Defining the words one chooses seems helpful, especially in the beginning of a conversation. Later it can be constraining and tedious. But I have been thinking it might be a good thing for me to talk about what bisexuality means to me. This is my definition, my context. It may not be true for others.

What it is not:

  • In the beginning, when I was coming out to friends from high school and co-workers, I had this one friend who (strangely) only called me when he wanted me to “talk” to his wife, or more overtly, do it with them, both. Yes, he asked. For real.
  • I am not a flexible, willy nilly, anything goes, hypersexual person. I do not wake up, say on a Monday, and think to myself “hmmmmm, I sure miss penile penetration and desire sex with a man soon.” Or the opposite. This has never occurred to me. Ever.
  • I am not straight, and I am not a lesbian.

What it is:

  • When considering love — emotional, sexual, physical, domestic, spiritual, etc. — I find both sexes to include captivating, breathtaking beauty.
  • In relationships, I have found a deep connection with both men and women. Typically that connection has some sort of whole person / whole body story.
  • My physical self is so interconnected with my understanding of the rest of me and how I relate to others that beauty and attraction is a heart, soul, gut, visceral, eye-to-the-soul thing.

What I struggle with is the word bisexual. I find it to be so claustrophobic. Limiting. Especially limited to “sexual.” I am more than my boobs and vagina and their relationship to the rest of me — and how they interact with my partner, now and past.

I think the wiki on bisexuality is helpful. There is one line:

“Unfortunately, bisexuals are often considered suspect by both homosexuals and heterosexuals because they are not recognized as being emotionally and physically committed to either a gay or lesbian existence, nor heterosexual society in general.”

Yep, that sums up my expereince. Always on the margins, neither accepted or understood. The “norm” always wanting to push you into one camp or another. And I will not go. I am a middler, via media, gray, the space between, neither here or there kind of gal.

7 thoughts on “defining

  1. I like the way you start by saying that in the beginning definitions can be helpful then become constraining.

    Your descriptions of “what it is” and “what it is not” largely reflect my own experience. And I so agree over the limitations of the terminology. It’s interesting that the words homosexual and bisexual seem to be culturally attuned to focus people’s attention on sex (the act). But describe someone as heterosexual and it’s not a loaded term. Definitions are a crock, aren’t they?

    (And I’d be a rich woman if I had the proverbial £5 for every time someone has found it necessary to allude to someone’s homosexuality when talking about them – “he’s a really nice guy, gay of course, not that it matters” – when it would never occur to them to mention a straight person’s sexuality.)

    Personally, I really like our reclamation of the word “Queer”. It speaks to me of realms of positive possibilities, embracing life and without the claustrophobia you describe.

  2. This issue came up at the SAR (Sexual Attitude Reassessment) that I attended in Atlanta yesterday. I remember someone saying that they prefer the term “affectionate” instead of “sexual” – ie. homo-affectionate, or bi-affectionate. I’m not sure the terminology will catch on, but his point was to take the focus off the “sex” and place it on where one’s affections lie.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts…


    BTW – you can read more about my SAR experience here:

  3. Huh, isn’t language wonderful!?
    I like affectionate, although it conjures up still this sort of romantic, pepe le’ pew sort of vibe, no? 🙂

    Sometimes I wonder why all the hub-bub, like Tess was getting at, around queer language? And isn’t it funny, we seem to be desensitized to hetero/straight language. Thanks!

  4. Yikes! I realized that I must have been logged into WordPress thru my work account when I posted the “Sensovi” comment above. I can’t figure out how to change it, but I did want to alert readers that the comment was made by me personally and does not reflect the opinion of Sensovi.

    Thanks (and sorry!)
    Becky Knight

  5. The most helpful definition I got was – it’s falling in love with another soul, and it doesn’t matter what kind of body that soul inhabits. I like how you’ve drawn that out even further…

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