14 – Key elements of all regions. 15 – Region 1: Partner number. 16 – Region 2: Gender/sex sexuality. 17 – Region 3: Other aspects of sexuality. 18 – Branching

356 KB – 24 Pages

PAGE – 2 ============
3 – Introduction 4 – Common ways of understanding sexuality 5 – Problems with sexual orientation 1: How are we understanding gender? 6 – Problems with sexual orientation 2: What about other aspects of sexuality? 7 – Problems with sexual orientation 3: Is it the same for di˜erent kinds of sex & attraction? 8 – Orientation, status, identity, behaviour and attraction? 9 – Why Sari developed SCT 10 – Thinking from the margins 11 – Intersectionality 12 & 13 – What is SCT? 14 – Key elements of all regions 15 – Region 1: Partner number 16 – Region 2: Gender/sex sexuality 17 – Region 3: Other aspects of sexuality 18 – Branching or coinciding? 19 – Fluid or ˚xed? 20 – Bringing it all together: SCT in our everyday lives 21 – Is this it? Taking SCT further 22 – Further Resources 23 – Glossary of terms 24 – Biographies

PAGE – 3 ============
This zine invites you to join us on a journey through the landscape of your sexuality. Some things to remember before we set o˜ are: Take care of yourself. Journeys like this can be a little disorienting. If you notice your breathing and/or muscles getting tight, take a break, stretch, shake it o˜, and come back to the journey refreshed. There™s no right or wrong way to approach this journey. While we™d like to o˜er you a map, how, when, or even if you use it is up to you. You may also ˚nd that your ideas and answers change over time and that™s absolutely okay. This is one theory and it might or might not be a good re˛ection of your reality. Our hope is that it may help you to better understand yourself and those around you. By the end of this journey, you may have more questions than answers! Don™t worry, there are resources listed at the end of this zine for further exploration and support. And, if you don™t understand some of the words you come across in the zine there™s a glossary at the end. 3

PAGE – 4 ============
When you ask someone their sexuality, they generally assume you™re asking for their sexual orientation. This means the gender of the people they™re attracted to in relation to their own gender. Gender and sexual orientation are both commonly assumed to be either/or binaries. A person is either a man or a woman. They are either gay (attracted to the ‚same™ gender) or straight (attracted to the ‚opposite™ gender). Some models of sexual orientation have opened up to include an option for sexualities beyond the binary. Some see sexual orientation on a spectrum (like the Kinsey scale); or see multiple spectrums (like the Klein grid).However, these kinds of models are still a problem because:1. They generally assume that gender is binary 2. They don™t include aspects of sexuality other than the gender we™re attracted to 3. They don™t account for di˜erent kinds of attraction, or di˜erent types of sex. We™ll say a bit more about these problems over the next three pages, because they are some of the main reasons why Sari van Anders developed Sexual Con˚gurations Theory (SCT) which is the new idea that we™re going to explore through the rest of the zine. 4

PAGE – 5 ============
Just as science and history teach us that sexuality is more complex than straight or gay, so too is gender more complex than male or female. Very often people confuse sex with gender. A common misconception is that if a baby™s born with a penis they™re a boy and if they™re born with a vulva, they™re a girl. Sex is often seen as being about our physical characteristics: visible ones like beards, and invisible ones like chromosomes. Gender is often seen as being about our social or cultural roles and experiences, or how we identify. SCT is built on feminist and queer ideas, so we use gender/sex as an umbrella to capture the intertwined relationship between sex and gender and how they can™t be neatly separated. You may think it™s convenient to describe who we™re attracted to based on whether their gender is similar or di˜erent to our own and that can be true. However, what we think of as the same or di˜erent can vary from one person to the next. This means sameness is not always a clear way to organize sexuality. There™s still space for attraction to sameness and di˜erence in SCT, but what you de˚ne as the same or di˜erent from you is up to you and can be about any aspect of your life, not just gender. 5

PAGE – 6 ============
A major problem is that most models of sexuality focus narrowly on one aspect of sexuality: the gender of the people we™re attracted to. That™s like saying our landscape is only made up of forest, and completely ignoring all other terrains. Other features of our sexuality that we could equally pay attention to include the following, and many more. You might want to think which are relevant to you, and in what ways: Our levels of sexual attraction (from none to high) Physical aspects of attraction that aren™t related to gender (e.g. smile, eye colour, or body shape & size) The number of partners we like to have (from none to many) The age or experience of people we™re attracted to in relation to our own Whether our sexuality is linked to power, and where we like to be in relation to that (e.g. dominant, submissive, both or neither) Roles we like to play sexually (e.g. active or passive, initiating or receiving) The kinds of sensations, fantasies, & experiences we enjoy sexually. These can all be just as important as the gender of people we™re attracted to in de˚ning our sexuality. ŁŁŁŁŁŁŁ6

PAGE – 8 ============
Before we go on to explore SCT, it™s also important to point out that it™s often unclear what the word sexuality is talking about. For example, the kinds of people, roles, or experiences we™re generally sexually oriented towards can di˜er from our sexual status: who we™re with and what we™re doing sexually in certain times or places. You might think of your own examples of this. The term sexuality is often used to encompass sexual identity, sexual behaviour, and sexual attraction. But people can be in di˜erent places on all of these. For example, if you count the number of young adults who are attracted to more than one gender it™s around 40%. If you count how many identify as bisexual, pansexul, or queer, it™s more like 2%. But way more than 2% of young people have sex with people of more than one gender while identifying as gay or straight, or having no identity label. Our sexualities are also dynamic and ˛uid. All aspects of them can change over time, although some can remain relatively ˚xed. That™s not to say that we can consciously change our sexuality. It seems to be more like age. It will inevitably change over time, but we can™t cause it to change. If somebody™s encouraging you to change your sexuality you might want to ask yourself why, what™s in it for them, and whether they have your best interests at heart. 8

PAGE – 9 ============
I wanted a theory that was closer to people™s actual lived experiences of their sexualities Theories of sexuality need to include the full range of gender and sexual diversity, not just the genders and sexualities that our culture thinks of as ‚normal™, for example There needs to be room for novel sexual expressions which might develop over time, such as the di˜erent sexual practices that have emerged since we™ve had the internet, like web cam sex I wanted to decenter gender/sex and make room for other aspects of sexuality There needs to be space for sexual multiplicity, ˛uidity, & openness I wanted to put forward something clear that would be useful in helping people to understand themselves, as well as leading to a better science of sex This is Sari van Anders. She created SCT to come up with a way of understanding sexuality that dealt with some of these problems we™ve covered. Let™s hear a bit more from her about what she wanted SCT to do: To help people map their own sexual con˚gurations, Sari created the diagrams that you™ve seen already on some of the pages of the zine. We™re going to be discussing the concepts but, if you want to map yourself using SCT or create your own diagrams, check out the links and materials at the end. And, though we™re not discussing your own gender/sex here, you can also ˚nd a link for that too. 9

PAGE – 10 ============
One of the things that™s really important in SCT is that, because it has its foundations in feminism and queer theory, it adopts a sexual diversity lens. This means that instead of centering all the things that dominant culture might tell us are the norm, and therefore ‚normal™, SCT centers actual lived experiences of real people. Everyone has a location. This means noticing how many of us have bodies, desires, attractions, orientations, relationships and experiences that fall outside normativities central in Western Anglo-based cultures. Sometimes these are called marginalized bodies, identities and experiences because they are at the margins of cultural and social norms. However, when we look around, we can notice how crowded these margins can be, and how we™re not as alone as we may have thought at ˚rst! 10

PAGE – 11 ============
Just like when we explore a landscape, we may not walk each path, or notice every river and tree, we may not always think of how many components make up our sexuality and how, all together, they™re more than the sum of their parts. Intersectionality is a term coined by US Black feminist Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe the way in which our social identities operate within multiple systems of oppression, discrimination, and privilege that work together to impact our lives in speci˚c ways. For example, sexuality is entwined with the following things, and more: How we™re racialized, that is, the way in which people may understand our race and ethnicity based on certain characteristics Our class background and current status Whether we have disabilities, and how the world is set up in relation to those What age we are and what generation we grew up in Our religion and/or values What are your intersections in relation to sexuality? What aspects of your identity and experiences shape, or have shaped, how you experience your sexuality? ŁŁŁŁŁ11

356 KB – 24 Pages