Ever since I started writing about human sexuality I realized that a lot of people really don’t even know what sexuality and orientation mean and how to use those terms.
I think that one of the biggest reasons is because of the word “sex” in sexuality. For most, this word causes them to conclude that anytime the word sexuality is used it must be in reference to the act of sexual intercourse. However, when we’re talking about human sexuality, nothing can be further from the truth.
Though assumed to be one in the same, sexuality and sexual intercourse or even just sexual activity are two separate things.
This article is intended to help people understand what human sexuality is and why it matters that we understand it.
I’ve written numerous times about how human sexuality or sexual orientation is discovered, what theories exist on why there is a scale to human sexuality or orientations, and so I will not be covering those topics in this article. I will, however, include links at the end of this article to the others where I discuss these topics in more detail.
So what exactly is human sexuality? While it certainly includes aspects of human sexual nature, the predominant meaning behind the term human sexuality should be equal to the meaning behind the term human orientation. Which is to say that human sexuality and human sexual orientation refer to the romantic desires of human beings.
When I say romance, I don’t mean candlelight dinners on a balcony overlooking the French countryside. I mean romance generally as in love, intimacy, bonding, dating, and long-term partnerships.
Human sexuality is merely intended to refer to any number of sexual orientations in which and through which human beings express love, romantic intimacy, and companionship.
The belief that sexual intercourse or any other type of sexual behavior is somehow a defining factor of human sexuality is a false belief. Sexual behavior does not define human sexuality or sexual orientation.
What gender a human being engages in sexual activity with, does not define that human being’s sexuality.
The reality is that I could engage in sexual activity with a pillow, a banana peel, a sock, or even a watermelon. Does having sex with a watermelon make me a melonsexual? No, it doesn’t. Some clinical psychologists may argue that it would make me pansexual – someone who finds sexual and emotional attraction in a broad spectrum of people, genders, and objects.
The years that I’ve been researching and writing about human sexuality have allowed me to meet individuals who, although they define themselves as heterosexual, have or are willing to engage in some form of sexual activity with other members of the same gender.
A lot of people proclaim that this means those individuals are bisexual, or that they are closeted homosexuals. The problem here is that they are basing their proclamations on one single thing: sexual activity.
As I have already stated, human sexuality is not defined by sexual activity. It is the emotional aspect of human intimacy that defines human sexuality or sexual orientation.
Therefore, if I were indeed truly in love with a particular watermelon, and indeed was sexually aroused by the fact that it was a nice looking watermelon, then yes I would absolutely be a melonsexual – emotionally and sexually attracted to melons.
However, if I merely pounded that watermelon for the sole purpose of sexual release or gratification without any emotional attachment to that watermelon or any appreciation for the appearance of the watermelon, then it is solely a sexual act, and has nothing to do with my sexual orientation, only my libido and sexual impulsiveness.
The bottom line here is that sexual acts without emotional interest, attachment, or expression, does not determine or define human sexuality or sexual orientation.
A self-proclaimed heterosexual woman who has engaged in sexual activity with another woman is still a heterosexual woman. A self-proclaimed heterosexual woman who falls in love with another woman and engages in sexual activity with said woman is not a heterosexual woman, but indeed a closeted lesbian or bisexual.
As a man who can and has fallen in love with other men, I am not and will never be straight. If I quit engaging in sexual activity with other men for the rest of my life or if I had never engaged in sexual activity with other men ever in my life, and were only sexually active with women, I would still not be straight.
This is what many people who are not lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender do not understand. What sexuality or orientation a human being is, is not defined by what they look like, what they say, or even what they do. Sexuality and orientation are determined by what a human being feels.
Falling in love, romantically, with someone of the same gender means that you are not straight or a heterosexual, you are definitely gay or bisexual. Engaging in sexual activity with someone of the same gender without any emotional attachment, means nothing more than that you are horny.
To learn more about human sexuality, check out my previous articles: