I had the most interesting session with a really great woman last month, which led to a wonderful and complex conversation. Before I get to that, I want to just say up front that she asked me to write a blog about this; no names will be used and I was given full permission as she wants others to benefit from her story.
This young woman started sex coaching to help her come to terms with her sexuality. For as long as she could remember she had a fascination with women, a respect for women, and was often enchanted with the company of women. At the time of our meeting she had only been sexually active with men and found more and more that she was experiencing inner turmoil with her own feelings. When we sat down to talk, we explored the messages around sex/sexuality that she received from caregivers and those around her (school, friends, religion, TV shows/movies she watched, etc.). She confirmed what I thought, which was that she was taught attraction should only be felt towards those of the opposite sex, and that is where the confusion is coming in for her. When she felt feelings for another woman, she would just shut it down rather than be in that space of figuring out her feelings. This was the base of an amazing and transformative conversation.
Before we get to the transformative aspect, I want to explore the commonalities that my client has with so many people. We all have an ego (not the arrogant kind), that conscious part of us who has been shaped by our experiences, our upbringings, the messages we receive from society, etc. That ego is what guides us day to day. Most people are given the “birds and the bees” talk from our caregivers or school, and often those conversations are not what they should be. It’s easy to be told, “this is who you’re attracted to. This is when you have sex. This is how you have sex. If you don’t, then this is what will happen to you.”
There are often gaps in this education; this brief education manages to take something beautiful and complex and reduces it to something binary, scary and overly simple.
Binary thinking leads to a binary path. The problem with any path is that they often don’t go in a straight line and without proper sexual health education, any deviation is considered deviant. But what if deviation and deviant are separate things? The simple truth is that they are separate things. Deviation, can be healthy, healing and rewarding. Deeper questions to ask are: Can I adore someone for who they are? Where is the line between admiring someone and being attracted to them? What are the implications if you’re a heterosexual male and say that you find another man attractive? Does that mean you’re not straight? Does that mean that attraction translates to an immediate need to have sex with the object of desire? Can a woman be enthralled with another woman and not want to sleep with her? Can someone who is non-binary and only dates other non-binary people feel sexual attraction to a cis-male or cis-female?
Now, back to my client. We talked about her past and her feelings. She had so much fascination with other women that she often avoided friendships due to the implications it could have. She couldn’t’ understand the overlap these subjects have or how to deal with it, so, she chose to close off. Imagine blocking off your life to the point where you declined what might have been a meaningful friendship, or a wise mentor. I decided to ask my client about sexual desire, had she ever felt that for a woman? To her shock, she didn’t,. She never even thought about it. She just assumed she was bisexual. She could make a long list of women that she loved or admired (for both beauty and mind) but other than one celebrity crush she couldn’t think of a woman she wanted to have sex with. Avoiding confusing feelings caused her so much pain and blocks, which led her to question her own sexuality. When she saw me, her biggest concern was wanting to know, “Am I bisexual?” I’m a great coach, but I can’t answer that for anyone. Only you know how you feel. I’m there to ask questions, guide you and support you. What I will tell you is that it takes more than a thought or a fantasy to make you bisexual. According to the Kinsey scale we are all somewhere on the spectrum with very few of us being perfectly heterosexual or gay.
Sexuality is a funny thing. We are humans and we LOVE to put everything into a category. Straight, gay, lesbian, bi, demisexual, pansexual, the list goes on and I feel like I take a course every six months to learn the new terms. However, I have met so many people whose sexual behaviors don’t match their sexual orientation. I’ve also met people who just say an orientation to put others at ease, but deep down, they know who they want and aren’t scared of it, or feel a need to defend it, or even label it.
At the end of the day, we are all humans, we think, we feel, we hurt, we laugh, we cry, we evolve.
Even as evolved as we are (or like to think we are) we still have base desires and instincts. Signals from the brain, chemicals and impulses make us up. Yes, you are a walking made to order cocktail that changes from moment to moment. You might react to someone’s scent, someone’s mind, someone’s look. Could it be something more than a reaction? Maybe? Maybe not? If you are adhering to the declaration of sexual rights, then what does it really matter? My client’s case was a simple but beautiful one. I simply gave her permission to feel what she feels. It is okay for her to align herself with women she admires, that she finds beautiful or interesting. Maybe she will have sexual feelings, maybe not, but one thing that will happen is that she will live her life in a way that is fulfilling to her.
Attraction, admiration and adoration can of course overlap, but they are all separate things. Rather than be scared of the implications, allow yourself to see someone beautiful, someone fascinating or someone interesting. If it evolves into more, then you have people to talk to, and if it doesn’t, then nothing was lost, but think of what would be gained: A friend? A teacher? A lover? Now, is that really that bad?
About the Author: Rick Garcia (he/him) is the owner of Cannabased Coaching & Wellness. Rick started his career in the healing arts as a licensed massage therapist in 2005. Looking for a shift he transitioned to HIV prevention and has worked in sexual health for 11 years. Realizing the gap in sexual health and sexual fulfillment Rick became a certified sex coach and sexologist so that he could help people explore their ideal sexual self while remaining as safe as possible. His sex coaching services are holistic and combine elements such as talk, somatic exercises, the MEBES model, cannabis and a variety of other modalities. When his wellness center opened he decided to have another arm available for massage therapy. To learn more about Rick’s services please visit www.cannabasedcoachingandwellness.com