Sexuality affects us on different levels of our lives, and each person uniquely.
You can read an intro and explainer of the model, written by Sam Killermann at It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. Here’s an excerpt from that:
The Sexualitree is a model that can help us see the different ways we experience (or don’t experience) sexuality. Sexuality is something that affects us all on different levels, and something we experience personally, individually, and uniquely. To understand how this works, it’s helpful to unpack the three distinct levels on which (intimate, relational, and cultural) the myriad elements of sexuality (e.g., abstinence, body image, and consent, to name a few) affect us.
Three Levels of Sexuality
We talk about sexuality as something that affects us on intimate (you, and the people you’re romantic or sexual with), relational (your family, your friends, and everyone else you know personally), and cultural (everyone in your city, state, or country) levels. It’s helpful to have a bit more perspective on these different levels before we talk about how the elements fit into them.
This is you, your lived experience, your wants, your fears, your behaviors, dispositions, attractions, and preconceptions — all of that and more, and the ways you (or any individual) experiences those things individually, and/or with romantic and/or sexual partners.
A lot of and/or-ing there, I know, which is important: there is no minimum level of intimate sexual experience necessary to qualify one as having a legitimate sexuality. For some people, intimate sexuality may only be an experience they have minimally, or individually; for others, this may be with a partner or partners, and the experience may be romantic, sexual, emotional, spiritual, or more. And while I say there’s no minimum, I’d say there’s no maximum either… but there are only so many hours in a day, days in a year, and years in your life — which brings me to my next point.
What comprises one’s experience of intimate sexuality is constantly changing. (Like the leaves on a tree? Yes! Just like the leaves on a tree.)
And you can read all about how to use the model in a primer written by Karen Rayne. Here’s an excerpt from that:
The Sexualitree is a conceptual model of sexuality that is designed to be interactive and personalizable.
The ways that you can use it in the classroom are extensive, and depend on your students (their age, existing knowledge of the range of ways that people are sexual, openness to dialogue and introspection, etc.) and the group dynamic (are you teaching or facilitating, how many people are present, what are your and everyone else’s goals, how much time do you have, etc.). Given the wide range of potential answers to all of those questions and more, providing one concrete way to use The Sexualitree seems very limiting! Instead, here are a few guidelines and a few examples of how it might be done.
To being with, it is important to keep in mind the top aspects of sexuality that are brought forward in The Sexualitree:
These are concepts that are important to The Sexualitree:
- Sexuality is complex.
- Cultural, relational, and intimate influences all affect sexuality.
- Sexuality influences the way people view their culture, and relationships — both intimate and social.
- Each person’s sexuality is unique because of the ways that their cultural, relational, and intimate experiences with various elements of sexuality interact.
Depending on classroom or activity goals, it may also be important to keep in mind one or more additional pieces of the groundwork of The Sexualitree.