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What's with all the labels?


Like every good story, today’s editorial starts with something close to ‘I opened my internet browser and the world wide web showed me something puzzling’.
Even though I know exactly what they are, even I am not immune to a good click-bait headline and this one caught my attention ‘Sapiosexual is the latest it word on dating sites’.
Wait.... what?
It never ceases to amaze me how many different labels we can come up with for EVERYTHING.
We already know that the LGBTQ+ community has so many labels they have chosen to stop at Q and indicate the many others with a +.
In addition to the vast variety of sexual orientations which, as far as I know, refer strictly to sex/gender (or lack thereof, in the case of asexuals) we are now defining individual preferences. Sapiosexual is one of these.
Urban Dictionary defines a sapiosexual as one who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. What’s most amusing is the picture that accompanies the definition. It is Albert Einstein’s head placed on a tanned, shirtless male body with an eight pack... yes, an eight pack of perfectly defined abdominal muscles.
Now I’m not sure that would be the true definition of sapiosexual since it brings in elements of the body as well as the mind but it is still humorous.
In addition to sapiosexual, there are many other terms, some of which are:
• androsexual - being primarily sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to some men, males, and/or masculinity;
• aromantic - experiencing little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships/behavior; and
• asexual - experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior.
While I get some kicks at all these terms and the fact that some people might use them in seriousness on their online dating profiles, I do find it to be somewhat ironic that many of the people choosing to use these many words to define themselves – through either sexual orientation or preference – will then turn around and tell you they don’t want to be labeled.
While not true in all cases, I’m sure many people can relate to the mild confusion this has caused me on many occasions.
I recently read a blog post by John Haltiwanger that gives an interesting perspective on the matter.
“Humans have an innate desire to place labels on everything,” he said. “Labels give people a sense of order, and a way of distinguishing things. Yet, people aren’t things; they are human beings first and foremost.
“Using labels to describe people ignores deeper reflections of their personhood. A person’s race, sexuality, socioeconomic status or geographic origins does not define all that he or she is or will be. When it comes down to it, people have a right to be called whatever they want. However, as a society, we should consider the fact that labels often warp our perceptions of people. In essence, they promote both blatant and unconscious prejudice.
“Likewise, humans are too dynamic to be placed in boxes. The labels we place on people will never adequately capture the complexity of the human spirit.”