What Is Sexual Fluidity?

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What Is Sexual Fluidity?

Sexual fluidity, as the term suggests, refers to a person’s sexual preferences being flexible. Many people tend to identify with one particular type of sexual orientation.

For instance, someone might identify as heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, gay, etc. However, people who identify as sexually fluid don’t commit to a particular sexual orientation or identity. They don’t ascribe to any of these labels.  

If you think you are sexually fluid, you should know you are not alone. In a 2015 study, 64% of women and 52% of men reported that their sexual orientation was fluid. Sexual fluidity means you have no particular sexual orientation, and it can change over time. 

History of Sexual Fluidity 

Historically, a person’s sexual identity has been determined by their gender. People attracted to members of the opposite sex were heterosexual, and people attracted to members of the same sex were considered to be gay. This strict dichotomy didn’t leave room for people who had other sexual orientations. For instance, there are bisexual people who are attracted to people who either identify as male or female. 

Some people consider bisexuality to be one of the earliest forms of sexual fluidity. However, some sexually fluid people prefer not to be labeled by any of the typical sexual orientation terms.

Being sexually fluid doesn’t imply that sexual orientation is unimportant. It just emphasizes the fact that sexual attraction is not determined by another person’s gender or sexual identity. Sexual fluidity is not a new concept. It has been around for decades. Erotic plasticity is a term that has previously been used to define sexual fluidity.

It’s important to note that some people who identify as bisexual, heterosexual, or gay can also experience periods of sexual fluidity. Anyone who shows varying patterns in their sexual attractions and preferences is sexually fluid.

Signs You Are Sexually Fluid 

If your sexual preferences change over time, you may identify as sexually fluid. According to some research, the most common manifestations of sexual fluidity include: 

  • Having bisexual attractions, this means being attracted to either men or women regardless of your gender 
  • Having inconsistent sexual behavior or attraction 
  • Experiencing a change in who and what you are sexually attracted to over some time

You could identify as gay, bisexual, heterosexual, or any other common concepts under sexual orientation and still be sexually fluid. Being sexually fluid means that different types of people can evoke a sexual response from you, depending on the situation you find yourself in.

For instance, if you are a heterosexual woman who finds yourself amid other women for long periods, you might find yourself being sexually attracted to some of these women. These women you are attracted to could have masculine features or other attributes you find attractive when seeking a heterosexual partner. They also might not and you could just find yourself attracted to them for some other reason. This is sexual fluidity. 

Sexual Fluidity and Bisexuality 

People tend to use the terms bisexuality and sexual fluidity interchangeably. However, there’s a distinct difference between both concepts.

While people who are bisexual remain consistently attracted to people who are either male or female, people who are sexually fluid constantly experience changes in their sexual desires throughout their lives. They might experience sexual attraction to people of any gender sporadically.

Some sexually fluid people could remain sexually attracted to a particular gender for several years and only experience fluidity periodically. 

While bisexuality only gives room for a person to be attracted to two genders, sexual fluidity allows for constant change in sexual attractions.

The most distinct difference between both concepts is that sexual fluidity isn’t a sexual orientation, while bisexuality is. People of any sexual orientation could be sexually fluid. 

How to Practice Sexual Fluidity

There’s no one way to practice sexual fluidity. That’s the whole point of it. You shouldn’t think too deeply about who you are attracted to or how you practice your sexuality. Sexuality is a personal thing and looks different in everyone.

Sexual fluidity doesn’t also always focus on just sex. You might enjoy having sex with people who identify with one gender and only seek to make romantic connections with people who identify with another gender. 

Tips for Living as a Sexually Fluid Person 

The bottom line is that human sexuality is dynamic. You don’t need any labels to help identify who you are sexually attracted to and what your sexual preferences are.

It’s important to remember that it’s perfectly OK for your sexual attraction to be fluid. Who you are sexually attracted to isn’t something you should seek to control. If you’ve recently discovered that you are a sexually fluid person, here are some tips to help you become comfortable with who you are: 

  • Don’t overthink things. You might feel sexually attracted to men for a while, and depending on the situation you find yourself in, find that you are now attracted to women. You might start to question your sexual orientation when this happens, but you shouldn’t let labels define you. 
  • Learn about sexual fluidity. Reading this article is a great start! Reading about what sexual fluidity is and stories from other people who are sexually fluid will help you better understand the feelings you are experiencing. 
  • It’s essential to communicate with your partner. If you are partnered with a person who is not sexually fluid or ascribes to particular orientations, it’s great to let them know how you feel. Help them understand that sexuality is a spectrum for you, and the fact that your sexual attraction is fluid doesn’t diminish your interest in them. 

A Word From Verywell

If you find that your sexuality changes over time, you may be sexually fluid. Sexual fluidity is nothing to be ashamed of and there are other people who are sexually fluid, so you're certainly not alone. If you find that it's difficult for you to deal with or come to terms with your sexual identity, talking to a mental health professional who specializes in gender and sexuality may be most helpful to you. Also, you can join support groups to meet other sexually fluid people, people in these groups will likely validate your experiences and provide you with comfort and emotional support.

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4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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