I’m going to just come out and say this, sexuality is complicated. Sexuality does not have a concise definition like gender and because it is a part of a person’s identity, people will always have their own definition of what sexuality is. For the purpose of contextualizing my blog, the following is how I’m going to try and explain sexuality.
The first thing to say about sexuality is that whenever discussing it, sexuality is associated with sexual orientation (which is defined as, who a person is physically and/or emotionally attracted to) (Sexual orientation and homosexuality). The reason why these two are heavily associated with each other is because they are all part of a person’s sexual identity. By knowing and understanding sexual orientation, people can then have a full understanding of their sexuality and how to express it (Self-Help: Sexual Identity and Orientation).
For example: A boy (let’s call him Tom), at the age of 11, starts to understand that he isn’t attracted to girls like the other boys. All Tom knows is that he is different from the rest of the crowd and is confused on what to call himself, how to identify, or how to express his “abnormal” desires. Tom eventually enters high school and finds out that men who are attracted to other men are called gay. Although Tom now knows that he is gay, he still does not fully comprehend what it means to be gay because he’s never had the chance to express it in any manner. It wasn’t until college, where he could fully express himself as exactly who he was, that Tom really understood his sexuality.
Through this story, we can examine Tom’s development of himself from pre-high school to college. By being able to understand his sexual orientation, Tom was able to understand sexual identity but through expressing this he was able to fully understand his sexuality.
In regards to sexuality, it is also very important to note that when people think of sexuality, many tend to think of heteronormative sexuality (meaning sexuality is in reference to straight sexual identities only, not like the gay sexual identity example I gave you) (Self-Help: Sexual Identity and Orientation). This is important to take into consideration because this is also what our society thinks and is run.
“Self-Help: Sexual Identity and Orientation.” Student Counseling Center Office of Student Affairs. University of Texas Dallas, 19 Jan 2011. Web. 20 Apr 2012. <http://www.utdallas.edu/counseling/sexualidentity/>.
“Sexual orientation and homosexuality.” American Psychological Association . American Psychological Association, 2008. Web. 20 Apr 2012. <http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.asp&xgt;.