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Thorn Explains: Words for Sexual Orientation

Thorn Explains: Words for Sexual Orientation published on 11 Comments on Thorn Explains: Words for Sexual Orientation

In honor of Bisexual Visibility Day, I bring you this strip about how the Ceannic language is totally bi-as-default.

That last panel features the in-universe biological-sex symbols, as established in this strip.

By the way, how’s the Volume 1 Kickstarter doing? Let’s just say I’m queuing up an all-Bon-Jovi playlist…

Leif: Hey, Thorn, I never hear you use your language’s words for different sexual orientations. How come?

Thorn: Well, they don’t have the most natural translations into the language this strip is written in.

If you render our basic Ceannic terms as literally as possible, you get something like this.

– Less interest in men
– Interested in anyone
– Less interest in women
– No interest at all

Leif: Question! What about someone who only has interest in one gender? Do they use the “less interest” words, or can they get more specific?

Thorn: We have more specific words, but they don’t get used as much. It’s considered kind of . . . gauche? . . . to be that direct.

Not that anyone judges the actual idea! I mean, my dating history is exclusively men. And I don’t feel self-conscious about it, or pressured to hide anything. Nobody would care.

It’s just, when putting a label on it, people are more likely to softpedal their “no interest” by using the “less interest” word.

Delphinium: I’m very flattered, darling, but I’m less-interest-in-women.

Thorn: There’s a similar polite softening when you’re in a serious relationship with someone whose gender you have “less interest” in.

Birch: I’m less-interest-in-men.

Annie: I’m . . . interest-in-anyone.

Leif: So, Thorn, which identity word do you use?

Thorn: Less-interest-in-women.

Leif: And is that literal, or are you softpedaling?

Thorn: I’ll tell you later, when we’re off-panel.

What about you? How would you say your orientation in Ceannic?

Leif: Whichever word is closest to “Help, everyone is hot.”

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Huh. I’d kind of always figured we were on Alternia rules.

What rules are those?

I’m guessing Raen is talking about Homestuck “Trolls”. IIRC, they had zero concept shame over heterosexual or homosexual relationships, partially because they are semi-insectoid and both ‘love’ and ‘hate’ relationships between any two members of the species, male or female, can create the necessary bonds to trigger production of whatever genetic material is produced, combined and delivered to the ‘mother grub’ who produces the infant children. The trade-off is societally, if you don’t have both a Matespirit (Love) AND a Kismesis (Hate) when the time comes to contribute to the continuation of the species… you’re executed.

I apologize if I’ve explained poorly, it’s been literally years since I read Homestuck.

Weird alien biology aside, the trolls’ idea of sexual orientation is “bisexuality is the norm, and having an exclusive preference is treated like a kink.” Like, some trolls kink on bondage, other trolls kink on ladies.

So…different from Ceannis, but not hugely different.

Frankly, IRL… bisexuality is the norm with all animals and all pre-introduction-of-the-concept-of-mono-sexuality humans

(See pre-western contact japanese and chinese porn. See greek culture and sex, see norse culture and sex, see basically-any-non-Abrahamic-culture-and-sex-prior-to-abrahamic-introduction)

Personally, I take great pleasure, by the way, in mocking monosexuals of all orientations online. XD

Oh, c’mon, don’t be like that. The straights can’t help it, and us gays deal with enough garbage already.

(I wouldn’t use porn to establish “the norm” with any culture — it’s not like most of the sex in present-day Japan is “schoolgirl x tentacles”, after all. But yeah, bi & gay people are clearly more common than religious conservatives would like to believe, and have always been around.)

What about people who are cross-oriented? Like I’m bisexual, but homoromantic. And how being ace does not automatically mean being aro and vice-versa. How do they specify for that?

You’d use the word for “more interested in [your gender].” Ace people would use the word for the gender(s) they’re romantically interested in, same with aro people and sexual interest. People will hash out the specific details when they’re in the process of getting involved with each other, same as they’d hash out details like “what are your kinks” and “who tops.”

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