The Fifty Minute Hour

Thoughts on therapy and life

Sexuality is not a disease.

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What is the range of sexualities?

Sexuality is part of who you are.

If your daughter was newly married, I might expect it to be a source of some joy  for you; however Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, a Chinese property magnate is refusing to even acknowledge the recent wedding of his daughter Gigi Chao, to her long term girlfriend Sean Eav.  Taking the Queen Victoria approach he seems unable to consider that his daughter could be homosexual and happy, and has offered £40M to any man who can persuade her into a heterosexual marriage instead.

Apart from the wilful disregard for his daughter’s own sense of autonomy and her ability to form her own relationships, it is sad to see the issue of sexuality conversion rearing its head again in the light of recent welcome moves against reparative therapy.  There are differing views on what determines our sexuality, Lady Gaga and others are quite clear that “I was born this way”. Freud on the other hand highlighted the phallic stage of development (roughly 5 -8 years) as essential in determining how an individual makes sense of and relates to different sexes. For others sexuality is fluid and changing, not something to be pinned down and labelled. In fact, I was trying to compile a list of recognised sexualities over and above the ubiquitous straight, gay and bi and realised that this is itself a moving target. Ultimately I came up with the following additions to the list, though I’m aware there may be some I have missed.

Asexuality- Is also known as nonsexuality which is the lack of sexual attraction and sexual interest towards others.

Polysexuality-  Is the sexual attraction to more than one gender but do not wish to be known as bisexual as it implies that their are only two binary sexes, do not confuse this with pansexuality (Pan meaning All) and (Poly meaning many).

Pansexuality- Is the sexual attraction towards people regardless of gender also known as omnisexuality, some pansexuals refer to themselves as gender blind as to them gender is  insignificant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others.

Transexualism – Is when a person identifies themselves with a physical sex that is different to their own biological one, A medical diagnosis can be made if a person experiences discomfort as a result of a desire to be a member of the opposite sex. for example a person may be born male, and is uncomfortable with their gender as a male  and changes to a female, or a female may change to a male. It is a long process that they will go through and an expensive one too.

I and every other member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) received a letter this week in the light of the recent suspension of Lesley Pilkington. This letter contains a Statement of Ethical Practice as an addendum to the Ethical Framework we adhere to. It states the organisation’s opposition to any kind of therapy based on the premise that a client should change their sexuality.  In fact it denounces conversion or reparative therapies which attempt to do this as “a severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons”.

It’s a very welcome addition to our Ethical Framework and I think it makes a point well worth reiterating; sexuality however you define it, is part of who you are, as much as your eye colour or the size of your nose

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Author: Johanna Sartori BA MBACP Accred.

Finding my way through life, and travelling with those on the same journey

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