I’ve had several different comments lately, not from students but from grown up professionals who do health education, that what they find helpful on the blog is having a name for a phenomenon they’ve experienced and not had any kind of cognitive or social context for, and so couldn’t quite understand it – it doesn’t fit with the mainstream notions of “normal,” but they’re too overall savvy to accept that it must therefore be something Wrong.
I think this must be why so many students said that the most important thing they learned in my class was “I’m normal.” Having language to talk about diversity empowers them with a conceptual framework, if that’s not too formal a way to think about it, in which they can hang their own and others’ sexual experiences.
Examples: Yeah, you might identify as straight and still sexually desire and/or fall in love with a woman; that’s a thing, it’s sexual fluidity. Yeah, you might not want to have sex until after something sexy has started happening; that’s a thing, it’s called responsive desire. And yeah, your genitals might stay dry even though you’re turned on, or get wet even though you’re not; that’s a thing called non-concordance.
They’re all Things.
It’s a compromise solution, isn’t it, having language for A Thing (responsive desire, non-concordant arousal, rare intercourse orgasms). Creating a word means creating a CATEGORY. Ultimately categories end up doing damage when people attempt to fit themselves into those categories. But god it’s comfortable to find a niche you fit into, right?
Maybe we can somehow get the idea of a Meta-Category into the cultural consciousness: you might not fit into any of the categories; that’s a thing too, it’s called variety.
Over and over again, I consider the idea that clustering sexualities might be the closest humans can come to deconstructing a sexual hierarchy, so that it’s not that there’s a Best sexuality and other inferior ones, but that there’s simply a variety of clusters a person might broadly fit into, like which roast of coffee you prefer or the extent to which you like visible solids in your spaghetti sauce. Not better or worse, just… varied.
And when that happens… can we call them Fuck Clusters?