The labels! OMG! The labels!
I dig everyone — dudes, chicks, people whose plumbing traditionally matches their gender, those who don’t match and everywhere in between. Some may call that bisexual, some pansexual and some queer. Whatever label you choose for yourself ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is we’re all in the same boat and should support each other.
It’s hard to be multisexual for many reasons.
I knew I wasn’t just attracted to men pretty much from the time I started developing crushes on people in elementary school, but I denied it until a few years ago. I couldn’t bring myself to say it out loud. I couldn’t wrap my head around it and come to grips with the fact I wasn’t like everyone else. Being non-monosexual is difficult in a culture of heteronormativity. Many of us feel alone and like we have no one to relate with or look up to.
Here are five of the mental and societal roadblocks that kept me from being comfortable with who I was:
1. I thought I had to be either gay or straight and couldn’t be both.
They're super manly, right? They hate men, right? That clearly wasn’t me, so I couldn’t be a lesbian.
I also liked boys. I assumed if I clearly didn’t fit into one bucket (gay), by default I must fit into the other (straight). I had absolutely zero bisexual role models. They simply didn’t exist then — or. at least, I wasn’t aware of any.
As a result, I didn’t think of bisexuality an option.
2. I thought that if I was bisexual I should feel absolutely the same about men as I do about women.
When I hit college I found out bisexual people existed. I tried to put myself in that bucket, but assumption number 2 stopped me dead in my tracks. Back in college I still had very stereotypical views of heterosexual relationships (I hadn’t quite deprogrammed from all those Disney fairy tale movies yet).
When I thought of men, I thought big and strong. Like many women, I like being made to feel small and protected by a man.
When I thought of women romantically and sexually it was a totally different vibe. A woman couldn’t be my “night in shining armor!” Women are soft and smell good (I tend to be attracted to femmes). They give me great feelings, but certainly not the same as what I experience with men.
The emotional dynamic I have with men vs. women is very different, so I thought that if my feelings and reactions to both sexes weren’t IDENTICAL I couldn’t be bisexual. A "real, genuine bisexual" can interchange men and women because they are attracted to both sexes on an exact 50/50 basis, right?
I believed my differing emotional/sexual reactions meant I liked one gender more than the other, thus, making me not a TRUE bisexual. Perhaps I was just a curious hetero and could be “cured” if I just experienced that “one drunken night in college” and worked it out of my system?
Now, looking back, I realize men and women are different to me ... and that’s okay.
I also later found out gender is a spectrum — that there’s more than just male and female and those genders can apply to any human being no matter what genitals they have (but more on that later).
Think of it like this: I like cake, ice cream, crab legs and Kuma’s burgers all pretty much equally. Even though they taste very dissimilar and elicit different reactions out of me, I am confident saying I love them all. It's the same for me with people. They don’t all have to be the same or make me feel the same for me to enjoy them.
3. When you're bisexual, your gay friends think you’re confused ... AND your straight friends think you’re confused.
Basically, no one takes you seriously. Once I came to terms with my sexual orientation, it was disastrous trying to explain it to everyone else! Great. I finally figured out I didn’t have to decide between men and women, but everyone else still expected me to make a choice!
Lesbians thought I was really on their team, just not strong or confident enough to come out and admit it. Heteros thought I just needed to sow my wild oats because I never had “that one night in college.”
Both groups also thought I was a simple-minded sex maniac who would hump a doorknob if I could. Men must not be enough for my voracious sexual appetite, so I needed to tap into women too!
4. People think you are destined to a life of cheating because bisexuals are never sexually satisfied.
Back to one of the assumptions in number 3: bisexuals are open to both sexes because they are sex fiends who can’t stay away from ANYONE’S genitals! If I settle down with a guy, I’ll be destined to a life of misery because I’ll always fantasize about all the carpet I’ll never get to munch. If I settle down with a chick, I’ll forever mourn the loss of c*ck.
Is there room here for another heavy sigh?
I don’t understand this rationale. Being attracted to other people does not mean I’m going to f*ck them!
Straight chicks continue to like dick even after they enter a monogamous relationship. Half of the world has a dick. Does that mean she won’t be able to control herself around anyone who has a dick? T
his logic applied to heterosexuals seems ridiculous, but it’s applied to multisexuals all the time.
This sucked for me the most when I was in a relationship with someone who had a jealous streak. Suddenly every human being on the planet, including close, same-sex friends became viewed a threat. What a suck-ass existence that was. No wonder I felt compelled to keep my mouth shut about who I was sexually attracted to.
5. Other multisexuals ask, “What are you exactly? Bisexual? Pansexual? Queer? Why did you choose the wrong label?! I’m offended!”
I hate, hate, HATE labels with a passion. I’m not a label. I’m me.
Often times I don’t exactly 100% fit the definition of my chosen label. That makes me feel unworthy, like a poseur or like someone who isn’t self-aware. Unfortunately, though, we have to choose labels so others can identify us. Human beings categorize — that’s simply how we operate.
When I first came out, I chose the label bisexual — In all actuality, I tried on “heteroflexible” for a while ... baby steps! This was a scary thing to do after some 35 odd years of considering myself to be “straight” — I started being questioned by others in the multisexual community.
“Bisexual? So you are simply attracted to men/males and women/females? That means you’re reinforcing the stereotype that gender does not fall on a spectrum! "Bi" means "two," i.e., male or female. What about all the rest of us who don’t neatly fit into those labels? Thanks a lot, uncaring asshole. Take your bisexual label and shove it.”
Okay, wow! I hadn’t thought about it that way. Sure, I’m attracted to people whose genitals don’t match their traditional gender roles. I’m attracted to people who are genderfluid, etc. Whoops! I didn’t mean to snub them. Bisexual must be a BAD WORD, so I started identifying as pansexual.
Then I started feeling bad because I didn’t identify as queer! That word has some great political affiliations among other things. Would I best be serving my community choosing that label instead? I was label confused!
TOO. MANY. LABELS!
I ended up settling on pansexual, although I do still sometimes feel conflicted over the label I choose to identify with.
The reason I went with pansexual is that, for many people in my age group, queer simply means gay. I find it's mainly those people who are involved in the sex positive community who correctly differentiate between gay and queer, and because so many people still assume queer means gay, they go on their merry way never inquiring further. They assume I’m a lesbian and pass up the opportunity to learn something new.
I’m in the public eye, and it’s also my job to educate and open minds about sexuality and self-identity.
When I use the term pansexual, it raises eyebrows.
“Pansexual? Does that mean you like to fuck pans!?”
Watch this video from Laci Green for more on that ...
Publicly identifying as pansexual is a great lead-in to explaining multisexuality and raising awareness.
One last note on that point. Check out this video by Ritch:
To recap: Ritch says that if you identify as bisexual it doesn’t necessarily mean you are snubbing anyone. Yes, bi means two, but hetero means different and homo means same. It can be argued in this same context that bisexual doesn’t mean you like just males and females or simply two genders, it means you are of two sexual orientations — you like people who are the "same" as you and people who are "different" than you.
In other words, you dig people of infinite categories along the spectrum of sexuality. I really like that definition!
So yep, I’m standing proud and saying I’m a bisexual — or pansexual, queer, multi-sexual, non-monosexual, someone who likes people the same and different than me, whatever you want to call me — woman. If you identify as multi-sexual, I hope you’ll join me. If you don’t identify that way, I hope you’ll stand in alliance with those who do.
I came out in my late 30’s and you know what? My friends still like me. My family is chill. My partner loves me. And my life hasn’t changed much.
The only thing that's changed is that I’m MUCH happier!
I can be myself and I no longer feel weird or ashamed of the desires I have.
Hopefully, if you find yourself in the same boat, you are becoming more aware of role models you can easily identify with. Don’t obsess over the label you choose or let it make you feel less than worthy. In Laci Green's video above she reminds us, “We define labels. Labels do not define us.”
Spend less time being preoccupied with labels and simply enjoy your life, being proud of who you are and who you love.
Then watch this video by Willow Smith. She was only 11 when she made it, but damn! GOOSEBUMPS. The message is quite fitting.
Sunny Megatron is a sexuality educator, sex and relationship writer, media personality, and pleasure products expert, as well as host and executive producer of the groundbreaking Showtime original television series, Sex with Sunny Megatron. Named one of the 6 most savvy sexologists in North America, Sunny’s popular sex ed Youtube channel features sex tips, tours of interesting sexy places, and plenty of reviews of the latest pleasure toys, as her passion is helping people become their authentic, sexual selves by learning to overcome shame and shed inhibitions.
This article was originally published at SunnyMegatron.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.