What is this magic? It's called sexuality and it's beautiful.
When I was young, I had my first "experience" with a girl. She and I were summer friends, meaning our friendship would end when went back to our respective high schools. We were young enough to be clueless about love and dating, but old enough to understand the strange, unnameable fluidity of desire. It wasn't sex, per se, that we really wanted, but we wanted to touch and be touched and do it together.
We both had boyfriends, but this was something — it was as potent, but less intense; it was like we both understood our bodies (since we had the same parts) and just wanted to explore. It wasn't naive. It felt very natural and real.
My boy-crazy nature was still very much intact. I just had discovered this new element, something I always quietly recognized within me without having had the physical chance to act upon it. I did wonder: Was I gay? Was I bi? Did it need a label? I soon learned that it did not.
Over time, I recognized that I was attracted to both men and women and that gender didn't matter to me. It didn't take a college education to learn about sexuality; I could understand it on my own — innately, honestly.
Fortunately, I didn't come from a family or culture of judgment, homophobia or secrecy, but my friends were open-minded, so I was able to talk about and explore my feelings without feeling stigmatized. This is not the case for the entire LGBTQIA community, and there's a privilege in being able to feel safe when being honest.
1. You feel sexuality is on a spectrum.
See, we are brought up to see gender and sexuality on a binary. You're a boy or a girl. You're either straight or gay (or to some demons, you're straight or have a "disease"). Over time, we've sent people to camps, stamped them with a scarlet letter, murdered them and assumed gender based on looks. We're just now realizing it's not that simple. (Kinsey researched this decades ago; culture follows up slowly).
If you find yourself feeling desire for a woman or a man, or someone who might not identify with either, it's because you're able to see beyond the structure we're told to live within. Sexuality is fluid. If you can feel that, you might not identify with being "straight" (or heterosexual).
2. You desire a person — not based on their looks, but because of who they are.
Who cares if it's a woman or a dude or a trans or nonbinary person? You like them. There is something magnetic about them, and you're drawn in. You want to touch, kiss, or hold them. You want to be in their presence, and you think of them as THEM.
I used to have crushes on all sorts of people — guys and women alike. I ended up falling in love and having deeply sexual relationships with men, but often I'd "check out" women way more. I found myself watching lesbian porn, totally turned off by the male role in porn (even in feminist porn).
It was like I had all these desires and they were all over the place. Shouldn't I be checking out more men? Why don't I actively want to look at a penis on-screen? Why do I think boobs are WAY hotter? And if so, why don't I date women? The answer is that it's not black and white, it's not answerable, and it's not important. Desire, dating, love, sex and exploration are all fluid and that's the most beautiful thing about it all.
3. You're uncomfortable in some situations because you feel it's wrong to want to look.
If you're watching a movie and there is a beautiful naked person of the same sex (or who isn't clearly presenting as either), and you suddenly find yourself attracted to them — but then quickly flip the channel or express disgust — it could be that you're unable to reconcile your feelings of admiration, desire, or curiosity with your feelings of shame or homophobia. It's hard to admit what you feel inside, but honesty can be freeing.
Take some time to explore your reactions, motivations and learned responses to situations of sexual expression. Why do you feel uncomfortable? Do you feel turned on? Do you like what you're seeing? Do you want something you've never wanted before? It's all OK, so long as it's done in consent and with respect.
4. You're super-interested in having a threesome with your guy, but not just to make him happy.
If you're down with having a threesome, and you're interested in playing with a girl, too, then it's pretty simple: You're not doing this for him. You're into it for your own reasons. His happiness is just icing on the cake.
I've detailed all the reasons why threesomes are fantastic. Because I'm bisexual (I tend to exclusively date men, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't date a woman), having a threesome allows me to explore the entire spectrum of my desires.
5. You're offended when someone suggests you kissed a girl because you wanted attention.
Obviously, the only reason you could ever kiss a girl is to make a man happy, right? There is something so sexist about the way we talk about and depict things sexually — two women being together isn't by default lesbian porn for dudes. Two women being together isn't a fetish; it's not an innocent exploration; it isn't all about the guy.
If you can believe it, sexuality doesn't revolve around the penis. And that's a good thing. There is something so demeaning about being told that bisexuality or interest in the same sex is an attention "thing" or something false or deluded, as if a person doesn't have their own agency or desires.
If you've ever been told this and you've been insulted, it's a good bet that you just want to be able to do what you want without some assh*le commentating and labeling your behavior.
6. You're SO OVER people claiming bisexuality is selfish, not real, or making other stupid assumptions.
Sexuality is the one area of our lives that we indulge in for pleasure. Humans are beings who enjoy pleasure. Sexuality can be a tool for connection, healing and meditation, but first and foremost, it's FUN. So it's innately "selfish" in a sense. No one ever said there wasn't an element of selfishness to it.
The funniest thing is that men have called me "seflish" when I claim to be bisexual, and these are the same guys who won't go down on a girl before trying to get their rocks off.
But if you happen to like men and women, then your sexual menu would naturally include both men and women. And since we're talking about breaking out of the boxes we're been told to press ourselves into, we're also talking about ignoring judge-y and toxic language surrounding those binaries and boxes. "Selfish," "wrong," "gross," or "unnatural" — these are all someone else's words. We're just being us, and there's nothing selfish about it.
7. You wonder why people actually give a sh*t about your preferences.
What does it all really matter? At the end of it all, we're all just people. And one day, labels will be eradicated. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all leave the house and not just be a body or a pair of tits or a gay girl or a straight guy?
One day, we will be able to eradicate the privileges that come with being straight, and that starts with being more accepting of sexual fluidity. So if you genuinely couldn'y care less about whether an actress is bisexual or that model is gay, and you just see the person as a person, you could be a cool enough human not to live by labels.