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Sexuality on a Spectrum

A lot of college students spill about questions pertaining to their sexuality. Oftentimes, a student who has always considered him or herself to be ‘straight’ suddenly has feelings for someone of the same sex.

Many of you write in because you’re feeling very confused as to whether the feelings you have for someone of the same sex are true feelings and are sexual in nature, or whether they are just some passing urge that will dissipate with time. The added stress comes when you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone. Not only are you questioning your identity as you’ve known it, but you’re also having thoughts about experimenting with someone else when you’re in a monogamous or committed relationship…

While I can’t speak to whether or not your partner would be okay with you connecting with someone else intimately on some level, I can say that it’s completely normal for some people who are ‘straight’ to also at some point become ‘bisexual’ or some other form of sexual orientation that they did not previously identify with.

What I learned in graduate school, and what I’ve also heard from various friends and acquaintances throughout my life, is that sexuality is on a spectrum, and people can lean one way or another or anywhere in the middle at any point in their lives.

So maybe you’ve always been attracted to women, but you find yourself attracted to a man, or vice versa. It doesn’t make you strange. In fact, it makes you quite normal. How do I know? Because so many people have gone through the same thing that you have.

Now, trying out different parts of the spectrum of sexuality is one thing. Cheating on your partner is another. Only you (and perhaps, your partner, for those relationships that speak freely and openly about these things), will know what you’re comfortable with doing in terms of the level of commitment in your current relationship. But remember that college is a time to figure out (or make huge progress on figuring out!) who you are.

It’s a time to try on different parts of yourself, and to discover parts of yourself you didn’t even know you had. And maybe part of that is your sexual identity.

So go ahead-listen to your gut. Trust yourself. And don’t worry about putting yourself into a specific sexual orientation category. The only way that might serve you is trying to check off a box on a survey. It won’t necessarily serve you as much in the real world of trying to figure out who you are, and what your needs are.

When it comes to human elements of identity, categorization is not always the ‘right’ approach, especially when we’re only given a few options.

Sexuality on a Spectrum

Meredith Bazirgan

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APA Reference
Bazirgan, M. (2012). Sexuality on a Spectrum. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 8 May 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 May 2012
Published on All rights reserved.