Questioning your sexuality can be confusing and even frustrating. And it can take a long time to come to terms with how you identify. No matter how — or when — you arrive, figuring out where you land on the spectrum can be beyond rewarding. But you might be wondering where to start.
To break down what sexuality is, the different types, and what to do if you’re questioning your own, we spoke with Emily Jamea, a licensed professional counselor and sex therapist with the American Association of Sexuality, Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Hint: Try not to judge yourself. And there’s no rush.
What is sexuality?
“Sexuality refers to the erotic — or lack of erotic — thoughts, feelings, and behaviors we have towards others and ourselves,” Jamea said.
Quick history lesson. Back in 1948, sexologists Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy, and Clyde Martin developed the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale — more commonly known today as the Kinsey Scale — in an attempt to quantify a person’s sexuality. The scale was based on subjects’ sexual history. And scores ranged from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual) with an additional category of “X” (no sexual experience or reactions to sexual stimuli).
But surprise: In the nearly 75 years since its inception, the Kinsey Scale has grown outdated when it comes to addressing sexuality. In its place, some orgs like The Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention in LGBTQ+ youth, have come out with alternative ways to help people figure themselves out. Enter: The Spectrum. It accounts for biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, gender presentation, and sexual orientation. And notes that each of these elements can be fluid. All aspects of sexuality that the Kinsey Scale never considered.
To read more from the interview, you can visit theskimm.com.