Also, “me time” doesn’t have to be a euphemism for touching yourself. You can let your imagination run wild by writing in a diary, reading a sexy book, or reminiscing about a really good kiss.
The point is to be conscious and deliberate about exploring, then determining what floats your boat. Speaking of…Make a ListIn Asa Seresin’s already-classic piece, On Heteropessimism, they bring up an episode of Harron Walker’s podcast, “Why Do I Like Men?” wherein Larissa Pham tries to answer precisely that question.
She cites specific reasons why she liked to have sex with and date men, such as “big arms,” “penis,” and “the way men smell . . . most men.” Seresin was struck by how rare it was for a straight woman to list actual reasons why they were straight.
“Hearing [Pham’s list] spoken so plainly exposes how heteropessimism has worked to silence articulations of women’s desire,” they wrote.Regardless of whether you’re queer or straight (or not sure yet), making a list like this can be surprisingly revelatory.
What, exactly, do you find attractive in other people? What are the granular details of what turns you on? There are very potent societal messages telling us what and who to desire; by thinking hard and making this list, you are pushing back against our culture’s default.
Have Honest Conversations With Your Partners
There may come a time, if it hasn’t already, when your sexuality involves another person. Ideally you’ve done some exploring of your own body before someone else explores it, but either way I highly recommend being open with your partner about your discoveries.
Tell them what you know feels good, what you’d like to try, and any boundaries you have. Follow the “yes means yes” philosophy of consent, checking in every step of the way to gauge if your partner is having a good time.
Early sexual encounters can be awkward and clumsy no matter how much you talk about it, but cluing in your partner can help avoid a lot of unpleasant moments.
Remember: Don’t Be Hard on YourselfThere are lots of messages telling us that sex is shameful, and there are other messages telling us that it’s shameful not to seek out sexual pleasure.
I know it’s hard, but it’s your job to try to block out all that pressure! Wherever you’re at is totally normal, and there are no benchmarks you need to meet when it comes to sex or love or anything in between.
Sexual exploration should be fun. If it isn’t at any point, feel free to take a break or slow down. And nothing is set in stone.
What you like today could bore you tomorrow. You may feel hetero now, and feel gay next year. There’s no law saying you need to have a fixed sexual identity. In fact, that’s what’s fascinating and wonderful about sex: There’s always something new and surprising to experience.Let us slide into your DMs. Sign up for the Teen Vogue daily email.