Sunday, June 23, 2024

Botswana grappling with the evolving nature of sexuality

The term “sexual fluidity” which was first used in 2008 by an American  psychologist and feminist is already part of Botswana’s lexicon indicating that Batswana are now grappling with the evolving nature of sexuality.

Soft Swingers Botswana, a Facebook private group for heterosexual couples who exchange spouses for sex has put up a post inviting more Batswana partners to join in. The post reads in part: “Soft Swinging group ONLY for couples who can inbox me and prove that they are genuine couples. you send me a picture of you and your partner without faces holding a botswana news paper and i will add you to the group. when i see your request to join the group i will send you a inbox asking for the above details once confirmed i will add you to the group. remember this is a closed group and what ever you post here or comment or like will not be seen by you your regular Facebook friends unless they are in this group.” The group currently has 14 members.

While Dr Lisa Diamond who coined the concept of sexual fluidity  referred to the evolving experience of someone’s sexuality over time, across contexts, or within specific domains of their sexual identity, the term has evolved over time to include fluid sexual preferences as in the case of Soft Swingers Botswana.

The concept stems from the idea that most components of our sexuality fall on a spectrum, and where they fall on that spectrum can fluctuate.

Loeto Matsha, a second year student at Limkokwing University who identifies ass bi-sexual says, “Sexual fluidity doesn’t mean someone is confused or in denial about their sexual orientation which is who you are attracted to sexually. Being sexually fluid is also not the same as being bisexual, a sexual orientation when you are consistently attracted to more than one gender. Unlike sexual orientation, which suggests that sexuality falls under one fixed category, sexual fluidity shows that your sexual thoughts, feelings and attractions can be continuously evolving. Attraction isn’t always confined to one label which is why some people might prefer the label of sexually fluid. Sexual fluidity simply highlights that your sexual orientation may not rigidly predict each and every desire you will have in life.”

While anyone can experience changes in their sexual orientation, sexual fluidity is more common in younger people and among people who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and additional identities). Sexual fluidity might include; changes in attractions – someone may be attracted to one gender at one point in time and be attracted to a different gender or more than one gender at another point in time. Changes in identity labels – someone may identify as lesbian at a point in time and as bisexual at another point in time. Changes in sexual behaviour – someone may have a sexual partner at a point in time who is a cisgender woman and then have another sexual partner at a different point in time who is nonbinary. (A cisgender woman is a person assigned as a female at birth and who identifies as a woman. Someone who is nonbinary was assigned either female or male at birth and identifies as neither a woman nor a man.)

Clinical psychologist, Bame Mophuting says, “Who are you today? Who were you a decade ago? For many, shifts in life, relationships, jobs, friendships, where you live, what we believe – are the only constant. Yet it is a common misconception that sexual orientation develops at an early age and then remains stable throughout one’s life. Rather, changes in sexual orientation are a common thread in many people’s lives. People may experience changes in who they are attracted to, who they have sex with and which labels they use to describe their sexual orientation. Such changes in sexual orientation are called sexual fluidity. Are people who identify as bisexual sexually fluid? Some are and others are not. Sexual fluidity is distinct from bisexuality. Sexual fluidity may be experienced by people with any sexual orientation identity, including people who identify as bisexual, lesbian, gay, or heterosexual.”

While most individuals assert that they have known their gender identity or sexual orientation since birth, others find that they enjoy intentionally exploring their sexuality across many of the sexual identity domains and acknowledge that while they may feel one way today, they could feel differently tomorrow. People’s sexual preferences can also be fluid. More couples are exploring the concept of consensual non-monogamy, which can be seen as a form of sexual fluidity. They might have been content with sexual exclusivity for years before discovering a longing for experiences beyond their primary partner. Today, an increasing number of young individuals proactively explore their sexual identity, taking the time to carefully consider what resonates with them at any given moment.

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