(If you are interested in exploring some of India’s best sexual wellness products, you must visit http://www.guptt.in/ for more information.)
Sexual orientation: [mass noun] A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.
We live in a society where we like to put people in boxes. We experience a sense of security when we know where people are, whether that is their point of view, their belief system or even their sexuality. However, there are a few of us who recognise that life isn’t quite black and white, who spend a good part of their existence fighting for freedom from these boxes, only to find that they’re placed in another box instead.
We’re taught to believe that sexuality is rigid and identified by three simple words, you’re either straight, gay or bi. Sexual preference, however, is not as simple as this. It doesn’t end after doing some introspection and labeling yourself as gay, straight or bi. Rather, it is about experiencing and acknowledging feelings of sexual attraction and preference.
We realise the world is not to be divided into goats and sheep, and existence is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects, so what if we looked at sexuality in the same way?
Steering away from this sense of rigidity, let’s look at sexuality as a sliding scale. On one side we have heterosexuality, and on the other we have homosexuality, and as individuals, we may be assigned a position on this scale for each period of our life. Now, how uncomfortable does that make you feel?
According to Dr. Fritz Klein, this fluidity in terms of sexual orientation and attraction is normal, and his pioneering sex research allowed for the development of the multi-dimensional Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, which measures the complexity and fluidity of sexual orientation. Klein suggested that many people change their orientation over time, where a person is today is not necessarily where he or she was in the past, or, for that matter, where he or she would like to be in the future.
This continuum approach doesn’t bind well with the human mind as we like to put people in these boxes, which can make bisexuality seem to be slightly more complicated for people to understand than you’d think.
Many people believe bisexuality means a 50-50 split of attraction to the opposite gender and the same, which simply isn’t true. It just means that at some time or another you may be attracted to both. And, as a second point, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve had relationships with both; but merely had the attraction.
This is where a lot of negativity around bisexuality seems to arise. There are those in communities of all sexual identities who believe that bisexuality isn’t real; rather that the person claiming to be bisexual is either afraid to come out as gay, or that they are trying to be ‘unique’ or get attention, or they’re simply greedy. We can assure you this isn’t true.
The tendency to reduce experiences into right and wrong, black and white, good and bad is inherent in human nature. It supports us in keeping track of things. Life would be tiring and confusing if you had to categorise all your friends based upon their own unique sexuality.
A friend of mine who would be termed a lesbian in traditional societal vernacular, recently informed me that she refers to herself as a “blonderosexual.” This means that she is attracted to women and a few choice blonde men. Though the term “blonderosexual” sounds pretty comical, that doesn’t mean that her sexual attraction to this selective list of blondes is any less valid.
Boxing people who have had homosexual relationships or hookups into a larger category of “not straight” while keeping those who are involved with members of the opposite sex in a “straight jacket,” so to speak, limits our ability to explore our sexuality. The human mind doesn’t function in a simple way, and to ask it to remain within these straightforward boundaries we’ve created isn’t reasonable.
We’re not suggesting that we all go out and hook up with anything that has a pulse, regardless of gender, orientation, age, etc. Our point is that respecting the sexuality of others means understanding the fact that nothing is simply black and white. In the case of my blonderosexual friend, insisting upon celebrating her as a lesbian is counterproductive. She is in tune with the fact that she is attracted to certain kinds of people, and that self-knowledge is what should be celebrated. Labeling her as an individual with a distinct sexual orientation is limiting and could be detrimental to her desire to explore her sexuality. If she so chooses, she should be allowed to sleep with Alia or Ranveer. Or both. Now that would be one magical threesome.