Sexual Fluidity in defense of labels, heteroflexibility and homoflexibility

I like labels. I think they allow for easier communication. With one word you can address your gender, sex, sexuality, sexual interests, and a host of other elements that detail your dynamics. The issue is that labels and categories are viewed as static and dogmatic identities rather than a useful tool of language. Describing oneself as a banker carries with it insinuations about personality, interests or skills, and the same goes for someone who labels themselves as gay or straight. But, a banker may become an accountant and a straight person may get brojobs or experiments on occasion. Does this mean that the new accountant was never a banker or that the man who almost always sleeps with women is now gay?

Boxes are Good and Labels are Useful

Tying yourself to one identity and declaring that it’s the be-all and end-all of yourself is claiming a static identity and communicating that at your core life experience cannot change you and that you lack dimension. While it is true that we are all born with predispositions toward a variety of behaviors, they interact with our environment and experiences, then manifest and adapt in a myriad of ways. Someone predisposed to aggressive behavior may become a world-class athlete, or a soldier, or a violent criminal. These outcomes are not due to solely genetic makeup but a confluence of influence. Depending on the situations an individual finds themselves in, one trait or another may be given more stage room to grow. I believe this applies to sexuality as much any other behavior. I’m sure some would argue that because labels carry a history, a culture, and a sense of identity, that switching them around amounts to robbing them of their meaning — I’m not so sure. It doesn’t seem that sexuality just bounces around, but expresses itself and inches around a sole sexual attraction. Is a gay man suddenly bi-sexual if he sleeps with women every decade or so? I’d say he may be homoflexible. Is a straight girl now bi-sexual because she fell in love with a girl and had sex with her, but never found herself attracted to another? I’d say perhaps she is homoflexible or it could’ve been a singular same-sex attraction.  Unlike committing murder, once you screw someone, it doesn’t become part of who you are.

One needn’t toss all labels out due to an experience unless it is persistent and even then you could just use a “majority rules” to define your sexual label:

 

Heteroflexible- mostly attracted to the opposite sex sexually and romantically, occasionally the same.

Homoflexible- mostly attracted to the same sex sexually and romantically, occasionally the opposite.

Bisexuality- attracted to both sexes in almost if not completely even measure.

 

These three labels communicate a consistent romantic and sexual attraction, sexual behavior, and allow a potential partner to make an informed decision regarding coupling (or polying up). Those that argue we should abandon labels because sexuality is fluid are asking our species to do quite a bit of hoop jumping. It’s akin to saying that we shouldn’t differentiate between plants because they’re all plants. The only thing people need to do is not to fear a loss of identity because a word used to communicate sexual and romantic desire is no longer totally accurate. If you’re Irish and suddenly discover that you had Middle Eastern ancestors, does that suddenly invalidate your ethnic heritage or does it mean you now are expanding your identity, or perhaps neither? Effective communication requires understanding what you’re talking about and how it applies to the topic. All these words mean is who you are likely to fuck and date.

The Sexuality Scales and Fluidity

When Alfred Kinsey first mapped sexual fluidity, he showed that contrary to the belief that human sexuality was boxed into the categories of normal or faulty, our tastes fluctuated on a continuum. The Kinsey Scale itself has evolved over the years to accommodate further research done on gender and how sexuality moves throughout one’s life, notably The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid developed by Fritz Klein and The Storms Scale created by Michael D. Storms. Since the reaction to stimuli and survey research regarding taste as well as experience are the chief tools in measuring sexual desire or experience, these scales were built on interviewing thousands of people from all walks of life and in different periods in their lives.

Fluidity is real, but it’s the extent that varies. One may spend most of his life being a heterosexual only to discover in his 40s that he’s becoming attracted to young adult men, which throws his entire identity into question. I don’t think a new sexual attraction is worth playing mental gymnastics over, although I don’t think there is a way to forgo the shock of a such a drastic curiosity, either. I’ve spoken with many gay men who on occasion find a woman sexually attractive rather than just aesthetically. Sexuality is dynamic and furthermore has nothing to do with who fucks whom. It’s about desire, and prison is the best example of this. When a person is denied of a need long enough they will turn to any outlet, like shipwrecked men to sea water. What matters in this example is what the individual chooses to do sexually after a variety of genders are back in the mix. The difference between a straight person doing what they had to do versus a bi or gay person discovering a new aspect of themselves is choice.

Good Labels Reflect Who You Are Now

Categories, boxes, and labels in every realm of human experience are quite useful until they reflect dogmatic beliefs that represent falsehoods. You can’t blame our species for living within lines, it’s how we figure things out. What you and I can do is adopt labels that reflect our desires and interests now. In politics we see identities manifest in party alignment rather than voting for the best candidate, the one who reflects your interests. Being a liberal doesn’t always mean voting Democrat, for example, and I’ve always labeled myself as gay even as I’m becoming attracted to women. Accept that things change and that your tastes are no different. Be pragmatic with the one and only life you have rather than fearing to step out of the lines that no longer reflect who you are.

As always my fellow Eroticists,
Keep your skirts up,
Your pants down,
and no matter who bends over,
be flexible.

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