July 23, 2015

Loving Outside the Box: Why we Fear our Sexuality.


It’s a truth as old as time—sexuality makes us very uncomfortable.

So uncomfortable in fact, that we lie about it to our kids and then lie about it to ourselves.

This campaign to deny the unruly truth of our nature has won over the minds of generations upon generations. A cultural straightjacket placed squarely onto our humanity; a holy shame we proudly call our legacy. All for what—a ticket to heaven? Social order?

The fact that we feel compelled to limit our expression by checking one box to represent something as vast as our psyche is sad but also quite interesting. Interesting enough to prompt American biologist, Alfred Kinsey to conduct his famous study on the continuum of human sexuality. A study that found that most of his subjects, when honest, fell, well, in the middle of things. Many things, as we already know, aren’t in fact, black and white.

The preference for seeing things in a binary fashion is rooted deeply in the garden of the West. Is there anything more dramatic and entertaining than polar opposite entities fiercely at battle? Republican versus democrat, good versus evil, Dunkin versus Krispe Kreme: the travesty of our political and racial tensions is proof that there is nothing sexy about finding the middle ground. It’s either one way or the highway. Who has time to reevaluate their positions and seek a way that benefits the whole, anyway? Clearly, not the majority.

While a legal decree has yet to undo our universal horror of intimacy, a recent US Supreme Court decision did uphold the legality of same sex marriage—it seems as though one group of sexual “deviants” have at last made their case. A people who over the years have been disrespected, abused and denied a life of dignity have come out to claim their rightful place amongst the rest of us, puritans.

And yet, as society slowly unwinds a tradition of fear there are still plenty more people stuck in the limbo of sexual morality. The ones who are told that they too have something to be ashamed of—their unwillingness to check a box.

This article is for the ones who yearn to live and love without being labeled. For the ones in search for a place where gender and orientation are a byproduct of the love story and not the narcissistic protagonists. For the ones brave and curious enough to embrace the feminine and masculine aspect of their identities. For the ones pure enough to trust the wisdom of their hearts regardless of the gender or race responsible for unleashing the butterflies.

A less biological and more spiritual term of looking at sexual fluidity is that of the Native American: “Two Spirit.” As a third and more nuanced gender-role, these individuals dressed in both men’s and women’s clothing and were held by many to be spiritual leaders, counselors and healers. But not for too long. In good ol’ European settler fashion, anything not understood by the white man became eradicated and demonized.

Why are we so scared of something that is different?

Our widespread compulsion to place a dam around our sexuality has given rise to the trendiest of psychological disorders know as HOCD or Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The need to “know” what we are is literally driving us crazy. The cruel thing about this phenomenon is the absuridity underlying it: The idea that we are somehow only supposed to be attracted to one gender. Okay… Says who? If something is actually already naturally occuring, then isn’t that, in effect, all the evidence we need of it’s right to exist?

Can we not indeed be lovers of both cats and dogs, chocolate and vanilla, Biggie and Tupac? If we so desperately need a term to cling onto why not just make that term “human?” I believe it was Ram Dass who called us humans “God in drag”. The truth ain’t always pretty, but it’s the truth.

Let’s go back in time for a second where loving someone of a different skin color was also considered an abomination. The year was 1967 and the case was Loving v. Virginia. Does this ring a bell? It was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to prison in Virginia for marrying each other.

Love has no problem pushing boundaries. It’s the ego that does. Our need to control and shape the truth in a way that satisfies our fears.

I think Bjork put it best when she said:

“I think choosing between men and women is like choosing between cake and ice cream. You’d be daft not to try both when there are so many different flavors.”

Go ahead, crash the party; James Dean, Marlon Brando, Megan Fox and Angelina would be happy to have you (pun maybe intended).

Forget and forgive the hypocrites who are simply terrified by the wonder of the human spirit. Love playfully. Embrace your paradoxes.

Labels are meant to dumb things down, does your heart seem like a dummy to you? It’s high time inner knowing took the driver’s seat, leaving doubt and criticism eat her dust. In this sticky business of truth and emotions, our freedom is often linked to others approval.

Perhaps the trick lies in learning how to know and love the totality of ourselves.


Author: Katerina Pappas

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Photo: Andrea/Flickr

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