Sexuality is a strange and wonderful thing. Once upon a time, it was widely accepted that there was only gay and straight – and then eventually the term bisexual came into the mix, too. Now, we know that there is a full spectrum of sexual identities, and we even (generally) accept that they might change throughout the course of our lives.
But that doesn’t always make it easy to come to terms with the idea of our label changing in our lives.
There are many women who feel disconnected from their community when they experiment later in life, even though their identity is just as valid as someone who’s been the same their entire life. What can you do to help your experimentation go a little smoother?
1. You are never too young or too old to question things.
Whether you’re 15 or 95, there’s no such thing as the “right age” to question and experiment. Of course, you should restrict your sexual activities to the years you’re of consenting age in your area, but there are other, non-sexual ways to experiment, as well. There’s no such thing as being too young or too old.
2. There is no right or wrong way to experiment.
Some women experiment sexually first. Some women start by dating someone of the gender they’re curious about. Some women just play through things in their head. No matter which category you fall in (or if you fall in another category altogether), no one else has the right to tell you that it’s right or wrong.
3. Honesty is always the best possibility.
Even if you’re embarrassed by your lack of experience, there’s no real reason you should lie about it. If the person you’re considering seeing (in any regard) isn’t comfortable accepting the truth, you don’t change the truth – you change the partner. Most women will respect an honest disclosure, and most women will spurn someone they feel misrepresented the situation.
4. Your fantasies are valid.
It’s important to realize that, whatever your fantasy is, there’s probably someone out there who’s willing to indulge it. This doesn’t mean you have the right to demand it from a partner, but you are free to select a partner who shares in your fantasy, or at the very least, agrees to help you explore it.
5. You are allowed to change your mind.
Experimentation doesn’t invalidate your previous identity unless you decide it does. Since we generally accept sexuality as a fluid part of our overall identity, you are allowed to decide that your previous identity is either still valid or no longer true. Either way, it’s no one’s decision but yours.
6. You don’t owe anyone anything.
Even if you’ve been with your partner for twenty years, there’s no real obligation to stay with them if they’re not what you want – the only obligation that exists is in your mind. If your partner no longer makes you happy, you have every right to let it be known. Just try to be fair about it, and let them know that they’re not responsible for your questioning.
7. Just because you want someone doesn’t mean you want to be with them.
Keep in mind that your sexual attraction doesn’t necessarily match your romantic attraction. In many cases, the two do correlate, but that’s not implied – nor is it “more correct”. The spectrum of attraction is so wide, and once you get romance involved in the mix, it’s really more like a rainbow Venn diagram than it is the line we like to picture it. There’s nothing wrong with your romantic and sexual attractions not lining up, as long as you’re honest with everyone involved.
8. Just because you didn’t find yourself in this experiment doesn’t mean you’re lost.
Sometimes, we can experiment and learn absolutely nothing about ourselves – or so it seems. The truth is, if you have a fantasy you chase, and you don’t feel fulfilled, you may have actually found out more than you think – or maybe not. If you felt nothing at all, maybe the fantasy was better as a fantasy. Or maybe it means that the person you experimented with wasn’t the right person. This is something you’ll need to understand on your own.