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What Does It Mean to Have "Sexual Fluidity" Really?

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by BiGemini87, Apr 6, 2021 at 1:32 PM.

  1. BiGemini87

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    I've seen this come up in conversation multiple times, but never in great detail: People simply making the claim that "sexuality is fluid" without delving further into what they actually mean by that statement.

    Surely people don't actually think your sexuality "changes", do they? Or at least, they don't believe the handful of people who do possess fluid sexualities speak for the whole? In the latter cases, your perception of your sexual orientation can change, of course; that happens frequently when someone who thought themselves previously straight comes out as any non-straight orientation, or when someone thinks they're gay/lesbian but turn out to be somewhere on the bisexual spectrum. And of course, the cases of asexuality themselves, where people haven't been sure who or what their drawn to, due to a lack of sexual attraction.

    So I guess I'm posing this question: when you or someone else says that "sexuality is fluid", what do you really mean by that, and more importantly, what sources support that belief?

    Not meant as a dig or anything. Just curious is all. :slight_smile:
     
    #1 BiGemini87, Apr 6, 2021 at 1:32 PM
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021 at 1:33 PM
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  2. QuietPeace

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    Some people do actually believe that sexuality changes. Otherwise they would never have created conversion "therapy". I think that what is going on is that peoples understanding of themselves is what changes not that anything real in them changes.

    Compulsory heteronormativity keeps many people in the closet. Refusing to explore but eventually many find it impossible to stay there. When they leave the closet they may say they change and become bi or gay but really they have always been and are just now accepting it.

    I myself spent years stating that I was a lesbian specifically because I wanted to avoid men who would pressure me to have casual sex with them. Now that I have met a decent respectful man (I had to change continents to find one) I realize that I have always been demisexual and panromantic.
     
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  3. BiGemini87

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    I probably should have specified that I meant people within the LGBTQ+ itself thinking this, not straight people. :sweat_smile: I agree, though; their perception of themselves is what changes, not their orientation itself.

    That's always been my take-away, too.

    I'm glad you've found someone worthwhile, and that you were able to arrive at such a clear understanding of yourself. :slight_smile:
     
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  4. ShyBirdy

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    I think my sexuality is a bit fluid, but I've only been accepting that I'm attracted to women for a short time, so it will be interesting to see if things change now that I'm not trying to repress that. In the past, I would go through periods where I would be very attracted to women, and then it seemed like it shifted, and I'd be more attracted to men. It was, and still is, very confusing, and tough for me to deal with.

    I was definitely trying to repress my attraction to women tho, and trying to force myself to like guys, so maybe the swings were more related to that? Now I'm just waiting to see what happens. I just went through about 3 months where I was very attracted to women, and not to men at all, and I felt completely like a lesbian. And now I'm just kinda "meh" about both genders, although that could be anxiety about dating women too I suppose.

    Not sure that my response is very helpful or answers the question.
     
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  5. Chip

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    This is basically more of the evidence-free nonsense perpetrated by the same folks that have brought you 10,000 genders, "asexual" losing all of its actual meaning and basically meaning anything anyone wants it to mean, the nonexistent discordant separation between sexual and romantic orientations, and the like. All 100% evidence free for your convenience. :slight_smile:

    And, as with everything else, there's a tiny bit of truth to it, but not in the way people think.

    Sexual orientation, based on some 70 years of study, and 50 years of constant study, isn't a binary or a trinary. It's a spectrum. Most people tend to fall toward one end or the other (straight or gay), but very few are 100% on one end or the other. And then there's the bi/pan folks, who are somewhere closer to the middle of the spectrum.

    Now, with that said, where someone is on the spectrum appears, from everything we currently know, to be pretty solidly fixed. In the Kinsey scale, which goes from 0 to 6, if you're a 5 (predominantly same-sex attracted), then you're a 5. You don't wake up one day and be a 2 or a 6 or a 1, regardless of what the evidence-free folks might say. Now... if you're a 5, you are not 100% totally gay. So you might find an opposite sex person you like, connect with them, find attraction to them, and even be in a long-term relationship with them. But you're still a 5. Your orientation hasn't changed.

    It's in this lack of understanding of the spectrum that people get the idea that their orientation is fluid.

    Another source of confusion is the person who is attracted to the opposite sex, dates, has sex with the opposite sex, etc. from the time they're an adolescent into maybe their 30s... and suddenly something happens, and this flood of feeling comes up for people of the same sex. And maybe that completely eclipses their opposite-sex feelings and it fades away. This still doesn't mean that person was fluid, or that their orientation changed. What happened is that the latent underlying orientation was suppressed, most likely by a combination of religious guilt/shame, societal pressures, family pressures, and the like. But what usually happens in these cases is, once the person sits with it for a while, s/he realizes that, actually, the same-sex feelings really *didn't* come out of nowhere... there were signs early in life, but they were ignored or suppressed.

    It isn't that difficult to understand, and all of the above is pretty well supported by decades of research... and things like sexual orientation and attraction, which are largely rooted in genetics and very early childhood experiences, don't change over the course of 20 or 40 years, so the arguments the evidence-free folks make that "well, we've only been researching for 20 or 30 years" or -- my favorite -- "Well, homosexuality was a disorder until 1973" are pretty much ridiculous. The disorder argument is particularly pathetic, because serious research into sexual orientation didn't start until the mid-1960s, so by that measure, to make so drastic a change in the diagnostic criteria in less than 10 years is lightning fast for the APA... and it's been almost 50 years of constant research since then, and none of the nonsense currently being promoted has been validated in any of that research. So we're probably pretty solid on this by now.
     
  6. BiGemini87

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    @Chip This has more or less been my impression, too; that it's merely a person's perception of themselves shifting--whether they're no longer repressing their attractions, experiencing an increase or decrease in the types of people they're typically attracted to, or some other external factor--not their sexuality itself that has changed. Like for bisexuals, the bi-cycle is a major topic of discussion--but I don't take it to mean my orientation is shifting; just hormonal or environmental changes that make me more or less aware of one group or the other. Kind of how I love both mint chocolate chip ice cream and black cherry, but it doesn't mean I want them all the time (I attribute this to particular characteristics too, not just the sex/gender of a person).

    Speaking from personal experience, it's definitely true that if you repress your sexuality, you deal with a backlog that inevitably skews how you view your attractions. I almost completely lost interest in men upon coming out, but it's levelled out since, which is great. I agree with you that for other people who are gay/lesbian, that shift is much the same; the attractions were always there, whether the person noticed them or not and it took a specific event for them to realize it.

    I mean, if anyone provided me with definitive proof on the alternative, I'd be open to thinking otherwise. But a blogger's opinion piece does not a sound argument make.
     
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