It is important to be an individual, and embrace your differences. Although, as human beings we have many similarities, we are not all the same. In fact, every single person experiences every situation differently. Even if two people experience something at the same time, both of their experiences will be slightly different. This same concept can be applied when thinking about sexuality. Most people strive to “stick to” the social norms, especially with a topic such as sexuality, which has become quite controversial. But what people forget is that we are all different and experience different feelings and perceptions to every situations. So by NOT suppressing your sexual feelings, which happens to be a central part of one’s identity, you can begin to accept yourself and others as sexual beings, and each a unique individual. This is exactly what John Irving’s book, In One Person, explores.
After reading a recent blog by Dr. Lisa Firestone, Identity, Sexuality, and Societies Assault on the Self, which is an analysis of John Irving’s book, In One Person, I immediately began to reflect on the role that sexuality has played in my life and how my sexual identity has contributed to shaping me into the individual that I am. Sexual identity is fundamental to a persons overall sense of well-being, it is an important part of how we interact with others. Identity formation, and specifically sexuality are of the most basic and essential aspects to being a human. In order to have a healthy process of this formation of the self, it is important to allow others to freely express themselves without discrimination.
Being that forming a sexual identity is a necessary process in forming one’s overall identity, interrupting this natural process can be quite harmful and psychologically damaging to an individual. In society, if anyone deviates from the so-called “norm”, people are quick to judge and stigmatize the things that are different or unfamiliar. Although it is upsetting that most people stereotype, it is however an innate and instinctual aspect of our human nature. As humans we rely on our schemas to inform us about things that are both familiar and unfamiliar. So then one might ask, ‘are people really to blame for their quick judgements?’ and the answer is yes! Because although this is a natural part of our cognitive processes, the key is to become self aware, so that we can filter out the automatic stereotyping and categorization. This way we are being caring and respectful to all persons in a situation.
Accepting that fact that we are all human, and that as humans we are sexual beings; is the first step in accepting that not all people are the same and we all have different sexual experiences and preferences. No one sexual identity is right or wrong.