" Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied with historical contexts over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle."
As you can see, human sexuality is much more than the act itself, it is spiritual, emotional and so on. The history of it goes back as far as human history: 200,000+ years. Some of the earliest recovered artifacts from ancient cultures are thought to be fertility totems. The Hindu Kama Sutra (400 BCE to 200 CE)—an ancient text discussing love, desire, and pleasure—includes a how-to manual for having sexual intercourse.
Venus of Willendorf
The figure is believed to have been carved during the European Upper Paleolithic, or "Old Stone Age", a period of prehistory starting around 30,000 BCE. Nude women with exaggerated sexual features represented an early fertility fetish, perhaps a mothergoddess. The figure has no visible face, her head being covered with circular horizontal bands of what might be rows of plaited hair, or perhaps a type of headdress.
People have been scientifically investigating sex for only about 125 years. The first scientific investigations of sex employed the case study method of research.
Using case studies, the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud is credited with being the first scientist to link sex to healthy development and to recognize humans as being sexual throughout their lifespans, including childhood. In one of his books, Freud wrote: “The behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life.” (Sexuality and the Psychology of Love)
The American biologist Alfred Kinsey is commonly referred to as the father of human sexuality research. Kinsey was a world-renowned expert on wasps but later changed his focus to the study of humans. This shift happened because he wanted to teach a course on marriage but found data on human sexual behavior lacking. He believed that sexual knowledge was the product of guesswork and had never really been studied systematically or in an unbiased way. He decided to collect information himself using the survey method, and set a goal of interviewing 100 thousand people about their sexual histories. He managed to collect 18 thousand interviews! Many “behind closed doors” behaviors investigated by contemporary scientists are based on Kinsey’s seminal work. This is what he said about homosexuality: "If all persons with any trace of homosexual history, or those who were predominantly homosexual, were eliminated from the population today, there is no reason for believing that the incidence of the homosexual in the next generation would be materially reduced. The homosexual has been a significant part of human sexual activity since the dawn of history, primarily because it is an expression of capacities that are basic in the human animal."
Distinction between sex and gender
"The distinction between sex and gender differentiates a person's sex (the anatomy of an individual's reproductive system, and secondary sex characteristics) from that person's gender, which can refer to either social roles based on the sex of the person (gender role) or personal identification of one's own gender based on an internal awareness (gender identity). In some circumstances, an individual's assigned sex and gender do not align, and the person may be transgender. In other cases, an individual may have biological sex characteristics that complicate sex assignment, and the person may be intersex."
GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) makes a distinction between sex and gender in their most recent Media Reference Guide: Sex is "the classification of people as male or female" at birth, based on bodily characteristics such as chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitalia. Gender identity is "one's internal, personal sense of being a man or woman (or a boy or a girl)".
So, basically sex is your "body", and gender is your "mind" in a way. As we can see, the fact that someone was born as female or male, does not mean that their gender is the same. Their sex can be female or male, but their gender can be the exact opposite, both, or neither.
For example transgender people experience a "mismatch" (what an ugly word) between their gender identity and their birth sex. Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (e.g. people who are genderqueer, non-binary, bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender)
- genderqueer: a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.
- non-binary: denoting or relating to a gender or sexual identity that is not defined in terms of traditional binary oppositions such as male and female or homosexual and heterosexual.
- bigender: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity encompasses two genders.
- pangender: refers to a person whose gender identity is not limited to one gender and may encompass all genders at once.
- genderfluid: denoting or relating to a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender.
- agender: denoting or relating to a person who does not identify themselves as having a particular gender.
" Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender. "
Just for the sake of it, let's see a few sexual orientations(there are probably many more, than these, but I tried).The time when I am writing this article, I found 46 terms, that describe sexual attraction, orientation.
Allosexual: (I am going to be honest, I've never heard of this before, but after reading the definition, it made so much sense!) "A word and category describing those who experience sexual attraction." You've heard the term asexual right? Now, this is the exact opposite, and when you think about it, why don't we know about this term? I'm gonna help you a little bit: experiencing sexual attraction is considered to be the norm, but not experiencing any, is just as normal, so I'm very happy that I found this term.
Androsexual: "A term used to communicate sexual or romantic attraction to men, males, or masculinity. This term intentionally includes attraction to those who identify as men, male, or masculine, regardless of biology, anatomy, or sex assigned at birth."
Asexual: "Includes individuals who don’t experience sexual attraction to others of any gender."
Autosexual: "A person who’s sexually attracted to themselves." I mean... good for you guys.
Bisexual: "A sexual orientation that describes those who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attractions to people of more than one gender."
Cupiosexual: "Cupiosexual describes asexual people who don’t experience sexual attraction but still have the desire to engage in sexual behavior or a sexual relationship."
Demisexual: "On the asexual spectrum, this sexual orientation describes individuals who experience sexual attraction only under specific circumstances, such as after building a romantic or emotional relationship with a person."
Fluid: "This terms refers to the fact that sexuality, sexual attraction, and sexual behavior can change over time and be dependent on the situation."
Gay: "A term that describes individuals who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender."
Graysexual: "Graysexual is a term used to acknowledge the gray area on the sexuality spectrum for people who don’t explicitly and exclusively identify as asexual or aromantic."
Gynesexual: "A term used to communicate sexual or romantic attraction to women, females, or femininity."
Heterosexual: "A term that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the “opposite” gender (e.g. male vs. female, man vs. woman) or a different gender."
Lesbian: "A woman or female-identified person who experiences sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender."
Monosexual: "A broad sexual orientation category that includes people who experience romantic or sexual attraction to people of one sex or gender. Monosexuality typically includes those who are exclusively heterosexual, gay, or lesbian."
Pansexual: "A term that describes individuals who can experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to any person, regardless of that person’s gender, sex, or sexuality."
Pomosexual: "A term (not necessarily an identity) used to refer to those who reject sexuality labels or don’t identify with any of them."
Sapiosexual: "A word used to describe those who experience attraction based on intelligence, rather than sex or gender."
Skoliosexual: "A sexual orientation that describes those who are sexually attracted to people with non-cisgender gender identities, such as people who are nonbinary, genderqueer, or trans."
Spectrasexual: "A term that describes people who are sexually or romantically attracted to multiple or varied sexes, genders, and gender identities — but not necessarily all or any."
Figuring out your own sexual orientation
Well, as I can imagine, after reading all of this information, you probably might be even more confused than before. That's not a problem though. Being confused or unsure about your sexual orientation is totally normal at any age, any time of your life, and let me tell you, you are in no rush, to decide, or figure anything out! Sexuality is a very complicated and complex thing, and more importantly, it's always changing, and evolving. Most of us are taught, from as long as we can remember, that a relationship should involve a female and a male, and even though we are told to accept everyone, you probably heard this sentence in some other form before: "So, do you currently have a little boyfriend?" No grandma, I don't, and what if it's a girlfriend instead?
The best way I can describe my own sexuality/sexual orientation is: I can be attracted to any person, from any gender, as long as I love them with all my heart. I love someone for their personality, and soul, not their birth sex.
For me, I would say it didn't take so much time, to realize, that I can be attracted to not only men, but women as well. I realized, that it's so silly to "restrict" the gender of people I can be in love with, just because I didn't ever see any couples in my close circle, being gay. Now I know, that for me personally, gender isn't a reason to love someone or not.
My distinctive advice would be, to experience, try out as many things as you want, and you're curious about, and don't let society's opinion stop you from finding who you love, and who you're attracted to. It is your life, and you need to do what makes you happy. Find someone who makes you happy!
© 2020 Lili Zoltai