Sexual Orientation (con’t)

May 10, 2005

Sexual Orientation (con’t)
Yet, here we are, in the twenty-first century, still thinking along the same lines. We assume individuals have to be one thing or the other – gay or straight, lesbian or bisexual and so on. We try to fit people into these labels, insisting they choose between one thing or the other. And then, we ask them to take on an identity to match. ?Are you gay??, we like to ask. Hesitate in answering the question and you?re immediately seen as one of those poor souls struggling to come out of the closet.

But, what if your sexual and romantic attractions aren?t that clear? What if you like men and women in different ways, and at different times in your life? Do you have to choose between defining yourself as lesbian/gay/straight/bi?

The answer, of course, is that you don?t have to use any label for yourself. However, in Western societies we don?t like grey areas. Everything has to be kept simple with no untidy ends. Black and white is in, grey is out – too confusing, untidy, difficult to consider.

Well, hey! Human beings aren?t simple. They?re often inconsistent in the way they behave, feel and think. Thoughts often don?t match feelings, behaviour can be at odds with attitudes and beliefs. We?re complicated creatures and our sexual attractions reflect this.

There?s nothing wrong with a label if it helps to say something about who you are. If it doesn?t fit, however, don?t be pushed into accepting it. Be yourself! Think for yourself! Enjoy your sexual and romantic attractions in their fullness, without fear and without prejudice.

Dr Vivienne Cass – Clinical Psychologist and Sexual Therapist/Educator

Dr Vivienne Cass is author of The Elusive Orgasm: A woman?s guide to why she can?t and how she can orgasm (Brightfire Press). RRP $35 but only $31.50 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop

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