What Did You Call Me: Heteroflexible

 Posted by on December 1, 2013
Dec 012013

abstract-background-of-a-mannequin-2This month I decided to focus on one label, so I chose one from my own self-identification.

Until about a year and a half ago, I’d identified as straight for my entire life. I never felt uncomfortable with it, never felt it didn’t fit me. As my sexuality evolved, I began to be attracted to a wider range of gender identities. But I still identified as straight for some time. I resisted being labeled as bisexual for several reasons, and I didn’t see another alternative at first.

Why not bisexual?

One reason was that I felt it was false advertising. I felt (and feel) that putting myself out there as bi would be misleading to potential partners. Another huge reason is that I don’t believe in the gender binary (the concept that there are two and only two genders), and the term bisexual is hopelessly attached to it.

What do I mean by heteroflexible?

I identify as female in every way, and my sexual preference leans strongly in the direction of masculine energy. My partners have primarily been cisgendered (identifying as the same physical gender they were born with) males. But primarily doesn’t mean always. And preference doesn’t mean requirement. My capacity for romantic or sexual attraction is not restricted to partners of one gender identity or sexual orientation by my chemical/hormonal make-up (or by anything else for that matter).

I feel this is a more accurate representation of my sexuality to potential partners. Someone once told me that they liked the term because it told her where my orientation was for the most part, but also that she still might have a chance with me.

In mainstream society, most people likely assume that I’m straight. When asked though, I tend to identify as queer. When I use the term heteroflexible, too many people seem to misunderstand. They tend to think it’s a joke of some kind, or code for something they don’t understand. More people have heard the term queer, and, regardless of whether they share my definition, they feel they have a handle on it.

I’ve also had some outright negative reactions to the term heteroflexible; some feel it’s a cop-out of sorts for people not willing to commit to being bi. At least one person I spoke to felt it was just a way for straight girls to tantalize guys. Interestingly, these criticisms are almost the opposite of each other, but they share the notion that the term heteroflexible denotes some sort of denial or deception.

But I feel this comes back to the fundamental problem with labels as a whole. People automatically insert their own definition of a label rather than discussing the label. As a result, I think it diminishes the extent to which we can share how we have chosen to self-identify. If the term I use holds a completely different meaning to you, then how am I really identifying?

Originally posted October 8, 2010

  5 Responses to “What Did You Call Me: Heteroflexible”

  1. Lables, and a shakey opinion of such..

    When it comes to putting a specific label on things, people in particular, I feel that it is societies need to put people in “boxes”

    I have tried..and tried again to label myself, and when I do I just get more confused about who I am and how I view others.

    I feel (and this may or may not be correct by all standards) is that orientation, either sexual or gender is not something that is 100% based on a specific persons choice, but rather their psychological makeup. To assume that someone is homosexual for reasons that they are just tired of their opposite gender, is to show a restrictive viewpoint.

    A box, by definition, which has a plethora of viewpoints is loosely a container in which an individual places objects for storage and categorization. Society in my opinion with grow by leaps and bounds once we discover that not all people can fit into such containers.

  2. love it…am going to have to use that myself.

    through out the years i have become more and more open and have not really identified with bi or str8 much anymore either. but now i have a new one…if anyone wants to try to label me…or put me in a category…which is fine. but i won’t stay there.

    nice stuff, take care.

  3. Yhea….labels are tough…and limiting.

    I have identified in so many different ways over the years. I was Hetero…bi-sexual…swinger…slut…ploy…dome…switch…when it all comes right down to it, I am many different things at many different times and I find it so difficult to be me when I am forced to label myself in some way.
    Lately…I have been comfortable calling myself Pan-sexual (Relating to, having, or open to sexual activity of many kinds.)This seems like it gives me the freedom and flexibility to be my ‘freaky’ self.

    Rock on!

  4. It’s funny because I identify as hetero-flexible also. My main reason I used THAT as opposed to bisexual was because while I was open to sex and casual play with women, I was only interested in having actual relationships with men. Of course now, I have a girlfriend… so I guess it’s lucky that the term is ‘flexible’.

  5. Several years ago at a Creating Change workshop that addressed personal labels (and our need or lack of need to use them!)I was challenged, as the facilitator, to identify myself.

    Casting around in my mind for something that wouldn’t label me as anything other than a person living a heterosexual life with a flexible mind. I came up with the term heteroflexible.

    I don’t know if anyone had ever used it before then but it has certainly been shared via viral channels since.

    Good article!