The ‘Orientation’ Juggling Act

The term ‘sexual orientation’ is often treated in pro-gay literature as some sort of sacred amulet to be used to put an end to all discussion about homosexuality: “This is the person’s sexual orientation; nothing can be done about that.”

Although pro-gay defenders have worked tirelessly to advance the idea that sexual orientation refers to an innate and immutable condition, socio-scientific research has not established that homoerotic desire is congenital and unalterable. Sexual orientation refers rather to the specific direction of sexual desire at a given point in a person’s life.

Pro-gay advocates have also tried to restrict the use of the expression to heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism. This is done to single out the last three orientations and associate them with the one sexual orientation endorsed by society, heterosexuality, and to dissociate them from a broader list of unacceptable paraphilia orientations (e.g., pedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia, sadomasochism, incest).  

The attempt to make sexual orientation a legal category meriting special protection requires this semantic juggling; but nothing in the words sexual or orientation requires it. The inevitable ramifications of this for the paraphilias should be obvious.

And they’re already at work.


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