A couple weeks ago I posted about being heteroflexible. After that, I had an interesting conversation with a friend, who said that, for her, relationship status has no bearing on her definition of sexuality. If I understood her correctly, the only thing that has bearing on how someone (or rather, she) defines her sexuality is whether or not she is physically attracted to someone.
Regardless of whether I understood her correctly, I think that’s an interesting idea. That the depth of attraction to someone doesn’t matter as much as the attraction itself. This matches up with another post I read a month ago about being bisexual. The entire post is very interesting, and I recommend reading it, but the part that stuck out at me was this:
“Like many other people who identify as bisexual, I am not “attracted to people of all genders and gender presentations independent of gender and gender presentation”. Gender and gender presentation is very much a part of the attraction process for me. I am, for example, more attracted to women than to men, and more attracted to people who present masculinity and femininity simultaneously than I am to people who eschew gender signifiers altogether. ”
Because while I didn’t 100% believe it at that point, I did still have the notion in my head that if you were bisexual you were 50% attracted to men and 50% attracted to women — as in, completely even. So heteroflexible appeared to me on a gradient of sexualities as being someone who wasn’t completely heterosexual, but was more often attracted to people of the opposite gender than people of the same gender.
The kicker line at the end of the post just reinforced the new idea that maybe bisexual didn’t have to be 50/50.
“I leave you with the definition of bisexuality given to us by bisexual activist Robyn Ochs:
“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.””
And that’s when I started thinking more strongly that maybe I could/should/wanted to identify as bisexual. And that’s when I started thinking about the degree of attraction, and does that make a difference for me?
Obviously, in my last post, I stated that it did. After thinking about it for some more time, I’m not completely sure. Because how can you be sure about the degree of attraction until you’re in a situation where you’re faced with that degree? Maybe it’s not degree that matters, it’s just attraction.
And there’s a whole slew of things that affect not just attraction, but level of attraction. Lust can happen with many people, but love with few or many. Lust is easier (for me, at least) than love, but it’s also therefore easier to dismiss.
Up until a couple years ago, I had never fallen in love with a guy. I had been in relationships, but hadn’t had that degree of attraction, of connection, with someone else. So if I was talking to myself a couple years ago, would I put love and lust on different levels when deciding whether I was heteroflexible or bisexual? At that point I hadn’t fallen in love with a guy or a girl, so would I have thought there was a difference?
I read an online story years ago that just came to mind. In it, one of the characters (a woman) marries another woman after dating guys for a long while. When someone asks her about it she says, she figured out that it was the person that was important to her, not their gender. And I remember that that struck a chord with me back then, that I could understand what she was saying. (And that kind of opens up a discussion about pansexuality that I’m not getting into here.)
So maybe I’m splitting hairs here. And maybe heteroflexible is a way to say bisexual but also sound like you’re “fitting in” more, and not have to deal with all the baggage that saying you’re bisexual comes with.
I still like the idea that heteroflexible is in the middle of the sexuality spectrum, (or maybe it’s a sexuality globe — I once drew a sexuality globe with a friend, it was complicated), somewhere between bisexual and heterosexual. But liking an idea doesn’t necessarily make it real…
But I feel like there is a difference. That heteroflexible means you’re willing/want to have lust-driven or attraction-driven interactions with someone of your own gender, whereas bisexual means you’re willing/want to have both lust and “something more.”
I’m running in circles, so I’ll stop here. This will take some more thinking…
(You might want to check out my newer post Heteroflexible vs Bisexual part 2)