But why s/xuality? Because the word “sexuality” implies penetrative, heteronormative intercourse.
When we hear the word “sexuality”, we get so stumped on the word sex that all we fixate on is the dirty, embarrassing, and shameful things we love to experience within the bedroom walls. Correct me if I’m wrong but ever since I’ve started sharing with civvies about how I’m in school to be a Sexuality Consultant, some of the responses I get are: “Oh! So you help people fuck?”, or they immediately look away or down at the floor and say, “Ah, very cool”, like they know what it entails.
I’ve been on this “s/xuality is more than what’s between the legs” kick for the past few months, and I’m having a hard time describing the complete concept. I’ve done it a few times with people face-to-face, so I wanna try to do it here; in the process, I want to encourage you to do the same.
First I wanna look at how the Oxford Dictionary defines it:
a. capacity for sexual feelings
b. a person’s identity in relation to gender or genders to which they are typically attracted; sexual orientation
c. sexual activity
And now I’m gonna do something that would make most researchers just pass out where they were: I’m going to copy and paste Wikipedia’s definition of human sexuality.
Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied with historical contexts over time, it lacks a precise definition.
That last sentence is exactly that: it lacks a precise definition. I can so appreciate the honesty of that versus Oxford’s very matter-of-fact attempt at the definition. The reason I chose Oxford and Wikipedia is that those are the top two resources that appear when you search “define sexuality”.
So, how do we fully conceptualize s/xuality? I personally don’t think it’s possible, but it’s pretty fucking fun to try. The way that I, and many other westerners, conceptualize s/xuality has been described as a variety of terms: lifeforce, Eros, sacred sexuality, creative energy, life energy. It’s important to remember that s/xuality varies across cultures and that these concepts were inspired by countries across the globe.
I want to start with lifeforce; how can one’s s/xuality be described as such? The best way I can answer this question is that our s/xualities are the driving influence behind every single decision we make. How could I make such a claim?! I’m not really making a claim though; I’m just on some real personal bullshit and if you can’t get behind it, cool! We don’t have to agree!
Anyways, back to the ridiculous statement about how I believe our s/xualities define every decision we make throughout our lifetimes. My thought is this: s/xuality is the container of all that we love, hate, and feel indifferent about. It is not just what we like, but it is who we are, who we wish to be, and who we have been; it’s not just the icing on top of the cake, but it started with the craving for cake and then moved into the thought process of what kind of cake we were craving; to carving out the time to pick up the ingredients; going through the motions to get those ingredients and making the necessary sacrifices in order to pay for them; carrying them home and organizing them; carefully measuring out each one so as to not over-saturate the recipe with one ingredient over the other; this is a goddamn meticulous science and it all just comes so naturally.
But we don’t just walk through life having eaten only one cake, no way! Why not try them all? Even if it’s just a window shopping type of experience, it’s nice to know that there are other types of cakes out there. You know what’s also pretty fucking awesome? Watching someone you love just relish in the cake of their own mastery; radiating with ecstasy at how delicious it tastes and looks on them; getting hot just by watching them clean the plate and lick their fingers as they sit in all their glorious satisfaction. Even if it’s not your flavor, it’s a beautiful thing to see how other people indulge in what makes them feel most at home.
I know I just spoke in hypotheticals about how I conceptualize s/xuality, but did I hit that on the nail or what?
I’m so ready for some goddamn cake now… Cake party, anyone?