According to sex and relationship coach Azaria Menezes, for some people, labels can provide comfort and validation of something they experience to be true for them. Identifying with labels in sexuality can be incredibly supportive in naming your experience and finding comfort in relating to others who may feel the same.
“It’s human nature to want to feel belonging and acceptance, and labels can often be a wonderful and valid way to understand ourselves and find acceptance and belonging in our experiences. Identifying with a label that feels good to you can feel incredibly empowering and affirming to define yourself,” she tells mbg. “[Some people] identify with multiple labels, and sometimes they prefer to use terms that act more as an umbrella term without truly defining what the label is (fluid, queer, pansexual, etc.).”
On the other hand, labels aren’t the only way to feel this way. In fact, for others, labels can actually create the opposite feeling of comfort because they may feel constraining and restrictive and don’t support the experience they feel. Some folks feel like there aren’t any labels that feel good to them. So, if you’re having a hard time connecting to labels, Menezes suggests ditching them altogether.
“Sometimes folks grow and evolve, and finding new labels that match the experience can feel exhausting. The human experience of sexuality is incredibly diverse, and sometimes there isn’t a label that feels right, and so the most empowering thing to do might be to ditch the labels and just do you,” she says.
Additionally, Menezes says, “There really isn’t a one-fits-all when it comes to labels, but there is a one-fits-all around the choice in deciding what feels the most empowering to you, and that is: Take what you love and leave the rest. You get to choose what feels right for you.”