sex, gender and sexuality

We live in a society, that has such a broad variety of individuals that it can sometimes be intimidating or simply out-right exhausting to understand all the new terminologies when it comes to sexualities etc.

Growing up, there was male and female. Straight and gay. That was it. However, that was never it now was it? We have always had people of all kinds living in societies that would not accept them for who they were, but times are changing and more people are able to fully express who they are.

Life has beautiful little adventures when it comes to sex, gender and sexualities. Most that complain about it, would be the people that might not understand that there is a difference between sex, gender and your sexuality… WHAT? Mind blown? Well, good thing you are here. Let’s help you understand these things a bit more.

Firstly, ‘sex’ is used to describe what you are assigned at birth, based on what appears to be between your legs. This should be pretty easy, if you have a penis you are a male. If you have a vagina, you are a female.

…but, this is not the entire picture as sex is defined by genitals yes, but also internal sex organs, chromosomes and hormones. There are three sex variations, not just ‘boy or girl’.

  • Male = Penis + XY chromosomes + higher levels of testosterone.
  • Female = Vagina + XX chromosomes + higher levels of estrogen.
  • Intersex = Which is a person born with the sexual anatomy or chromosomes that might not fit into the traditional definition of male or female.

‘Gender’ is used to describe the traditional social roles for male and females. What can confuse people is the terms gender identity and gender expression under this main term of gender. Gender identity would describe how someone feels on the inside while gender expression would be used to describe how someone would depict and show their gender to the world. Gender is just a socially created construct already. Boys are synonymous with the colour blue, fire trucks and to be ‘tough’ while girls are meant to be prim and proper in pink with makeup and dolls.

FUN FACT: The colour pink initially used to be seen as a more masculine colour and was linked to boys back in the 1920s.

Since gender is a social construct (that changes from time to time) there are namely three gender variations: Cisgender (CIS), Transgender and Gender Fluid.

  • Cisgender is a person that would identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, so if you were assigned to be female, you would identify as female and vice versa.
  • Transgender would be a person whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Gender Fluid would be a person that is as the term suggests, more fluid in their identity. Their identity would not be fixed and can sometimes shift depending on the situation. Gender fluid individuals would not feel the need to act according to the sex they were assigned at birth or the associated traditional social roles that can be linked to that sex.

When it comes to transgender people, there has been a lot of scrutiny over the past few years on what classifies a person as transgender. When I say that I am referring to the fact that so many people seem to be so obsessed with what’s between the trans person legs, do they have a penis or a vagina? Has the trans person had surgery or not. Let me be clear about this part. This does not matter in any way and deems no validity to if the person is trans or not. Some transgender folk opt to go for surgery, take hormones and change how they look and dress. However, not all of them can or even want to do it. Also, it simply isn’t any of our business. Being transgender is NOT dependent on your physical appearance or medical procedures.

He, she, they or them? More and more in mainstream tv shows and in real life we are starting to see people requesting your pronoun. Many social media platforms are also providing a section for you to show your pronoun preference on your profile.

So why exactly are pronouns so important? Well, it is important as this refers to the persons’ gender identity. Some may prefer to identify as ‘he’ others might prefer ‘she’ or some as ‘they’ – there are some others as well, but the most important thing to remember here is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to simply respect the individual and to call them by their preferred pronoun. If you have any doubt, reach out and ask them what they would prefer.

So Sex vs Gender – i hope you understand that slightly better as it is about to get a lot more complicated, but hopefully a lot more clear when we say sexuality and what that means.

Sexuality’ is expressed through your relationships and your sexual activities. It is represented through your feelings, behaviours and your sexual identity. Sexual identity would be how you choose to describe your sexuality and what kind of a label would be attached to it (or no label at all in some cases).

As you may have noticed before that the term LGBTQIA+ is often used to refer to this community, Which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual and more.

There are loads of terminologies here, some overlap and some can be quite fluid with others.

Below I am going to discuss some with you:

Asexual – Asexuality is the absence of sexual attraction. For

Bisexual – Someone who is bisexual will likely find themselves romantically, sexually, or emotionally attracted to more than one gender. It can sometimes overlap with pansexuality, which is the attraction to people regardless of gender.

Demisexual – This falls on the asexual spectrum. It describes someone who only experiences sexual attraction to folks they already have established a strong romantic or emotional relationship with.

Fluid – Some people describe themselves as sexually fluid. A person who is fluid experiences their sexuality or sexual identity as changing over time or in different contexts rather than having one finite way they experience attraction.

Gay – The word gay is used to describe someone who is sexually, romantically, or emotionally attracted to people of the same gender. In some cases, women who date other women prefer to use the word lesbian, while others opt to use queer.

Heterosexual – refers to people who are only attracted, whether sexually, emotionally, or romantically, to people of the “opposite” gender—i.e., men who are attracted to women exclusively, or women who are attracted to men exclusively.

Heteroflexible or homoflexible – mostly straight (heterosexual) though occasionally is attracted to the same gender or other genders. A homoflexible person likewise is mostly gay (homosexual) though occasionally is attracted to the “opposite” gender. For example, a homoflexible man might primarily date and sleep with men but occasionally date or sleep with a woman.

Lesbian – a woman who is mentally, physically, and emotionally attracted to other women.

Pansexual – Someone who identifies as pansexual experiences attraction to folks regardless of sex or gender identity. Pansexual people can feel sexual attraction to just about anyone regardless of their sex assigned at birth, or their gender identity. pan = all, so pansexual people can be attracted to people of all genders. they’re attracted to people based on personality, with gender playing no role at all. This isn’t to say pansexual people are attracted to everyone, but gender just isn’t the defining factor in who they are and aren’t attracted to.

Queer – The dictionary defines queer as something “odd, strange, or weird,” but the word has since been reclaimed and redefined. These days, queer is an umbrella term that is sometimes used to describe anyone within the LGBTQ+ community. The term also provides a sense of community for those who may not fit into one of the other categories specifically but also don’t identify as straight or cisgender. 

Sapiosexual – a person who finds intelligence sexually attractive or arousing.

Sex-repulsed – Someone who is sex-repulsed is repulsed or disgusted by sex or sexual behaviour. This person falls on the spectrum of asexuality.

There are more, but the ones mentioned above is some of the main ones that tend to be more popularized over the last decade or so.

I hope this article was able to explain things in an easier to understand way. We are all different, and unique. Remember that everyone goes through life at a different pace. Someone might discover who they are at a young age, some might only discover it in their late 70’s. Respect those who are different from you as most are simply trying to live their best life.

The world is filled with members of the LGBTQIA+ from various celebrities you might know and perhaps even some people in your community.

Lastly, before you go. Do you identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community? Check out the quick history of the gay pride flag below and see the meaning behind it. Be proud of who you are. Spread Love.

Thank you for reading… #TheSomethingGuy #SouthAfrica #Blog

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