As someone who speaks openly and boldly about sex and relationships, I often feel pressure to know exactly who I am in this regard — which I used to think meant labeling my sexual orientation. But after a lot of confusion and a lot of contemplation, I’ve decided I don’t need to, and you don’t need to either. While our attractions are not always a choice, how we choose to label ourselves is, and that includes the choice not to label ourselves at all.
"Labeling your sexual orientation is by no means a requirement," sex educator Anne Hodder-Shipp, ACS, tells Bustle. "And, for some of us, the idea of finding a name or category that fits how we feel can feel burdensome — even impossible. Sometimes, there just isn't a word that accurately describes the way we experience attraction to others, and if that's the case for you, then let go of the label and instead focus on your feelings and whom they're directed toward. What matters more than anything else is how connected you feel to yourself and your sense of identity, and there's no word, label, or category that can do that for you."
These are the reasons why I don’t label my sexual orientation — and why nobody actually has to.