The Difference Between Sex and Sexuality

Sex and sexuality.

Even the words can cause many in our Western society to immediately tense up. We have been taught to consider the mere mention of the subject taboo and a simple conversation of the subject in poor taste. Yet why?

Sexuality starts when life starts. It is an innate part of the human condition, a part of every human’s personality and what many feel is a sacred part of our birthright. So then, what is the big fuss all about?

The Difference Between Sex and Sexuality

Sex and sexuality are actually similar, yet different things. Sex relates to the specific sexual acts that human beings and animals engage in; either in pairs, groups or solo. Some of us think of sex as a simple act of physical pleasure, while for others it’s a way of communicating deep feelings, and still others see sex as a spiritual experience. The definition of sexual activity also differs from person to person. There are a wide range of sexual activities that people enjoy, from mainstream to unique and atypical behaviors.

“While there can be a great deal of shame and embarrassment about atypical sexual behaviors, as long as they are consented to by all involved, they are not bad, wrong or immoral; just different.”

Sexuality is much more difficult to define. A search of several on-line dictionaries gives very different answers. Some talk about “attitudes” or “capacity for sexual feelings”, while others confuse all of sexuality with sexual orientation, meaning whether one is sexually attracted to males, females or both.

Sexuality has also been described as an expression of sexual interest and the attributes one is born with that only the individual themselves can truly understand and fully know. It is no wonder that the topic of sexuality is confusing when even the dictionaries cannot agree on a concise definition.

As someone with a doctoral degree in clinical sexology, my professional experience has led me to understand the confusion. Sexuality is part of each individual’s personality. It is part of what and who appeals to us sexually, how we react, even how we dress, talk, move and interact with others around us. It is beyond specific sexual behaviors and often runs deep in our souls.

Both light and dark, giving and selfish, sexuality can bring out our best and our worst, and it comforts us, excites us, frightens us, brings us together and tears us apart. No wonder we are so confused! Many of us wonder why others are so afraid of sex and sexuality, and yet when we look at the power it commands, it is not really that surprising.

My blog will be addressing the wide expanse of sex and sexuality and the many variety of topics that come up in connection with it. If you have questions, I invite you to ask. I look forward to exploring healthy sexuality together!

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