl trying to look like a sexy adult.

Apparently the guys were standing around each other doing an awkward; "So have you seen Yuugasa?..." "...Yeah." etc. until one of them just broke the ice by saying:

"So, while I'll readily admit to finding a girl attractive, even one who happens to have a penis, I feel like if I admit to an attraction here I'd be making an additional sideways admission of something pretty squicky."

To which, after a moment, another kid said in his best Admiral Ackbar voice: "She's a Trap!"

And everyone proceeded to laugh in relief as collective feelings were spoken out loud.

He said he can have people apologize but knowing what I know now I don't feel like anyone was being hurtful.

My embarrassment levels are through the roof though, I was prepared for a lot of reactions but not that one.

*Hugs pillow and desires to never go outside again.*


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I want to say something comforting but don't know how to articulate it at this early hour. Anyway *hugs*

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Seconding the hugs.

hugs

Silver Crusade

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*offers third helping of hugs*

Liberty's Edge

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*offers yet more hugs*

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

We're going to smother her if we're not careful. ^_^


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I'm not gay, Bi or transgender. I am a Hippy tho and if its one thing hippies love is hugging, so...

Hugs a tree I just named Yuugasa, a beautiful strong tree :-)

Silver Crusade

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Kalindlara wrote:

We're going to smother her if we're not careful. ^_^

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE A DOGPILE OF AFFECTION AND CARING.

Silver Crusade

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captain yesterday wrote:

I'm not gay, Bi or transgender. I am a Hippy tho and if its one thing hippies love is hugging, so...

Hugs a tree I just named Yuugasa, a beautiful strong tree :-)

... this is quite possibly the best thing I've read all week. Not counting Bedside Notepad.

Contributor

Shadow Knight 12 wrote:


But yes, I should've said biological. To be honest, I don't believe in biological determinism (it's pretty much disproved by actual biology), so I didn't want to draw too much attention to a contentious point.

We don't have to believe in some things for them to be true regardless.

It depends on your definition of biological determinism I suppose. A lot of the work in the past ten years has been finding with no wiggle room to say otherwise a whole host of hardwired higher behaviors that are influenced or entirely determined by biological factors. A lot of things are more complex with a lot more variables, but for instance gender-identity, sexuality, and even certain things like phantom limb, certain body dysmorphias, and former paraphelias like foot fetishism have very distinct biological markers that exist regardless and outside of any social influence.

Contributor

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As for the discussion of demisexuality. I'm not personally convinced at this point in time that it exists as a distinct sexuality with empirical measurement to differentiate it from hetero/homo/bi/a.

There has been a proliferation of boutique sexualities in the past few years online. I'm not convinced that they necessarily exist in the sense that I would measure them by as a scientist. For the people applying it to themselves it may work for them, and it may be positive for them to define themselves accordingly. But I suspect it's just social terms placed on top of the underlying biologically defined sexuality in question.

Of course published, peer reviewed work on the topic can absolutely change my mind. That's how science works. At the moment however, a keyword search for demisexual or demisexuality on Pubmed for instance returns no hits.


I am not the type to judge unless I am judged.

And in other news, I might fall somewhere in the asexual spectrum myself.

Dark Archive

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Yuugasa wrote:
Description of a crappy situation and people being crappy to Yuugasa.

It sucks you had to go through that :/ All the hugs.


Thanks for the support guys=)


Jessica Price wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

Is it so far out of the norm to only want to or be able to have sex with people you have feelings for? There's a label for that now?

I guess you can take me out of the CIS box and put me in the demisexual box, then.
Yeah, I'm not sure that only being interested in having sex with people for whom you already have feelings puts you on the asexual spectrum.

I didn't think it did either. Some descriptions seem a bit too broad.

Silver Crusade System Administrator

I'm so sorry TarkXT, that's really awful. =(

Silver Crusade

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HenshinFanatic wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
Explanation of a travesty of justice

I can't begin to understand how something that horrible could happen to your mother. Unfortunately all I can do is express my deepest regret that such cases are far too common. This is why marriage equality needs to be a thing last decade.

I sincerely hope that you, your mother, and anyone else in or affected by such a situation will find at least a measure of solace if not actual vindication.

I've heard it said that what one of the most important aspects to the right to marriage is really the right to divorce. The ability to have your familial ties (and material possessions) unentangled through a legal process is tremendously important for a society. It doesn't have the feel-good-ness of a beautiful wedding, but it's a reality.


Believe me, I get that. Even though I don't like the concept of divorce, for me you only marry someone once you're absolutely sure that you want to devote your life to them; it's a solemn vow to love someone with your body, heart and soul; however I recognize that there are situations where it is more than warranted though I wish that such dire straits didn't occur.

Project Manager

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HenshinFanatic wrote:
for me you only marry someone once you're absolutely sure that you want to devote your life to them; it's a solemn vow to love someone with your body, heart and soul;

Why does marriage have to be that for everyone, though?

Like, "hey, I like you and it'd be nice to share living expenses and health insurance" seems just as valid to me.

It's pretty much like sex: as long as both people going into it are clear and in agreement about what they want out of it, it can be anything.


In Australia, we don't have same sex marriage. But the law is probably better, there was certainly provision for an important adult to a child, who wasn't a parent, to apply for access in the same way as a parent. That was when I studied family law, long ago.

Without meaning to minimise TarkXT's horrid family events, there is a lot of tragedy involved in a lot of garden variety divorces. Someone loses every custody battle, and that can easily involve a lot of suffering.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed a series of offensive/hostile posts and the posts in response. Inferring that others in this conversation, or the topics within this thread are "special snowflakes" in this way is not acceptable.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

And people change. Just because you love someone to the very core of your being when you're 25 doesn't mean you'll still do so by the time you're 50.


HenshinFanatic wrote:
Believe me, I get that. Even though I don't like the concept of divorce, for me you only marry someone once you're absolutely sure that you want to devote your life to them; it's a solemn vow to love someone with your body, heart and soul; however I recognize that there are situations where it is more than warranted though I wish that such dire straits didn't occur.

And "Absolutely sure" doesn't mean you're right. Or that things won't change. Or alternately, no one should ever marry because you can't be absolutely sure about anything in the future until it's happened.

More generally, especially when you're young, it's easy to get swept up in feelings that make you think you're absolutely sure this is the one. Sometimes you're wrong. Sometimes people change.


I didn't mean to imply that mine is the one true way (as if there's something so asinine), I simply wanted to share how I view that particular subject. I have never judged anyone as being a lesser person for having open relationships or going through multiple marriages or whatever. Pretty much the only thing I am adamant on is my stance towards drug (ab)use but that's better discussed in a different topic. Anything else, I just accept that it's only my opinion and let others live how they want to.

Kajehase, I was raised to believe that love (the deep and abiding kind anyway) is more a choice than a feeling. I don't ask anyone to agree with me on that point, simply to respect my viewpoint as I do theirs.


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Yuugasa wrote:

So, not to derail the current conversation but my life has once again proven to me that my primary talent in life is being awkward and creating awkward situations. Just need to vent the awkward feelings somewhere, hope you all don't mind.

** spoiler omitted **...

Wow.

I'm sorry yuu. This sounds painful, embarrassing and confusing all at once.

belated hug


Todd Stewart wrote:

As for the discussion of demisexuality. I'm not personally convinced at this point in time that it exists as a distinct sexuality with empirical measurement to differentiate it from hetero/homo/bi/a.

There has been a proliferation of boutique sexualities in the past few years online. I'm not convinced that they necessarily exist in the sense that I would measure them by as a scientist. For the people applying it to themselves it may work for them, and it may be positive for them to define themselves accordingly. But I suspect it's just social terms placed on top of the underlying biologically defined sexuality in question.

Of course published, peer reviewed work on the topic can absolutely change my mind. That's how science works. At the moment however, a keyword search for demisexual or demisexuality on Pubmed for instance returns no hits.

learning new stuff every day.

Boutique sexualities. Wow.

Dark Archive

Jessica Price wrote:
HenshinFanatic wrote:
for me you only marry someone once you're absolutely sure that you want to devote your life to them; it's a solemn vow to love someone with your body, heart and soul;

Why does marriage have to be that for everyone, though?

Like, "hey, I like you and it'd be nice to share living expenses and health insurance" seems just as valid to me.

It's pretty much like sex: as long as both people going into it are clear and in agreement about what they want out of it, it can be anything.

This^

The legal institution of marriage is about the transference of property. Secondary to that are who has rights over whom in certain situations (Children, one partner being incapacitated and needing someone to make decisions for them, etc.). Love has little to do with it in the legal arena, sadly.

I feel for TarkXT. That situation stinks. It serves only to hurt the folks who have actual stake in the situation (the children and their parent). We need to have better/easier ways to designate guardianship for minors beyond birth certificates (Fun fact: Step-parents don't automatically gain parental rights by fiat of marriage, they usually have to adopt formally. A lot of places hand wave this, which is actually a violation of things like HIPPA/FERPA. Marriage does speed the process in the courts and makes it (usually) easier. That's definitely part of why we need marriage to be an accessible institution for everyone, everywhere. We also, as Joynt pointed out, could benefit from alternate routes to getting the same legal rights as appropriate.


Todd Stewart wrote:
Shadow Knight 12 wrote:


But yes, I should've said biological. To be honest, I don't believe in biological determinism (it's pretty much disproved by actual biology), so I didn't want to draw too much attention to a contentious point.

We don't have to believe in some things for them to be true regardless.

It depends on your definition of biological determinism I suppose. A lot of the work in the past ten years has been finding with no wiggle room to say otherwise a whole host of hardwired higher behaviors that are influenced or entirely determined by biological factors. A lot of things are more complex with a lot more variables, but for instance gender-identity, sexuality, and even certain things like phantom limb, certain body dysmorphias, and former paraphelias like foot fetishism have very distinct biological markers that exist regardless and outside of any social influence.

As a biochemist, I can assure you that biological determinism doesn't actually exist. It's a popular belief held by people with only a high school level of understanding of biology.

Our biology is highly mutable and changing, and affected by external factors. The degree that our biology can be affected is still under study, but it seems to be far more than we thought. Between things like epigenetics and genetic plasticity, it's ridiculous to presume that a person's biological makeup is an unchanging and immutable thing.


Shadow Knight 12 wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
Shadow Knight 12 wrote:


But yes, I should've said biological. To be honest, I don't believe in biological determinism (it's pretty much disproved by actual biology), so I didn't want to draw too much attention to a contentious point.

We don't have to believe in some things for them to be true regardless.

It depends on your definition of biological determinism I suppose. A lot of the work in the past ten years has been finding with no wiggle room to say otherwise a whole host of hardwired higher behaviors that are influenced or entirely determined by biological factors. A lot of things are more complex with a lot more variables, but for instance gender-identity, sexuality, and even certain things like phantom limb, certain body dysmorphias, and former paraphelias like foot fetishism have very distinct biological markers that exist regardless and outside of any social influence.

As a biochemist, I can assure you that biological determinism doesn't actually exist. It's a popular belief held by people with only a high school level of understanding of biology.

Our biology is highly mutable and changing, and affected by external factors. The degree that our biology can be affected is still under study, but it seems to be far more than we thought. Between things like epigenetics and genetic plasticity, it's ridiculous to presume that a person's biological makeup is an unchanging and immutable thing.

It's not clear to me what you mean by that. Are you saying that such things as sexual orientation and gender identity are not biologically determined?

Or something more subtle?

Project Manager

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thejeff wrote:
Shadow Knight 12 wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
Shadow Knight 12 wrote:


But yes, I should've said biological. To be honest, I don't believe in biological determinism (it's pretty much disproved by actual biology), so I didn't want to draw too much attention to a contentious point.

We don't have to believe in some things for them to be true regardless.

It depends on your definition of biological determinism I suppose. A lot of the work in the past ten years has been finding with no wiggle room to say otherwise a whole host of hardwired higher behaviors that are influenced or entirely determined by biological factors. A lot of things are more complex with a lot more variables, but for instance gender-identity, sexuality, and even certain things like phantom limb, certain body dysmorphias, and former paraphelias like foot fetishism have very distinct biological markers that exist regardless and outside of any social influence.

As a biochemist, I can assure you that biological determinism doesn't actually exist. It's a popular belief held by people with only a high school level of understanding of biology.

Our biology is highly mutable and changing, and affected by external factors. The degree that our biology can be affected is still under study, but it seems to be far more than we thought. Between things like epigenetics and genetic plasticity, it's ridiculous to presume that a person's biological makeup is an unchanging and immutable thing.

It's not clear to me what you mean by that. Are you saying that such things as sexual orientation and gender identity are not biologically determined?

Or something more subtle?

I think it's important to distinguish between "genetically determined" (with the implication of "immutable") and "biologically determined" (influenced by a number of biological factors of which genetics is only one).

There's evidence, for example, that orientation can be affected by environmental factors in the womb, so in that sense, it might not be purely genetic. It's still biological, but it's not immutably determined at conception. (And for that matter, there's evidence that orientation may shift over time, especially in women.)


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thejeff wrote:

It's not clear to me what you mean by that. Are you saying that such things as sexual orientation and gender identity are not biologically determined?

Or something more subtle?

I think that we currently lack sufficient information to determine how mutable sexual/gender orientation is. It obviously has some biological component, but the problem of going full-speed-ahead an saying "Yes, it's biological, but one day, we shall rule over it! We shall make whatever changes we want to genetic expressions!" is that it undermines the entire "born this way" rationale that's been used to convince straight people to stop trying to "fix" us and instead accept us.

Technically, it doesn't really undermine the letter of the saying. You WERE born this way, but in the future that might (very big "might") be within science's power to alter. However, I believe that the rationale we should present to cis het people shouldn't be "there's nothing you can do to change someone's gender identity/sexual orientation." The rationale should be "it's not your business what other people's gender identity/sexual orientation is. Also, if you're trying to force your children to be a certain way regardless of how damaging the process might be for them, you're a terrible parent."

Silver Crusade

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Speaking from the POV of pure ignorance (important because those of us who are ignorant about this make up the majority of your social environment), it seems like hetero -> bi -> homo is like the frequency of your car radio, but the 'asexual spectrum' is the volume.

Am I totally wrong? If I am, what is it, in relation to hetero to homo spectrum?


Shadow Knight 12 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's not clear to me what you mean by that. Are you saying that such things as sexual orientation and gender identity are not biologically determined?

Or something more subtle?

I think that we currently lack sufficient information to determine how mutable sexual/gender orientation is. It obviously has some biological component, but the problem of going full-speed-ahead an saying "Yes, it's biological, but one day, we shall rule over it! We shall make whatever changes we want to genetic expressions!" is that it undermines the entire "born this way" rationale that's been used to convince straight people to stop trying to "fix" us and instead accept us.

Technically, it doesn't really undermine the letter of the saying. You WERE born this way, but in the future that might (very big "might") be within science's power to alter. However, I believe that the rationale we should present to cis het people shouldn't be "there's nothing you can do to change someone's gender identity/sexual orientation." The rationale should be "it's not your business what other people's gender identity/sexual orientation is. Also, if you're trying to force your children to be a certain way regardless of how damaging the process might be for them, you're a terrible parent."

I've always heard the "biologically determined" description as countering the "You've chosen ..." or the "It's bad parenting that made you ..." lines, not with any reference to "One day we shall be able to change it".

In theory I agree that "It's not your business" should be enough, but the "I didn't choose this, I came this way" approach has been much more successful at winning support. It also has the advantage of being true - whatever the messy details of how orientation and identity are determined, the overwhelming majority of LGBTQ people aren't choosing it.

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Shadow Knight 12 wrote:

As a biochemist, I can assure you that biological determinism doesn't actually exist. It's a popular belief held by people with only a high school level of understanding of biology.

Our biology is highly mutable and changing, and affected by external factors. The degree that our biology can be affected is still under study, but it seems to be far more than we thought. Between things like epigenetics and genetic plasticity, it's ridiculous to presume that a person's biological makeup is an unchanging and immutable thing.

As a cell biologist, let me be clear about what I meant. I don't think we actually disagree much at all.

I'm not advocating any sort of hard, absolute determinism or anything at all clear cut as you have gene X thus you will be Y complex trait. Nothing is that simple. But a lot of complex human behaviors have significant biological components (and in the case of sexuality seem to be entirely biological and immutable past a certain point of development). But the expanding exploration of epigenetics, genetic plasticity, neurological development in utero with myriad influences on the uterine environment and the interplay therein between maternal and fetal genes and their expression, etc has put a nail in the heart of any notion of social influence is everything, much to the chagrin of Lysenko's ghost and his corporeal ideological fellow travelers.

That being said, from my own reading of the literature, I'm largely convinced that both sexuality and internal gender identity are biological in nature and immutable. I haven't seen much empirical evidence pointing to any social influence thereof. What exact biological effects in combination are responsible, in what way, at what point in development... that's still very much up in the air with lots of competing ideas. I look forward to seeing how the field advances as time goes on.

Project Manager

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Todd Stewart wrote:


That being said, from my own reading of the literature, I'm largely convinced that both sexuality and internal gender identity are biological in nature and immutable. I haven't seen much empirical evidence pointing to any social influence thereof. What exact biological effects in combination are responsible, in what way, at what point in development... that's still very much up in the air with lots of competing ideas. I look forward to seeing how the field advances as time goes on.

So again, the "immutability" characterization is counter to the experiences of a lot of women (I'm not sure about men, as everything I've read on the subject has focused on women).

It may be involuntarily mutable, but many women experience their orientation as fluid and evolving over the course of their lives. (Hence the lesbian who, later in life, falls in love with a man, or the straight woman who falls in love with her (female) best friend, or the bi woman who ends up attracted to only one gender.)

The response from biologists tends to be "you were bi all the time," but that's patronizing speculation that assumes that the biologist somehow knows who the women in question were attracted to better than the women themselves do.


Todd Stewart wrote:

As a cell biologist, let me be clear about what I meant. I don't think we actually disagree much at all.

I'm not advocating any sort of hard, absolute determinism or anything at all clear cut as you have gene X thus you will be Y complex trait. Nothing is that simple. But a lot of complex human behaviors have significant biological components (and in the case of sexuality seem to be entirely biological and immutable past a certain point of development). But the expanding exploration of epigenetics, genetic plasticity, neurological development in utero with myriad influences on the uterine environment and the interplay therein between maternal and fetal genes and their expression, etc has put a nail in the heart of any notion of social influence is everything, much to the chagrin of Lysenko's ghost and his corporeal ideological fellow travelers.

That being said, from my own reading of the literature, I'm largely convinced that both sexuality and internal gender identity are biological in nature and immutable. I haven't seen much empirical evidence pointing to any social influence thereof. What exact biological effects in combination are responsible, in what way, at what point in development... that's still very much up in the air with lots of competing ideas. I look forward to seeing how the field advances as time goes on.

You mean you haven't read the studies done to identical twins, and how they not always have the same sexual orientation? Which must mean that there is some environmental factor that affects the genetic expression? Which also correlates with the studies regarding genetic plasticity and epigenetics, and how the environment can drastically change the way different genes are expressed?

I think the idea that social influence is everything is a strawman, a position nobody seriously put forth, and I don't think any scientist would ever suggest that. What I did say is that the environment (not solely culture or society, but also more concrete things like ambient chemicals, radiation, and other types of genetic-altering phenomena) can change genetic expression in pretty dramatic ways.

EDIT: Also what was mentioned above, yes, that people have related experiences of their sexual orientation slowly shifting over time, and the idea that a scientist can merely say "well, you were bi the whole time" is a rather paternalistic view that I am glad we're moving away from. We're not supposed to act as gatekeepers, we're supposed to act as facilitators between people and science. It's not our job to tell people what they are or aren't, but to show them the tools they need for them to decide for themselves.


I wouldn't be surprised if the literature relating to the experience of men with regards to their orientation showed a tendency towards immutability. Reminds me of something I heard once comparing men (unfavourably) to mules and well, the old saying comes to mind.

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Shadow Knight 12 wrote:


You mean you haven't read the studies done to identical twins, and how they not always have the same sexual orientation? Which must mean that there is some environmental factor that affects the genetic expression? Which also correlates with the studies regarding genetic plasticity and epigenetics, and how the environment can drastically change the way different genes are expressed?

Twin studies don't necessarily imply that the twins in question shared the exact uterine environment, potentially skewing the data. Do they share the same amniotic environment? Do they share the same placenta? I'd need to review the literature to see if a lot of the early twin studies even took this variable into account. Nor are even identical twins absolutely similar before potentially different uterine environment is taken into effect.

Quote:
I think the idea that social influence is everything is a strawman, a position nobody seriously put forth, and I don't think any scientist would ever suggest that. What I did say is that the environment (not solely culture or society, but also more concrete things like...

I've seen the idea rather prevalent in some areas of the social sciences, with an outright hostility to the idea of biological influence on higher behavior (in whatever fraction that might be in whichever situation).

As for telling people things or trying to invalidate their own personal experiences. That's not my intent in any way. But as a scientist I have to allow empirical evidence to shape ideology, rather than ideology to shape evidence. If peoples' personal experiences differ from what we've measured and theorized, it suggests that perhaps we should look deeper or at a different angle. Sometimes it's the opposite, but it's still early in this area. My opinions will change if I see studies that suggest otherwise.


Todd Stewart wrote:
As for telling people things or trying to invalidate their own personal experiences. That's not my intent in any way. But as a scientist I have to allow empirical evidence to shape ideology, rather than ideology to shape evidence. If peoples' personal experiences differ from what we've measured and theorized, it suggests that perhaps we should look deeper or at a different angle. Sometimes it's the opposite, but it's still early in this area. My opinions will change if I see studies that suggest otherwise.

Empirical evidence cannot shape ideology. Empirical evidence by itself is ideologically neutral, and facts are descriptive, not proscriptive. Our interpretation of the facts is subjective, and therefore biased. It's why we have intersubjectivity in science, because we cannot actually reach true objectivity, and intersubjectivity is the closest we can get.

It's why you should never trust anyone that claims to be "objective" or "just guided by the facts." While that's an ideal science should aspire to, it's very deceptive to presume that human beings can actually reach it. Everyone is biased, and ideologies surface from how facts are interpreted, which is an inherently subjective act.

Project Manager

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Todd Stewart wrote:
As for telling people things or trying to invalidate their own personal experiences. That's not my intent in any way. But as a scientist I have to allow empirical evidence to shape ideology, rather than ideology to shape evidence. If peoples' personal experiences differ from what we've measured and theorized, it suggests that perhaps we should look deeper or at a different angle. Sometimes it's the opposite, but it's still early in this area. My opinions will change if I see studies that suggest otherwise.

That would be nice, if scientists weren't vulnerable to letting ideology shape what evidence they consider to be evidence. I find it tellingly ironic that data about who people are attracted to gets dismissed because it's "self-reported" -- as if there were any other way to get data about attraction. (Cue people insisting that physical arousal is identical to attraction, le sigh.)

Silver Crusade

Jessica Price wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:


That being said, from my own reading of the literature, I'm largely convinced that both sexuality and internal gender identity are biological in nature and immutable. I haven't seen much empirical evidence pointing to any social influence thereof. What exact biological effects in combination are responsible, in what way, at what point in development... that's still very much up in the air with lots of competing ideas. I look forward to seeing how the field advances as time goes on.

So again, the "immutability" characterization is counter to the experiences of a lot of women (I'm not sure about men, as everything I've read on the subject has focused on women).

It may be involuntarily mutable, but many women experience their orientation as fluid and evolving over the course of their lives. (Hence the lesbian who, later in life, falls in love with a man, or the straight woman who falls in love with her (female) best friend, or the bi woman who ends up attracted to only one gender.)

The response from biologists tends to be "you were bi all the time," but that's patronizing speculation that assumes that the biologist somehow knows who the women in question were attracted to better than the women themselves do.

There remains the possibility that the sexuality of women (or whomever) changes over time, but that the change has a biological cause as opposed to a conscious one.

In the news recently was the 'virgin births' of Florida sawfish.

Quote:
The researchers say the female smalltooth sawfish are resorting to asexual reproduction because their numbers are so low mating opportunities are fewer.

Note that I'm not suggesting that human women are comparable to sawfish but men aren't; that would be absurd. I'm merely pointing out that lifeforms can change over time, biologically, in response to...well, all sorts of stuff. It should not surprise us that if we understand sexuality to be a result of biology as opposed to a conscious choice (and we do!), then where we are on that spectrum of sexuality can also change over time, biologically.

This means that the correct response from those biologists should not be "you were bi all the time," but "your sexuality was evolving biologically all the time."

Doesn't that make sense?


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Jessica Price wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
As for telling people things or trying to invalidate their own personal experiences. That's not my intent in any way. But as a scientist I have to allow empirical evidence to shape ideology, rather than ideology to shape evidence. If peoples' personal experiences differ from what we've measured and theorized, it suggests that perhaps we should look deeper or at a different angle. Sometimes it's the opposite, but it's still early in this area. My opinions will change if I see studies that suggest otherwise.
That would be nice, if scientists weren't vulnerable to letting ideology shape what evidence they consider to be evidence. I find it tellingly ironic that data about who people are attracted to gets dismissed because it's "self-reported" -- as if there were any other way to get data about attraction. (Cue people insisting that physical arousal is identical to attraction, le sigh.)

And this is complicated by the fact that people are sometimes actually lying when speaking about their (sexual or not) attraction (or any other internal experiences) - self-reporting scientific reliability is limited.


Or perhaps "Biology is complicated."?

But in the vast majority of cases people aren't actually choosing to be gay or trans or where ever else on any of these spectrums they wind up any more than they're choosing to be straight or cis. That remains true even if they change throughout life. We call that biologically. It might be genetic or it might be early developmental influences or some combination.
Some people might even choose. But most don't.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Speaking from the POV of pure ignorance (important because those of us who are ignorant about this make up the majority of your social environment), it seems like hetero -> bi -> homo is like the frequency of your car radio, but the 'asexual spectrum' is the volume.

Am I totally wrong? If I am, what is it, in relation to hetero to homo spectrum?

OK, that makes sense, but how do I set the clock?

Silver Crusade

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Fergie wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Speaking from the POV of pure ignorance (important because those of us who are ignorant about this make up the majority of your social environment), it seems like hetero -> bi -> homo is like the frequency of your car radio, but the 'asexual spectrum' is the volume.

Am I totally wrong? If I am, what is it, in relation to hetero to homo spectrum?

OK, that makes sense, but how do I set the clock?

The clock has already been set by the manufacturer. : )

Liberty's Edge

Todd Stewart wrote:
As for the discussion of demisexuality. I'm not personally convinced at this point in time that it exists as a distinct sexuality with empirical measurement to differentiate it from hetero/homo/bi/a.

Well, given that I don't think a name for it existed more than 20 years ago (the earliest reference I could find was from 1996, and that was pretty obscure)...I am unsurprised by this.

But you may be right. Like I said earlier, calling it a full-blown sexual orientation may be slightly inaccurate (depending on how one defines sexual orientation), but that doesn't necessarily diminish the usefulness of the term.

Todd Stewart wrote:

There has been a proliferation of boutique sexualities in the past few years online. I'm not convinced that they necessarily exist in the sense that I would measure them by as a scientist. For the people applying it to themselves it may work for them, and it may be positive for them to define themselves accordingly. But I suspect it's just social terms placed on top of the underlying biologically defined sexuality in question.

Of course published, peer reviewed work on the topic can absolutely change my mind. That's how science works. At the moment however, a keyword search for demisexual or demisexuality on Pubmed for instance returns no hits.

Well, as you note elsewhere, several paraphilias have biological markers associated with them...so where exactly do you draw the line between something like that or another hardwired sexual behavior/preference and a sexual orientation? Personally, I have no idea where you should draw the line scientifically speaking, and just tend to err on the side of inclusivity for social reasons.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Speaking from the POV of pure ignorance (important because those of us who are ignorant about this make up the majority of your social environment), it seems like hetero -> bi -> homo is like the frequency of your car radio, but the 'asexual spectrum' is the volume.

Am I totally wrong? If I am, what is it, in relation to hetero to homo spectrum?

That's a solid way of looking at it, IMO. It's a little misleading, since sex drive is unrelated to it (it'd be possible to be demisexual with a really high sex drive, for example), but it's still workable.


Shadow Knight 12 wrote:
Navior wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Honestly, I think you're heterosexual and picky.
Speaking as another demisexual, it has absolutely nothing to do with being picky. Please do not deny people's sexuality.

Yeah, the community should seriously be more open to the asexual spectrum. The things I hear are just downright shameful. "You're not asexual, women just have lower libidos!" (false, btw), "You're not demisexual, you're just picky." "You're not aromantic, you're just not opening yourself to romance/love." "You're not really asexual, it's all just a result of some trauma."

Asexuals get their identity denied and invalidated even in our community, and I think we can do way better than that.

Unfortunately, bisexuals have similar issues. I don't understand why people feel they have enough grasp of someone else's identity to dictate to them how they should identify. I've been told, "You're not bisexual, you just like boobs."


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
There remains the possibility that the sexuality of women (or whomever) changes over time, but that the change has a biological cause as opposed to a conscious one.

Evidence? To the best of my knowledge there is none to support this hypothesis in mammals, as interesting as it potentially may be. In mammals, those brain pathways appear to be strongly influenced and very likely permanently fixed in fetu.

Quote:

In the news recently was the 'virgin births' of Florida sawfish.

Quote:
The researchers say the female smalltooth sawfish are resorting to asexual reproduction because their numbers are so low mating opportunities are fewer.
Note that I'm not suggesting that human women are comparable to sawfish but men aren't; that would be absurd. I'm merely pointing out that lifeforms can change over time, biologically, in response to...well, all sorts of stuff. It should not surprise us that if we understand sexuality to be a result of biology as opposed...

Yes and no. Sawfish, like a number of fish, amphibian and reptile species, are potentially parthenogenetic organisms. This characteristic does not always visibly express itself in a given population or a given organism, but it is a fixed species characteristic.

Also, gender expression/identity/morphology and sexual orientation are utterly different things that can not be conflated.

Quote:
This means that the correct response from those biologists should not be "you were bi all the time," but "your sexuality was evolving biologically all the time."

That really is a nifty and sensible sounding hypothesis. To the best of my knowledge however, mammal biology does not work that way.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Speaking from the POV of pure ignorance (important because those of us who are ignorant about this make up the majority of your social environment), it seems like hetero -> bi -> homo is like the frequency of your car radio, but the 'asexual spectrum' is the volume.

Am I totally wrong? If I am, what is it, in relation to hetero to homo spectrum?

As I understand it, you are nearly right.

But gay/ straight / bi have libidos that vary. Some people are more interested in sex than others, and libido is affected by a range of things, health, age.

An asexual does not have a low libido, they don't have one at all. Or in the case of demisexuals experience no attraction until they know and like someone [or I think so, I am no expert on demisexuality].

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