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Why Is Sexual Diversity Important?

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In a world where we are always trying to optimize and find the “best” way to do everything, one might wonder “why is sexual diversity important?”. We can get caught up in what is normal or expected when it comes to most aspects of our lives, but the reality is that each of us is as unique as a snowflake, so why should our sexuality be any different?

The quest to find out what people are actually like sexually is a fairly new endeavor. Sexological research as an area of inquiry really didn’t kick off until the early 20th century. Two of the most important contributions to sexological research were the Kinsey Reports and the Masters and Johnson studies. These groundbreaking works examined the actual sex practices of Americans.

They were illuminating for many reasons. They collected data on what people reported doing sexually and disseminated their findings to the general public. Prior to this, it was assumed that most sex was happening only between men and women, that masturbation was rare and the majority of people enjoyed the missionary position.

These studies gave us a way more accurate (and diverse) picture of what happens behind closed doors and the most exciting insight they gave us was that all kinds of people were having all kinds of sex!

Why Is Sexual Diversity Important?

One of the reasons I started my podcast, Down for Whatever, is because through my training as a sex coach I knew that there are so many ways to date, have sex and partner and I knew people would love to hear their experiences echoed back to them.

Storytelling is powerful. It helps us understand the experiences of others and connects us to our humanity. This is something that is often hard to do when it comes to sexuality. Not many of us go around saying “hey, I just had the most incredible sex! Let me tell you all about it.”

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In fact, many of us hardly ever talk about sex with our friends and sometimes we don’t even talk about it with the people with whom we’re having sex. This is a problem.

The Biggest Taboo

The reason we didn’t know that there were so many things that people were doing prior to Kinsey and Masters & Johnson is because sexuality wasn’t considered an aspect of life worthy of scientific inquiry. Humans, like other animals have sex to reproduce: end of story.

Also, if you dig too deeply into what people do, you have to come to terms with the role that sex plays in society. You have to grapple with widely varying religious and cultural meanings of sex.

We weren’t ready to face the idea that there were gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual and asexual people with healthy sex lives. We weren’t prepared to hear that married people engage in group sex or swap partners with their friends, and we certainly weren’t able to cope with the fact that lots of people feel alone in their sexual desires.

Redefining Normal

What sexological research has done and will hopefully continue to do is pave the way for legitimizing sexual diversity. Sexologists have been able to look more closely at and really home in on niche areas of sexuality like orientation, gender identity, BDSM, fetish as well as infidelity, non-monogamy and polyamory.

Even though these may seem like fringe identities, their prevalence wasn’t known until we started researching different populations. I believe these expressions have always existed, we just haven’t embraced them as part of the never-ending buffet of sexuality. Diversity in the sexological research community has certainly helped to expand research questions and gain deeper understanding of how race, class, culture and ability also play a role in sexual expression.

So why is sexual diversity important? Because the more we know about what people do and who they are, the more we legitimize these identities and experiences for people who don’t see themselves reflected in the dominant culture where heterosexuality is the norm and serial monogamy is the expected relationship structure.

Talking about sex and researching it have been challenging, but the more we do more of both the more we know just how many options are available to us all. For many, these sexual truths have set them free.

I’m Myisha Battle, a certified sex and dating coach who helps people learn about their true sexual nature. To hear real stories of sexual diversity check out my podcast, Down for Whatever.



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