“Romantic Orientation”

I’m training myself to say “romantic orientation” instead of “sexual orientation.”  Conservatives triggered this by promoting their no-homosexuals-just-homosexual-conduct lie.  I’m still aggravated that Janice Shaw Crouse (and others) say I don’t need to act on my “vulnerablity” to homosexuality, and they can free me from “the bondage of sinful behavior.”

See, I act on this vulnerability all the time.  Seriously, I am so gay.  When I bought Will chocolate cheesecake because he got some really bad news?  That was gay.  And apparently sinful.

When Will and I put together a new closet system so there was more room for his stuff?  That was gay, too.  And apparently sinful.

Last year, on the AIDS/Lifecycle (a 7-day fundraising bike trip from San Francisco to LA), when I called Will at the end of each day to let him know I’d made it safe to camp?  That was pretty damn gay.  And apparently sinful.

And when I was searching for him at closing ceremonies, clumping around on tired legs with cleats on my feet, and he saw me and started walking toward me, and then began running without even knowing he was running, and grabbed me and buried his face so hard against my neck that I didn’t know how he could breathe, and gave me ten seconds of my life that I will never, ever forget?  That was so gay.

And apparently sinful.

I bet when Janice and her phobic colleagues talk about homosexual conduct, they imagine nothing more than same-sex sex.  But I do gay things all the time, and only some of them involve sex.  Most are romantic.

That’s my gay romantic orientation.

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19 comments to “Romantic Orientation”

  • 1
    Matthew says:

    Many years ago (maybe 20) when the department store Nordstrom first offered non-discrimination protections their employment applications said sexual or “affectionate” orientation. And much of it comes down to “gender” anyway. I wonder how many of these comments are really about effeminate men not sex acts.

  • 2
    Uki says:

    “But I do gay things all the time, and only some of them involve sex. Most are romantic.

    That’s my romantic orientation.”

    Sweeet :P

  • 3
    Martin says:

    “And when I was searching for him at closing ceremonies, clumping around on tired legs with cleats on my feet, and he saw me and started walking toward me, and then began running without even knowing he was running, and grabbed me and buried his face so hard against my neck that I didn’t know how he could breathe, and gave me ten seconds of my life that I will never, ever forget? That was so gay.”
    Yeah. I want to hear somebody actually explain how that can be a bad thing. Why anyone should want to be free of that? How that threatens straight relationships? How it could be bad for children to grow up around that? What sort of God would be offended by that? ^_^

  • 4
    MR Bill says:

    It’s exactly the case that anti-gays focus only on their ideas of gay sexual contact, and how icked out they are by what they imagine they do. And then generalize that feeling to everything ‘gay’.
    (I remember my own dear homophobic mama going on “and there was this club there, where all these gay men were in leather clothes, and dancing, can you imagine how it smelled!?” And I’m goin’ ‘yeah, I can..”)
    My dude and I are pretty sexual people, but really, we just don’t manage to have sex all the time. What with work and life, I doubt we are actually ‘sexual’ what, 5% of our waking hours? I wish.
    And maybe the community theater stuff is gay. And, admittedly, our garden is fabulous, and probably, de facto, gay. And the time I get with my kids, fullfilling and fun (they are now adults, haha!)is pretty gay, even if they are straight.
    No lifestyle but a life, thank god.

  • 5
    Clayton says:

    I’d like to know if Janice Shaw (and others) think my husband and I are being gay when we drive two hours to visit his 96 year-old grandmother so we can cut her grass, weed her garden, replace her stove, or just sit in the living room and talk with her?

    We are such a threat to the American family!

  • 6
    Ben in Oakland says:

    Back in the late ’70′s, we were trying to get the words “affectional orientation” into general use. It didn’t work, but i absolutely agree. Much better than sexual.

  • 7
    Phil says:

    I’ve always wanted to get the term “homoamorous” into usage. It puts the focus on love and emotional content and less on sex.

    What do you think?

    [When I was a kid and our dog would hump someone's leg my Mom would say he was being "amourous." So I've got kind of a funny image with that word. --Rob]

  • 8
    Prakash says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, I was directed here from Andrew Sullivan’s blog. Basically for me, falling in love, is the gay act, because I fall in love with people of the same gender as me. Having romantic walks, going out on dinners, holding hands and kissing(outside sexual context), waiting by the bedside in a hospital room sharing tears are all gay things. It is not a lifestyle, I don’t have the “choice” who I fall in love with, it is a fundamental part of who I am as a person.

  • 9
    SmackDonalds says:

    This is too funny. Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic just posted “Scrapping My ‘Sexual Orientation’” a little while ago with a link to Rob’s post saying “I prefer ‘affectional orientation’ myself. And just this morning I had also posted a link to Rob’s post with a similar headline saying that I while I like “affectional orientation” but that I liked Rob’s “romantic orientation” even better and vowed to use it all the time. Seems like Rob has started a revolution!

    http://www.smackdonalds.com/2010/05/im-giving-up-my-sexual-orientation.html

  • 10
    Michael says:

    Alas, like many heterosexual guys I have little or no “romantic orientation,” but have since puberty been consumed by a banal but overwhelming “sexual orientation.”

    I understand the argument for going with “romantic orientation,” but still.

    Trust me: cheering up your boyfriend with a cheesecake is, indeed, incredibly gay. Had you been a heterosexual male you most likely would’ve just turned from the TV or computer and said “Hey, by the way, are upset about something?” Then when your female mate reflexively said “No” you would’ve gone back to what you looking at and forgotten about it.

    That said, hey, keep fighting the good fight. Despite attacks, dodges and appalling pronouncements from frequently despicable enemies history is clearly on our (yours, mine, so many others) side.

  • 11
    Phil says:

    That’s hilarious. Well, men are dogs, homos like to hump…. I could conjure up all kinds of cliches with that!

    Nonetheless, I still like homoamorous with it’s implicit focus on love (amor).

    Phil

  • 12
    Michael says:

    Alas, like many heterosexual guys I have little or no “romantic orientation,” but have since puberty been consumed by a prosaic but overwhelming “sexual orientation.”

    I understand the argument for going with “romantic orientation,” but still.

    Trust me: cheering up your boyfriend with a cheesecake is, indeed, incredibly gay. Had you been a heterosexual male you most likely would’ve just turned from the TV or computer and said “Hey, by the way, are you upset about something?” Then when your female mate reflexively said “No” you would’ve gone back to what you were looking at and forgotten about it.

    That said, keep fighting the good fight. Despite attacks, dodges and appalling pronouncements from frequently despicable enemies history is clearly on our (yours, mine, so many others) side.

    Sorry, too, if this is a double-post.

  • 13
    Bill says:

    I simply prefer ‘human being.’

    But I guess I do prefer ‘romantic orientation’ over ‘butt-pirate’ or ‘fudge-packer’ or all of the other wonderful words heteros have come up with to complete the dehumanization process for their gay chidren.

    Mostly I feel sad that so many heterosexuals CHOOSE to abuse their LGTB children.

  • 14
    Pendulum says:

    I define myself as “straight” because I am exclusively romantically oriented towards females. But I do enjoy a bit of gay sex now and then. (Or at least I did before I was partnered).

    I’m totally romantically oriented straight, but saying my “sexual orientation” is straight isn’t quite accurate. Nonetheless, I always call myself straight because quite frankly it’s not anyone’s business whether I like the occasional penis. Romantic orientation is a much more accurate term for what we’re trying to describe, I think.

  • 15

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SacramentoGayMen, Adam Howard. Adam Howard said: Scrapping "Sexual Orientation" http://ow.ly/1QURF [...]

  • 16
    Regan DuCasse says:

    Rob…I love you, brother. That…was the truth, spoken from a person who lives it.
    You are so right. And who is Crouse, or anyone like her to dispute it?
    Who are THEY, really, that decided?

    Speak your mind, man. It’s so beautiful what thoughts you’re putting down.

  • 17
    DirkVA says:

    Darn it, Rob. You made me cry again. That was fucking beautiful.

  • 18
    TheOtherDave says:

    That was incredibly sweet.

    I enjoy pointing out that, for people like Crouse, queers have “sex lives” where straights have “family lives.”

    But I agree that “romantic” is a better term, and has less baggage.

    So, OK… sold.

  • 19
    Mackenzie says:

    Romantic orientation is something the asexual community has been talking about for years. Most asexuals (according to polls on asexuality.org, the largest online community for asexuals) do not identify as aromantic. Referring to someone as biromantic asexual is perfectly common in that community. About time the other sexualities caught up!

    I had a friend in high school who, when I explained romantic orientation v. sexual orientation, told me he was biromantic and homosexual.

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