Politics & Policy

OKCupid Allowing Users to Identify as Five Sexual Orientations at Once

How could the same person be five sexual orientations at once?

Dating website OKCupid has begun offering select users twelve options to describe their sexual orientation. Some may consider the idea that there are twelve sexual orientations bizarre in itself — but what’s really bizarre is, according to screenshots of the feature, the site is also allowing people to select “up to five” of those twelve to describe themselves. That’s 1,585 combinations. And how could the same person be five different sexual orientations at once?

Here are the twelve choices:

  1. Demisexual: no sexual attraction toward any person unless they become deeply emotionally or romantically connected to someone

  2. Asexual: does not experience sexual attraction

  3. Straight: attracted to opposite sex

  4. Gay: male attracted to other males

  5. Bisexual: attracted to both sexes

  6. Lesbian: female attracted to other females

  7. Questioning: not sure of sexual orientation

  8. Heteroflexible: mostly heterosexual, with minimal homosexual activity

  9. Homoflexible: mostly homosexual, with minimal heterosexual activity

  10. Queer: someone who does not conform to traditional sex or gender norms

  11. Pansexual: sexual or emotional attraction, desire, or romantic love toward people of any sex or gender identity

  12. Sapiosexual: sexual attraction based primarily on intelligence

Straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible, asexual, and pansexual appear to be mutually exclusive. If you’re one of these eight, you can’t be another one at the same time.

For example: If you’re a lesbian, you can’t also be straight. Of course, you could be a woman who is attracted to both sexes, but then you would choose the “bisexual” option. If you’re mostly straight with a little bit of homosexual activity or mostly gay with a little bit of heterosexual activity then you’re heteroflexible or homoflexible, and those are separate options, too.

If you’re asexual, none of the other twelve options apply to you because you’re not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender or for any reason — except for maybe the “questioning” option, which could be used to describe people who think they’re asexual but aren’t entirely sure. An asexual person could also select the “queer” option — after all, asexuality obviously doesn’t conform to what people consider “traditional” norms — but that also makes the use of the word “queer” redundant in the first place.

There is one potentially feasible way that someone could select five orientations and have it be an accurate description: Someone could perhaps choose one of the eight mutually exclusive sexual attractions (gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, heteroflexible, asexual, and pansexual) and combine it with the other four that aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive (sapiosexual, questioning, demisexual, and queer.)

For example, a gay person could maybe also be sapiosexual, questioning, demisexual, and queer: That would be a man who is attracted to other men but only once there is a strong emotional romantic connection and mostly attracted to intelligence-based aspects of that bond& but not sure about it and also throws on the word “queer” to clarify that he doesn’t conform to sexual norms. But if you identify as “gay sapiosexual demisexual questioning,” isn’t clarifying that you don’t conform to traditional sexual or gender norms kind of unnecessary?

There are also more than 20 new options for gender.

OKCupid has only made the feature available to a select number of users so far. It has not stated whether or not it will open the feature to all users or make it permanent.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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