“Honestly I’d say I try and think about it as little as possible, because it’s a very strange, dynamic thing,” he said on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Friday. “It’s also like a weird thing to think of about yourself. I guess the thing with sex in general, is like, it used to feel so much more taboo for me. Even like when we were in the band, the thought of people thinking that I had sex was like, oh no, that’s crazy. What if they know?”
With his upcoming album Fine Line though, the 25-year-old said he feels “a little less guarded with stuff.”
“I wanted to feel a lot freer and just more joyful and honest,” he explained. “A lot of the time, when there’s tabloid stuff, for example, of people breaking up, I think people forget that there’s a person who’s also broken up with someone, which is sad. You get sad when you break up with someone.”
The “Watermelon Sugar” singer also confessed on the show that he refrains from drinking and doing drugs while he’s working and making music — especially when he was in One Direction.
“When I was in the band, to me it felt like it was so much bigger than any of us. I felt like I’m not going to be the one who messes it up,” he said. “So I was like, now is the time in my life when you probably go out and experiment, and do this and you take this and you do that.”
While making his new album, Styles said he tried mushrooms alongside his friends in Malibu.
“Making this record felt like… I just felt so much more joyous. And I was with my friends, and we were in Malibu I felt so safe,” he explained. “It was like, I want to take some mushrooms, I’m going to take some. Like now’s the time to have fun.”
“I think my thing with drugs is if you’re taking anything to escape both to try and hide from stuff then you shouldn’t even drink,” he added. “And if you’re taking anything to have fun and be creative, then great.”
As he worked on this album, Styles said he’s trying to live life more freely and a “little less worried about stuff.”
“Definitely with working because ultimately it will be okay,” he said. “If you don’t hit the top of the chart, your life doesn’t change. I think realizing that it’s like if that was what I was aiming at, and then it didn’t happen, then I’d feel so much worse. But redefining it for me has been amazing to be like, Oh but that’s not the game I’m playing. There’s a freedom with that.”
Styles also opened up about the stigma around seeking help with mental health.
“When I started coming to California, there was a big thing for me where I felt like everyone went to therapy. And I think for a long time I was like, ‘I don’t need that,’” he said. “Then I think there was a point where I was trying to work out a lot more stuff about myself because obviously then it was just me walking in. When you’re trying to make music, it’s so navel-gazing. Making an album, I feel like is the most self-indulgent time you can think of really.”
“With the therapy thing, I just realized I was just getting in my own way,” he added. “It’s been a thing where I’ve definitely felt it have an impact on my life and something that I’ve kind of introduced some friends to, who were going through stuff. And they were very skeptical about it.”
Fine Line drops Dec. 13.