Sex And Gender Distinctions!

Gender assignment

Let’s talk gender. I know there has been a lot of discussions recently in the media regarding: sex, gender, gender-fluid, transgender and it has left a lot of people feeling confused. It’s okay to be confused let’s break down this busy term. What makes terminology so problematic is that sometimes the context or meaning changes. As culture shifts and changes, this changes our language, both the denotation and connotation meanings of words.

Basic Sex Ed

Just a quick biology lesson on human genetics, men and women both possess a total of 46 chromosomes, as well as 2 sex chromosomes. Men have 1 X and 1 Y chromosome whereas women have 2 X chromosomes. This slight difference causes massive changes within the body’s development and the primary sex characteristics which then develop. This matter still isn’t black and white, some people are born with extra chromosomes, for example, intersex people have sexual characteristics of both sexes.

Gender and Sex Are Different Things

If you think of the people who struggle with understanding of: gender-fluid, non-binary and transgender people – it’s almost always older people. Ah, baby boomers, blaming everyone else except themselves for the worlds problems. This belief stems from a time when gender was once synonymous with a person’s biological sex; which was a binary distinction to define whether someone was male or female. This has since been disputed with sex being your biological sex or genital assignment at birth. Okay, so is everyone with me? Sex is biological when you’re born with either male sex organs or female sex organs will define your sex.

Biological Genders
Sexual Distinctions

Here Comes the Complex Part

Now, gender refers to a socially constructed systems or characteristics between femininity and masculinity, these classifications are subjective and vary depending on cultural aspects. I know that was a lot of fancy words, but bear with me. To put it simply, when you imagine an Australian man, you probably picture football shorts, beer, work boots etc. These things are associated with our version of masculinity because our society states that these features are masculine things. However, what defines sex and gender does depend on cultural aspects, what defines a man in one culture will not be universal to all cultures. What defines being a man in Australia is vastly different to what defines a man in Peru.

We Teach Gender to Children

As sex and gender are too often lumped together, many people believing that your birth sex determines your gender and the characteristics associated with that particular gender. This is not hard-wired into men and women but rather taught to us from birth, baby girls receive pink clothes and baby dolls whilst boys are given blue outfits and monster trucks. From a young age boys are taught that expressing emotions, playing with girls’ toys or playing dress ups is a feminine quality and the male child is shamed out of this behaviour.

People NEED Labels

Experts have stated that “Gender is now one of the busiest, most restless terms in the English language, a word that crops up everywhere, yet whose uses seem to be forever changing, always on the move, producing new and often surprising inflections of meaning.” Humans have long feared the unknown, too often people are more comfortable with ideologies that we can label and categorise. A woman who dresses in masculine clothes and has masculine behaviours but still presents as a woman leaves people feeling confused because she breaks her normative alignment of her assumed gender or rather what is expected of her in society that person must make a choice to fall back into their gender alignment for people to accept them or continuously break this alignment and be treated differently by society. Basically, this is when people would question her gender and her sexuality, calling her a dyke would justify this behaviour and allow others to feel more comfortable because there is a reason for her behaviour.

Does Gender Really Matter

The term gender is problematic because it is hard to draw distinctions between the various genders. A researcher by the name Bradley stated that “…gender is more than a fixed label for individuals…”

Glover and Kaplan also assert that society is fixated on gender roles, gender gaps and gender bias agendas but not so much on what gender is to the individual. The truth is that the term is so subjective and ambiguous, it is able to morph to fit anyone’s desire, beliefs, sexual preferences [or lack thereof] and this is what causes the term to be busy. There is a reason many people struggle to understand gender as a concept because it a complex one at that. To study, gender is fascinating – however, it’s when people who disagree with the various genders concepts use this as a reason to bully and harass someone. At the end of the day everyone should be less concerned with what sex organs someone has and rather the person that they are on the inside.

Adultsmart welcomes Guest Bloggers to submit 800 word articles with original content about topics relating to sexual lifestyle, health and wellness. If you would like to participate, send an email to rick.xsales@gmail.com with your ideas or an article that you wish to submit. If you publish multiple articles on Adultsmart’s Blog you will become an Adultsmart Expert.

I’m A Straight Guy Who Is Gay Curious!

Am I a top or a bottom?

Question submitted online

Look, I’ll start this off by saying I’m a straight male and I have a girlfriend. But I really wanna know stuff about gay sex. I’ve asked my friends who’s the top and the bottom cos I’m trying to wrap my head around the whole idea you know, but they kind of just laugh the question off and move on. What’s the deal?”

Answer

I would like to thank you for your question. In answering your question I’d like to point out some of the hesitation as to why people may or may not answer such questions. Outside of the gay community, and even within the gay community – there are numerous stereotypes of bottoms and tops that are harmful to queer identifying people. The idea that there must be a woman and a man within queer relationships doesn’t quite paint a full picture of the relationship and it can be reductive to the idea of two consensual loving and mutually supportive partners. Let’s begin by breaking down the idea of anal sex. Gay men that engage in anal play (remembering that there are significant portions of gay men that do not like anal play and prefer oral stimulation and mutual masturbation) are typically delegated to a dominant and submissive role that allegedly aligns with their sexual role. For example, a man that loves cock up his ass is generally considered to be submissive. This is incorrect. A dominant or submissive personality is in no way related to their sexual preferences within the bedroom.

What's the difference between top and bottom sex
Image: Top and bottom sex

Part of this stigma lies within the perception of the act of intercourse itself and then by comparing that to PiV sex (Penis in Vagina). The penis is an active participant in sex, with the vagina being the receptive participant. The dick penetrates the vagina for pleasure with the dick (masculinity) being active and the vagina (femineity) being passive. Through this understanding of sex, many people automatically assume that one that is penetrated is feminine and that they’re submissive, because it directly relates to their understanding of what they’ve been brought up with when it comes to traditional heterosexual relationships, and sexual intercourse. Thus the idea of labelling one as a top or bottom automatically translates to the idea that there is a male and female within a gay relationship. This is inaccurate, as the fact is, simply put, that there are two (fe)males within a relationship who provide each other with mutual love, support and understanding. As with any relationship this support ebbs and flows based on whatever is going on within their lives, and social power naturally shifts between them over time.

Whilst there are certainly individuals out there who refuse to bottom, or who refuse to top – much of that ideal is surrounded by the idea of shame, embarrassment, or even guilt. Bottoms have traditionally been seen as sub-par within their own community, and to people that identify as heterosexual/heteroflexible. Bottoms take it up the ass, they are often depicted as feminine individuals, men who want to be women, or even considered to be subservient. Combine this with the idea of homophobia and the common insults hurled at gay men and you’ll begin to see why the idea of taking it up the ass might be considered to be negative. There’s shame, there’s hurt, there’s guilt and there’s often embarrassment with taking on a label – which is why many men will only reveal their preferences to someone that they’re in a relationship with, or who they intend to fuck.

Such ideals of restricting a queer couple to a top or bottom role are incorrect and is generally based within a culturally, social sexist understanding of heterosexual relationships – a male and a female in a relationship is usually generalised as the male being dominant and the female being submissive. Any deviation from that is often cast within a negative light. ‘Oh you’re pussy whipped’, ‘She’s the man of the relationship’. Such phrases and utterances directly relate to, and rely on, the perceived differences between a male and a female where the insult is relies on the direct comparison to that of the opposite sex.

Bottoms, or people with a preference to bottoming are simply people who enjoy anal pleasure. They can have submissive personalities, they can be dominant, they can be masculine, they can be feminine and they can be everything and everyone in between. The fact is that the stimulation of the prostate is one of the most sensational kinds of orgasms that a male can experience, and some men are even completely capable of experiencing an orgasm and ejaculation through prostate stimulation without even touching their own dick. As we begin to approach sex with the idea of pleasure in mind, many straight identifying men are slowly realising that anal sex isn’t gay sex (Remember to always practice safe sex and use a condom). The stimulation of the prostate by their girlfriends, their wives, or their fuck buddy doesn’t make them gay. In order to break down this dichotomy it is important to rethink traditional values associated with heterosexual relationships and to refocus on a sex positive idea that any normal relationship will naturally ebb and flow with power between individuals as they traverse through life.

In conclusion

To answer your question would be complex, as well as reductive and could be perceived, by some couples, as an insulting question despite it clearly being driven by curiosity. However let’s flip that around and ask the following question. If they turned around and asked you whether your girlfriend takes charge in the bedroom, whether she ties you up and absolutely dominates you – would you be willing to answer this as their curious eyes bore into your soul? If the answer is no, then it might be attributed to the perception of losing some of your masculinity, and therefore you might consciously or unconsciously feel that the perception of your identity might change. Whilst it’s absolutely essential to talk about sex, talk about how we do it, and talk about gender in the bedroom – sometimes with questions like this as to the specific roles of men within the bedroom, it might be best to simply remain curious.

If there’s anything else that I can assist you with, or you have any questions pertaining to gay sex, anything contained within this article, please do not hesitate to ask as I’d be more than happy to clarify.

Hope this helps!

Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

The Gay Sex Talk Everyone Needs To Hear

Education for LGBT

I know a bit about sex these days, but that’s primarily because I work within the sex Industry. I do talks with queer youth, I’ve worked in adult stores, and a lot of my academic research and writings centred on gender studies, sex and sexuality and the social sciences before I continued on with my teaching degree. One thing that keeps popping up though is the sex talk. The sex talk is something that a lot of people take for granted – at some stage, many parents sit down with their kids and they fumble their way through the birds and the bees story.

Let’s strip that back for a moment – how on earth does a heterosexual parent have the sex talk with their LGBTQ+ kids?

A mother would have no clue what sex is like for men, let alone gay men, so how would a parent communicate this idea of sex with their queer children? Consider this – a queer child might already feel isolated and alone as a result of their heteronormative family unit and peers, so where are they going to turn to for the information that they so desperately need? Queer children, when it comes to sexual education, are often left to fend for themselves, instead turning to LGBT friendly pornography, peers, and youth support networks for their information – and that’s assuming that they have access to these networks, and are willing to access these networks without fear of being persecuted or outed.

LGBT sex education
Image: Inclusive Sex Ed

We know that the mechanics of sex are completely different for LGBTQ people in so many ways, same sex intimate encounters aren’t for the purpose of reproduction. It’s about the experience and enjoyment of pleasure, not to mention the release of all that sexual frustration. With this in mind, queer youth are so unprepared for their first sexual encounter. I remember my own first sexual encounter with another man, and it was and still is one of the most awkward encounters of my life. I barely knew what I was doing, and I was so damn nervous that it was an absolute struggle keeping it up. I merely repeated exactly what he did to me, and what I’d seen in porn.

Going up to my mother and asking how I give a blowjob was completely and utterly out of the question. Asking my mother about how to have anal sex was a thought so incomprehensible that I don’t think that it ever crossed my mind. Thankfully, I’d received enough of a sexual education that I knew condoms were vital, and I vaguely knew how STIs could be contracted, but how to deal with the pain of having a cock shoved up my ass, or how to make sure that my partner was feeling good as I thrusted back and forth like a rabbit concerned only with the feelings that it was giving me? Not a fucking clue.

We can’t deny that out heterosexual counterparts do receive some of their sexual education from their families. We’ve all heard that story of that friend who received sex tips from their grandmother on how to make sure that their man is happy. Sure, this kind of stuff is often outdated, and focuses on how to keep him interested (as if your personality, and charisma just isn’t enough) but there are some families that talk about sex, and sex tips afterall sex education is very important.

The queer sex talk is just as important as the sex talk with your kids

It’s not just about ensuring that they have the information, but from a parent’s perspective it’s about ensuring that your child doesn’t feel alone and that they’re getting supportive information. So, before you take a proactive and sex positive approach and go running off to your child to talk about all the different kinds of sex in the world that there is, take a step back, and breathe. You don’t need to know tips on how to give a blow job, or cunnlingus pointers, but you do need to know how to keep your child safe, and that’s separate to the idea that they may not even have come out yet.

Firstly, they may or may not be even gay/lesbian/queer. It’s important not to overthink what’s considered to be the ‘early signs’ of a child’s development. So, your son likes to walk around in heels and your daughter wants to be a truck driver? Not only are these incredibly stereotypical, but we need to let kids be kids and for that, a parent needs to wait until the child is comfortable enough to bring it up on their own terms. You can absolutely make sure that your language is inclusive, and that there does exist queer relationships and different kinds of families, but your child needs to work through their feelings, and begin to understand them before they can start talking about them and that’s where supportive words about LGBTQ people and causes can go a long way towards inclusivity, and ensuring that they’re brought up in a supportive environment. Regardless of whether they’re queer or not, it’s a great habit to be in.

So what do you do if your child does come out as queer?

Firstly, support them, let them know that they’re still amazing people and that they’re loved. Secondly, get the help and resources that you need by reaching out for support if you need it yourself. These two steps are very important especially when there are many challenges when people come out as queer.

As for the mechanics? Just don’t do it.

All you’ll need to do is to take out the baby making process for your sex talk, discuss safer sex and protection in a gender inclusive way and point them in the right direction.

Author: Stephen is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

Dr. Stacy, My Husband Won’t Speak About Our Intimacy Issues!

Sexless marriage

This month Adultsmart’s clinical sexologist and certified sex coach Dr. Stacy Friedman has answered three questions which were anonymously sent in to askasexologist@gmail.com. Be sure to read them, who knows she may have answered one of yours!

Question

My relationship with my husband has gone cold.  There is little intimacy and our bedroom is all but dead.  Our kids are now older and our discussions regularly turn into arguments.  I have seen a counselor but when I suggested he see one or we see one together he says we don’t need too.  How do I get him to see that things are not that good and we need help?

Dr. Stacy Friedmans Answer

I am sorry to hear things are not so good on the home front and it’s unfortunate that you don’t seem to have a partner that understands the urgency of the situation.  I try to tell people that if you have a partner asking for help or to get help, it is usually a dire situation that can go downhill fast if not taken care of. If your partner isn’t willing to do anything for the marriage and you have expressed concern and desire to seek help, there isn’t much you can do other than work on personal growth and start weighing your options of what you want for your future, to stay and do nothing or go.  I would ask him why he doesn’t feel that you need to see a counselor, what scares him about going, what does he think is going to happen if  you go as well as what could be the worst and best scenario if he did decide to go.  If he still says he doesn’t want to go then try to have a conversation with him and ask him if he is happy with the way the relationship is and if he says no, see what his suggestions are to work on things.  Maybe if he sees you are open to listening to him, he will make some suggestions that could be helpful.

What about getting away together for a weekend where it is just the two of you and you have an opportunity to connect and talk?  Are you having any intimacy or sex?  If not, ask him if he wants to improve that, see if he thinks that could be better.  If so, you need to try to work on things together to make it happen.  There are many people that don’t believe in therapy or counseling and for some people it doesn’t work because many times they have waited too long and there is no turning back. Sometimes it makes a huge impact and saves a marriage but also, people may be afraid that by going to therapy they may eventually have to make a decision on their future and it is scary so people would rather just ignore and not go.  Find out what his fears are and then find out what his future goals are and if he wants you to be a part of it, he needs to tend to your fears and goals to make the marriage work.

Question

I come from a large immediate and extended family but to my knowledge not one of them is LGBTQIA+ nor do any of them hang out or have friends that are gay or queer.  I am 21 and know in myself that I am homosexual but have not come out.  It is like a big, dirty secret that hangs over my head as I feel that my family will not accept me if I do come out.  A couple of times I have gone out by myself to some gay bar I know about but as soon as anyone approached me I felt revulsion about the whole gay thing and rushed home. It is overwhelming and sometimes I feel incredibly sad and frustrated. What should I do?

Coming out as gay
Image: Coming out

Dr. Stacy Friedman’s Answer

It is a completely normal to feel confusion, frustration and potential revulsion because it is something that is still taboo in society and can make you question who you are and what you believe.  Since you aren’t accepting of yourself, you see the disgust that others may see in your own eyes but that isn’t reality.  Loving someone for who they are is a beautiful thing once accepting that within yourself. In order to be comfortable coming out to others, you need to first be comfortable in yourself and the understanding that you are perfect the way you are and that there is nothing wrong with being gay.  You are attracted to whom you are attracted to and that is nothing that you can change.

What makes you think they wouldn’t be accepting of you?  Do they not believe in the LGBTQIA+ population? Have they said things offensive? Are you close to at least one of your parents that you can have a talk with? What about another trusted adult or maybe a therapist near you that can help? I do Skype calls for people that aren’t local and I would be happy to help you get the confidence you need to be who you are, as that is one of my specialties so let me know if you want to make an appointment.  In the meantime, surround yourself with others that are gay, support groups, maybe a local place that has resources.  That way you aren’t in an environment where it may be more “sexual” such as a club so you can get to the point of acceptance and self-love and then be able to move forward.  You need to have support and you shouldn’t have to lie to get it so maybe slowly breach the subject to your family by bringing up someone else in the media to gage what they think about the LGBTQIA+ population and go from there.  I am here of you wanted to make an appointment for extra support.  You shouldn’t have to go through this alone.

Would you like free professional advice from a Clinical Sexologist & Certified Sex Coach? Dr. Stacy Friedman may answer your question for FREE in a featured article on Adultsmart’s Blog! If you would like to send in a question please email askasexologist@gmail.com.

Bisexual’s Bi-curious Facts And Figures

Woman on Woman, Men on Men

In this article, we are going to talk about the question “what is bisexuality?”.

What is a bisexual?

A bisexual is a man or woman who is sexually attracted to both sexes. There are varying degrees of bisexuality. People can find out they are bisexual at different stages in their life.

Is bisexuality common?

Bisexuality is extremely common nowadays. You will find many bisexual people around you without even knowing it. In the United States of America, 9 million Americans (3.5%) identify as lesbian, gay or as sexually promiscuous. Around 19 million Americans (8.2%) have reported that they have participated in same-sex sexual conduct and about 25.6 million Americans (11%) have some same-sex sexual fascination. There are additionally about 700,000 transgender people in the US.

Bisexual information
Image: Bisexuality

In Australia, 11 in 100 people are diverse in their sexual identity or gender identity.

 

LBGT statistics
Image: Australian LGBTI Facts and Figures

Is it wrong to have sexual desires for both sexes?

It is not wrong to have these desires or engage in bisexual behaviour. It is actually very normal and many people do – even people who consider themselves to be straight. It is not a crime! You have the full right to enjoy your life in any way you like as long as it is not at the expense of others! Some people suppress their sexuality due to what they have been taught through their families, friends, religion and society.

Why do people explore their bisexuality?

Many people will explore their bisexuality to find out their true sexual identity. It is better than living in the closet. Bisexuality can add an excellent spark in your sexual lifestyle. If you consider yourself as a bisexual, you can explore your bisexuality in a number of ways.

Many people are not aware of their bisexuality

Sexual thoughts can be confusing especially if you don’t have a lot of sexual experience. Many people have secret desires to experiment and experience intimacy with people of the same sex. Some people view themselves as a straight person who can get turned on by the same-sex. Some straight people even watch gay porn, bisexual porn and lesbian porn. Many people fantasize about having a threesome and some actually do it. Threesomes are considered to be a bisexual fantasy even if both the lovers you are with are of the opposite sex.

It is not like homosexuality, where you slowly discover that you’re attracted to the same sex but it can be even more confusing. Bisexuals do not get a clear cut definition of who they like and don’t like, rather they experience a blurred landscape whereby they discover that they have feelings for both sexes and they struggle to identify with this. Some people do not know whether they are bisexual or not.

Is there a test to identify a person’s sexuality?

The Kinsey Scale rates people from 0 to 6. A rating of 0 means that a person is exclusively heterosexual and a rating of 6 means that a person is exclusively homosexual. People are also able to rate in-between these numbers. The Kinsey Scale determined that sexuality is not only situational but there is no standard sexuality. The Kinsey Scale is also known as the Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale.

Some bisexuals conceal their sexual identity

Most bisexual people do not want to bring attention to their sexual identity. In fact, they tend to conceal their sexual identity and make friends in general social circles. This often presents enormous pressure when a bi person gets to know a person more intimately as they then have a dilemma as to whether to tell their new friend their sexual identity. If two bi people live together with each other then they can better understand each other and they also can support each other whether they are in a relationship together or not. But bisexuals often try to hide their true selves, they often fail to find the perfect partner for them as a bisexual person.  It is really difficult to find the perfect bisexual partner when often they do not know whether a person is bisexual or not. Normally people say that to find the perfect partner is very difficult but finding a bisexual partner is even harder than that.

It is important to keep in mind that there can be many issues when someone comes out with their sexuality which is one of the reasons some people do not talk about their sexual preferences. One of the other reasons is that most of the time a person’s sexual identity does not come up in day to day conversation. Although times have changed with the raising of awareness of different sexual identities and the legalisation of same-sex marriage almost all around the world!

Bisexual Pink Purple Blue Flag
Image: Bisexual Flag

How to meetup and date other bisexuals?

A quick and very useful way to find and make bisexual friends and lovers is to use adult dating websites and applications. Once you meet up, you both have the opportunity remain friends, become lovers or move on and find someone completely different. When trying to find a dating match you should be patient and meet up when the timing is right. Love who you are and your sexuality, share your love with the person who you choose is your best match. If they see you trying, they may try just as much as you do.

Bisexuals and long term relationships

Some people are afraid that if they had a relationship with a bisexual that there would be relationship problems. People are often scared that a bisexual may leave them for a person of the same or opposite sex as there is more people that they can choose to date. Some people are scared that may never be able to fully satisfy a bisexual. Some people also struggle to understand that someone can be attracted to multiple types of people. There are many myths about bisexuals.

The truth is, many people get through life, believing that the person that they have married is the love of their life, but they inevitably realise that there is something missing within their lives. Some people act on this, either in the form of threesomes or with an extramarital affair, and others will simply ignore this and move on.

Many bisexuals can have a monogamous relationship with just one long term partner even though they have an inclination to be with a person of the opposite sex to their partner. If you are married or in a committed relationship and you are planning on exploring your sexuality, it is recommended that you honestly communicate with your partner your sexual needs.

If you intend to build a serious relationship with a bisexual person then you will need to accept the idea that your partner may find people of both sexes attractive. Remember, a leopard cannot change it’s spots no more than a bisexual can change their sexual desires. Take your relationship slowly, be as open and honest when you’re dating. If you create a foundation of honesty and trust, you can build a healthy relationship.

Bisexuals and sex toys

There is now a large range of sex toys for bisexuals including strapless strap-ons, strap-on dildos and harnesses.

Are there any bisexual celebrities?

There are a lot of celebrities and YouTube stars who are bisexual including Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, Shane Dawson, Lady Gaga and Marlon Brandon just to name a few who come to mind! Below I have included a video of the YouTube star “Shane Dawson” who has over 16.4 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Why do people love bisexuals?

Many people love bisexual people as they are conscious of their sexuality and needs within a relationship.

Richard runs the marketing and social profiles of adultsmart and adultsmart blog. He has been in the industry just over 10 years and enjoys his role both in an administrative capacity as well keeping abreast of issues relating to sexual health and lifestyles.