The Heathen Guy (heathen_guy) wrote in bi_and_beyond,
The Heathen Guy


My exchange with irisdragonfly in my last "Bi and Beyond" post got me thinking about the labels we use. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual (whatever the fuck that is), polyamoury, polysexual, etc, etc, etc. Are they necessary at all? Are they even particularly helpful?

Scott and I have an open relationship. This DOES NOT MEAN either of us is unhappy with the other, that we're oversexed, that we're looking for other people to "hook up" with, or anything else. But when I mention that we have an open relationship people assume all kinds of shit. So if I use this term and the other person interprets it as something else entirely, what exactly have I accomplished? Language is supposed to facilitate communication, not impede it. Maybe it would be better to drop the labels altogether.

We don't need a plethora of labels for other facets of our existence. Yeah, sexual exclusivity isn't a factor in my relationship with Scott. We also don't have any dietary restrictions, but I don't feel obligated to announce this. "Hey, I'm involved with somebody, but I can eat Fritos whenever I want to."

Same for the hetero/homo/bi distinction. Do we need it at all? Some people love Pepsi but can't stand the taste of Coke. Others love Coke but won't drink a Pepsi. I'm sort of a pancola person myself, I'll drink either Pepsi or Coke, whichever is on sale, but my personal preference is really Diet RC. I've never found myself hopelessly crippled by a lack of terminology for these distinctions. I've always managed to get by without a specific word to indicate that I love lobster but gag at the very thought of putting sourkraut in my mouth. If somebody invites me to dinner and serves brussel sprouts I've never found it difficult to politely decline, even though there's no term defining me as a person who gets physically sick if forced to eat those noxious little green buds.

For the most part, the only time a person's sexual orientation is even relevant is in a potential "dating" situation, but even then the labels are of little if any use. Just because I'm gay doesn't mean that you can toss me into a room with any gay/bi dude and we're suddenly going to start getting it on. This weekend somebody told me, with that hey-dude-you-could-get-some-dick tone, about a man who is bisexual. It was actually a little annoying, because the person in question is somebody on this very list who sounds like he'd be a cool person to get to know, but now I'd feel a little uncomfortable about going up and talking to him or suggesting we get together sometime. Not because he's bisexual, but because somebody else made it an issue. And I'm sure most of the people on this list have had the same experience. Are there any hets here who haven't had people make assumptions about a friendship you've had with somebody of the opposite sex? Even if the friendship might develop into something more it's embarrassing to have people make assumptions like that.

We have all of these words which have so little real value. I suspect they're reflections of our society's obsession with sexuality more than anything else.
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