What is Sexuality?
In its broadest sense ‘sexuality’ describes the whole way a person goes about expressing themselves as a Sexual Being. Sexual expression is part of a person’s life, how we choose to express that sexuality and any preference we may have towards the type of sexual partner or relationship we choose can be controversial depending on where we, who is around us and more importantly, how we feel about our own sexual identity.
Most surveys of human sexual behaviour reveals that there is a wide variety of sexual expression, the way we choose, (if in fact it is a choice) to behave sexually is usually as individual and as unique as the interests we have or the types of food we prefer.
Human sexuality cannot be put into nice neatly labelled boxes and researchers have for hundreds of years struggled to define what sexuality actually means and find suitable explanations for what is a small but significant part of the human being, or should that be the animal kingdom as a whole.
In recent years the word sexuality has come to have a more narrow meaning. Sexuality is now often defined by whether the gender of the sexual partners we choose is the same (gay) as our own or different (heterosexual or straight). Some people rightly feel this more restrictive definition of sexuality can create problems as it attempts to fit a complex human experience into simple labels.
For people who do identify as gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgender it may help them to have a voice, pride and a sense of validation or belonging, having worked through the feelings of feeling different, it can be very powefull for people who have suppressed or hidden parts of themselves to suddenly fit in with ever growing member of the wider gay community.
A hot debate has always existed over why people’s sexuality differs. Several theories have been suggested citing genetic pre-determination or (Nature), childhood influences or (Nurture) and peer-pressure amongst others. However, attempts to find conclusive evidence for an individual’s sexual orientation have not been successful and the experts in the field of Human sexuality cannot so far agree.
Like many of our other personality traits, our sexuality seems to be formed by the time we reach our teens, although it may be many years later before we each understand and accept our own sexuality. Issues such as media, the law, religion, peer pressure and environment can all add to the challenges of accepting this small but important aspect of who we are.
Sexuality Counselling – What is it?
Whilst exploring our sexuality and coming to terms with it ourselves, we may experience some of the following feelings if we do not have supportive friends or family:
- Low self worth
- Self hatred
Exploring our sexuality can be a very difficult experience, however if we can find someone we can trust to talk things through, it can be a huge relief. If you are struggling with issues relating to sexual attraction and are worried that your friends will abandon you or that your family will disown you, then please understand that it is natural to think that, but it is rarely the case. If you are scared to talk to people you know, then talk to a stranger, there are helplines in most major cities and a national helpline, try talking to someone on the telephone or writing an email to get support to begin with.
If you are struggling to accept yourself and who you are, you will need to spend some time working on that. Working on your self acceptance and self esteem, spending time with supportive individuals like a gay affirmative counsellor will help you to find that inner peace. Talking to a counsellor who knows what you are going through and has been there too, will also help you to live the life you want. Choose a gay counsellor if you can, a counsellor who uses a gay affirmative model with clients.
Remember, sex is only a small part of sexuality, it is also about love and who we are as people. It can be private, just the same as it is for anyone else. You do not have to share your feelings until you feel you want to, or are ready to.
If you need help working through your feelings, I am here to help. Remember you are not alone, the latest statistics suggest that at least 10% of the U.S. and UK population have at some time in their lives had a same sex relationship.
Im at Uni and have a crush on my gay roomie, I am 19, Male and I have a girlfriend (not serious) but go crazy when I see this guy with his shirt off. I just luv bein around him. I fantasise about him when I masturbate too. Am i gay?
Human sexuality is a complex issue. You are at an age when you are still finding yourself and possibly exploring your sexuality. You say you have a GF but that you also find your roomie drives you crazy, it is possible that you are attracted to him as a person only, or are you attracted to other men?
Without knowing more information it is difficult to be specific, anyway the label is not important, what is important is that you feel OK with who you are as a person and comfortable in your own skin.
If you would like some help with that, please feel free to email me, talking this through with an online counselor who works in a Gay Affirmative Approach will help you.
It may also help to have a look at my page on Relationships
Take care Ali.
Best wishes Paul, online counsellor (therapist) and online life coach.