The challenge of making your own sexual choices

Making your own decisions; it sounds so easy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Especially when it comes to sexuality, it seems to be very hard to make your own decisions. This is partly because:

  1. There are so many options.
  2. You can never really know what all options are.
  3. Other people will make your decisions for you.
  4. You often make your decisions based on what is expected of you.

If you don’t know what all of your options are, then how should you be able to make your own decisions? Especially when you think others will judge you when you do make your own decisions.

Making your own decisions is about deciding for yourself what it is that you want and what you don’t want. What you like or what you don’t like. You might ask yourself to what extend this is an option, or if it is just a given fact. But whether or not you act on it is your own choice. In some cases, it will be a matter of finding the courage to make your own decisions.

Sexual identity

In my recent article on discovering your sexual identity, I wrote about the idea of your sexual identity shaping itself over the years. Reading books, listening to podcasts and engaging in conversations can help you color in your sexual identity. If you want to make your own decisions, it is important that you have somewhat of an idea of how your sexual self is colored, or shaped. But at the same time, it also shapes itself by the choices you make, depending on how you experience those moments.

Because there are so many ideas on sexuality, so many beliefs, messages and expectations, it is hard to discover what your own ideas are. Still, it is so important to try to figure out what those are. Maybe you can try and consider if you agree on something when a certain statement is put out in a conversation. Or when someone rejects something, ask yourself why you feel it should be rejected, or why it shouldn’t. Too often people say all these things about sexuality, but there rarely is a proper conversation about the topic.

And that it why you need to start having conversations about sexuality, just like you should have conversations about relationships. Be moved by the thoughts of others, but never forget to reflect on your own feelings and thoughts. Use the insights of others to create ideas, but never simply take over those thoughts just because those are the only insights that were offered to you.

The sexual norm

Earlier on in this article, I wrote about finding the courage to make your own decisions. There is this certain sexual norm when we’re talking about sexuality. But that is a norm that is based on sexual behavior that is visible above a certain level; behavior that is mostly about heterosexual monogamous relationships, which may include a sex toy here and there, but not a whole collection. Fortunately, it has been slowly transforming into a bit of a more diverse norm, but as long as there is a thing like a “coming out”, the sexual norm isn’t diverse enough.

The interesting thing is that the sexual norm as most people know it doesn’t really reflect on the sexual behavior of a lot of people. There are numerous people who aren’t strictly monogamous, nor explicitly heterosexual. The sales numbers of sex toys have never been as high as they were last year, and prior to 2020 there was a great increase in the number of organizations that organized erotic parties. Apparently, the heterosexual norm isn’t based on the choices that many people make.

It even suggests that there are a lot of people who do make other choices. People do have the courage to make their own decisions, but this isn’t reflected in a new version of what sexuality looks like for so many people.

Dare to make your own decisions

To add a little something to having the courage to make your own decision, it is interesting to see how people with certain sexual preference discover a part of their sexuality. Most of them find out they get aroused by something by accident. They find themselves in an unknown situation, experience the moment, see an image, or feel an emotion and discover it arouses them. And it might take a while before they figure out what it means, but if they would have purposefully tried to find a situation that aroused them, they wouldn’t have found it. As they discovered the experience by accident, and allowed it to arouse them, it became part of their sexuality. And in doing so, they make their own decision. It isn’t always easy, but being able to make your own decisions offers you a lot more than not making them and denying a part of your sexuality in the process.

Making your own choices within your sexuality, or relationships, sounds really easy and simple, but that isn’t necessarily true. To do it, you need a certain insight into your sexual identity, but also insight into what the possibilities might be. And then you need a bit of courage, to choose those things you’re curious about or the things you need.

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