Even though the representation of the gay community has been improving within the media, it is hard to ignore one consistent theme. A gay character in a film, show, play or book is single or in a relationship, repeatedly having regular one-night stands and hook-ups throughout the entire storyline. There is nothing wrong with casual sex; however, when a community is only predominately seen as sexual, it can cause long-term issues.
Many religious and conservative groups often claim gay people are sinful and immortal due to this perceived behaviour. It damages the public’s perception and significantly impacts all those people coming to terms with their sexuality. Of course, no one has the right to pass judgement on an individual’s personal choices. However, at the same time, it is also vital that we do not ignore that large groups of gay people are within happy, loving and monogamous relationships. A fact which, if portrayed, helps to give a balanced view and perspective.
Today, rural areas, closed communities and hostile countries fearing gay behaviours are often still using outdated stereotypes as a deterrent. How accurate are these perspectives? Are gay people more sexual than their straight peers, or does it come down to making sure people understand the difference between love and lust?
ATTRACTION LEADING TO LOVE
Within the dictionary, lust is defined as a sexual desire. It refers to a physical attraction to another person or persons, which causes a chemical reaction. The reaction within our bodies and what is produced are known as hormones and are gender-specific. Male hormones that are produced as a result of lust are known as testosterone.
In contrast, the same effect within women produces hormones known as oestrogen. The same way our bodies produce hormones regarding lust, attraction also has a similar effect. Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are all produced when we feel attraction towards another person, making us feel good and happy.
If you are attracted to and lust after another person, what happens next? Many of those looking for immediate pleasure will likely have a sexual encounter. However, once they have reached the point of climax, they will have to make a decision. To leave or to create a more profound and meaningful connection. Connections like these can only be established when we spend time getting to know someone better, their personality, beliefs and values. A variety of attributes can either increase or decrease our level of attraction towards any given person.
Like lust, when we become attached, create relationships, or fall in love, certain hormones increase within our bodies. These hormones are oxytocin and vasopressin, which play an important role in social bonding and reproduction. Attraction and attachment are often driven by our influences, such as our environments and the societies we grow up in; however, our shortfalls or areas we lack can also fuel our desires. These desires are often driven by factors such as our height, race, even eye colour. For example, a shorter person may desire someone taller, or a dark-haired person may prefer blondes and so on.
For many, lust and attraction grow into attachment, which leads to long term and committed relationships. Our bodies react by producing a series of chemical reactions, all of which make us feel good. These hormones might result in us taking more significant risks than we would typically do and fuelling the desire for companionship and a life-long partner.
LOVE LEADING TO ATTRACTION
So, if lust is about physical attraction, can you find someone attractive once you have created an emotional bond or connection with them? The answer is yes. Even though physical attraction is an integral part of a relationship, so are the emotional connections we form. Emotional connections only occur when we get to know someone on a deeply personal level. Learning more about their dreams, fears, and hopes, information that helps us to connect and, in some cases, love one another.
There are many stories of work colleagues or friends that get on well with one another, eventually falling in love. Often there is initially little or no sexual attraction; however, once they get to know each other better, attraction and strong feelings begin to form. These emotions will typically grow over time, creating a deeper connection and attachment to each other.
Ultimately, this means that you need two fundamental components, attraction, and connection for a long-term, happy relationship. Both must occur to develop long-term commitments and relationships, and it does not matter in which order. Attraction and attachment happen in the same way regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The only difference is who a person is attracted to and how they identify.
With hundreds of years of persecution, which is still going on in some parts of the world, the gay community has become good at hiding in plain sight. Forced to hide who they are, and many still find it challenging to meet like-minded people. These types of behaviours and attitudes have likely influenced how the community has evolved.
Smartphone apps and social medial have meant that hook-ups and one-night stands are much easier than before. A development that is also a reality for the worldwide straight community. Coupled with the fact that younger generations have changed their views and attitudes towards relationships and sex, many breaking away from conventional definitions.
Those looking to hook up are doing so for various reasons; typically, it is a mixture of desirability, pleasure, and even connecting, albeit only on a physical level. These and many more are why people will typically go online to look for others.
In a world becoming much more accepting of the gay community, same-sex marriage and starting a family is becoming a reality for many. Though sex is important, it is also vital not to ignore that many people seek meaningful, long-term relationships and families.
There is nothing wrong with commitment-free or open relationships. Still, it is not the only type that exists within the community. Like heterosexual relationships, the freedom gay people now have makes it easier for them to live in long-term and committed relationships. The gay community does not have a monopoly on promiscuous behaviour, no more than straight people. The only difference between them is their gender or sexual identity.
Remember love is love and how you choose to live your life is yours and only yours to make