This One Statistic Proves that We No Longer Care About Sexual Orientation
How many of the users on Her, the largest dating app for lesbian and queer women, actually identify as lesbian?
Less than half.
The popular dating app has recently seen the number of lesbian-identified users drop significantly, from 64% to only 45% in the past year. Meanwhile, the percentage of women with sexually fluid or label-free identities has risen from 1% to 9%, while the number of bisexual women has also seen a steep hike from 16% to 27%.
Pop culture's role: The idea that sexuality exists on a spectrum is far from new. But the sexual fluidity movement is having a huge moment right now, thanks to several outspoken advocates speaking out about living without labels.
From Coyote Ugly actress Maria Bello's anti-label crusade to Orange Is the New Black's Piper embracing her own sexual fluidity, pop culture is increasingly highlighting the experiences of women who experience both same- and opposite-sex attraction.
In a press release, Her founder Robyn Exton credits Miley Cyrus' famous down-for-whatever comments, along with supermodel Cara Delevingne's label-free stance, as the driving force behind the no-labels trend. "Since Miley and Cara have been seen in the press with their partners, we've had a huge demand from users wanting to join Her," Exton said.
In an email to Mic, Exton said that she's increasingly seeing members of the queer community adopt this mentality.
"It feels like a movement for a new era for the community, one that would mean a big change. Historically labels have been used to define the differences between us and I hope that taking no labels could create a unity between everyone in the community without the risk of us losing a sense of our identity," she told Mic.
Labels are so yesterday: While sexual fluidity has ostensibly existed long before the era of dating apps, the multiple gender and sexual orientation options on apps like Her and websites like OkCupid allow users to connect with potential partners without restricting themselves to labels.
"It's not about attraction to binary genders and feeling the need to take a label to help other people understand who you are," Exton said. "Women who may have previously considered themselves 'straight' are finding themselves in relationships with other women. They don't need to identify as bisexual or lesbian, they're just happy being with the person they're attracted to."
It makes sense that our culture is moving toward increasing acceptance of fluid sexual orientation. After all, science demonstrates that when you fall in love, you're becoming attracted to the traits of an individual person, not an entire gender. The fact that more and more women are willing to acknowledge this simple truth, both in pop culture and IRL on apps like Her, gives us hope for a future in which overly specific labels of sexual orientation are obsolete.
"I definitely think [the no-labels movement] creates a greater sense of freedom for people to be themselves, rather than find a label that should represent them," Exton told Mic.
The label-free movement's next great challenge? Creating a culture in which sexually fluid and bi men feel comfortable enough to follow these ladies' examples.