It seems that the more we, as a society, are open about sex the more confused some people become. Sex, despite the great strides we have taken in understanding its role in our lives, is still a subject that causes many to be embarrassed and this, in turn, generates secrecy.
Secrecy, unfortunately, can mean that for those exploring sexual desires slightly different to perceived norms can be ashamed of their feelings. This can, in turn, lead to poor self belief and feelings that one is ‘disgusting' and ‘weird’ and not worthy of being a member of society.
At the same time, access to information about sex and sexuality on the Internet does mean that awareness of sexual differences has increased. Those who had previously restricted themselves in believing that people were either heterosexual or homosexual now find sexuality a lot more fluid than that. It also means that those who felt they were ‘weird’ or ‘different’ to everyone else have sometimes found that there are others with similar interests.
I have noticed in the past few years that young people especially are more fluid with whom they are sexual with. For those who believe that men and women are either straight or gay this can be confusing. However, if we accept that most people have bisexual inclinations then being able to be physically intimate with either gender makes more sense.
There even seems to be what I term evolving sexuality. At one point in one’s life one can be very drawn to either the same or opposite gender but later this can be reversed. And so individuals can become very confused. However, again because of the embarrassment that talking about sexual feelings and desires can cause some people, individuals can shy away from exploring their confusion. This is when talking to a counsellor can help.
The emphasis within society is still very much that one must be either straight or gay. Those who aren’t are just considered strange or greedy. So an individual finding that their feelings change depending perhaps on the person they get close to, regardless of their gender, and then feel physically attracted to them has to work hard at accepting these desires.
But society is changing. There is more acceptance of individual differences. However, if you are confused or just want to explore your sexual feelings, support is available. Search for a therapist that you feel you can trust and then start looking at whatever it is that is concerning you. Discussing these feeling with someone who doesn't judge will probably help all those concerns disappear.
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About Owen Redahan
Owen works with individuals and couples. He focuses mainly on issues around self-esteem, relationships, sexual addiction and work problems using CBT and person-focused therapies.
He has a diploma in Counselling and is Vice Chair of ATSAC (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity). He is based in Canary Wharf, London E14.