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

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by BiGemini87, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. dirtyshirt84

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    This was reported by the BBC, as well as other credible media. Bear in mind of course, as it says in the article, this person may always have been gay, we can only take his word for it:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17703018

    Hopefully you can see that link. It stands to reason though that if other aspects of people’s personality can change following a stroke it *might* be possible that it could also affect someone’s sexual orientation. This is very rare, of course.
     
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  2. Chip

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    This is a single uncorroborated anecdotal report. When I was saying "a credible source" I was expecting one that had some scientific basis to it. All we have here is someone making a claim that their stroke caused this change, and a physician that examined him and offered an opinion, but there's no baseline with which to compare, so the examination is pretty meaningless. There are plenty of individuals who have not had strokes who show brain attributes of both males and females.

    We literally cannot draw *anything* from this report.
     
    #62 Chip, May 9, 2021
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
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  3. Chip

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    OK so... here's a piece that might help clarify things and might also bring together some differing perspectives.

    There is a difference between sexual orientation and sexual attraction. It's subtle, and sometimes confusing, but it's worthwhile to understand in this context.

    Orientation is, from pretty much all the credible data (evidence-free folks notwithstanding) pretty solidly hardwired. If it were not, then conversion therapy could work. It's been soundly disproven, in a metastudy of over 50 studies analyzed on behalf of the APA. These studies represented all of the credible research in the field, dating back some 50 years.

    Now, that said... here's a somewhat extreme example. let's say we have a heterosexual woman, we'll call her Amy, who has been raped by a man. To borrow a quote from Gabor Maté MD, "Trauma is not what happens to us, it is what happens inside of us as a result of what happens to us." In this context, it means that every individual has different responses and means of coping with stress and trauma. And for some individuals, the byproduct of this trauma can be (understandably) a fear of getting close to anyone male, because it might be triggering. Amy may simply not be able to be around or near men, or at least, not in an intimate way. But if Amy still has a high sex drive and desire for connection, she may seek out sexual gratification from people of the same sex. This does not mean that her orientation is "fluid." Remember that most people who identify as heterosexual or homosexual are actually not quite on the edges of the spectrum. They might be 95% heterosexual. This from the work of Kinsey and others. So Amy may seek out the comfort of sex with women, and may date women. Her orientation has not changed. But whom she is attracted to at this point, because of the way she's dealt with her trauma, may change. Once again, this means she's still the same sexual orientation she always was.

    Now, let's say Amy decides that the impact of the rape is causing other issues in her life (which it does with an enormous percentage of survivors). She goes to therapy. She miraculously finds a capable therapist with a deep understanding of trauma. They spend the better part of a year working on her trauma issues. At the end of it, she is no longer afraid of men, because she's been able to put her experience into context and let go of the impact of the trauma. Now, she's dating men again, and she no longer feels particularly interested in dating women. Again, her orientation has not changed. She healed the wounds she had and is reconnecting to her authentic self.

    Note that this experience works in both directions: A heterosexual man raped by a woman may seek out the company of other men. (This happens more commonly with boys sexually abused by older females than it does with adults.) Or a homosexual man may be traumatized and raped by another man, and seek out the company of women. None of these things change their underlying sexual orientation. But it may cause them to seek the company of partners opposite their sexual orientation.

    The difference is, when these folks get help, their underlying, hardwired orientation re-emerges. And this is actually why the religious crazies that do conversion therapy can point to the very occasional "success." But the point is... the "successes" that conversion therapy points to are not actually changing anyone's orientation. Instead, the therapy (again, miraculously, especially with the ridiculous shit they do in conversion therapy) helped the individual understand and work through their trauma. But someone who is hardwired to be attracted to the same sex will have no change at the end of conversion therapy. They might be brainwashed, shamed, and browbeaten enough to believe they've changed, but the data is clear that when you look at these folks a few years after conversion, they've all changed back. That or they are miserable and usually numbing their misery with drugs, alcohol, food, or something else.

    Summing up the above, the folks who were attracted to someone temporarily because they were repelled by whomever they are attracted to as a result of trauma can shift attractions. But underlying orientation always remains the same. Folks whose orientation is gay cannot be made straight and those who are straight cannot be made gay. (Again, recognizing that orientation is a spectrum, with few at the far edge on either side.)

    There's a lot more nuance even within the above. Different people respond to trauma very differently, and sometimes, for example, the heterosexual individual who is traumatized by an opposite sex partner might, instead of shunning opposite-sex relationships, do the opposite and become promiscuous with opposite sex partners, in an unconscious attempt to regain control over their body.

    Or... a traumatized person might lose all interest in sex. And, thanks to the evidence-free crowd, many of these folks label as "asexual" which, again, is not an accurate term, since their "asexuality" is a byproduct of trauma, rather than a hardwired orientation. Deal with the trauma, the interest in sex returns. Nobody feels like having sex when they have the flu, either, but sensible people would not say they are "asexual" because they have the flu. Same thing with many antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications... they kill sexual arousal. In all of these cases, these people aren't asexual, but they have a temporary condition that's suppressing sexual attraction/arousal. Unfortunately, the evidence-free crowd have so muddied the waters on this issue, and are loud and unrelenting that their evidence-free crowdsourced groupthink is The Way It Is, that it can be really hard to understand the nuance here, and an awful lot of people go through life needlessly believing they have no sexual attraction, when in fact what they are experiencing is a byproduct of trauma, a mental health issue, or a medication.

    So on the surface, you can look at this stuff, and come away with one perspective. But when you look at it and analyze more carefully, a different truth, supported by an awful lot of data, research, and the clinical experience of thousands of clinicians, emerges.

    Truth and facts are important. And that's a big part of the reason why EC takes the sharing of accurate information seriously.
     
    #63 Chip, May 9, 2021
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  4. Bastion

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    @Chip

    The cases you discuss and examine in your last post are reasonable, logical and make sense. But what if the person has not suffered any serious trauma and is a heathy individual? Can we deduct from what you are saying that sexual attraction other than one’s own underlying orientation could be a situational thing.

    So, is this in your opinion what “Sexual Fluidity” means?

    If this is what you mean it is similar to what Lisa Diamond said.
    She said “I define sexual fluidity as a capacity for a change in sexual attraction—depending on changes in situational or environmental or relationship conditions”
     
  5. Nickw

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    @Bastion

    I think there is a nuance here that should be considered. If L Diamond was referring to bisexuals going from a, largely, straight lifestyle to a homosexual relationship because of a particular person, or a change in life status, that is one thing. But, that's not a change in orientation. It's a change of "scenery". I'm very attracted to my boyfriend right now. He just checks all the boxes. So, I can feel 100% gay with him. That doesn't mean my sexuality has changed. It just means that my sexuality is being stimulated at this time to be more expressive of my same sex attractions.

    I have a "gay" friend who has this woman that he just finds irresistible. It doesn't mean he's straight because he desires her. Or, that it is just some sort of "fluidity" of orientation. It just means he has it for this one person.

    The problem with promoting the idea that sexual orientation is fluid is that some of us will use that as an excuse to not engage our sexuality. If there is an outside chance we can become heterosexual, then it can be a stumbling block for moving ahead and accepting our sexuality as gay or bisexual. I think that's why this urban myth of sexual fluidity gets such a response from many of us. Because, it is sold as a sexual orientation. It would be great to say my sexuality is fluid. But, it's just not the same thing.
     
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  6. Bastion

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    Hey @Nickw

    None of the Articles that I read say that “Sexual fluidity” is an orientation.
    But I think it has somehow become popular and synonymous with flexibility and sex positivity for some reason with the younger crowd. Or the “evidence free folks” as @Chip says.
    Or maybe it gained a bit of momentum for people who don’t want to labeled.

    I don’t know honestly. With all the 100+ Plus sexual Orientations that keep popping up. And added to the list everyday.
     
  7. Bastion

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    @Nickw

    What I know for now is am somewhere on the spectrum. And I agree that a person should be concerned more with his awareness and acceptance of his sexuality whatever that might be and work towards that to be more at peace with himself. Because maybe in reality no amount of science can really tell a person how he feels. Or make his choices for him. Having said that an informed person might be able to better understand how and why feels the way he does.
     
  8. Nickw

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    @Bastion

    I feel the same way. I have an advanced degree in a science related field and did research as a graduate student. So, I am always interested in the why of things...not just dealing with the reality. But, most of us would be better off accepting and going on with our lives. I'm better off to understand, as best as I can, the science of sexuality. The Kinsey studies were a great comfort to me as a 25 year old. I needed to know that I wasn't some freak of nature and it did help me accept my sexuality.

    I have two gay brothers and a gay sister. So, we, obviously, have a lot of family discussions about what it is about our family (and extended family) that caused us to be gay. I know that my Dad, in particular, being a scientist himself, was somehow comforted to know that there was, probably, a biological reason for having gay sons...not something he did. This isn't really a fair representation of my Dad...he was very accepting...for his generation and upbringing...He raised us to be ourselves. But, to just say this is what it is and it was not somebody's fault... and it may be a good thing anyway... was great for my Dad.
     
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  9. Chip

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    Well, again, I have little respect for Lisa Diamond's work. To my knowledge, nobody's replicated it, and she stands pretty much alone in her perspective.

    A healthy individual who does not have a trauma history is going to be somewhere on the spectrum. Wherever they are, that's wherever they are. Or so says pretty much all the credible data I'm aware of. So let's say someone is bisexual. (and mind you, that could be, technically, anywhere from a Kinsey 1 to a Kinsey 5). This simply means they can find attraction to both men and women (or, depending on whose definition you're using and whose discussion of gender, they could be attracted to anyone.) What makes the attraction for these folks on the spectrum? Who knows! Maybe hair color. Maybe intellect. Or personality. Or their eyes. Why are people attracted to anyone? A million different reasons. For the person who isn't 100% straight or 100% gay, the sex of the individual they are attracted to is going to be less important than other factors.
     
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  10. Chip

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    About 95% of which are entirely evidence-free, with no research, credible data, or anything else to validate them.
     
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