A Unique Case

by Jason Stotts

I spend lots of time reading books on sexual attraction, fantasy, paraphilias, etc. I do this in order to make sure that I’ve covered at least all of the major issues in my book and that my theory will be able to account for all cases.

In this research, one of the most interesting things I’ve found is that there are different kinds of sexual attraction. Primarily there are two fundamental kinds of sexual attraction: homosexual and heterosexual. However, some people report that their attraction stems from a person’s character with no thought to gender. That is, their attraction is based completely on non-sexual characteristics and, therefore, they could be attracted to persons of either gender. What makes this case strange is that this is not what is usually considered bisexuality.

A bisexual is person attracted to either gender. This is an important point as a “true” bisexual will experience attractions for women qua women and for men qua men. The case above is a person who experiences attraction to a person qua character (or specific characteristics) and not qua gender. Now, these attractions will typically lead this person to have a sexual response to the person to whom they are attracted, but the basis of their attraction is not sexual. While this kind of attraction is rare, it is a documented phenomenon and explainable in terms of existent theories of attraction.

Another, an rarer, category is of the asexual. This is a person who does not experience sexual attraction at all. There could be many reasons for this, but we need not explore them here. The salient point is that these positions constitute the entire known range of possibilities of attraction: homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, “person attraction”, and asexual.

I bring this up to provide background for the unique case I’ve just found. A friend of mine recently told me that he is attracted to androgyny. Androgyny, for those who do not know, is when a person has sexual characteristics of both sexes. Etymologically, the word comes from the combination of the Greeks words for both men (andro-) and women (gyno-). That is, my friend experiences a strong attraction for persons possessing both male and female sexual characteristics. This could be a man who has feminizing characteristics or a woman who has masculinizing characteristics. However, he was clear that he was not attracted to emasculated men (or vice versa), but rather the juxtaposition of the masculine with the feminine in the same person.

There is much more I need to learn from him before I can fully understand his position, but I can make at least some remarks now. As I see it, there are a number of explanations for his attraction. It could be that this is a new category of sexual attraction, such that some people desire people of one sex who also have characteristics of the other sex. Alternatively, it could be that this desire is a nascent, and undifferentiated, form of bisexuality and that as he ages and matures in his sexuality, he will split his attraction from having both genders represented in one person to attractions to both sexes. Alternatively, although I don’t think this is the case with my friend, it could be that he is actually a true bisexual or homosexual and is using the case of the androgynous person as a transition into accepting his identity as bisexual or homosexual. This position is likely if he is repressing his true attractions, although I don’t think this is the case.

As I talk with him more about his attractions, I hope to be able to understand exactly their origin and whether they represent a new category of sexual attraction.

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