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Understanding and Embracing Your Sexual Identity: A Guide to Self-Discovery and Acceptance

Introducing: You

Welcome to life, where the first breath you take is taken as you are assigned a gender and a name. Identity is everything though, right?

The truth is that identity is shaped by society, and while it may be a social construct, it holds significant value in our journey of self-discovery and belonging. Discovering and understanding our identity helps us navigate and connect with our communities, but it is also important to realize that identity is not definite. It is playful and able to be changed at your whim.

A person expressing themselves
Love Yourself

When it comes to embracing your sexual identity, why can it be so overwhelming to understand and embrace?

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: sex can be an uncomfortable topic. While it’s natural to explore one’s own sexuality, our society continues to shame people for being, well, sexual. And to take it one step forward, our society also has an undercurrent of homophobia, so if you’re exploring anything other than heterosexuality you are shamed. Know that it is normal to carry shame because of this but that you need not feel it. Your body, your being and your sexuality are all parts of you to be proud of.

How do we discover our sexual identity?

Sexual identity refers to an individual's enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, both genders, or neither gender.

Exploration and education is the name of the game when it comes to understanding your identity. If you stay within a bubble you will never know what lies outside your bubble aka if you never know there is more than heterosexuality you may never know that there are other options!

When you are of an appropriate age it is okay to try new things, sexually that is. If you feel drawn towards kissing someone of the same gender, go for it (as long as it’s consensual of course). There are also online resources, different types of sexual content, podcasts, fantasy (your imagination), support groups and more!

Types of Sexuality

Here is an awesome list of all different types of sexuality:

  • Allosexual: those who experience sexual attraction to others. Allosexual individuals can be bisexual, pansexual, queer, gay, lesbian, heterosexual, or so forth. Some note allosexual is the opposite of asexual.2

  • Asexual: People who are asexual experience little or no sexual attraction to others or have limited to little desire for sexual contact. It’s important to remember not all asexual folks are repulsed or refuse sex. People who identify as asexual don’t always experience no desire for romance and may have many successful relationships regardless of sexual contact.

  • Bicurious: Someone who is bicurious has historically been heterosexual, but is considering or curious about engaging in sexual activity with an individual who may have a sex or gender different than their partners in the past. The word “curious” should always be used instead of confused to help decrease the shame and stigma often associated with non-heterosexual activity.

  • Bisexual: Individuals who experience sexual attraction to both sexes and genders. Did you know that bisexual+ or bi+ (an identity label that encompasses all non-monosexual identities) female population in the US is larger than that of lesbians, gay men, and bi+ men combined?3

  • Demisexual: A person who often feels sexual attraction after building an emotional bond or connection with someone. Those who are demisexual note they do not feel immediately attracted to individuals based on looks, smell, and other features.

  • Fluid: An individual whose sexuality changes and is not fixed. Sexually fluid individuals can utilize other sexual orientation terms to describe themselves or may feel they do not resonate with any of them.

  • Gay: Men whose primary sexual attraction is to other men. This includes transgender men who are attracted to other men.

  • Graysexual: Individuals who don’t identify as asexual, but also feel less sexual attraction than most folks. Therefore, they fall into the gray area of sexuality.

  • Heterosexual: A person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of the opposite sex.

  • Lesbian: Women whose primary sexual attraction is to other women. This includes transgender women who are attracted to other women whether cisgender, transgender, or nonbinary.

  • Omnisexual: Individuals who are attracted to “all” individuals regardless of sex or gender often identify as omnisexual.

  • Pansexual: People who are attracted to individuals regardless of their sex or gender go by the term pansexual. The term has come a long way and even has its own history of advocacy and activism. Even now there is still some debate about its appropriateness.

  • Polysexual: Poly stems from the Greek prefix for “many.” Polysexual individuals are attracted to multiple or many genders or sexes. Some people assume polysexual is the same as polyamory, but they should not be used interchangeably.

  • Queer: an umbrella term used for those who are not heterosexual or cisgender. Queer was historically used as a slur to refer to LGBTQ+ individuals. In recent years it has been liberated and taken back by the community. But, some LGBTQ+ people still consider this term offensive. Only use the term if someone has expressed comfort with it.

  • Questioning: Those who are in the process of exploring or feel unsure about their sexuality have a questioning sexuality.

  • Sapiosexual: Individuals who experience sexual attraction based on intelligence versus sex or gender. Both LGBTQ+ folks and heterosexual folks can be sapiosexual. Sapiosexual individuals can still find physical characteristics or qualities attractive, but they are not the most important.

How to Embrace Yourself

Embracing your sexual identity is a deeply personal journey. That takes time and patience. Other great steps towards self love include:

Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your feelings, desires, and attractions. Explore what brings you joy and fulfillment in your sexual experiences.

Education and Awareness: Educate yourself about different sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. This knowledge can help you understand and validate your own experiences.

Seek Support: Surround yourself with a supportive and inclusive community. Connect with friends, online forums, or LGBTQ+ organizations that provide a safe space for exploring and discussing your sexual identity.

Self-Acceptance: Embrace and accept yourself as you are. Recognize that your sexual identity is valid and deserving of respect, regardless of societal norms or expectations.

Self-Expression: Explore ways to express your sexual identity authentically. This can include choosing labels or terms that resonate with you, expressing yourself through clothing or personal style, or engaging in activities that align with your sexual preferences.

Communication: Engage in open and honest conversations about your sexual identity with trusted individuals, such as friends, partners, or therapists. Sharing your journey can help foster understanding and acceptance.

Boundaries and Consent: Set clear boundaries and prioritize your own comfort and consent in all sexual interactions. Embracing your sexual identity also involves honoring your own needs and desires.

Get what You Deserve

Understanding and embracing your sexual identity is a transformative and empowering process that can have a profound impact on your overall well-being and happiness. It's essential to embark on a journey of self-discovery, where you can explore and understand your own unique experiences and feelings.

Recognize that your sexual identity is an integral part of who you are, and it is valid. Embrace and celebrate it as a beautiful aspect of your identity. Accepting yourself allows you to build a strong foundation for self-confidence and self-love.

Living authentically means being true to yourself and not compromising your sexual identity for the sake of others' expectations or societal norms. It is about embracing and expressing who you are without fear or shame. Surround yourself with people and communities that value and respect your authentic self.

In every aspect of your life, you deserve love, acceptance, and respect. You have the right to form meaningful connections, pursue fulfilling relationships, and live a life that aligns with your true self. Remember that your sexual identity is valid, and you deserve to be celebrated and embraced for who you are.


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