The Spectrum of Sexuality

ImageI have worked with clients who were confused about their sexuality and sexual preference. For some this was a deep secret that they kept hidden, full of shame. Much of our work would be about accepting how they felt as a part of themselves and healing the shameful feelings they felt bound by.

For some people their sexuality was deeply confusing, they only had knowledge of the binary gender model. This means either male or female (biological sex) with a masculine or feminine gender expression (dress, posture, roles) attracted to women or men (heterosexual).

The problem for my clients was their view of this model of sexuality as ‘normal’ with everything outside of this (including themselves) as marginalized.

Thanks to the gay rights movement and trans liberation, thinking has now moved on from this binary model and people can understand human sexuality in broader terms.

For biological sex there is a spectrum and one can move along this continuum. You may be male, female or intersexed and move along this spectrum for example by taking hormones, being intersexed or due to biological diversity.

Gender expression has a range masculine, feminine, androgynous and this may shift and change during a person’s lifetime and at different occasions.

Sexual orientation also has a spectrum. When we think of only homosexual, heterosexual and bi-sexual we are thinking in binary terms. Sexuality is much wider for example what if you are attracted to a transexual person? Are all straight people only attracted to people of the opposite sex?

Sexual attraction is much more complex and shifting it’s about more than gender. On the spectrum of sexual orientation which is fluid and shifting for anyone there is attraction to women, men, neither and both.

There is a myriad of possibilities for an individual to move up and down each continuum which makes it as diverse and wonderful as people are.

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