Sexuality is about sexual feelings, thoughts, attractions, and behaviors toward other people. People can find other people physically, sexually, or emotionally attractive. Frequently, there is a combination of these.
Components of sexual identity.
Virtually all people are on a continuum and thus express a mixture of sexual orientations and sexuality, depending on the background of the person and the circumstances in which the person is currently living. Thus, it is important to remember that sexuality is fluid. However, the position of the person on the continuum is relatively constant and difficult, if not impossible, to change in the long run.
Sexuality vs. Intimacy
Sexuality and intimacy are very different.
Intimacy is that a person can feel related to another person and can say anything to that person. Frequently, there is no need for words and this is at a feeling level.
Sexuality is almost the pure physical attraction and action.
Despite that this applies to all genders, these frequently are confused and conflated, partly because of cultural norms.
Circumstances that can lead to various sexual orientations
Acceptance in society
This is difficult in some conservative societies.
The change to acceptance here is a gradual one. The emphasis must be on the emotional and spiritual care for the people involved.
Acceptance frequently evolves from an individual level to a societal one.
People suffer badly when such acceptance doesn’t exist. They frequently are excluded from their families and society. They also may be exposed to punishment and public shaming.
In many modern societies, individual sexual and gender orientation are regarded as human rights.
Attempts to change sexual orientation
It has been shown conclusively that all treatments to change sexual orientation fail and frequently do more damage to the person than giving assistance. This has been seen in a large number of scientifically validated medical studies. In many places, such conversion therapy is forbidden by law.
There are some people who are addicted to sex. This can come from a need for the person to prove himself/herself. This occurs with a low self-image, frequently after abuse.
Covert presence of sexuality in some cultures
Non-binary sexuality is a covert and accepted part of some cultures, sometimes for a specific period in a person’s life. There are some specific parts of some societies that incorporate this.
Further, prostitution is frequent and has a long tradition in many, if not most cultures. While not always openly accepted, it is tolerated. Sometimes, because of the need for financial security, marriages take place. Unfortunately, for some both people of all genders, it is virtually the only way of survival.
It is the work of the therapist to encourage self-acceptance by the individual. This has to do with the person accepting a positive self-image. Further, it is the work of the therapist to encourage connection with family, friends, and colleagues.
Lack of self-acceptance can lead to self-destructive behavior, including self-harm, addiction, and suicide.
Unfortunately, for some people to be accepted, they must leave their home cultures.
We see love between two people as highly positive. How that love expresses itself is a matter for the people involved. A differentiation must be made between loving and care on the one hand and abuse and assault on the other.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Each day of the week we will highlight one aspect of mental health.
Saturday 27 June is International Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day.
In reality, we should not be speaking about PTSD. Rather, we should use the term post-traumatic stress reactions (PTSRs), with emphasis on the plural. These are normal reactions to traumatic events, which are events that threaten the physical and/or psychological well-being of the person or someone close. These reactions are individual. They can be psychological, physical, or a combination of both. Drugs deal only with the symptoms, not with the underlying issues. People need to talk and process.
Friday 26 June is the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture.
Unfortunately, physical, psychological, and sexual torture is extremely widespread. While it is carried out by quite a number of governments, some of which even have schools for torturers, it also is carried out by paramilitary and other groups. Also, unfortunately, torture is nothing new. It has been carried out through the millennia.
World Refugee Day is Saturday, 20 June.
We say the same thing every year and it seems to get worse rather than better.
The ways that governments are treating refugees and people attempting to assist them are nothing short of scandalous, inhumane, and blasphemous against the tenets of all religions. Virtually all refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing torture, war, discrimination, disease, and poverty. They are seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Virtually all become assets to the regions to which they flee. They provide labor and expertise and become valuable members of their new societies. Thus, rather than killing them and injuring them in pushbacks, governments and other bodies should be opening borders rather than closing them and welcoming them and providing facilities for them to learn the languages and cultures of the regions to which they come.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I’ve been thinking and talking with colleagues quite a bit about the situation with the corona virus in the world. There is much to say.
First, I want to note that I am not minimizing the threat of COVID-19. However, I think that talk of it, and concentration on it, has become excessive and obsessive, this to the exclusion of other issues that, in my view, we must work on. Also, I fear that there is a great deal of talk and little or no action. That concerns me greatly, as so much talk will not get us far. I will make some suggestions for action later in this letter.
In the course of years, I (Charles) have been through a number of difficult periods, personally and with quite a number of clients. The following are a number of ways that might assist you.
The person I will be describing is fictionalized for ethical reasons. He and his family are a combination of people whom I have known over the years. The situations that I describe are very real, though.
During the last few months, the situation for migrants in southern Europe has gotten worse and worse. More are coming. Governments are treating them like criminals rather than people fleeing from war and poverty. In Croatia, the president has admitted that she has instructed the police to ignore international rules, and so the police are acting violently at the borders to push them back. We continually are hearing of serious injuries. Furthermore, the conditions within the official camps are getting worse, and ngos are not being permitted to enter them, particularly to give psychological assistance. People who assist migrants also are being treated as criminals. What we are seeing and hearing is that migrants are harming themselves, attempting and committing suicide, and committing acts of violence in greater and greater numbers. This is hardly surprising considering that they cannot move further, nor can they return to their regions of origin. They also are ashamed to go home, as their families expected them to succeed and to bring them out of the horrors of what they have experienced.