Sexual orientation has become a paradoxically flaunted taboo; it’s not something that is preferred as the subject of conversation, but will be quickly brought up by a person or their peers if it is explicitly questioned.
This comes partially from how American middle-class society focuses on the aesthetics of sexuality—the particular appearance and behavioral stereotypes which inform the general understanding of sexual orientation—rather than the personal implications being “gay” or “straight” has on an individual.
Such terms represent an additional narrowing of perspective meant to define and categorize people in the clear sense that “he likes men,” “she likes men,” and so on.
Although homosexuality has overcome its previous status of social deviance, the need for clear and explicit definition of its presence is both segregationist in nature and sex-biased.
What is meant by sex-biased? As it might sound, sex-biased means terms like homosexuality are limited in that they delineate only the biological part of sexual preference.
It does not take into account the metaphysical and intellectual attraction that are inexplicably part of a human being’s search for the appropriate or preferred significant other: qualities that prove to be more profoundly alluring than any physically or sexually based ones.
Unfortunately, such important factors of building an intimate relationship are compromised by an overexerted emphasis on sex drive. If I am gay, it is expected that I will meet, fall in love with, and marry a man if I so choose. Or, if I am straight, it is expected that I will meet and fall in love with a woman if I so choose.
However, what if I, as either individual, develop a personal attraction to someone of the opposite expected gender? What if I, as a gay man, fall in love with a woman? What if I, as a straight man, were to fall in love with a man? What if such a move was not sex-based because I happened to hold the belief that sex was irrelevant?
Having traveled through several labels of sexual orientation in my life, I have settled on that of pan-sexuality. While it is a label, it is not one I find necessary for peace of mind, but for me to use to explain myself to others.
I believe that when searching for someone with whom you are most intimately compatible, sex is entirely irrelevant; hormone drives will dwindle as we get older, and our bodies will begin to sag and lose any primal appeal they once held. But people, as they are separate from their bodies, do not change so drastically.
When we become legally and emotionally bound to someone via marriage, that is the part of the person we are tied to permanently.
Why then should the parameters of sexual orientation prevent us from becoming intimately involved with someone who we vastly prefer, but who does fit within such parameters? It shouldn’t, and with a far more open and liberated mindset, it won’t.