Mike Coppola/NBC/Getty Images for 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'
Sometimes it just seems as if young Hollywood has started something new when it comes to sexuality, eschewing labels, embracing sexual fluidity and gender neutrality, and refusing to be put in a tidy little "he or she likes this" box.
Well, they didn't start anything. Hardly. The LGBTQ-and-beyond conversation has been happening all around us for years and is in no way confined to show business—although some major stars have helped bring the conversation into the spotlight more recently, and not a moment too soon.
To name a few, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne, Amber Heard, Ruby Rose and, now, Kristen Stewart have been opening up about their preferences or lack thereof without fear (or at least without giving a flying fig) about judgment. And we can only imagine how many more stars—both older and younger than this crop—will follow suit as the perception of sexuality becomes less about a defining term and more about just being who you are.
"If you feel like you really want to define yourself, and you have the ability to articulate those parameters and that in itself defines you, then do it," Stewart says in the latest issue of Nylon. "But I am an actress, man. I live in the f--king ambiguity of this life and I love it. I don't feel like it would be true for me to be like, 'I'm coming out!' No, I do a job. Until I decide that I'm starting a foundation or that I have some perspective or opinion that other people should be receiving...I don't."
The American Ultra star adds, "I think in three or four years, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don't think it's necessary to figure out if you're gay or straight. It's like, just do your thing."
AP Photo/Thibault Camus
And in a perfect world, that would be the case—people hanging out, dating or otherwise spending time together without having to answer for it. But while Hollywood has indeed been ahead of the game, acceptance-wise (though not so long ago, Tinseltown of course played its role in the promotion of celebrities living up to some cookie-cutter image), society as a whole is still catching up to what should be considered common sense.
So it helps when the likes of Stewart help move the overall conversation forward.
In an essay about where sexual fluidity fits on the LGBT spectrum, or whether it does at all, Jarune Uwujaren wrote on Everyday Feminism in 2012 that the "outright rejection of labels" hadn't caught on yet because those who refused to put a label on their preferences were often misconstrued as confused or attention-seekers, or simply unwilling admit to being one way or another. "But just because the language to describe sexuality is limited doesn't mean that people don't exist beyond those limits and self-label in a way that feels comfortable for them," she wrote.
Uwujaren continued, "Fluid has no fixed shape, but it still has a fixed volume and consistency. So it may be with fluid sexuality—just because a person may prefer men right now doesn't mean that will hold true for the rest of their life or even the rest of the week."
So what's the difference between being bisexual and being sexually fluid then?
"Fluid sexuality is a more current and inclusive term which speaks to an individual's sexual orientation that is open and changing, and not gender binary-based, and may lean more heavily towards one gender while open to all genders," Dr. Chris Donaghue, author of Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture told Mashable in May. "I hope to see more people identifying as fluid both in sexuality and gender, because most of us are."
Miley Cyrus, who was engaged to Liam Hemsworth for years before they broke up in 2013, has recently been spending time with Victoria's Secret model Stella Maxwell, neither of them shying away from the occasional PDA.
"I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that's legal, I'm down with," Cyrus, 22, told Paper in an interview published in June. "Yo, I'm down with any adult—anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."
She also told Time, "I hope more kids don't do what I did and sit in their room and cry, thinking ‘I just don't know what I'm supposed to be.' But when I tell kids sometimes, ‘Just be yourself,' I feel like, ‘I hope you can do that. Can you really do that?' Maybe if you're finally getting to be yourself, it's more of a celebration. Like, you are living your f---ing life."
And while it's been female stars who have been more forthcoming about their no-label lifestyles, surely there are plenty of gents who have similar inclinations?
Actually, there's still a debate about that, with some concluding that men aren't as likely to be wired that way as women, and if they are it's more about sex acts themselves and not the partner; still others find that male sexual fluidity definitely exists but historically female sexual fluidity has been more widely accepted.
James Franco, who has fielded all sorts of speculation over the years about his sexuality and seems primarily just amused by it by now, was blissfully opaque with FourTwoNine magazine earlier this year, saying, he was "gay in [his] art and straight in [his] life."
"I really don't care what people think about my sexuality, and it's also none of their business," the actor said. "So I really don't choose to identify with my public persona. I am not interested in most straight male-bonding rituals, but I am also kept from being fully embraced by the gay community because I don't think anyone truly believes I have gay sex."
Raven-Symoné, who made a splash when she told Oprah Winfrey last year that she didn't want to be "labeled gay" but rather "a human who loves humans," applauded Cyrus for committing to being her label-less self.
"We should not be labeled, because that creates tension between people...Let's just be human and call it a day," she said on The View.
But while who you love at any given time doesn't necessarily define you, our choices, and having the right to make those choices, are a part of who we are.
As Cara Delevingne, who's in a relationship with singer St. Vincent, told The New York Times last month, without putting a label on it, "My sexuality is not a phase. I am who I am."
And we really can't get enough people to insist that living life is all about being yourself and embracing who you are. Because at the end of the day, it really is nobody's business but your own.