Definitions of the term "sexual orientation"
Part 2 of 2 parts: A novel, conservative
Christian definition including 30 behaviors
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
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.
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
"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
4: Bisexuality: "The capacity to feel erotic attraction
toward, or to engage in sexual interaction with, both males and females."
9. Heterosexuality: "the universal norm of sexuality with those of
the opposite sex."
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
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
"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 .
Some of the paraphilias listed by the APA in DSM IV-TR and miscategorized as
sexual orientations by the Traditional Values Coalition are:
3. Autogynephilia - the sexual arousal of a man by his own
perception of himself as a woman or dressed as a woman (Page 574)
6. Exhibitionism - the act of exposing one's genitals to an
unwilling observer to obtain sexual gratification (Page 569)
7. Fetishism/Sexual Fetishism - obtaining sexual excitement
primarily or exclusively from an inanimate object or a particular part of the
body (Page 570)
17.Partialism - A fetish in which a person is sexually attracted
to a specific body part exclusive of the person (Page 576)
18.Pedophilia - Sexual activity with a prepubescent child
(generally age 13 years or younger) ... . (Page 571)
22.Telephone Scatalogia - sexual arousal associated with making or
receiving obscene phone calls (Page 576)
27.Transvestic Fetishism - intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual
urges, or behaviors involving cross-dressing (Page 575)
30. Zoophilia/Bestiality - engaging in sexual activity with animals (Page
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.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Sexual Orientation," Wikipedia, downloaded 2009-MAY-09 from:
"Glossary of terms," Equal Opportunity Office, University of Texas at El
Paso, undated, at:
"Paraphilia," Wikipedia, downloaded 2007-APR-18, at:
"List of paraphilias," Wikipedia, at:
Aggrawal, "Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual
Sexual Practices," CRC Press, 2009. Pages 369-382.
Robert Knight, " 'Sexual Orientation' and American Culture,' Concerned Women
for America, 2002-JUL-10, at:http://www.cwfa.org/
- Rev. Lou Sheldon, "What is a 'Sexual Orientation'," News release,
Traditional Values Coalition, 2007-JUN-04.
"What is a 'Sexual Orientation'," Special report, Traditional Values
Coalition, undated, at:
The text of H.R. 2232 is at:
- 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."
Copyright © 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Original posting: 2007-JUN-05
Latest update: 2015-DEC-19
Author: B.A. Robinson