3 Steps to Exploring Your Sexuality
For some peculiar reason, modern society raises us to view sexuality as something rigid and fixed, as if our sensuality could be set in stone. You’re gay or you’re straight, trans or cis, vanilla or kinky, and that’s that.
However through both my personal experience, and my years working as a sexuality doula, this doesn’t seem to be the case. At all.
When I was around 14 years old, I came out as bisexual, out of necessity rather than preference. I had fallen in love with my best friend who was female, as am I. The label felt thrust upon me by my friends. They had been the ones to help me realize I loved her as more than a friend, but also felt a need to re-categorize me in light of this revelation.
As I grew older, my label of ‘bisexual’ was regularly used as a weapon against me. I was routinely labeled as being promiscuous by my peers – even though I was actually still a virgin. My “mysterious” sexuality was too dangerous to be around.
Finding the Right Fit
With prospective romantic partners, I was preemptively classified as someone more likely to cheat on them. It felt like as soon as the word bisexual left my lips, it caused an explosion of either judgement or sexualization. Just the fact that I could love men and women apparently made me highly sexual in the eyes of others. An assumption I felt deeply uncomfortable with.
There was more to my growing unease with the term ‘bisexual,’ though. As I starting dating, I realized I was attracted to trans and non-binary folx, too. As I became more educated in the ever adapting and fluid world of gender and sexual orientation, I began to feel suffocated by my bisexual identity. The more time I spent honing in on who I was really attracted to, I realized that it was personality, confidence, and charm that turned me on initially. The person’s gender identity felt secondary. It was with this that I embraced the term ‘queer.’
For me, it felt like a rocky road from straight to queer, but I tried to view it as a journey of self discovery and exploration, instead of trying to neatly fit myself into a societal box (pardon the pun).
I allowed room in my life for variability and change, and I still do, knowing that even my ‘queer’ identity may not last forever, and I’m okay with that.
A Little More Exploring
Discovering BDSM was another eye opening chapter in my life, and while the initial source of information was an unhealthy relationship, it was yet again the concept of exploration and curiosity that saved me.
I spent time in solitude and reflection, reading books and meditating to reconnect with myself and my sexuality, instead of just jumping on a label and sticking with it. As long as I was upfront with my partners, honest with myself, and kept everything safe, sane, and consensual, I was able to explore the landscape of my own sexuality without self judgement, shame, or compartmentalization.
Almost everyone wants reassurance, of whether or not they’re “normal.” However, they’re also struggling with the ideas of labels, sexual identity, or have a shaken sense of self identity as they move from one sexual category to another.
So how do we navigate the ever changing landscape of sexuality, without getting lost in it?
Step One: Connect With Self
Spend some time reflecting, meditating, and journaling on who you are as a person. Outside of your relationships to others, as a spouse, parents, sibling, friend – who ARE you?
What makes you tick? If you had no self-judgements or restriction, what would you desire sexually? How far would you explore the depths of your sexuality? Before your sexual identity had a name, what did it look like? What would it look like if it didn’t have to be labelled? Asking yourself these questions can be an important part of your journey to self understanding and acceptance.
Step Two: Release Preconceived Notions of Sexual Labels
Next, make a list of all the sexual labels you identify with. Some examples might be: heteroflexible, non-binary, queer, romantic, polyamorous, straight, kinky, cisgender, submissive, a-sexual, high sex drive, etc. Then, next to each one, write down what it means to you, and then how you think society perceives that label. Reflect on the list, noticing both the difference and similarities between your definitions and the societal definitions.
The idea of this exercise is to claim ownership over your own identifiers. At the same time, you’re releasing control over the way others see you. Remind yourself that regardless of your personal labels, you are a unique and wonderful person, and it’s not the labels that define you. You would be the same without them.
Step Three: Embrace and Celebrate Yourself
Now it’s time for the fun part: to embrace and celebrate yourself as a unique sexual creature. No one is quite the same as you, and that is wonderful! Allow some room for to be a sexually fluid person. Your preferences and desires might change day to day, and that’s totally fine.
When we treat our sexuality as something exciting to experiment with instead of something we must label and cage, it become a whole lot more fun. Also, way less stressful. If you like labels and they make you feel safe and happy that’s great! Just know that you don’t have to identify with them if it doesn’t feel right. Let yourself enjoy your own unique brand of sexuality. Make a list of all the things you love about your sexual self, and then pick three aspects to explore and celebrate this week. Maybe it’s discovering a new way to pleasure yourself or getting a toy like the Touch or the Melt from We-Vibe. The world is your oyster.