• Ernesto L. Brea

50 Shades Of Sexuality

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

confusion or concern regarding their sexuality, this is not the case for a great number of individuals who find that their questions regarding their sexuality are not so easily answered.

Sexuality is not defined by one behaviour or one feeling, or even by one experience. It is a highly complex human response that can be influenced by a variety of factors in its expression. What does seem to be clear that sexual preference is not a choice. One cannot control or determine who they are attracted to – whatever their sexuality. While many people have clear preferences, it is largely outside their ability to change that attraction, or lack thereof.  

How many sexualities?

While preference may not be malleable, the expression of that attraction can be, and some individuals choose to deny or express their sexuality based on other factors such as fear, social or familial pressure, or similar concerns. It is not always desirable or easy to disguise one’s sexuality, but some people do shape their behaviour to fit within common sexuality models. In general, although there can be wide variety, it is usually understood that there are stable categories of sexuality which include, heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. In between these generic categories of course exist many different shades of grey.

Especially in adolescence, conflicting or unclear desires can complicate life. While it is possible to be aware from an early age what one’s sexual preference is, it is not always so clear-cut and many struggle with their sexual identity well into adulthood. Experts suggest that individuals who are unsure, or who are wrestling with issues of sexual preference try to see it as less of a problem or difficulty to be solved, but to view it as a journey of discovery.

“Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity” Sigmund Freud

For those who find that their questions or concerns are too difficult to manage on their own, counselling with a knowledgeable therapist can help identify sexual preferences and may also facilitate an individual’s identification with a particular group, if this is something they wish to do.

Although sexual identity can be a cause of stress for some, it is important to remember that sexuality is complex and for many, answers do not come easily or immediately.

Try to be patient and understanding with an individual who is confronting these issues – and remember that if you are the one on a quest for sexual identity, it is just as important to give yourself the time and space you would give to a friend or a family member in a similar circumstance. Most of all, sexuality is supposed to be a source of joy and pleasure in one’s life, and there is no right way to experience it.

Images on Creative Commons license courtesy of Rucknroll, Sermoa, Soypot

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