Human sexuality is defined as the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This definition involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors, as well as how a person feels about and identifies with regards to gender.
According to the University of Louisville, sexuality can encompass almost every aspect of our being, including attitudes, values, feelings, and experiences. Our sexuality can be influenced by ourselves, our family and culture, our religion and spirituality, as well as laws, professions, and politics.
Over a person’s lifetime, their sexuality, preferences, and feelings may change, adapt, or evolve. It may change according to situations or intimate partners.
Healthline believes there are 46 terms at this time that are used to describe how people identify sexually. From asexual to graysexual, polysexual to bisexual, let’s take a closer look at sexuality in a few of its many forms.
I’d like readers to proceed with an open, curious mind. Know that sexuality may mean something different to each one of us.
Identifying as asexual may mean different things to each person individually. Most often, a person who identifies as asexual experiences little to no sexual attraction. Asexuals, also referred to as “Aces”, may experience romantic attractions but usually do not feel the need to act on these urges.
One may be the loneliest number but Stanford scholar Karli Cerankowski, who’s research focuses extensively on asexuality, found asexual people capable of obtaining ample contentment in other areas of their lives and that complete fulfillment in life doesn’t necessarily have to include sexual gratification.
According to the book ‘The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality’, an asexual person can become sexual later in life, while conversely, a sexual person may become asexual. This book recommends listening to your feelings. If you don’t feel arousal, desire sex or sexual touching, you may be asexual.
Asexuality may be confusing for some. Healthline states there are plenty of people who aren’t asexual who have low sexual desire and that other asexual people have a libido and might masturbate or have sex—making asexuality somewhat of a spectrum. The Asexual Visibility & Education Network believes greysexuality is often a midpoint between sexuality and asexuality.
The root word of bisexual is ‘bi’ meaning two and bisexuality is a sexual orientation that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attractions to people of more than one gender. The American Psychological Association states that bisexual people comprise the largest single group in the LGBTQ+ community.
Planned Parenthood explains that asexual people can feel romantically attracted, while not sexually attracted, to people regardless of their gender—so they may identify as asexual, and also as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight, making them both asexual and bisexual.
For Melissa A. Fabello PhD, who focuses on the politics of wellness, it took her years to realize that sexual fluidity is real and being bisexual shifted with her identity changes. She studied the Orientation, Behavior, and Identity (OBI) Model and found that being bisexual does not mean a person must be attracted to multiple genders equally.
At its heart, bisexuality may be being attracted to one gender while also having an interest in others.
Polysexual vs. Polyamory
Polysexual individuals are much like bisexuals in that they are attracted to people of multiple genders. The definitive definition goes something like this: Bisexuals like the same and other genders, while polysexuals like multiple genders.
Polyamory refers to an involvement in multiple intimate relationships at once.
According to studies, approximately five percent of adults have consensual non-monogamous relationships. The key word there is consensual. This is because while some consider polyamory cheating, cheating is never consensual.
Scarlet Johansson has been quoted as saying it’s not natural to be a monogamous person and some people wonder about including others in their sexual relationship.
According to Matt Lundquist, LCSW, a relationship therapist who specializes in navigating open relationships, there need to be plenty of conversation and ground rules in order to make polyamory work. Jealousy is most often the biggest issue, but insecurity and other feelings should also be addressed.
Perhaps you’ve seen MMF or MFF? This refers to Male-Male-Female or Male-Female-Female preferences. However, couples of any gender and sexual preference can participate in a threesome.
As discussed with the poly’s above, a threesome is a consensual activity. And while the thought of it is quite popular, a study of approximately 2,000 people found that only 18 percent of men and 10 percent of women admitted to having tried a threesome.
Dr. Ryan Scoats published an in-depth study called Understanding Threesomes. Dr. Scoats found that in most instances, people participated in threesomes for someone else’s benefit, usually a partner’s fantasy that they didn’t share. Many other study participants admitted to trying threesomes because of sexual boredom.
One suggestion I commonly give those who seek my advice on threesomes is to incorporate realistic and phallic shaped sex toys into your current relationship to see how each of you feels having a second vagina or penis in the bedroom. This exercise may lead to a conversation about how best to proceed for both partners.
Sex By The Numbers
Solo sex, multiple gender attraction, sexual curiosity—perhaps you’re at a point where you feel the urge to explore.
As previously mentioned, sex and sexuality can change throughout a person’s lifetime. Now more than ever there are books, blogs, resources and all forms of shared knowledge and experiences that can help guide and inform your curiosity and journey. Take your time and find out what works best for you.
Are you curious about your own sexuality? Are there things on your sexual fantasy list that you think about trying? Please send me your questions and comments. I’m always here to help you.