Celibacy Typologies

Wed, 20 Dec 1995 15:52:16 CST

"X is gay"--that is an everyday explanation for X's being unmarried, or
lacking a spouse; but only under traditional definitions of "marriage"
and "spouse." My original typology, then, included one form--viz.,
Sexual Preference--that presupposed those traditional definitions. I am
wondering whether any of the other forms are biased, irrelevant, or
otherwise in need of qualification if we explicitly redefine
"celibacy"to mean 'the state of currently lacking an intimate life
partner.' I think this raises serious methodological problems due to the
vagueness of "intimate life partner,"but I am curious about what we
might learn from asking how the other forms fit into this brave new
world of non-presumptive heterosexuality in family life. My first form
was Social Failure. Is this used, in everyday life, to explain why a
(presumably) gay person has no intimate life partner? What about
Spiritual Victory? Are there gays, whether individuals or groups, who
do without gay partners ostensibly because doing so is thought
spiritually superior? What about Sexism Protest? Can one explain NOT
having a gay partner as--at least in part--some kind of political
statement? And Severance by Separation or Death--Do those work as expla
nations? Finally, is Statistical Fluke used? That is, do celibate
gays sometimes say, "I guess I never met the right person"? Incidentall
y, it is worth noting that Sexual Preference makes as much sense from
presumptive homosexuality as from presumptive heterosexuality; but now
the explanation for X's lacking a homosexual life partner would be "X is
straight." Come to think of it, I once heard a gay man explain a
friend's engagement (to a woman) by saying "He's trying to be straight"
(or words to that effect). --Bob Graber