Our culture likes to categorize people, and the categories it provides often do a poor job of capturing the diversity of the human experience. Violet loved Susan with all her heart, but she did not define herself as gay in the wake of the affair — nor has she become involved in another same-sex relationship since. Second, whereas some people experience their emotional and physical attractions becoming more focused toward males or females over time, others have the opposite experience. These stories are unusual, but they are not unique. Some see a definite relationship between fluidity and bisexuality, however. They may feel completely unprepared for this next stage of parenthood. It is also likely that those desirable qualities include gender-neutral traits e. Recently, I interviewed two people who went through this sexual upheaval late in life themselves.
Intensely dedicated to her career, she became a TV executive at age Some adults who have historically experienced only same-sex or other-sex attractions find themselves having one or more experiences that expands their sexuality as they grow older. Some also struggle to reconcile their teen's sexual orientation with their religious or personal beliefs. They may feel completely unprepared for this next stage of parenthood. After her last relationship with a man ended in her 40s, Violet says she "gave up on love. For example, we are sometimes asked to check a single box to indicate our ethnic identity, but this is an increasingly difficult task as multi-ethnic identities become increasingly common. Fluidity, in reality, refers to a range, and I think that's good. In fact, people don't choose their sexual orientation any more than they choose their height or eye color. I find the question interesting because either answer has implications. If you consider the people who might be mostly gay or lesbian, but at some point attracted are to the opposite gender, the total number of people with a fluid sexuality will be significantly greater, says Ritch Savin-Williams, a professor of developmental psychology at Cornell University. This may be especially true among lesbians and gay men who are exclusively attracted to others of the same sex. Susan had never been unfaithful. Other parents feel upset, disappointed, or unable to accept their teen's sexual orientation at first. Gender is the basis of everyone's sexual orientation. Although our supporters already recognize that why we love who we love is irrelevant, embracing fluid orientations may call for a new approach in advocating for our rights. Some are surprised to learn the truth, always having thought their child was straight. Susan's husband knew about his wife's involvement and tolerated it, but neither he nor Susan was willing to jeopardize their close-knit family relations. So, although it is true that some people who claim to be bisexual are not yet ready to acknowledge that they are gay or lesbian, it is certainly not true that everyone who claims to be bisexual is in denial about being gay. They might feel they need to deny who they are or hide an important part of themselves. Bisexuality and Fluidity A growing body of research indicates that for some people, sexual attractions change over time. They remained a couple for 23 years, which included getting married in , the year California first permitted same-sex unions. Recently, I interviewed two people who went through this sexual upheaval late in life themselves. Do We Choose Our Orientation? Studies in other countries have found the same general range, she says. Only at that relatively late stage in life did they undergo startling degree turns in their sexual orientation. If it is a change in how the same sexual orientation is expressed, then it would seem that strict heterosexuality is not as dominant as we are lead to believe at least in females.
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Chambers: You can't change sexual orientation
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