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 Box.net folder, and other posts on the subject are (of course) available via the socio-sexual matrix topic category.