Queer Eye | Issue 03
Sexuality is slippery
“I’ve always felt that sexuality is a really slippery thing. In this day and age, it tends to get categorised and labelled, and I think labels are for food. Canned food.”– Michael Stipe.
This epigraph neatly introduces a tension within the queer community: that between some people’s need to find a label or identity that “fits” and feels right, and some people’s desire to just be comfortable with the complexity that many of us experience in our sexual identity.
But what do we even mean by sexuality? A great many tomes have been written exploring this very question. I will therefore only provide a loose working definition that I hope you will find useful, especially if you are exploring this.
Sexuality is about whom you are attracted to. For some people this includes emotional, romantic and aesthetic attraction. For some people it is about whom they love, for some it is about who they fuck, and for some it is about curiosity and exploration. There are people who experience a lifetime of certainty in their sexual identity; others will experience sexual fluidity as it changes over time.
I do not wish to enter the nature versus nurture debate which sexuality discussions often become bogged down in. Some scientists are convinced that they have found genetic markers that lead to a predisposition towards homosexuality. Other researchers are convinced that they have found environmental indicators that can affect someone’s sexuality. Then there are quacks that believe that they can alter someone’s sexual orientation. The fact is that when our society begins to value all human sexualities equally, we will lose interest in the nature versus nurture question and the quacks will lose their business.
Finally, sexuality is not just about being straight, bisexual or gay. Sexuality is better modelled on a spectrum or continuum where you could put yourself at any point along the line.
Sir Lloyd Queerington