Good Sex with Emily Jamea: Sexual Fluency

Good Sex with Emily Jamea: Sexual Fluency

Emily Jamea, Ph.D., is a sexologist, author, and podcast host. You can find her here every month to share her latest thoughts on sex.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself 10 years ago. What interested you? What were some of your preferences? What kind of relationships have you had?

Now open your eyes and reflect on your life today. How are you the same or different? Has your life followed the path you thought it would?

Most people don’t blink when they think about the evolution of their personality, but for some reason, when it comes to our sexuality, the idea of ​​fluidity can be a difficult concept to grasp.

Sexual fluidity is an umbrella term. There are, after all, many dimensions to sexual identity. Let’s analyze some key terms.

biological sex refers to the organs found between your legs at birth and whether you were born with an XX (female) or XY (male) chromosomal makeup. There are, of course, rare variations to the binary biological sex.

Gender identity it refers to your internal experience of being masculine, feminine, both, or neither. When people ask for your pronouns, they ask for yours gender identity. Common gender identities I am male, female, transgender, non-binary, agenda AND genderqueer. When your gender identity and biological sex match, you are cisgender (cis).

gender expression refers to yours appearance as masculine or feminine. This is how people see you at first glance based on your clothing, demeanor, and voice. People can express themselves as masculine, feminine, androgynous, or anything in between.

Romantic orientation refers to yours emotional and romantic interest in others. This is independent of your gender identity and may differ from your sexual orientation.

Sexual/erotic orientation it refers to the types of people you are physically attracted to and enjoy having sex with. Sexual orientations include homosexuals, people sexually attracted to people of the same gender; heterosexuals, people who are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex; bisexuals, people who are sexually attracted to both men and women; pansexuals, people who are sexually attracted to all genders; and asexuals, people who are not sexually attracted to anyone or have no sexual orientation.

Now, let’s look at some examples.

Bethany was born with a vulva and uses her pronouns. She wears her hair long and loves flowy dresses and stiletto heels. She is in love with her cis husband and she enjoys having sex with him.

  • Bethany’s biological sex is female; her gender identity is female; her gender expression is femme; her romantic orientation is towards men; and her sexual orientation is heterosexual.

David was born with a penis and uses the pronouns he/him. He wears men’s clothes and gets his hair cut every three weeks. He and his girlfriend have been dating for five years and occasionally enjoy bringing another man into the bedroom.

  • David’s biological sex is male; his gender identity is masculine and his gender expression is masculine; his romantic orientation is towards women; and his sexual orientation is primarily heterosexual with some fluidity toward bisexuality.

Blake was born with a penis and uses them/their pronouns. They present masculine at work but androgynous in their social world. They enjoy cuddling and spending time with people of all gender identities, but have no interest in sex involving the genitals. They predict that they may feel differently after having sex reassignment surgery.

  • Blake’s biological sex is male and their gender identity is non-binary. Their gender expression is fluid, situation-dependent. Their romantic orientation is panromantic (towards all people) and their sexual orientation is asexual (at least for now).

To make matters more complicated, your sexual identity can change over time. In other words, these categories can be fluid. Did that fling with a same-sex partner in college make you gay or bisexual? Probably not. Most likely, it was a moment of sexual fluidity.

If you think sexual fluidity is a new trend, think again. History is replete with examples of fluidity between gender, orientation and more. Ancient Egyptians sometimes changed their sex to facilitate the transition to the afterlife. Wander the streets of Pompeii and you’ll see plenty of depictions of non-heteronormative sexual acts preserved in stone carvings. Native Americans are known for accepting that many people had “two spirits” within them, a concept we now understand as gender non-binary.

One of the best-known cases of fluidity in the celebrity world is that of Chrishell Stause, an actress who rose to prominence through the Netflix hit, ‘Selling Sunset’. She presents as a woman and has been in several high-profile heterosexual relationships. She shocked fans when she admitted she fell in love with G Flip, an Australian musician whose biological sex is female but identifies as non-binary. G Flip uses them/their pronouns. This was initially confusing to her fellow cast members who saw her as the poster child for heteronormative sexuality.

While some people know from the day they are born that they are male or female, straight or gay, others find that their sexual identity is more fluid and evolving over time.

While not listed in the glossary above, sexual preferences can also be fluid. Perhaps you go through a BDSM phase, or a role-playing phase, or a phase where you become particularly attached to a particular vibrator, all within the scope of your primary romantic relationship.

Or perhaps you and your partner explore the idea of ​​consensual non-monogamy, which can also be thought of as a form of sexual fluidity. You may have felt satisfied with sexual monogamy for years only to find that you now crave experiences beyond your primary relationship partner.

Most people still take their sexuality at face value and conform to the heteronormative script. Others may not question it until they meet someone who forces them to look in the mirror. And sometimes we don’t change until we meet someone who ignites our curiosity. More and more young people are proactively questioning their sexual identity, taking time to carefully consider what works for them at any given moment, and not feeling like they have to fit into a certain box.

Wherever you fall, know that fluency and change are normal. You deserve to love and be loved no matter how you identify.

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