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What Is Heteroromantic Bisexuality? Everything You Need To Know About The Increasingly Popular Sexual Identity

what is heteromantic bisexuality, sexual identity
Love, Self

The concept has been around for a long time.

Sexuality is a hot topic today and current research is constantly changing regarding sexual orientation.

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, and that some people are asexual — meaning they aren’t sexually attracted to anyone and do not have a place on the spectrum.

Of course, the majority of the aforementioned spectrum is still stigmatized across many cultures, let alone the ideas of bisexuality and homosexuality. Even as complex ideas of sexuality become more accepted in the western world, specifically, the residual stains of long-held stigmatization affect the way people view their own orientation. Particularly, older generations hold onto the more archaic views of sexuality which, in turn, affects the younger generations’ perceptions and portrayal of their orientation to family members and other elders in their communities.  


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Due to this stigma of sexual fluidity and full bisexuality, a growing number of people find themselves aligned with fringe sexuality labels, one of the most common being heteroromantic bisexuality.

The term “bisexual” indicates one’s sexual attraction to both the male and female sexes, but in the case of this and other sexual orientations, romance is split into a separate category from sexuality.

Those who identify as heteroromantic bisexual are only romantically attracted to the opposite sex, meaning that they will only date those of the opposite sex (even though they are sexually attracted to both).

In some cases, those who identify as heteroromantic bisexual simply wouldn’t feel comfortable or confident enough to explore a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex, but feel attracted to them regardless. The label 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.


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Dr. Nancy Webb, a sex educator and YourTango expert, detailed the popularity of the heteroromantic bisexual label in an interview. 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. “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 specific, fringe 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. {T}he more details used, the more validated a person feels.

With so many labels for sexuality, the differences between specific identities become less glaring and more nuanced. Some people identify as sexually fluid, which indicates a fluctuation of sexual identity according to the person’s particular mood. 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.

Demisexual could be considered, along with pansexual, a precursor to the term ‘heteroromantic,’” Dr. Webb stated.

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

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: Why Sexual Orientation Labels Can Be Bad For Your Health


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.