Journal of Controversial Ideas

(ISSN: 2694-5991) Open Access Journal
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Controversial Ideas 2023, 3(2), 3; doi: 10.35995/jci03020003

Sex and Sexual Orientation, Gender and Sexual Preference

1 Liberal Arts Department; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; 112 S Michigan Avenue; Chicago, IL 60603; United States of America;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 Nov 2022 / Revised: 18 Sep 2023 / Accepted: 24 Sep 2023 / Published: 31 Oct 2023
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On what we can call the “folk” conception of sexual orientation, sexual orientation is understood as sex-based attraction, that is, as (partly) attraction on the basis of the perceived sex of the person to whom one is attracted. However, in recent discussions, philosophers have either added gender to sex as the basis of sexual orientation, or have altogether replaced sex with gender. Moreover, this addition or replacement has gone – mostly – unargued for. This paper argues that a sex-based conception of sexual orientation remains plausible because (1) it is compatible with gender-based attraction, which I argue can be understood as a preference; (2) the reasons so far on offer for adding gender to sex (or for replacing sex with gender) are not convincing; (3) we have good evolutionary and non-evolutionary reasons for thinking that sex is the basis of sexual orientation; (4) we have good reasons to not add gender as a basis of sexual orientation; and (5) a sex-based conception of sexual orientation accommodates the various sexual orientations that have recently appeared, orientations in addition to the folk two (or three) of heterosexuality, homosexuality (and bisexuality), such as pansexuality, skoliosexuality, gynsexuality, and androsexuality. What emerges is a conception of sexual orientation based on the sex of the people to whom we are attracted, but that understands sexual-based attraction in broad enough terms to include surgically altered bodies.
Keywords: bidimensional dispositionalism; bisexuality; folk conception of sexual orientation; gender; gender-based attraction; gender presentation; homosexuality; heterosexuality; sex; sex-based attraction; sexual evolution; sexual orientation; sexual preferences; taxonomic function of sexual orientation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
Halwani, R. Sex and Sexual Orientation, Gender and Sexual Preference. Controversial_Ideas 2023, 3, 3.
Halwani R. Sex and Sexual Orientation, Gender and Sexual Preference. Journal of Controversial Ideas. 2023; 3(2):3.
Halwani, Raja. 2023. "Sex and Sexual Orientation, Gender and Sexual Preference." Controversial_Ideas 3, no. 2: 3.
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