“…although I have lived monogamously with a man I love for over twenty-seven years, I am not now and never have been a “heterosexual.” But neither have I ever been a “lesbian” or a “bisexual.” What am I—and have been for as long as I can remember—is someone whose sexuality and gender have never seemed to mesh with the available cultural categories… Although some of the (very few) individuals to whom I have been attracted… have been men and some have been women, what those individuals have in common has nothing to do with either their biological sex or mine—from which I conclude, not that I am attracted to both sexes, but that my sexuality is organized around dimensions other than sex.”
Her words really spoke to me. I feel exactly the same way.
I have tried using different terms to define myself, but eventually concluded that “non-heterosexual” fits the best. I have written in this blog before about my discomfort with labels. However, I do use labels, because sometimes you must have a word to describe yourself to yourself and others. In this case I found a lovely way out of my dilemma: definition by negation. I might not know (or care) who I am, but I can tell what I am not.
Sexuality is a freaking complex thing, plus it is something that freaks people out. And there is no weapon that works better against the terrifying chaos of life than categorization. And binaries. Binaries are also very helpful. Well, we can try to categorize our sexuality, put it into neat little boxes, but the truth is, it will be always sticking out (oops, sexual innuendo) in ways unsightly for those who want to tame it. Just look at all the research on sexuality, look at how scholars are struggling to divide people into categories based on how those define themselves, how they act, how they want to act, how others see them, etc. It is a mess.
I am not saying that people should right now stop defining themselves as “gay,” “bisexual,” “pansexual,” “asexual,” or anything else. I can see how these categories are meaningful and important for many. My personal opinion, however, is all these categories limit us and create conflicts. And my hope is that one day they will just go away, and we will stop dividing ourselves into camps based on who we are attracted to, or sleep with, or whatever. Perhaps it is one of my wishful thinking moments :)