*Part of the Identity Series*
I find sexuality to be a really funny topic. Not because sex or who you have sex with is funny, but because it riles up so many people. I’ll never be able to fathom why some people are so disgusted and personally offended by what other people do sex-wise. It’s so sad, that all I can do is laugh.
For me, as a straight woman, there’s still a lot I don’t know about the labels and sexual explorations that are the norm for other people. I’ve never slept with a woman or kissed one in a romantic fashion, and so I won’t pretend that I know what it’s like. But this I do know for sure: who you are attracted to is not who you are.
I repeat: who you are attracted to is not who you are.
Is sexuality a part of our collective identities? Yes. Is it a key factor in who we are as people? I say no.
Because, by saying that I’m “straight” (a cisgender heterosexual female) does not, in any way, alert you to what kind of person I am, does it? Does being straight mean I’m a Harry Potter fan, for example? Does it mean I’m a writer? Does it mean I’m a nice person? Does it mean I’m educated?
It means nothing, except, “Hey, I like to have sex with men.”
And this is what confuses me with people who seem to not want to befriend gay people. Why? You don’t want to have sex with them, that’s fine; they probably don’t want to have sex with you, either. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t have the best of friendships and connections because you both like or do similar things in life.
Anyway, I digress.
This post isn’t about the closed-minded people who have a problem with homosexuality or other forms of sexual identity that is anything but heterosexuality. Instead, it’s about what sexual identity actually is.
Sexual identity is defined as “how one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is romantically or sexually attracted. Sexual identity may also refer to sexual orientation identity, which is when people identify or dis-identify with a sexual orientation or choose not to identify with a sexual orientation.”
*If you are interested in a list of sexual identities, then check out Unite UK 1
The way I see it, we can never truly categorise and label sexual identity, or even come to truly understand it. Like most things in our world, all the names and rules of sexuality are made-up. Someone one day just said, “if you like to stick your penis inside a vagina, then you’re a heterosexual.”
But this is all too simple, and people are only just now realising it.
If only more of us could accept that nothing can be 100% known to be true; that our world is complex and beautiful and chaotic; that people are just as complex and beautiful and chaotic; then we will finally be able to let go, open our minds, and accept what we don’t understand or know for sure.
We are all born free (in the broadest sense of the word) which means we are free to sexually identify ourselves in an innumerable amount of ways.
Do I believe that sexual identity is a clear indicator of identity? No. I think that having a label can help with finding others with the same (or similar) sexual preference, but aside from that, it’s not very helpful and it does not define who we are.
Romantic relationships are a key part of the human experience, yes, but who we have them with, for me, is not really important. It’s like me having to declare to the world that I only sleep with men who are interested in basketball, for example. It hardly matters to anyone, except perhaps the men who want to sleep with me.
Therefore, I believe that sexual identity is not who a person is and should not, in an ideal world, be a cause for conflict (internal or external); instead, self-expression and self-exploration only, like most other things in life.
Check out Part Two of this post, which touches on Sexual Identity and Mental Health, as I go deeper into the exploration of sexual identity…
(I am an ally of the LGBTQ+ community)