Sexuality: Shades of Grey

Jan 25, 2020
Written by
Talya Feldman-Lloyd
Photographed by
Headline Video: Ruby Rose

exuality is a broad term that speaks to how one identifies, how one experiences themselves, who one is attracted to, and how one behaves and expresses themselves, sexually. Sexuality isn’t as simple as being gay or straight, male or female. It includes a variety of spectrum's - many options exist beyond the binary. To be honest, I am still learning about this subject. There’s a ton to learn, and research and language are constantly being adjusted and developed around the topic. Below I walk through some of the different terms that make up the aspects of sexuality.

*Remember, this is an ever-evolving list.

Who am I? 

How one looks physically is not always a representation of one's authentic identity. 

By this, I mean, the genitalia you were born with isn’t always in alignment with your internal identity, and who you know yourself to be. ie: Just because you are born with a penis, doesn’t mean you identify as a man.

What’s the difference? - Terminology 

Here we discuss the different definitions and spectrum's that exist within the world of sexuality.

Biological Sex

Image 1: Biological Sex Spectrum

Biological sex is the sex you are assigned anatomically at birth. It is dependent on which genitalia you have.

  • Male = born with penis 
  • Female = born with vagina 
  • Intersex = individuals who are born with a reproductive system or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male and female - ie: having a combination of male and female genitalia and sex organs.

Gender Identity

Image 2: Gender Identity Spectrum

This is the internal perception and sense of one’s own gender - who are you? - do you identify as male or female, both, neither, or somewhere along the spectrum? 

  • Examples of Gender Identity: man, woman (cisgender), non-binary, transgender, gender-queer, gender fluid, two-spirited, etc.

NOTE: No one except you can determine your gender identity.

Sexual Orientation

Image 3: Sexual Orientation Spectrum

This refers to who you are attracted to and have sexual, emotional and romantic feelings for.

Orientation depends on the gender identity of both you and your partner - ie: If you are a man and are emotionally and sexually attracted to other people who identify as men, you would likely label yourself a gay man.

  • Examples of Sexual Orientations: homosexual (gay and lesbian), heterosexual (straight), bisexual, asexual, pansexual, queer, aromantic, androsexual, etc.

Gender Expression

Image 4: Gender Expression Spectrum

This is how people choose to communicate and express their gender identity outwardly, to society. 

This can include physical expressions, like: what someone wears, how someone behaves, how one wears their make-up and hair, body language, and speech. It can also include social expressions, such as name and pronoun choice.

  • Gender Expression Examples: masculine, feminine, androgynous, gender non-conforming, etc.
  • Common Pronouns: him, her, he, she, his, hers, they, them, theirs, ze, hir, zir, hirs, zirs, etc.

To Conclude

When it comes to sexuality, the important thing to remember is that there is no ‘right or wrong way’ of being. The proponents of sexuality fall on a spectrum, and we all sit at different places.

It is ok to be in discovery and to be figuring out who and what you’re into sexually. Sexuality is dynamic - it changes as we change and grow as people.

I am definitely a supporter of sexual exploration.  Of course, in a consensual and respectful way. You might be surprised to find out what you like, if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone and try new things.

Sex is beautiful. Sex is natural. Sex is amazing. And sex/ sexuality is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of.

You do you, boo! (And maybe one or two other people along the way, haha!)

Love always,

- Talya

Watch this amazing video of Ruby Rose

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