From the opening lines in Act 1 spoken by Orsino, I got the idea that he is a fool who loves love, and yet finds it everywhere without regarding gender. He gets sucked in to how love makes him feel and simply hunts for it everywhere he goes. Orsino opens the play with the lines reading “If music be the food of love, play on| Give me excess of it that, surfeiting| The appetite may sicken and so die.” These opening lines predict much of his character and his behavior. He craves love, and presumably sex, constantly. So much so that he wants to die from it. Furthermore, the “excess” of love allows Orsino to continually look for, accept, and partake in love with anyone and everyone he wishes. Thus, his desire to love and be loved in return crosses gender boundaries.
Continually, as Viola tells Olivia of his love for her, Olivia asks “How does he love me| Viola: With adorations, fertile tears, with groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.” This declaration of love is something of passion that expresses merely the “fire” or burn for sexual desire. It is based purely on sex, but only on Orsino’s needs to be fulfilled by the beautiful Olivia. Similarly, the “fertile tears” depicts Orsino as sexually overindulgent and a cry baby if he does not get his way. While he uses Viola to get Olivia to fall in love with him, he is also falling in love with Cesario while Viola is falling in love with him and Olivia is falling in love with Cesario. The love triangle complicates things but also furthers the thought of love being indulgent, unbalanced, and uncontrollable.
He loves Olivia and wants her because of her beauty and sexual connotations. Yet he also begins to look at Cesario in a particular way that suggests he has some sort of feeling for him. He stares at him saying “Diana’s lip is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe is as the maiden\s organ, shrill and sound, and all is semblative a woman’s part.” This suggests that Orsino “falls in love” through his physical attraction and desire to fornicate, not through a sense of love for someone’s personality. This scene of Orsino and Cesario’s interaction portrays him as sort of a horn dog, for lack of a better term. At this point he loves Olivia, but he wants Cesario to deliver a message to her showing how much he loves her, at the same time he’s looking at Cesario thinking how sexy he is and probably wanting to “get to know him” on a more intimate level. Sex and love are everywhere Orsino looks and it is not something that he can escape from. His eyes for both Olivia and Cesario suggest Orsino is not someone who particularly cares whether or not he is attracted to a man or woman. He is filled with a passion for sexual curiosity and allows himself to ignore obstacles that would impede his ability to indulge in his sexual fantasies, such as gender.