I’ve been thinking about my sexuality lately.  Not in a “must figure this out” kind of way, more in a rambling kind of experimental way.  Due to circumstances, I can date whoever I want right now, and I’m in an environment where I can experiment.  That lends itself to musing thoughts and possibly new situations.

For a while now, I’ve considered myself to be “heteroflexible:” not fully straight but not quite in the realm of bisexual.  Lately, I’ve been reevaluating that decision — is calling myself heteroflexible a way to “fit in” and be “more straight” or is it really the best definition for me?  Because under some definitions I’ve been hearing lately, maybe I should really consider myself bisexual.

I had fantasies of girls around puberty and didn’t think much of it.  (I was more concerned that they were BDSM oriented than anything else…but that deserves an entirely different post.)  The interesting thing about those fantasies is that many of them still included a guy and a girl — it was just that I was the guy instead of the girl.  But I don’t consider myself gender fluid, although I can understand the concept, so should I consider myself bi?

By the end of high school and early college, most of my early fantasies were relegated to the filing cabinet in my mind and I had a new set of fantasies that were almost exclusively heterosexual.  (BDSM stuck around though.)  And yet I knew that I was capable of being attracted to girls.  That’s when I heard the term heteroflexible for the first time and thought, yeah, I think that defines me.

Because while I could see myself kissing girls, I couldn’t see myself having a romantic relationship with a girl.  The element of lust, or sexual love, was there, but romantic love didn’t seem to appear.

Then towards the end of college I started actually being attracted to girls occassionally, in a way that I had to either pay attention or ignore it.  Since I wasn’t a very forward person, if I was attracted to a stranger I tended to ignore it — for boys and girls.  But I was also occassionally attracted to a couple friends of mine.  For the boy, we ended up gettting into a relationship, but for the girls, I pushed it to the side and ignored it.  Because for the girls, I was already becoming best friends with them, and I wanted to stay best friends and keep them in that box, instead of turning it into a relationship, if that option was even available.

But then the question remains — am I really incapable of having a romantic relationship with a girl?  Platonic love and romantic love are not the same thing, but can you turn one into the other?  I’m very good at boxing up my mind, and making my brain create boundaries where there might otherwise be none.  Could I have been creating a false definition all along, one where I just don’t want to see what the possibilities could be?

When I think about it abstractly, with random people I don’t know, it’s easy to say that I’m sexually attracted to girls but sexually and romantically attracted to boys.  I’ve definitely fallen in love with boys, but I don’t see myself doing so with girls.  But when I think about it with people I know, I wonder if I could have fallen in love with one of my friends, rather than just becoming best friends.  But if I could have, wouldn’t I have done so?  I don’t think you can really stop such a thing from happening, as long as the connection is there.

And that’s the crux of the matter.  Because I don’t feel comfortable calling myself bisexual if I don’t think I can have what I consider to be a full romantic/sexual relationship with both girls and boys.  Even if I’m less often attracted to girls, and more often attracted to boys, the option for a full relationship with girls must be a possibility for me to consider myself bi.  If I can have a full relationship with boys, but only a partial relationship with girls, then I’ll stick with heteroflexible.

(Followup post: Heteroflexible vs Bisexual)


About mybodymystory

Looking at things differently. I write about my personal experiences with society, especially regarding what messages I, as a woman, have received over time. I write about my body, not the body the media thinks I have or wants me to have. I write about my responses to sex, relationships, and political issues. This is my story of my body. There are a lot of things I write about that I believe overlap with other women. Come check out my story and see if you agree. Feel free to disagree, just be respectful about it.
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14 Responses to Heteroflexible

  1. Pingback: Heteroflexible another term for bi-curious? | Threesomes and variations

  2. kdaddy23 says:

    What makes you think that being bisexual has to involve a romantic relationship? Believe me when I tell you that I personally know a lot of bisexuals who wouldn’t have a romantic relationship with another guy (or girl) even if their lives depended on it… because while such a thing is possible – but never a requirement – it’s really about the sex and the intimacy that goes along with it. Indeed, a lot of people come over to the bi side because they don’t want to have a romantic involvement and more so if they’re already in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex.

    Being bi isn’t about how far you’re leaning in your, ah, interest in boys and girls – it’s that you’re leaning to begin with. It’s not about frequency of action or whatever you do that floats your boat – it’s that if the opportunity presents itself, you’re gonna be about floating that boat as much as you can with another woman (in your case) and could easily turn around and jump your boyfriend’s bones, too… and simply because you can and because doing it either way just pleases the living daylights out of you.

    And if you were to feel something more than lust for a woman, that’s fine – there are no rules that say you cannot have those feelings… but you don’t have to do anything about how you feel other than accept the fact that you feel that way; rushing to have a relationship with her because of your deeper feelings may not be warranted or, honestly, a smart thing to do depending on the circumstances.

    There is some common sense that comes along with one’s dual sexuality… but conventional thinking (read this as heterosexual thinking) isn’t applicable because now there are things you feel and/or might do with guys and the same with girls… but they may not be the same things – and I’m pretty sure that in most cases with people, they are not the same things, like this relationship business that’s roaming around in your head about this.

    Thanks again for allowing me to converse with you about this!

    • So, when you say sex and intimacy, I immediately think relationship. I’m unlikely to have sex outside of a monogamous relationship, though I will make out with people outside of relationships. But to me, intimacy is created by a relationship, not by sex. (Sex can help reinforce it, but it doesn’t create it.) So relationships are a huge lens through which I view sexuality. Which means if I’m considering definitions of sexuality, I’m going to consider what type of relationship I would be having with someone and use that in my definition. For me, it’s difficult to consider the two separately, though I can see how that would be better for some people. But also, a relationship to me doesn’t mean immediately living together or marriage or anything that extreme — it means intimacy, understanding, and probably monogamy. Whether or not I will get in a relationship is based on what type of feelings I have for someone…which is based on how intimate I want to be with them…which comes back to my definition of heteroflexible or bisexual being based on relationship possibilities.

      • kdaddy23 says:

        Well, yeah, most people think relationship when the words sex and intimacy are put on the table and because they do, it usually messes with their head and more so if they discover these feelings and they’re already in a monogamous relationship. So now you get caught between a rock and a hard place: Dealing with these new feelings but unable to do a lot about them because you’re already in a relationship.

        But I say to you that bisexuality isn’t about relationships… unless you’re able to (or want to) have a relationship and, no, sex and intimacy isn’t just limited to relationships. Being bisexual also requires some serious rethinking about love, sex, and relationships; not that much of a problem if you’re single but a royal pain in the butt if you’re not.

        As long as people think about this in terms of relationships, they’re always gonna be confused or invent words that, in the opinion of quite a few people I know, aren’t relevant – I’m not the only one who thinks heteroflexible is bogus.

        Now, having said that, it’s just common sense that if one chooses to act on their bi feelings that they pick and choose partners to engage with and use whatever selection criteria that works for them. When people have asked me about this, I’ve told them that, yes, I’m bi – but I decide who, how, when, and where this aspect of my life comes into play.

        People have this impression that bisexuals are all sex-crazed maniacs and I suppose it looks like that because we don’t discriminate – guy or gal, it’s all good to us… otherwise, we wouldn’t be bi. There are so many misconceptions about this! And people who want to be bisexual really don’t know how to be bisexual – which is why I get on my soapbox and give them the 411 and whatever benefit my 49 years of being actively bisexual can afford them – been there, done damn near all of it, got crates of T-shirts!

        Just remember a basic thing here as you work this through for yourself: It’s not what you do; it’s not when you do it – but it is simply that you can and will do it and to whatever degree makes you the happiest. Anything else just overcomplicates things, okay? If you’re in a relationship but not oppose to making out with another girl – sans sex – then if that works for you, it’s all good; there are a lot of bisexuals who do just that but pass on the actual sex.

        Again, I thank you for writing about this and allowing me to comment to the extent that I have! I’ll be following you closely, too!

        • I don’t understand what you mean by your first paragraph. If I’m in a monogamous relationship, that doesn’t mean my attraction to men automatically gets turned off, so why should it be a problem if I find I’m attracted to women? A monogamous relationship is defined (with some variation) by the fact that you don’t do anything with anyone else, not that you never want to. If I’m in a healthy monogamous relationship, I don’t care whether I’m attracted to anyone else, because I never have a desire to act on that attraction. That sentence is why I define myself as monogamous — because of how my attraction and desires interact with one another. So why shouldn’t I define my sexuality based on how my attraction and desires interact?

          I’m also confused by some things you’re saying that seem to contradict one another. So you’re saying that someone is bi if they want to have a sexual interaction with people of both genders? But you’re also saying that someone is bi if they have had a sexual interaction with someone of both genders, regardless of whether they were attracted to both genders? What if someone is forced to have a sexual interaction with someone of both/either genders, would that make them bi? What if they do it to be nice to someone, not because they have attraction towards that person? If an asexual person has sex with someone, would automatically make them a sexual person?

  3. kdaddy23 says:

    You can define your sexuality based on your attraction and desires – and even if you never act on them. Technically – and I mean by literal definition – even if you have the desires – and actions notwithstanding – you can be considered to be bisexual because it’s just isn’t about having the sex for everyone. I specifically know men who say they are bisexual – and they’ve never had sex with another man… and a couple of them don’t want to have the sex – they are quite content with how they feel about men and the fact that can be be quite aroused by men.

    If you’re in a monogamous relationship, you can feel whatever you feel for, in your case, another woman – that’s all well and good. However, the problem I know most people in this situation face is actually doing something about whatever they’re feeling because the rules of monogamy says, plainly, thou shalt not cheat on your partner for any reason and with anybody. I also know that some people in this situation will go have the sex because – and you’re gonna love this one – they don’t believe that if they go have some same-sex sex, they’re not really cheating because they didn’t do anything with someone of the opposite sex.

    Is this getting crazy enough for you? It should be… because people really do behave like this and I find it delightfully insane that they do.

    Now, if someone is forced into a same-sex act, no one on the planet would say that the ‘victim’ is bisexual. Indeed, even if they weren’t forced and they had a singular experience, no one would say that they were bisexual. The ‘general’ rule goes something like this: If you do it once, you’re not bi; if you do it again, eh, you might be… or you’re just confirming whatever you learned from the first experience – and some people will do this to confirm whether or not they really liked it the first time or not. However, if you keep doing it – and frequency has no bearing on this part – then you’re considered to be bisexual because it is accepted that a person isn’t going to keep doing something they don’t like to do. If I may use you again as an example, you’re not going to have your first same-sex experience – then have subsequent experiences if you knew for a fact that you didn’t like having them – it just doesn’t make sense, does it?

    Please keep in mind that this isn’t my personal take on this – this is stuff I’ve learned from other bisexuals over the years.

    When you toss in the whole gender identity thing, I will admit that trying to figure this whole thing out makes my brain want to shut down because we’re now getting into one’s perception of their gender – or lack thereof in the case of asexuals and while I think of myself intelligent enough to understand the basics, it just confuses the hell out of me because if you look like a guy and act like one, then you’re a guy… aren’t you? To this end, that might not be the case – he could think that he’s a girl so now it begs the question that if he and I were to get busy, am I having sex with a guy… or a girl? Forgive a bit of crudeness at this point because at least to me, if he has a cock, physically, he’s not female no matter what’s going on in his head. Likewise, if she has breasts and a vagina, that spells girl to me even if she doesn’t think she’s really female.

    Transsexuals, well, they just do a number on me because they look like both and having sex with one – and I have – gets all into that pansexual thing – and this is something that the two pansexuals I know say is like being bi… but it isn’t – and that makes sense to me because they’re into the gender identity aspects of things and I don’t dispute it one bit.

    Sex without attraction – it happens. I know because I’ve been anal enough over the years to pay attention to such things that a lot of people will not have sex with anyone they’re not attracted to in whatever way that means to them. I also know – because of that same anal behavior on my part – that there are bisexuals who will get into a same-sex encounter with someone and not be attracted to them in the generally accepted sense – and I’m one of them! I don’t care if a guy is good looking although I do care about where his head is about such things. If I make an indecent proposal to him and he says yes – and the only reason why I’d do that is I have either the sense that he’d go for it or he’s told me that he would. At this point, as long as he’s healthy and doesn’t smell like a sewer, we can do this. Again begging your forgiveness for a bit of crudeness, if he has a dick and he wants to let me get at it, I don’t care what he looks like or even how big his dick is – it’s just another chance to have sex in a way that I find horribly satisfying. Unless I had a reason not to, I would readily go to bed with him because it’s sex, just as I would with a woman who’d say yes if I asked her if I could do her… but there’s still my sense of what’s good and what isn’t that has to be satisfied and, at least for me, their looks isn’t that much of a factor because I know, via experience, that just because it looks good doesn’t mean that it’s gonna be good.

    As an aside, some of the ‘worst’ sex I’ve ever had either way was with people who looked incredibly delicious by anyone’s standards – probably just my dumb luck, huh?

    And I’m not the only bisexual who behaves like this. I’m not even saying that attraction isn’t necessary for everyone because I know that it is – I’m just letting you know that I have learned that for some bisexuals, attraction doesn’t mean one damned thing – it’s all about having the chance to have the sex that can be had.

    You are going to behave in this according to your own sense of aesthetics and other such things; you are also going to behave in whatever way you do based on your relationship status, how you feel about casual sex, and other such things… which isn’t any different than how people who say they are bisexual behave. I hear or read about someone being heteroflexible and I just cannot see the difference between how someone who says they are heteroflexible will behave and how someone who’s bisexual will behave – even if you factor in the relationship thing which is something folks who’ve said they’re heterosexually monogamous want to avoid or simply cannot do even if they’re single.

    Of course, how you choose to describe yourself in this is your choice and I’m not questioning it – but you have me so totally curious as to why you might see yourself as heteroflexible and not as bisexual – sorry, I just can’t help being curious! Personally, I don’t like the word because I don’t see how a heteroflexible is doing anything all that different from what I might do – and I am undeniably bisexual, perhaps not so much on the emotion side – that side where I just go ga-ga over men – but definitely on the physical side. If I like men, it’s their personality that I like and I know that I don’t have to like them like I like women to go to bed with them; if that were the case, I don’t think I would have ever had a same-sex encounter because men don’t hit all of my buttons like women do. But this is me and your own thoughts and experiences are gonna be different – and I respect that.

    I just wanna know where your head is about this because I’m still all about learning things – no such thing as too much knowledge when it comes to one’s sexual pleasure! I can learn some more stuff from you about this heteroflexible thing – and I want to learn more about it because I find the concept fascinating even as I find it kinda confusing; bisexuals tend to look at it like this: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck. However, the heteroflexibles I’ve talked to say that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might not be a duck – and I wanna know why they feel this way.

    And, thanks again for such an engaging dialog! It is very much appreciated and, in a way, you’re helping to teach an old dog some new tricks!

    • I found a chart that kind of describes what I was trying to say. You might find it interesting. http://thethinkingasexual.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/sexual-and-romantic-orientations-chart/

    • (Sorry, I posted this in the wrong place first.)
      So, actually, asexual means someone who has no desire for sex or any type of sexual act. Not being asexual myself, I may get some of the information wrong, but basically, some asexuals think sex is disgusting while others simply have no desire for such things. If asexuals that have no desire for sex find themselves in a relationship with a sexual person, they may have sex with that person because their partner wants to, but not because they want to. So desire is a clear boundary for defining sexuality in this case. And from what I have seen, desire, and not simply actions, are how many people define sexuality.

      The best definition of heteroflexible that I have heard and agree with so far has to do with desire. If you desire or are attracted to people of both your and another gender, then you’re bisexual, no matter the amount of that desire. So if I make out with girls because I think it’s fun, then I’m bisexual. But if I make out with girls because I want attention, or because my friend wants to make out and I don’t care (literally do not care, have no desire, am bored, whatever) then I’m heteroflexible. And this is irregardless of the number of times I make out with people.

      Also, I’m not simply defining attraction as attracted to someone’s looks. I think there are many ways you can be attracted to someone — their personality, their looks, maybe even the fact that they’re a breathing body that wants to have sex with you. I think it’s different for different people. But I am equating attraction with desire. As in, if you’re attracted to someone then you desire them in a sexual manner. (Ignoring the idea of asexuality at the moment, wherein desire would be expressed differently.)

  4. kdaddy23 says:

    I agree with the definition of an asexual person. But attraction = desire… well, they do go hand in hand at least in my experiences and, again, it all depends on how you personally define attraction, that is, what is attractive that makes your desire kick in and, yeah, there are many things one can find attractive about someone that would initiate sexual desire.

    With the heteroflexibles I’ve talked to about this unusual sexual status, for them, it’s about doing it when they feel like doing it, if the person is right or, as one HF told me, when the situation calls for it. And I’m okay with that but I still asked what was it that they were doing that was different from what I’d do… and none of them could speak to this and my guess was that either they couldn’t explain it – some things just defy explanation ’cause there are no words for it – or their behavior wasn’t different from mine.

    This, along with all the observations and experiences I’ve had to date, is what makes me say that it doesn’t matter why you do or when you do it – all that matters is that you do it. I’ve learned that even people who say they’re bisexual still like to slice and dice the definition to fit the way they behave – and I just find this utterly fascinating because they act like bisexuals while trying to convince themselves that they’re not really bisexuals.

    There’s a guy I know who, when I met him, told me that he gives men blow jobs and let’s them have anal sex with him… but he wasn’t bisexual; he was only doing it because he’s a submissive and his Dom – his wife – would order him to do it. I immediately called bullshit on this while laughing so hard I hurt something. He went on to tell me that because he didn’t like men blowing him and didn’t like poking guys in the butt, he wasn’t bisexual.

    Now, I don’t know a hell of a whole lot about that D/s thing… but what I do know is that people are not going to do anything they don’t want to do, role playing or not so I told him that if he’s doing this on a regular basis and he’s enjoying it even if he’s not going down on a guy or reaming his butt out, he’s still bisexual and, yep, you can be a submissive bisexual – they’re called bottoms in the vernacular.

    He thought about it for a while and came back one day to tell me that he was, in fact, bisexual because, in his words, he realized that in order to be bisexual, you don’t have to fit the whole description – and I agreed that he didn’t since there were things he didn’t like. And since he continued this behavior even when he wasn’t engaged in role playing with his wife, well, um, he’s that duck I mentioned.

    So while I understand why someone would call themselves heteroflexible, no one has yet to convince me that they’re not bisexual – they’re just not doing anything that I wouldn’t do and that includes reasoning. I’ve done it because I was bored out of my gourd; I’ve done it just because I could do it; I’ve let ‘special’ guys talk me into it when I really didn’t feel like it. I pick and choose the guys and the moments and even the situations that I feel are ideal for doing this and it’s not something that I do all of the time – but when I want to do it and can do it, you bet your bippy that it’s gonna get done.

    I did find that chart interesting but don’t have any other thoughts about it right now…

  5. acetheist says:

    I was about to say, what you’re describing sounds like the definition of a heteroromantic bisexual. But it looks like you’ve already stumbled onto that idea (didn’t fully read the comments, just skimmed and saw the link). Anyway, since the concept of romantic orientations isn’t well-known outside the ace community, “heteroflexible” might be a more convenient label in everyday speech for now, but the mismatched romantic and sexual orientation idea might be something worth looking into as well.

  6. I’ve also used the term “heteroflexible” to describe myself, simply because of the sexual/romantic mismatch that you have explained. I just want to use the most useful term, so if “bisexual” works better, I’m fine with that.

    I tried “bisexual” for a while, but a lot of people jumped to the conclusion that my sexual and romantic attraction must be 50/50. So I started saying “heteroflexible” because it’s easier and more specific. If the word gets people in a tizzy, though, I could always just say “I’m bi, but I only like to date men.” But that’s 8 whole extra words to use!! 😉

  7. dougom says:

    Some quick thoughts:

    First, you define yourself; the boxes that society sets up have no direct bearing on what you are and how you feel inside. Those boxes can inform, but don’t define. Many people like to create hard and fast rules around what is gay, straight, lesbian, bi, and so forth, but in my experience (and various studies appear to support this), human sexuality is on a spectrum, not binary. And further, what you are attracted to, what turns you on, what makes you feel warm and romantic, can change over time as you experience more things, learn more things, meet different types of people.

    So if you want to call yourself heteroflexible rather than bi, well by God that’s what you are. And if your definitions of “bi” and “heteroflexible” are somewhat different from the “standard” definitions, so what? The key is what you are *to you*; the label doesn’t matter.

    Sabrina Morgan is a good resource/speaker on this topic; if she ever is in your area, I highly recommend attending one of her talks.

    • I understand what you’re saying about self definition, and I agree. At the same time, I think it can be nice/useful to use a definition that other people understand, which takes a minimum of explanation.

      Thanks for the recommendation — I’ll look her up.

  8. BLake says:

    I think you have it a bit twisted.

    “When I think about it abstractly, with random people I don’t know, it’s easy to say that I’m sexually attracted to girls but sexually and romantically attracted to boys. I’ve definitely fallen in love with boys”

    That’s called Hetero romantic bisexual. You’re attracted to both but love only the opposite side

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