Chances are you’ve done something sexual with someone of the same sex, even if it was a bit of show and tell or some touchy-feely. Which goes to show that the labels of gay and straight are not as concrete as we think.
In fact, according to this YouGov study in the United Kingdom, half of their young people aged 18-24 place themselves elsewhere on the sexuality spectrum. And those numbers have been rising over the years, suggesting that social pressures are dying out across the western world, giving us more freedom to explore. I suspect that there are more bisexuals than we actually think.
Of course, “bisexuality” is not a straightforward term. Not everyone is smack-bang in the middle and sexually devoted to both sexes equally. And that’s why a lot of people who may be bisexual are scared to label themselves as such.
Society likes to box people into categories because it’s simpler. They think you are either completely gay, straight or bi.
But that’s not entirely the truth…
The Fluidity of Sexuality
If we take a look at the world-renowned Kinsey Scale of sexuality, we can see why the labels are not concrete.
Sexuality is, essentially, a spectrum. And bisexuality falls in between heterosexual and homosexual. But bisexuality is not confined to equal attraction to both sexes. You can be 80% straight with a 20% attraction to the same sex, and that’s still technically still bisexual. A lesbian could have a 10% attraction to men. And yes, some people could be exclusively gay or straight.
In fact, taking procreation into consideration, I’d say that evolution would have a stronger lean towards heterosexual attraction. It would certainly help boost the survival of the human race. But we shouldn’t constrict ourselves to the labels we hold onto. Not unless we’ve had ample experimentation.
Personally, I’ve dabbled in straight sex – on more than one occasion – when I was younger and I can safely say that I much prefer men. But, if I was the last man on earth, I’m sure I could have sex with a woman to help procreate. Of course, I know I won’t like it. And that’s not because I’m disgusted in women, but because simply I find men irresistible.
Putting it another way: I can appreciate a nude woman in all her beauty, but it’s not stimulating for me.
And all this goes to show that sexuality is not a “yes-or-no” dilemma. It’s an ongoing journey. Especially for the majority of us who aren’t completely straight or gay.
Breaking Down the Barriers
There’s a fear in deviating from one’s identity, and it arises from society’s general hostility towards change. We love familiarity. Not just in ourselves, but in the people around us, too. We find it hard to change who we are because we fear the wrath of being wrong.
For instance, you hold onto your political beliefs because changing them will probably lead to a poor reputation. A long-devout conservative coming out as a leftie sounds insane, and many of us on both sides will despise that person’s choice. As if there’s loyalty in politics.
And just like politics, sexuality is the same. I remember at a gay youth group when I was younger, we discussed how weird it would be if one of us came out as straight. The fear permeated the room, solidifying the fact that we’d be disowned by our peers if we did. And isn’t that ironic…
We must break down the barriers of sexuality and allow people the right to experiment. We should all have the right to explore our identity, even after we label ourselves.
It shouldn’t be taboo.
But equally, we should accept that heterosexuality may not be as exclusive as we think. Of course, a majority of us would have sexual attractions towards the opposite sex for the simple factor of procreation. But I doubt it’s exclusivity.
Hopefully, once we’ve accepted the fluidity of sexuality, the world will be a better place. A more free-thinking society that refrains from boxing people into specific labels.
But, I fear we’ve got a long way to go yet.