The term sexuality can be used to cover a lot of ground – essentially your sexuality is your sexual self: what turns you on and what makes up your sexual identity.
Historically, sexuality has always been tied up with cultural norms and social acceptance. For example in parts of ancient Greece, it was perfectly acceptable for both men and women to sleep with partners of the same sex.
The ancient Greeks were not alone either – the Karma Sutra which is an ancient Hindu text, describes oral sex as something that traditionally would only be performed by a young servant of the same sex tending to the needs of their Master or Mistress.
Again throughout history it was perfectly acceptable for a Master or Mistress to have sex with children and to rape their slaves. Sexual behaviour is governed by what is culturally acceptable and the laws which a society makes for itself. As times change, and a culture evolves under other influences, such as leadership, regime change or religious beliefs or more relevant today the influence of the media – what is or isn’t acceptable in terms of sexuality will adapt to fit within the confines of that society.
Today, with the birth of the internet, suddenly people are able to explore their sexuality in a second virtual life hidden from the light of the real world. Like most things this carries with it both positives and negatives. On the one hand we are coming to terms with the fact that there are many people out there that do not fit in to the simple boxes we used to think of as normal sex. People have the opportunity to meet like minded people from all walks of life and realise they are not alone. On the other hand, this is also true for those that are abusers and pedophiles, who can lurk in the shadows and make contact anonymously.
It is still unclear where your sexual identity comes from –as with any argument about identity, some people think it is innate – that you are born a certain way, other people think that identity is made up from our experiences and that we are constantly changing and adapting. Personally I think it is somewhere in the middle. We can’t choose everything about who we are –however, we do have a choice about how we behave and how we treat people. We can learn from experience and experiment to find out what we like and what turns us on.
Personally, I think that in many respects we are still constrained by social norms. Despite the fact that we have come a long way from Victorian sensibilities – we still have many hang-ups about sex. Sex is no longer a forbidden topic of conversation in polite company, however we still do not talk openly about sex and relationships, there are still many areas of taboo which we are afraid to open the door on. We still feel guilty and are some way from accepting sex as something natural that can be enjoyed and discussed openly without fear or judgement.
What is sexuality?
As we’ve said your sexuality is your sexual identity – and covers every aspect of what makes up your sexual self. Many people take your sexuality to mean only your sexual orientation – whether you are heterosexual, gay or bi. However, sexuality is much more than that.
The fact is for some people sex is very important and for others lesser so. How openly sexual you are, is part of your sexuality and this may change as you get older.
Sexuality is also about what actually gets you going and what turns you on. You may have heard the term fetish. A fetish is what is termed as a sexual perversion – as in finding sexual pleasure in something that is considered to be non-sexual for example – uniforms or feet. Neither are particularly sexual in the own terms but for some people they are a real turn on.
Quite often people seem to be either highly embarrassed to admit what gets them going or on the flip-side are very open about it and it makes up a huge part of their overall identity. Some people are in to playing games around control which is termed BDSM – Bondage, discipline/domination, submission/sadism and masochism. Generally, this involves games which explore power within a relationship. However, this type of sexuality is not about bullying and abusing partners – instead it is quite the opposite it takes a great deal of trust to allow someone else to take control and will involve a great deal of aftercare, communication and setting personal boundaries.
Other people like other forms of role play, dressing up and acting out fantasies. Some people get very turned on by dressing up or have particular fabrics which get them going such as latex, leather or silk.
There are people that like to take the lead and other who like to relinquish control. Some people like to be tied up and teased. Some people like to eat food off their partner’s bodies or get really messy and cover themselves in food. Some people like to have sex in the open air or in public.
When it comes to sexual relationships everybody has their own kinks and their own strange little ways and this is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. As long as everything is consensual, no one is pressured and no one get’s hurt then we should never judge or interfere.
To find out more about what makes up your personal identity follow the links below:
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