Labels help us categorize and understand each other, but they become limiting when we define ourselves by them. I felt liberated when I first discovered the label “bi-curious” at 18 years old in an internet chatroom. After several negative experiences as an early teen where my family made it clear that they did not approve of homosexuality or lesbianism, bi-curious was the only term I felt safe enough to claim. Sharing it with others allowed me to explore my sexuality and over time my orientation shifted to bisexual, and finally, queer.
Accepting the evolution of our sexual desires is not always so straight-forward though. If we’re not careful they can become our entire identity and we may not recognize how they are changing over time.
When I was introduced to kink and power-exchange dynamics, I immediately gravitated to the role of submissive. I enjoyed consensual humiliation and pain, and experiencing both with a trustworthy partner helped me confront some of my deepest sexual shame. For several years I perfected this identity, constantly pushing myself further and further. I was so concerned with being a “good submissive” that I never stopped to question whether these desires were fulfilling me.
After entering a new relationship with a man who identified as a switch, I decided I would give domination a try, if only for an evening. I was surprised at how natural it felt and how much I loved being in that new position of power. Even still, I stubbornly clung to my submissive identity, insisting that I would only switch occasionally. I refused to fully explore this new craving and as a result my sex life suffered.
Being a submissive no longer excited me, but unwilling to admit this to myself, I continued participating in those scenes with less and less enthusiasm. Feeling stuck and uninspired, I even began avoiding self pleasure.
It was my Xaga Chakrub that helped me accept how my sexuality was evolving. At first I used it sparingly, frustrated that it didn’t bring to me orgasm as quickly as my vibrator. Instead of disengaging and allowing the intense vibration to do the work, Xaga demanded that I show up entirely. It forced me to be present, to observe the thoughts and feelings that arose, and really pay attention to my pleasure.
I began to let go of some of the stories that were holding me back from fully expressing my sexuality. Stories like, “I need clitoral stimulation to orgasm” and “Self pleasure should be reserved for the moments before sleep.” I realized that much of my sexual history had been motivated by gaining experience and becoming “the best.” Now that my Xaga was asking what I truly wanted, I was coming up blank.
Even though I felt like I should have a better handle on my sexual desires, I had to meet myself where I was. With the curiosity of a budding adolescent, I began exploring my sexuality in a way I never had. When new sensations arose, I diligently followed them to their source. Just like crystal dendrites, each desire branched off into a new web of possibility, leading me further down the rabbit hole.
Society is finally beginning to recognize what a spectrum sexuality truly is, making it easier than ever before to reinvent our sexual selves. Whether your desires are predictable or all over the map, the important thing is to make space for them to be fully expressed and be willing to adjust as needed.