Facebook Pixel

Are We All Gay and Straight?

Rate This
Sex & Relationships related image

Tame to taboo, high risk to low risk, subdued to superb, sexual behaviors exist on a vast continuum. Along this continuum is another aspect of sexuality: sexual orientation.

Many individuals believe that a person is either exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual. However, back in 1940s Alfred Kinsey discovered in his hundreds of interviews that individuals actually fall along a spectrum of sexuality: Kinsey's Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale. Current sex research still backs Kinsey's findings, with just a few modifications. (Klein).

I thought this subject was fascinating, as when we think of sexual orientation, we often categorize people strictly by who they are having sex with, a.k.a. their sexual behaviors. There are many other sexuality-related factors, including emotional, physical and social preferences, sexual fantasies and sexual attraction.

Dr. Fritz Klein has said that sexual orientation is not a stagnant label; it is a “dynamic process”. A person can choose to have have sex with only one gender, but can fantasize about the opposite gender, with no intention to act on those fantasies. The dynamic process means that these feelings, thoughts and behaviors can change over time.

In fact, in 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) defined sexual orientation as, “an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person. It exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusively homosexuality to exclusive heterosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality.”

“Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors.”

What does this mean to you, and your relationships?

Labeling and categorizing individuals by their sexuality: is it limiting and simplistic, or does it help to broaden our awareness of the terms "sexuality”, “sexual behavior”, “sexual attraction” and “sexual orientation”?

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Sex & Relationships

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Sex & Relationships Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!