by Stephanie Abbot

Sexuality: a one-stop shop or more of a pick-and-mix?

A man sits in a bar nervously waiting on his date to arrive. A woman walks in, and spots a chap endearingly pop his head above the crowd to signal her over. They already have at least two things in common: they’re looking for love and neither is straight.

As human beings, we love labels. They are especially handy as we try to navigate our way through the murky waters of sexuality. However, a study conducted in 2015 by YouGov found that half of young British people (aged 18-24) place themselves somewhere in between heterosexual and homosexual. On top of that, 60% of ‘straight’ people accepted that sexuality can be fluid rather than a choice of one or the other.

It seems like a ‘new sexuality’ is announced every week and the digital dating industry attempts to keep up by introducing different apps such as Tinder, Grinder, Bumble, Happn, Her, Hinge, etc.

As the catalogue of sexualities continues to grow though, it would suggest human desire is far more complex than a system of pigeonholing allows.

Last summer 26-year-old Lauren, who used to identify as straight, had to question her own views on sexuality after she fell in love with a girl named Alex.

“I was straight and she was gay. I didn’t know what these feelings were, but I knew I couldn’t ignore them. I had never felt that way about someone before. It was literally like my heart exploded into a ball of excitement and I had zero control over it.”

Our obsession with labels doesn’t seem compatible with modern sexuality. This begs the question: are they even relevant anymore? While Lauren struggled to process what the new relationship meant personally, those around her sometimes struggled to understand where she fits in their own perceptions of sexuality. “

My biggest pet peeve is when people label me as ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’. Who cares? I have fallen in love with a beautiful person who loves me for me, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or religion – love is love. I have found my soul mate. She just so happens to be a girl.”