As asked by this Slate magazine article.
Hoo boy. I'm not sure what to say about this, but I'll just address the bits that stood out to me most immediately for whatever reason:
We don't choose kink. Yes, there are vanilla people who, inspired by popular books or movies, choose to experiment with BDSM.
I don't know about you, but I definitely don't see a clear dividing line between kinky people and vanilla people who like to experiment. This belief that bored housewives inspired by Fifty Shades aren't really kinky is something that we do to separate ourselves from the sexual dilettantes, the BDSM tourists, but it's not entirely fair. We all started somewhere, and who are we to judge when experimentation becomes hobby and hobby becomes lifestyle?
Maybe to qualify as a sexual orientation, an identity must not only be innate, unshakeable, and unchosen, but also stigmatized.
Well, this is just inane. Straight is a sexual orientation too and I think you'd have a hard time suggesting that being straight is stigmatized.
Perhaps this should go without saying, but kink hurts. It's physically painful. (Sometimes extremely so.)
Um, no. Kink doesn't necessarily hurt because there are all kinds of ways for people to be kinky, and not all of those fall along the sadism/masochism spectrum.
But nitpicking aside, I'm curious to see what you all think about kink as a sexual orientation. I don't have strong feelings either way and can understand arguments on both sides (provided that everyone is agreed that the kink community in no way experiences the kind of institutionalised oppression that the LGBTQIA communities do). However, this essay doesn't discuss why kinksters should want their sexuality recognised as an orientation, though presumably that comes along with some measure of legal protection. It's not something that I've really thought about, mostly because I would choose to be very private about my sexuality even if I didn't face potential discrimination for revealing it. But obviously everyone is different, so what do you think - is kink a sexual orientation?