I grew up in New Jersey, right outside of New York City. My childhood is filled with memories of traveling on trains and buses, watching the city lights dance across the reflected windows. I think about how so much of my tastes and what I naturally gravitate towards has been shaped by calling this specific space in the world home, and what that means for who I am now.
So much of how we grew up impacts who are are now, and our sexuality is no different. But how much time do we really dedicate to reflecting on how the spaces we find ourselves in, and the physical spaces that we feel our best selves in, all work to shape how our sexuality manifests.
Though I grew up so close to the city, surrounded by concrete, I also spent a fair amount of time in nature. I have vivid memories of summers spent in Colorado, running around in open greenery and exploring the space between downtown Denver and sky-scraping mountains in Boulder. When I was sixteen, I spent a summer that changed my life hiking across the Catskill mountains and I still sit back and remember how marvelous it felt to sit under the stars, singing Beatles songs with my fellow teenage hikers and feeling both small and large in the world.
How do we integrate the physical spaces that feel like home into the expressions of ourselves in the real world? How does this spill directly into how we interpret and express our sexuality outwardly?
We’ve always found inspiration in our surroundings. Artists across history have been inspired by living in the city or in the country. Sexuality is no exception -- our surroundings help to shape us, but we also impact the worlds that we create outside of ourselves.
Nature can teach us about femmeness and femininity; it gives us the history of femmes who have been unapologetic and have used the wilderness to showcase their power. The unyielding ocean, the roar of rain, the phases of the moon -- these have all been linked to femme identity. Art has taken from the elements, showing that to be femme and to invoke these inner powers are not mutually exclusive. We see this translated to the materials that we naturally gravitate towards - soft silk of a lingerie set that reminds us of softness in nature; dark leather that reflects the darkness of standing alone, outdoors, during a new moon. Sexuality that exists loudly, unapologetic, demands the space that it deserves to take up is justified. This is our nature.
Likewise, urban environments can be just as inspirational for invoking new parts of your sexuality as well. In cities, we’re surrounded by a merging of cultures, the fast-paced hustle, the ability to discover something new-to-us at anytime of the day, in even the most mundane of situations like commuting on the subway or bus. City environments have taught us that sexuality can be cultivated in ways that you least expect. They help to remind us that there is no end point for these parts of ourselves - we’re constantly growing, learning, evolving. To embrace our sexuality and remain open to the forms that it could take means embracing that we are always students, and the world is our teacher.
No matter what environment that you find yourself in, or feel the most at home in, you can use them to your advantage and help them to uncover important information about the potential your sexuality and identity has for you.
These can be important parts of inspiration to carry along with you when trying to communicate your sexuality into outward presentation, to yourself or others. Whether you find solace in the quiet of the open wilderness or in the bustle of the city environment, both can be just the inspiration for a new form to take your sexuality in.