All people are sexual beings from birth to death. Our sexuality includesThe point is to encourage people to think of sexuality in broad terms rather than narrow ones. Sexuality encompasses sexual orientation, gender identity, bodies, values, life, love, feelings, attitudes, etc, rather than merely being about sex (narrowly defined) and sexual desires. In encouraging people to make safe, healthy choices about sexuality, they want them to do so thinking about those choices in the context of their entire lives rather than as just this one thing over here that is unconnected to the rest of life.
• our bodies
• our biological sex
• our gender — our biological, social, and legal status as girls and boys, women and men
• our gender identities — how we feel about our gender
• our sexual orientations — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual
• our values about life, love, and the people in our lives
Our sexuality also includes feelings, attitudes, relationships, self-image, ideals, and behaviors, and it influences how we experience the world.
On other levels, however, this quote is deeply problematic. Try to figure out what it means by saying that all people are sexual beings. It doesn’t seem to assert anything about people. Think of it another way. In claiming that all humans are sexual beings, what are they denying? Obviously they are denying that there are people who aren't sexual beings. But what would it mean for someone to not be a sexual being? If our sexuality includes our bodies, feelings, values, attitudes etc. does that mean that anyone who has a body, values, or feelings is sexual being, regardless of whether they have any sexual desires or engage in any sexual behaviors? If this is the case, then claiming "All people are sexual beings" is so empty of any content that it isn't even worth saying. Moreover, the meaning under such a reading is far removed from how I expect the vast majority of readers to understand it (and likely the authors as well.)
Seeing this from an asexual perspective, one thing that stands out is the definition of sexual orientation--straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual. The context explaining the claim that all people are sexual beings reinforces the message that asexuals don’t exist and functions to make them invisible.
Another problem with this, from an asexual perspective, is that it assumes that all of the things listed are inseparably connected to sexuality--an assumption that asexuality directly challenges (I wrote about this in the third and fourth posts of this series.) Moreover, by using sexuality as the lens through which to view all of these things privileges sexuality as being of fundamental importance for understanding these things, marginalizing the experiences of people who don't experience these as connected to "sexuality" or for whom sexuality is not an important part of how they think about life.
Next time, I will examine how the claim that all people are sexual beings functions in a textbook for sexuality educators.