On the spectrum of sexuality, there are many scales. Gay or straight also includes pan, bi, and asexual. We present with a multitude of gender expressions, and can have wildly differing degrees of desire. And though it's infrequently addressed, as self-exploration becomes more acceptable and encouraged, the degrees to which we also identify as monogamous or kinky are being increasingly researched and validated.

I feel though that these are like dimmer switches that flex over relationships and time, not identities we start carving into stone as teens, forever conforming to even as our brains mature, our circumstances change, or our beliefs adjust. We can self-label as one set of parameters for years or for a single encounter, we might move the sliders for a partner or on our own.

I'll admit to feeling conflicted about this: the labels are often freeing and can speed the process of connecting or relating to others, but if your sliders move around a bit, having to relay the changes can feel fatiguing or have the potential to be invalidated. Society seems to prefer static data while individually, we might be better off if we could accept the ebb and flow of desires, expressions and identities. As an exercise, consider your own sexual expression: once you have it: Ie: bi, female with non-binary expression, a 3.5 on a scale of 5 of interest in intimacy, swinger with mild kink tendencies, allow it to percolate. Who knows this about you? Have you been this for years or will it be different tomorrow? Is it a label you'd wear proudly, or do you prefer the secrecy and luxury of other people's assumptions? Perhaps most importantly, if you work out your set of parameters, are you living it?

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