“Whatever” Sexual Identity

More and more people these days are redefining themselves by avoiding the gay, straight or bisexual labels. There have been several celebrities jumping on this bandwagon too. Maria Bello and Olympian Tom Daley came out but not with a specific orientation. Just that they are either attracted to the same sex or actively dating someone of the same sex. They didn’t rule anyone out either way.

But doesn’t that mean that they are bisexual? Maria Bello called herself a “whatever”.  Tom Daley stated he still fancies girls. These individuals are actively eschewing the label of bisexuality though. They seem to be reinforcing the idea that attraction to anyone is based on the individual and the chemistry they have with that individual versus placing themselves under the label of bisexual which generally means that equal attraction occurs between both sexes."Whatever" Sexual IdentityIt’s true that sexual identity may not always match behavior. Heck, if we throw fantasy in there that really convolutes things. This may be especially true if you have varied interests sexually. Perhaps identifying as straight in high school, bisexual in college and gay in your later adult life – or any variation on this theme. In sexology this phenomenon is referred to as “fluid” sexuality. More and more research is coming out (no pun intended) stating that sexuality may be far more fluid than originally thought. Gone are the days of a fixed sexuality for everyone.

Most people are simply more comfortable when they can categorize everyone. It’s not just the straight people either; many gays also don’t know quite what to make of this non-labeling. For them embracing the gay identity is an important part of the coming out process. It also creates a community with which you can bond.

I have to admit that as confusing as this non-labeling is, it does appeal to me. That way we could learn to relate to one another without expectations. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we just accepted everyone on an individual basis?


 is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.

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