Gay? Straight? Neither?
The truth about sexual orientation.
When it comes to sexual orientation—i.e. which gender we prefer as romantic and sexual partners—most of us are of two minds: gay and straight. As for the areas in between, a lot of people don’t know they exist or refuse to believe in them. But the fact is, people can be genuinely be attracted to both genders, as is actress Anna Paquin,who recently came out as bisexual. Or they can enjoy a same-sex kiss or sexual encounter while still preferring the opposite sex (yes, Madonna kissed Britney Spears, but her main love interest is still Jesus Luz). With a subject as loaded as sexual orientation, it’s no wonder there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings floating around out there. So let’s set the record straight (sorry, there was no avoiding it!).
1. Few people are 100% gay or 100% straight. Most experts agree that sexual orientation is a continuum, meaning that if completely gay is at one end and completely straight is at the other, most people fall somewhere between the two. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go Katy Perry and start hooking up with girls, it means that if you’re mostly attracted to guys, having occasional attractions to women doesn’t mean you’re a lesbian. And the reverse is true, too: If the majority of the time you like girls but are occasionally attracted to guys, that doesn’t mean you’re straight.
2. Your sexual orientation can change. A new buzzword in the world of sexual studies is “sexual fluidity.” That means that although you may spend the majority of your life attracted to one sex, it’s possible that over time you become more attracted to, or even fall in love with, someone of the other sex. Take Cynthia Nixon: she spent 15 years with a guy, and then fell in love with another woman. Is it because she was a lesbian all along? Unlikely. It’s probably because she fell in love with someone else, and that someone else happened to be a woman.