Sexuality is fluid. This means that your desires, attractions and needs change over time. It also means that your sexual identity can change in relationship to others. You may feel submissive, yielding and soft when partnered with one person while another lover might bring out your fierce, dominant side.
When we recognize sexuality as fluid it frees us to be authentic with our true desires and sexual expression. Freed from a fixed identity, we can constantly check in and see what our eroticism wants to express in this given moment. It also allows us to acknowledge the incredible variety of attractions to other humans. Attraction goes way beyond simple sexual longing. Attraction can be purely intellectual, or deeply spiritual. If we open up to the many kinds of attraction we feel, we can connect with others and create relationships and friendships that are deeply fulfilling.
Developmental psychologist Lisa Diamond has studied sexual fluidity when it comes to sexual orientation. The idea that sexual orientation can change over the years is just one element of sexual fluidity, but it is a great starting point for understanding that sexuality is not fixed but rather changeable, for both men and women.
In her long term study, Lisa Diamond followed 100 women for over 10 years. About two-thirds of these women changed their sexual orientation label at least once during the 10 year study, in all possible directions. Another 10 year study found that about half of men with a bisexual identity changed their orientation identity at least once.
Think back on your own sexuality. Has it changed since puberty? Have you ever experienced attraction outside your typical “type”? Think beyond gender and get curious about your desires, attractions and sexual needs over the years. Most people experience lots of change over the years.
What changes when you think of your sexuality as fluid? If you give yourself permission to grow and change over the years – even if you are in a long term relationship? Let the idea of sexual fluidity set you free from any box you’ve put yourself in and see what happens!
This episode features an excerpt from The Psychology of Human Sexuality by Justin Lehmiller. Check out his blog here.