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.
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