Sexuality is an extremely broad concept that encompasses so many different aspects of the human experience. When you mention sexuality many think of sexual orientation which is a part of it but it is not exclusively about that. It’s about the different ways people express themselves sexually, so not just taking into account the biology behind it but also the social, emotional and spiritual thoughts and behaviours that come alongside it. People should take their sexuality into more consideration as it seeps into many different aspects of our life from our relationships with others to our mental health.
Sexuality is a very subjective concept as it depends so much on the individual yet society has always a felt a need to comment on or control people’s sexuality. In past societies sexuality has been a highly taboo subject, and was often repressed. An example of this is between the years 400 AD-1000 AD, when Christianity was on the rise, people’s sexuality was condemned, if people acted on their sexuality (other than for procreation within marriage) it was considered highly sinful and was linked to the imagery of hell-fire. In the Victorian era, society was filled with sexual ignorance because it was not allowed to be discussed. This meant that people explored their sexuality in unhealthy ways by going to the underground world which led to a large spread of venereal disease as no one practised safe sex. The women of this time had to live up to the ideals of being a wife (pure, domesticated, mothers) which meant they were not allowed to truly explore themselves as sexual beings. In modern society, we have definitely progressed from this way of thinking about sexuality. We are now more openly discussing the topic and all the different aspects it involves from TV adverts about sex toys to how to have a healthy sex life. Our openness is highlighted in the fact that we have events like Pride, which celebrate an array of sexual orientations in cities all over the globe when homosexuality was only decriminalised in the UK 50 years ago. Millennials are particularly open in regards to engaging with their sexuality as a survey by Advocates for Youth (a US non-profit organization) shows that 79% agreed that teenage sexual development is a normal part of growing up and should be taught to teenagers. However we still have a long way to go as in Chechnya, Russia gay men are being openly tortured simply for being comfortable with their sexuality.
My own relationship with my sexuality is quite simple. Whilst being a virgin I still feel my sexuality is an intrinsic part of who I am. Sexuality is a large spectrum of many things so I personally don’t feel the need to stick any labels on it. To have a healthy sexuality the physical safe sex is only part of it. You also need to know how you feel towards sex and how to maintain good relationships which contain qualities such as trust, openness and honesty. It takes years to develop your sexuality as it takes a multitude of experiences, not necessarily all physical, with sex to see how you feel. So if you’re unsure of who you are sexually that’s okay.