What Does It Mean To Be A Heteroromantic Bisexual?

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What Does It Mean To Be A Heteroromantic Bisexual?
Sex

Can you be bisexual and marry someone of the opposite sex?

It’s highly agreed-upon that sexuality isn’t just split up into “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality,” as was once thought — and it doesn’t just stop at “bisexuality,” either.

Most experts agree that human sexuality is represented by a spectrum, that the majority of sexually active people fall somewhere in the middle of it.

There is even a spectrum of experiences within asexuality.

One aspect of the sexuality spectrum that is recently becoming more recognized is that of "romanticism".

A person can be bisexual and also feel heteroromantic.

Even as new and possibly more complex ideas of sexuality become more accepted in the western world, the residual stains of long-held stigmatization affect the way people view their own orientation.

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Some people may have come to accept homosexuality, but don't quite understand bisexuality. They think bisexuals should just "choose" one way or the other.

But for a bisexual — or, similarly, a pansexual — having to "choose a side" feels like being forced to be someone they're not.

That's why it's so helpful to add nuance to the sexuality spectrum, including the term "heteroromantic bisexual".

To understand heteroromantic bisexuality, we must first recognize that you can be attracted to someone sexually whom you don't desire in a romantic way.

The Urban Dictionary actually explains it well, saying that a heteroromantic bisexual is "a person who is sexually attracted to both sexes but romantically attracted to only the opposite sex."

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The term “bisexual” indicates one’s sexual attraction to people regardless of whether they identify as male or female, but in the case of this and other sexual orientations, romance is split into a separate category from sexuality.

Talking about a person's romantic identity covers an array of relationship dynamics, all with one fundamental similarity: a romantic relationship (or willingness to be in one) with a partner of the opposite gender.

In an interview, Dr. Nancy Webb, a sex educator and YourTango expert, helped us understand.

When asked if sexual orientations that separate the sexual and romantic aspects stem from the stigma attached to bisexuality and homosexuality, Webb said that her answer would have been “yes” a couple of years ago. But she has since changed her mind.

“Now, I think it stems more from individuals wanting a label for how they feel,” she stated.

People want to have an identity that isn’t strictly sexual, hence the addition of the ‘romantic’ aspect. They may also want to be more comprehensive with their identity labels, specifying their potential relation to more individuals by expanding the term.

Webb also mentions that more specific ;labels of sexuality allow people to feel validated in their identities.

“In today’s time, people want relationship labels to relate to their relationship as theirs. The more details used, the more validated a person feels."

And that is a great thing!

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With so many labels for sexuality, the differences between specific identities become less glaring and more nuanced.

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Some people identify as sexually fluid, which indicates a fluctuation of sexual identity.

People who are sexually fluid might use the label ‘heteroromantic bisexual’ during times in their life in which they are in a romantic relationship with someone of the opposite sex, but remain sexually attracted to people of the same sex also.

Another increasingly common sexual identity is demisexuality.

Dr. Webb described the label and distinguished it from heteroromantic bisexuality, stating that “the demisexual label is the need of the person to be romantically or emotionally involved with the person to be (sexually) attracted.”

It is similar to pansexuality, which describes someone who does not limit themselves sexually according to a potential partner’s biological sex or gender identity. Dr. Webb explains:

“Demisexual could be considered, along with pansexual, a precursor to the term ‘heteroromantic."

Essentially, anyone with either of those sexual identities would become technically “heteroromantic bisexual” after entering a romantic relationship with someone of another gender.

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Many people feel confused when confronted with the topic of sexuality.

They may know how they feel and what they find attractive on the inside, but find it difficult to describe their sexuality as a whole.

‘Heteroromantic bisexuality’ and other similar labels allow such people to become familiar with previously unaddressed feelings and attractions without jumping head-on into definitive labels such as “homosexual” or “pansexual” which may or may not be accurate for the individual.

As the heteroromantic bisexual label gains more traction as a mainstream sexual identity, it is likely that more people will become confident in expressing their sexual identities openly.

Psychologists and other mental health professionals agree that most (if not all) people are not fully straight or fully gay, and a multitude of specific labels allows people to comfortably choose the one that fits their sexuality best. The simple ‘bisexual’ label covers many of these sexualities, but it is not specific enough to fully grasp the complexities of individuals’ unique orientations.

In an age in which identity labels and representation matter for those who feel lost or confused, specific labels allow marginalized groups to feel recognized and significant.

RELATED: 6 Warning Flags To Look Out For When Coming Out As Bisexual To Your Non-Bi Partner

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Emily Van Devender is a writer and Colorado native who writes about pop culture, news and relationship advice. She is interested in politics, feminism, and psychology and enjoys photography and outdoor activities in her spare time.

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