I remember having to take the Bem Test—a questionnaire that measures how well you fit into your traditional gender role —for a class last semester, and being really confused and shocked by the results. The test measures the extent to which one is feminine, nearly feminine, androgynous, nearly masculine, or masculine, and lo and behold, I scored as masculine.
No way, I thought: pink is totally my favorite color, I wear high heels almost daily, and I have the hugest crushes on manly rock stars like Anthony Kiedis. I frantically began to search for proof of my now threatened femininity, and blamed my test results on long nights of listening to Pat Benatar, Indigo Girls, and Uh Huh Her. I decided that a simple Kinsey test would reaffirm my sexuality; but with categories such as exclusively heterosexual, predominantly heterosexual and only incidentally homosexual, predominantly heterosexual but more than incidentally homosexual, and exclusively homosexual, I found myself in a more bewildered state. I knew I wasn’t exclusively heterosexual—because given the opportunity I would definitely have relations with Angelina Jolie—but I wasn’t sure if that made me incidentally homosexual, or more than incidentally homosexual.
Determined to get some answers—and welcoming the opportunity to procrastinate on homework—I spent what would probably be considered way too much time researching sexuality. As I did this, I realized that my only real thoughts on sexuality in general were pretty sparse: I readily bought the whole idea that I should be a sort of innocent yet sexy teen, lose my virginity on a bed of roses on prom night, experiment with other girls in college, settle down with a nice guy and pop out 2.3 kids, and never want to have sex with my husband again after doing so. What I learned from my research is that sexuality isn’t some clear-cut and narrow topic; it’s complicated and complex. Most people accept heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality as the three categories under which a person can fall, but some people identify as absexual, asexual, autosexual, pansexual, polysexual, pomosexual, women who have sex with women (but who don’t identify as lesbian or bisexual), men who have sex with men (but who don’t identify as gay or bisexual), and other categories that aren’t well defined.
I was completely bewildered, and despite having even more categories to choose from than I once thought, I still wasn’t sure where I fit in. In addition to the various sexualities available, there are various theories on whether sexuality is socially constructed, biologically determined, or a combination of the two. Aside from the controversies about sexuality’s definition and origins, there are also numerous ways that researchers employ to measure one’s sexuality. You could attempt to determine someone’s sexuality through what they identify themselves as, their sexual behavior, who they fantasize about, or even something called penile/vaginal photoplethysmography—a long and impressive-sounding term describing the act in which they sit you down, tie a string around your junk, show you loads of different porn, and measure how much you swell.
My research was cut short when my roommate glanced over my shoulder and got a little sketched out, but at that point I had realized that the more I learned, the less I knew. In the end, I decided that I identify as a pomosexual because: 1) not going to lie, it sounds pretty awesome and makes me sound like the embodiment of school pride and 2) it means that I choose not to label my sexuality. In general, I strongly dislike labels—probably as a result of my less-than-satisfactory labels in both middle school and high school—and also because I think it’s silly to try to label something you don’t even fully understand.
Your sexuality is your own; it’s up to every individual to explore what makes them feel good and gets them off. Your sexuality means getting in touch with and connecting your mind, body, and soul, discovering what pleasures you and finding out your boundaries. I’m the only one who can define my sexuality and decide what turns me on—not some test, quiz, or questionnaire. If sarcasm happens to make me warm and tingly inside and down below, that’s my prerogative. It’s often said that the best things in life are free, and exploring your sexuality can be a fun and rewarding venture that you can undertake at no cost—unless, of course you’re into hardcore BDSM, since some of those whips and latex outfits can get pretty pricey. The road to uncovering your sexuality may seem daunting, but there’s nothing wrong with being a try-sexual.