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Definitions of the term "sexual orientation"

Part 2 of 2 parts: A novel, conservative
Christian definition including 30 behaviors

This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Information from Concerned Women for America (CWA)

The CWA is a fundamentalist Christian activist group. To our knowledge, they are the first group to promote this vastly expanded definition of sexual orientation. We may be wrong.

In 2002, Robert Knight of the CWA wrote an article titled " 'Sexual Orientation' and American Culture: Some corporations are adopting policies based on flawed reasoning."

The real meaning of "sexual orientation"

Springing from the psychological literature, "sexual orientation" is often taken to mean 'homosexuality." Given that its inclusion in policies is the singular work of the homosexual pressure groups, that is a reasonable deduction. However, the two words constitute an umbrella term for numerous sexual behaviors, including paraphilias, which are sexual disorders. According to the therapeutic manual of the American Psychiatric Association, there are at least 20 distinctive sexual variations of "sexual orientation," and perhaps many more.

A partial list of 'sexual orientations' from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association, are included in an appendix. Heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality are routinely included in broad legal definitions of 'sexual orientation.' A fourth 'sexual orientation,' [being transgender], ... is beginning to be included in such descriptions. Other categories consist of paraphilias, which are defined as sexual disorders." 6

As of 2015-DEC-19, this essay is still online on the CWA website. Over the past 13 years they must have received hundreds of complaints from people familiar with the actual definition of "sexual orientation." Yet the essay remains.

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Political action by the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC)

In 2007, the TVC issued a news release 7 and published a special report 8 describing 30 behaviors that they feel qualify as sexual orientations.

Rev, Lou Sheldon's news release referred to a federal employee protections act, R. 2232, 3 intended to protect employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, Unfortunately, the act's wording lacked a definition of the term "sexual orientation." He writes:

"...  the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has listed 30 such sexual orientation behaviors that would potentially be granted special minority status, like race, under this legislation. ..."

"You will very much want these three bills stopped when you hear what the definition is of sexual orientation. Some are even against the law. TVC will be working night and day with this and other new information which we have to convince Members of Congress not to support these bills."

"What Is A 'Sexual Orientation?' There are 30 different categories of 'sexual orientation'!"

"The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which is dominated by homosexual activists, publishes a huge document called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-R). This manual is used by psychiatrists and other mental health workers to define various mental illnesses. This is their list of 30 'sexual orientations' ... 7

As noted above, the TVC list includes the three universally defined sexual orientations: bisexuality, heterosexuality and homosexuality. These three are defined as:

bullet 4: Bisexuality: "The capacity to feel erotic attraction toward, or to engage in sexual interaction with, both males and females."

bullet 9. Heterosexuality: "the universal norm of sexuality with those of the opposite sex."

bullet 10. Homosexual/Gay/Lesbian: "people who form sexual relationships primarily or exclusively with members of their own gender."

I was unable to find these definitions in the DSM-IV-TR. #9's definition seems very strange. I doubt that there are many members of the APA who regard heterosexuality as "the universal norm." #10's definition also looks strange. The APA defines homosexuality in terms of feelings, not sexual activity. As indicated in the APA essay "Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues," sexual orientation is defined in terms of attraction.

Seventeen additional urges and behaviors that the TVC considers to be "sexual orientations" appear to be taken from the DSM-IV-RT chapter on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders,  Pages 535 to 582. 10 These are not sexual orientations! They are a list of what the APA calls "Paraphilias," which they define as being:

"...characterized by recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situation and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."

That is, paraphilias are sexual obsessions so intense that they intrude on a person's life.

The only disorder mentioned in the DSM-IV-RT that is related to sexual orientation is listed as #302.9. "Sexual disorder not otherwise specified." item 3 is:

"Persistent and marked distress about sexual orientation."

That is, heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality are not themselves sexual disorders. However, a patient who is exhibiting a great deal of distress about their sexual orientation is suffering from a disorder. This may be caused by harassment, religious teaching that they have received, rejection by their family of origin, etc.

The TVC missed this one and did not include it .

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Some of the paraphilias listed by the APA in DSM IV-TR and miscategorized as sexual orientations by the Traditional Values Coalition are:

bullet 3. Autogynephilia - the sexual arousal of a man by his own perception of himself as a woman or dressed as a woman (Page 574)

bullet 6. Exhibitionism - the act of exposing one's genitals to an unwilling observer to obtain sexual gratification (Page 569)

bullet 7. Fetishism/Sexual Fetishism - obtaining sexual excitement primarily or exclusively from an inanimate object or a particular part of the body (Page 570)

bullet 17.Partialism - A fetish in which a person is sexually attracted to a specific body part exclusive of the person (Page 576)

bullet 18.Pedophilia - Sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger) ... . (Page 571)

bullet 22.Telephone Scatalogia - sexual arousal associated with making or receiving obscene phone calls (Page 576)

bullet 27.Transvestic Fetishism - intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving cross-dressing (Page 575)

bullet 30. Zoophilia/Bestiality - engaging in sexual activity with animals (Page 576)

TVC also added ten terms that they also define as sexual behaviors and thus "sexual orientations." Including are incest, prostitution, and being transgender, transexual, or transvestite.

Related essays:


Federal hate-crimes bill H.R. 1913, (2009)

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Sexual Orientation," Wikipedia, downloaded 2009-MAY-09 from:
  2. "Glossary of terms," Equal Opportunity Office, University of Texas at El Paso, undated, at:
  3. "Paraphilia," Wikipedia, downloaded 2007-APR-18, at:
  4. "List of paraphilias," Wikipedia, at:
  5. Anil Aggrawal, "Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices," CRC Press, 2009. Pages 369-382.
  6. Robert Knight, " 'Sexual Orientation' and American Culture,' Concerned Women for America, 2002-JUL-10, at:
  7. Rev. Lou Sheldon, "What is a 'Sexual Orientation'," News release, Traditional Values Coalition, 2007-JUN-04.
  8. "What is a 'Sexual Orientation'," Special report, Traditional Values Coalition, undated, at:
  9. The text of H.R. 2232 is at:
  10. The term "gender identity disorder" is now considered stigmatizing. Circa 2012, it was replaced in the medical and therapy communities with the term "gender dysphoria."

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 Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Basic data > Orientation > here

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Copyright 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2007-JUN-05
Latest update: 2015-DEC-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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