After the first article, to be honest, I had run out of ideas on what to write about. Writing on a topic without hurting anybody’s sentiments is a tough thing to do, and I really didn’t know what to write about that could just about appease anybody. But then out of the blue, a good friend of mine recommended me to write about how sexual fluidity is a grossly underrated topic and that people don’t know much about it. That was the perfect topic for me to write on because almost nobody would have a problem with the points I’m putting forward below, so here goes!
Sexual fluidity is one of the most misunderstood concepts out there in the LGBTQIA movement, and is more often crudely referred to as a ‘fling’ or ‘mental illness” but on the contrary, it’s so much more than that. In layman’s terms, it means the change in one’s sexual orientation over time. For instance, a bisexual woman might stop feeling attracted to men unexpectedly, and that’s absolutely normal.
Sexual orientation may change more often depending on the situation the person is in, and it is a choice of that person, contrary to popular beliefs that are stoked just because the rich variety of the LGBTQIA+ community doesn’t fit into the pre-conceived identities laid down by the society.
According to research conducted by Lisa Diamond and the subsequent publishing of a new paper in Archives of Sexual Behavior, sexual fluidity can be broadly classified into four types: situational fluidity wherein an increased sexual attraction occurs to one’s opposite gender depending on particular situations, temporal instability that refers to the fluctuations in the attraction and behavior of the person that occurs on a day-to-day basis, bisexuality that refers to the capacity for erotic attraction regardless of being male or female, and finally the fluidity that shows a difference between sexual attraction and behavior, and this is shown by comparing the gender patterning between that of sexual partnering and sexual attractions. The sample for this population mostly consisted of non-heterosexual women and they were evaluated roughly over a course of 20 years. Out of these four types, bisexuality and temporal instability are found to have some common factors while the other two are exclusive of each other. However, each of these four groups is unique in its own aspects.
People do not have to carry on in a particular relationship with someone (be it heterosexual or homosexual) if they think they are no more attracted to their gender. And if they find themselves being sexually attracted to no gender at all, they can openly claim to be asexual (yes, asexuality exists!). The entire concept of sexual fluidity is based on how comfortable and attracted you are to another person. Based on your feelings, the more polite ‘hormonal changes’ or the more frequent and less polite ‘crackhead’ or ‘queer’ are the words used to describe sexually fluid people. Here, the most important attribute – choice is very valuable to the LGBTQIA+ community, if not the rest of the heterosexual community.
A misconception on sexual fluidity is that it is exactly similar to pansexuality. But that’s NOT TRUE! Pansexuality is a romantic or sexual attraction to people of any gender. On the other hand, being sexually fluid is just a change in your sexual response to others which changes with time. That’s the distinction between being sexually fluid and being bisexual. Well, being sexually fluid would definitely have its perks. You could adapt your sexual orientation according to the situation and still be straight (heterosexual).
In the end, all those preconceived ideas about sexual fluidity being some sort of an ‘illness’ are just baseless and unfounded. It’s all in how you adapt your sexual or romantic attractions to any particular situation with a person. But nowadays, sexual fluidity is also very prejudiced and discriminated against around the world. As a result, people that announce themselves as being sexually fluid might often find themselves being depressed, suicidal and self-harming at a higher rate than heterosexuals. As society expects a very predictable and normal environment, the importance and freedom that comes with being sexually fluid is largely ignored. This is because, at a very early age, youngsters and family members are brought up with the idea that one’s sexuality and gender are fixed and they don’t change over time that is just another of the many examples of how narrow-minded of a perspective is passed down in families.
In order to prevent this, we have to go to where all of this starts: FAMILY. Educating young children about sexual fluidity and normalizing it will definitely go a long way in eradicating discrimination towards sexually fluid people. And if an individual would come out as being sexually fluid, then with an encouraging and supportive family it would make life a whole lot easier even if the world turned away. You could also listen to what sexually fluid people have to say, and try to understand their experiences by being patient. Every human has diverse experiences over the course of their lifetime, and being sexually fluid is just one of the many things that would be a part of their identity development.
Try introducing people who are sexually fluid to each other so that they can form groups and talk about their experiences. That would help them a lot in bringing out that positivity and sense of unity for being part of an extended family. And if you know somebody who’s struggling with the emotions of being sexually fluid but you don’t know what to do, you could always refer them to groups consisting of sexually fluid people and make them feel at ease.
At the end of the day, it’s all about trying to evolve from the past and normalize things that are considered right but are still considered taboo. Let’s try doing our part each day, and slowly but surely, we just might reach a utopian society where being sexually fluid and a whole lot of other things are just accepted in society.