Written by: Chantelle Otten

Did you know, by age four, we start to develop a solid understanding of who we are and our gender identity? This understanding of gender identity isn’t to do with how much pink or blue surrounds us growing up but instead means a sense of who we are within our body.

Many of us were taught in school and through mainstream media that male and female are the only gender identities. This is the binary view of gender. We’ve grown as a society and today, it’s extremely important to see that the scope of gender and sexuality is vast and colourful.

In reality, there are many different understandings of gender which can be broken down into three parts:

GENDER ROLES: The behaviours, values and attitudes a society considers appropriate for your perceived sex.

GENDER IDENTITY: How you experience your own gender.

GENDER EXPRESSION: How you publicly express or present your gender. For example, your outward appearance and behaviour; the way you dress, your body language and voice.

This in turn tends to apply specific gender roles and expectations on the person from the get-go.

Those who have a vulva at birth are usually assigned female and are therefore expected to identify and present as such. There is an expectation that females are soft, gentle, emotional and caring.

On the other hand, those born with a penis are usually assigned male and are therefore expected to identify and present as such. There is an expectation that males are hard, strong, handy and dominant.

But we know now that these are just ‘stereotypes’ and people are able to be whoever they want to be, regardless of what their gender roles expect of them. We also know there are many people who sit outside the model of typical gender identity. This means the gender they identify with doesn’t match the gender they were assumed to be at birth based on their physical characteristics. These people are characterised as non-binary.

Non-binary can be used as an umbrella term to include all the different gender identities which don’t fit into the binary system of male and female.

Now we’ve covered gender, let’s move onto sexuality. Yep, sexual orientation is a whole different topic.

This can be men, women or anyone on the gender spectrum. Sexuality can be intertwined with emotional attraction (who you are emotionally attracted to) and physical attraction (who you are physically attracted to).

When it comes to sexual wellness, toys can be used by all kinds of people in all kinds of ways—regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

These are my top sex staples for all orientations and identities:

LUBE: Lubricant is the best starting point for everyone. I would suggest water-based lube if you are using toys or condoms and silicone lube for play in water, or anal play.

FINGER VIBRATORS: A finger vibrator is for everyone, because you can use it all over the body on internal and external erogenous zones. Try the Lovehoney Tease on the nipples, the clit or the underside of a penis.

BUTT PLUGS: Butt plugs are So. Much. Fun. This beginner butt plug is a great introduction to the world of anal toys and has the option to vibrate. These are great for any erotic play to increase orgasm intensity and pleasure

DILDOS: A dildo is a perfect toy for anyone who wants to get into penetrative play. Use manually or pop into a strap-on holster and you are ready to rumble.

Of course, the possibilities are endless, so just remember eroticism and sexuality are about being curious with constant communication. Gender identity and sexual orientation are both massive areas of the human experience and something we should all look to further explore and educate ourselves on.

Gender and sexuality are colourful and your sex life should be too. It’s a great time to celebrate the diversity we have within our gender and sexual orientations, and take a broad approach to our sexual playground.