Six Questions EVERYONE Should Answer About Sex (and 5 To Stop Asking Sexual and Gender Minorities)

I have had the benefit of being part of the both the queer and kink communities for a very long time now. Part of being part of sexual minorities is that I have been forced to think a lot about sexuality, the ethics of it, and how it impacts my life. Sexuality is a lot like being other types of minorities in that the minority is forced to think about things people in the majority never have to deal with. When you are White you can move through society without thinking about the impact of your racial characteristics. When you are a man you can benefit from privilege without ever having to confront your gender. When you are queer or kinky, you cannot avoid thinking about your sexuality.

While confronting some of these questions has been hard, and often offensive or annoying, they have forced me to think a lot about how I move through the world as a sexual person. Below is a list of questions everyone should spend some time thinking about and figuring out how they would answer them.

Relevant Questions About Sexuality

1, How do you identify your current sexual orientation? Has it changed?

This goes well beyond just figuring out if you are gay or straight. Sexual orientation is multifaceted. It runs the gamut from asexual (no sexual attraction to others) to pansexual (attracted to all genders). People’s sexual orientation can change over time. People move from gay to straight, from straight to bisexual or gay, some are heteroflexible (they are mostly heterosexual but sometimes play sexually with people of their own gender).

Additional things to think about: What does this orientation mean to you? How did you come to identify with this orientation? Could you allow for the possibility that things will change over time? Are you comfortable with your orientation?

2.  What is your gender orientation?

Are you cis- or transgendered? (Cis-gendered people are people who identify with the gender that they were born into.) Is there a possibility that you are agendered (see the blog post Agendered for further explanation of this concept).

Additional things to think about: Have you always had a consistent gender identity? How important is your identity to you? How does your identity effect the expression of your gender?

3.  How does your sexual orientation and gender orientation impact the way you engage with potential partners? How does it shape your selection of partners?

Do you seek out people with strong cultural expressions of their sexual orientation or gender orientation? Do you prefer a partner with specific gender or sexual orientation traits? For example, if you are attracted to men, do you like men with traditional expressions of masculinity (e.g., beards, developed muscles, large Adam’s apple) or do you prefer more “metrosexual” men?

4.  How important to you is it to express yourself sexually?

Everyone has different needs for sexual contact. Some people seek validation through sex with multiple partners. Some people seek security through forming a close and intimate bond with a single person. Some people crave sexual contact at least once a day. Other people would be completely happy if they have sex once a month.

Additional things to think about: Would you be upset if you had a partner with a very different sex drive? What psychological benefits do you get from engaging in sex? Do you use sex for validation? Do you use sex to try and prove something to yourself? How do you feel when you do not have sex for an extended period of time?

5.  Do you have specific expressions of sexuality which are important to you?

Do you need to engage in a form of power exchange in order to have a fulfilling sexual relationship? Do you need to engage in certain sexual acts with a partner to feel fulfilled? Can you express your needs to a partner?

6.  How important is monogamy?

For some people, monogamy is critical for their sexual relationships. When a partner has sex with someone else it is perceived as a great betrayal. Other people cannot engage in monogamous relationships. They view monogamy as stifling and it is not an important value to them in a sexual relationship.

7.  How do you continue to grow a sexual (or asexual) person?

Sex goes well beyond reproduction. Sex for most people includes a form of communication and bonding that is not replaced by anything else. It provides a physical release. Orgasm is known to release a slew of neurotransmitters that improve move and can improve the physical and psychological well being.

Very few people have the same type of sex throughout their lives as they did the first time they had sex. We grow and learn and discover new parts of our sexuality. What do you do to foster healthy growth of your sexuality?

8.  What is your sexual history? How did you get to the place where you are with your sexuality?

Questions Sexual Minorities Get That Are Offensive or Annoying (Reframed for the predominate heternomative, monogamous culture)

  1.  When did you know you were _________?

This assumes that at some point you did not know about your sexual and gender orientation if it deviates from the predominant norm. Many people hold the perception that everyone is monogamous, heterosexual and cis-gendered. There is an assumption that at some point the sexual minority changed and then left the predominant culture to become a sexual minority.

The reality is, most people have a strong sexual and gender orientation that is pretty inherent. We learn words to apply to our feelings and identity often later than people who are monogamous, vanilla, heterosexuals. We assume that you can’t know you are gay or trans until you are of a certain age but heterosexuals always know they are straight.

2.  What happened to “make” you ___________?

This question presumes that sexual and gender orientations outside the predominate culture must be “triggered” by something traumatic.  Being gay, or bi- or pan-, trans or kinky is not something that is the result of a traumatic event. It can be traumatic to have an alternative sexual and gender orientation. We get teases, ostracized, told we are sinful and immoral, and will burn in hell.

However, just because something traumatic happened in your life does not mean that you are broken and will change your sexuality. Plenty of people have been sexually molested, or raped, or exposed to inappropriate material at a critical age, but this does not change your sexual and gender orientations. It may impact sexual expression, psychological health, and physical health but these things do not ultimately make someone gay or straight.

3.  If you sleep with X, what keeps you from sleeping with family members or pets?

The same thing that keeps monogamous heterosexuals from doing the same thing: being psychologically healthy. Just because someone enjoys having sex with multiple partners or partners of different genders does not make them incestuous or into bestiality.

The question can be asked in reversed: If you are heterosexual, what keeps you from sleeping with family members of the opposite gender? Find that offensive? It is. And Freud gave us a psychological basis for arguing why heterosexual boys want to sleep with their moms. It would actually be more logical to ask heterosexual men why they don’t sleep with female family members then asking gay people the same question.

4.  If you do ___________ sexually, how can I trust you?

Bisexuals get assaulted with this question from both the gay and straight communities. Just because someone enjoys sex with two genders does not mean they sleep with everyone. In fact, many bisexuals have the same need for monogamy as everybody else. The importance of monogamy is not connected in any way to sexual orientation.

To reframe this, if you are in a monogamous heterosexual partnership, how can I trust you not to be a bigot? You have bought into the heteromative culture, doesn’t this mean you are also racist, sexist, and homophobic?

5.  You are an acknowledged member of the kink community. Won’t this make you a bad employee or parent?

There is a perception that kinky people must lack morals. Most kinky people spend a lot of time thinking about their actions and doing stuff deliberately. Just because we engage in sexual practices that seem weird to the dominant culture or have multiple partners does not mean that it impacts our careers or parenting. Most of us work really hard to keep our sexual lives and careers or parenting separate.

This could be reframed to ask most people, “You are very loyal to one person and do not experiment sexually. You must be a bad employee because your loyalty to one person will interfere with your ability to commit to work and your lack of experimentation shows that you are very limited in the ability to learn and grow.”

6.  Please give me the details of your genitals or sex life.

Trans folks are questioned all the time about if they are “pre” or “post” op. People are fascinated with what their genitals look like. Ultimately that is irrelevant for most types of interactions with trans folks. I don’t need to know what my boss’s pussy looks like to work with her. I don’t need to know what my employee’s penis looks like to make it work in a professional relationship. This is an invasive and inappropriate question.

Kinky and queer folks get asked very intimate questions about their sex lives. “Who is the boy and who is the girl?” “Are you a top or bottom?” “Do you have a problem with continence because of so much anal sex?” These questions often come from people that are casual acquaintances and strangers. Its none of your business.

If you are heterosexual and monogamous I am not going to ask you, “Have you measured your kegel strength so you know how to please your boyfriend?” “Is your partner’s dick too large for anal sex?” “Who is the power bottom?” Don’t ask me.

One comment

  1. Another great post. I agree that most of the questions that you mentioned in the second half are both unnecessary and often offensive, but 1 was different. Because of the heteronormative nature of the majority of mainstream society, people often don’t identify or accept their particular sexualities. I think the offensive part is often when the person is asked the question and why. Admittedly as a straight man who has always been fairly monogamous, I may be unqualified to say that.

    Like

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