Ever since Kinsey stirred up controversy in the ’50s and ’60s with research that suggested human sexuality was widely, and naturally, varying, we have been discovering how right he was. Despite the apparent flaws in his research, what we see emerging in younger generations is diversity, and fluidity, which shines a light on the complexity of this aspect of our humanity.
We’ve grown a lot since Kinsey. First recognizing that heterosexuality was not the only legit form of sexual expression. The gay rights movement empowered an openness that then gave us two options. In spite of Kinsey’s findings, the world was still divided. Straight or gay. Bisexual people, particularly men, were simply considered closet homosexuals even within the gay community. Sadly, that attitude still prevails even in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary.
But, it’s not as simple as gay, straight, or bi anymore. The realization that bisexuality can’t be expressed as a simple percentage of gay vs. straight is reinforcing something many of us have known for a long time. As Kinsey suggested, human sexuality occurs on a broad spectrum. In my opinion, so much so that our sexuality may be as unique as our fingerprints. Younger generations’ reluctance to define themselves by our limiting terms makes perfect sense.
I want to be clear that I am absolutely separating sexuality and gender. While they are clearly intertwined societally, they are completely different things. There isn’t space to cover the myriad terms that we humans are using to define our sexuality these days. Suffice it to say that there are many valid options, including asexual, with which one can identify.
I also don’t believe that sexuality is a stable as we previously thought. To be clear I’m not suggesting that it can be changed. Years of criminal and ineffective, conversion therapy have taught us that. Rather, I’m suggesting that sexuality is more fluid than we’ve thought. I can use myself as an example. I identify as gay. That simply means I’m attracted to men. For most of my life that meant cis-gendered men. I’ve realized over the past couple of years that my attraction dynamic also includes some transgendered men. Did my sexuality suddenly change? No, it simply expanded.
I’m currently dating a guy who identified as bisexual when I met him but he’s started to realize that he is pansexual (open to anyone regardless of gender). He’s just getting a handle on the complexity of his own sexuality. Over time he’s realized that it isn’t a matter of cycling between homosexual and heterosexual attraction. It’s about being attracted to individuals.
Attraction in fantasy, or porn, can only inform us of potentials. Until we actually experience a sexual connection with another person we don’t really know how strong that attraction is. Lack of sexual attraction would seem to be obvious even in the absence of experience. It’s important to understand that being asexual doesn’t mean one has no desire for emotional, or physical intimacy. It’s simply that attraction is based on other things.
As diverse as attraction dynamics are, the important takeaway is that sexuality occurs on a vast spectrum. Your sexuality can shift and grow as you do. Wherever you happen to be now, explore while remaining open to expansion. That inner journey may be challenging at times. Internalized homophobia is real and is something very important for men to consider when they’re struggling with who they’re attracted to. But you will find your way through.
If you’d like some help navigating the confusing waters of your sexuality, join me for a Personal Discovery Session. It’s completely complimentary and gives us a chance to explore your attraction dynamics and get you more comfortable with you. You can learn more and sign up here.