Sexuality and Identity

Apologies for my absence from the blog. Life has been crazy. Expect to see posts about how crazy it’s been. In the meantime, I’ve been sitting on this post for a while because I wanted to fine tune it. If you think it’s not fine tuned, just assume it’s because I’m a crappy writer.  Much ❤  ~PG

So I wrote about pansexuality here. If you haven’t read it, please go do now. (I mean you can lie and stay here if you want, but I’ll be really disappointed in you…)

So I was linked to this article discussing pansexuality and I felt like it was a really good attempt to explain the concept but it got very confused when it introduced and compared polyamory along with bi/poly/pansexuality. Polyamory is not a sexual orientation. You can argue whether it is a relationship orientation or a way of life or just something some people do, but it’s not about who one is oriented to sexually, but the number of partners one is willing to accept.

Ok, all of that aside, it was the commenter named bialogue who explained how they defined bisexuality. And this made me rethink how we use heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual.

Lets start with homosexual. It means being primarily to exclusively attracted to people who identify as the same gender/gender presentation that as you. Simple right?

Heterosexual has typically been used to mean being primarily or exclusively attracted to people who identify as the opposite gender. But “hetero” doesn’t actually mean opposite, it means different. The incorrect but often default assumption of a gender binary is what causes people to presume opposite.

So in reality heterosexual does not necessarily mean straight.  Still with me?

So, bisexuality has often been criticized as adhering to the gender binary because of the root meaning of bi as two. People disagree about that, but the root of the word is there. But bisexual does not have to mean two as in “male or female” but instead two as in “same and different” or “homo and hetero”. By this definition there could be zero difference between an identified bisexual and an identified pansexual or a bisexual could fall somewhere along the line of where i’ve seen people use the term polysexual.  I’ve seen polysexual defined as being attracted to a variety of different genders and presentations, but not necessarily all or any the way a pansexual might identify.  Bisexuals therefore might also fall into this category, still attracted to both “same and different” but not necessarily attracted to all genders or presentations.

An example to make this less confusing: A female being attracted to very masculine men, femme men and butch women but not femme women.  Or being attracted to cis and trans women, trans men, but not typically being attracted to cis men.Polysexual or bisexual – under the definition above- would absolutely apply here. Someone might identify as pansexual here too, and I could quibble about it, but I feel like people’s identifications are more important than whether I agree.

Ok, so that was a lot.  In short, I now think about bisexuality in a new way. I still identify as pansexual because I am attracted to all genders/sexes/types of gender presentation as far as I can tell. But I think this way of looking at bisexuality could end the fighting I see – often on Twitter- about sexual orientation.  It won’t end it, but it could… right?


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