Monday, August 06, 2007

Introducing the (Latest) Socio-sexual Matrix

It all started a few years back when I was confronted with the inadequacy of our language to fully describe — and the mind, therefore, to either parse or grok — one's socio-sexual condition.

So I got to thinking …and sketching.

With time, I came to the belief not in a spectrum of sexuality (straight–gay), but a nuanced matrix. I first wrote about it a couple of years back in my essays on being a gay Mormon (see Part I). I even put together a rough information graphic, but it's been lost somewhere in the shuffle. Since then, I've continued to think about the matrix and refine it. And then, this last week, a dear friend asked a question about gender or some such, and I decided it was time to flesh-out a new draft of the matrix (PDF).

Download the graphic…

You'll notice that the matrix features nine facets — core gender, genitalia (and secondary sexual characteristics), genetics, orientation, libido, focus, commitment, (approach to) social norms, and (approach to) sex norms. Each of these facets, in turn, feature a number of manifestations. Some are discrete manifestations, while others are harder to define — being more like a cloud of choice, or a point along a spectrum. From core gender, moving clock-wise, each grouping — yellows, green, blue, pinks — represents increasingly malleable states of being.

For sake of simplicity, this graphic doesn't address related issues of inputs and the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) changes that come about over time.

NB: All drafts are available in my public folder, and other posts on the subject are (of course) available via the socio-sexual matrix topic category.


Anonymous said...

hello Silus Grok, I find your Socia-sexual Matrix interesting. When I've studied it some more and maybe begin to understand it I'll write you some more.

Silus Grok said...

I'm a patient man.

: )

DC said...

Your green item, Orientation, only allows "Male" or "Female" -- why not both? And can you define "Commitment" -- is it willingness to commit to a partner? If so, how does Commitment relate to Focus -- say, for example, one is temporarily committed to a second partner? I suspect I'm not the only one who is not totally committed to a relationship over a long period of time.

This is an interesting exercise, one that would baffle the average Mormon who wants the Family Proclamation to be the last word on sexuality...

Silus Grok said...

Hey DC... good comments.

I've gotten a few comments along these lines (on Orientation) from folks off-line. I guess the graph isn't clear enough... which is my fault.

Anyway, notice that the white nodes are parts of a spectrum. So the "man" and "woman" on the Orientation facets are actually two ends of a spectrum.

Commitment is more than just willingness... it's also ability. And Commitment and Focus play well together... if you're polyamorous and committed, then you're fully invested in multiple partners.

As for the Proclamation... this graph actually squares very well with it.

: )