We’ve all grown up being used to labels and classifications for things, including our sexuality. Before recent times, most people identified as gay, straight, or bisexual, but in today’s world, a lot of folks have realized the fluidity of sexuality. For example, maybe you have been dating a man for quite some time, but find yourself attracted to a female all of a sudden. This means that your sexual orientation doesn’t fall on either end of the spectrum; it constantly goes back and forth. Many have realized that the gender of a person doesn’t matter so much as the substance, personality, and character that they have underneath their skin. They have come to understand that you can like both genders, without having to label yourself.
Of course, if you feel comfortable with labeling your sexuality, there’s nothing wrong with that, just as there’s nothing wrong with choosing NOT to give yourself a label. However, if you’ve felt pressured to identify with one sexual orientation but don’t care about labels, you’ll want to keep reading.
Why You Don’t Need to Sexually Label Yourself
Society, in general, loves to label everything, as it gives us a sense of order and helps to categorize things. Labels, in some ways, help to get to know a person. For example, as far as diet goes, it helps to know if someone follows a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous lifestyle. You label yourself regarding what occupation you have, what music you like, and many other aspects of life. In some ways, labels serve a very valid purpose.
However, when you become so fixated on labels that you identify solely with the words and can’t dream of straying from that label, then it becomes a problem.
If you’re a woman reading this, let’s just say that you’ve dated men your whole life, but suddenly feel a connection with a woman. If you identified as straight before, then you’d have a very hard time simply getting over that label before you could consider actually pursuing the woman. If, however, you chose not to sexually label yourself, then it wouldn’t seem like such a big deal.
When you give up the sexual labels, you give yourself the freedom to live whatever lifestyle you choose, without adhering to a certain categorization. You liberate yourself from the box that you’ve put yourself in, and can live more openly and carefree. Labels can become limiting, because if you ever choose to change your lifestyle, you’ll say, “But wait, I’m ______, I can’t do that!”
However, outside of labels, you’ll come to understand that we can change our whole life in an instant, as we have that power. It all lies within the mind, so labels, in a way, can limit you from reaching your full potential. Getting caught up in sexual labels might actually hinder you from meeting someone you really connect with, just because you feel you can’t date a man or a woman due to your orientation.
Today, we have more labels for sexuality than ever: gay, straight, lesbian, queer, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, sapiosexual, fluid, and the list goes on. Many people try to find the right category for them, but find themselves confused and frustrated. Does the label REALLY matter that much? It may help others figure out what gender you like(if any), but what if one day you change your mind? Will you attach yourself to another label, or give them up altogether?
If you still feel skeptical about this whole ‘fluid sexuality’ thing, look at this interesting theory published in Biological Reviews. Psychologist Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa suggests that sexual fluidity arose in women as a method of ‘reducing conflict and tension in polygymous relationships’.’
So, maybe we’ve been programmed in our evolution to not have sexual labels, as a way to reduce conflict and engage in new partnerships. Maybe the human mind really just wants connection overall, and doesn’t care which gender it happens with. Or, maybe sexual fluidity occurs, most importantly, because humans are complex, and you can’t really throw people made up of many identities into one box.
Only you can decide your sexual orientation, but just remember that if you don’t fit into one label, you don’t have to feel bad about it. Keep an open mind, and enjoy life, above all else, no matter who you choose to enjoy it with!