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TripleA

Am I Really Straight?

Am I Really Straight?  

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So, I have recently had conflicting thoughts on my sexual orientation again.

 

To keep it simple:

 

- I like both female and male genitalia.

- Only sexually attracted to women, regardless of genitals

- Only sexually attracted to men when I see their genitals

- Not attracted to any male secondary sex characteristics

- Only attracted to female secondary sex characteristics

- I'd only have sex with men because of their genitalia, not because I find them sexually attractive in any way. 

 

I've had some people say I can still be straight, but others say I'm bi because me liking dick means I'm attracted to men, which I don't believe I am. I enjoy flirting sexually with men (no romo), but only because of his genitalia (especially male genitalia).

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I think it depends on what label (if any) you feel the most connection with, and what matters most to you. If your attraction towards both "male" and "female" genitals is important to you, if your sleeping and flirting with men is important to you, if you can see yourself being in some sort of relationship with a man (if you want relationships), etc... then you might find bi to be a comfortable label. If not, you might feel more authentic calling yourself hetero and that's fine. I don't think that liking dick automatically makes you bi, women can have dicks and vise versa. Sexuality is complicated and words like "straight" or "bi" or "heteroflexible" don't always encompass every facet of it.

 

You don't have to label yourself either. For instance, I'm attracted to multiple/all genders but I can't relate to other WLW or bi people, to the point that it feels wrong to call myself bi. So I don't.

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I think it matters if "straight" means "heterosexual", "heteroromantic" or "heterosexual and heteroromantic".
With only the first one making much sense to aros.

There can be such a big assumption of periorientation that "heterosexual" gets used to mean "heteroromantic"; "homosexual" to mean "homoromantic"; etc.
Which I think can cause complications for any varioriented allosexual.

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@TripleA You are bisexual. Actual heterosexual men find the male genitalia, or idea of flirting sexually with another man unsettling to say the least. Perhaps they might enjoy sexual activity with another man when isolated from women, as in prison or all-boy school. But this is not the case for you.

 

I don't think it's necessary for a bisexual to experience the same amount of attraction to men and to women.

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If saying you're bisexual is wrong then don't.

For what you say, it seems you are sexually attracted to women,  but grey-sexual for men (as you only feel sexually attracted under particular circumstances). So I guess you could be in the grey area of bisexuality (I don't know if this is a concept in this community).

But I think it is up to you to know if the label fit you or not.

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10 hours ago, Mark said:

I think it matters if "straight" means "heterosexual", "heteroromantic" or "heterosexual and heteroromantic".
With only the first one making much sense to aros.

There can be such a big assumption of periorientation that "heterosexual" gets used to mean "heteroromantic"; "homosexual" to mean "homoromantic"; etc.
Which I think can cause complications for any varioriented allosexual.

I mean just heterosexual. 

9 hours ago, nonmerci said:

If saying you're bisexual is wrong then don't.

For what you say, it seems you are sexually attracted to women,  but grey-sexual for men (as you only feel sexually attracted under particular circumstances). So I guess you could be in the grey area of bisexuality (I don't know if this is a concept in this community).

But I think it is up to you to know if the label fit you or not.

So you're also saying I'm bi basically? 

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Well, as I think you consider that grey belongs to allo, it would be logical for you to consider that a grey attraction towards men makes you not heterosexual but bisexual.

But personally, I think that grey people should define themselves with what extremity of the spectrum they feel they belong. So the same way, I would say that it is up to you to decide if a grey attraction for men makes you bi or not.

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This is entirely up to you and the label you feel most comfortable with, if you identify with the term straight, use that, if you identify with the term bisexual, use that

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The only person who can answer what you are is yourself. You have a base, you know what you like and the reasons. The next step, like @Kadence said, is to search for that awesome label that makes you spark inside. You can be in the grey area, you can incline for one side or the other one, or both. But I cannot tell you what and who you are. My advice is to read, and to let you know that a label can be changed and that doesn't makes you less valid. Cheers mate

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Sounds to me like you're not actually attracted to men, and if you wanna have sex with someone who has a penis, you're better off finding a girl with one. But I'm not exactly an expert when it comes to sexual attraction so i dunno.

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Since this thread has been bumped, I have to chime in.

Genitalia is not "male" or "female". It can be external or internal - or both, even. Gendering genitalia like this is cisnormative and even transphobic. (I understand why you went with these descriptions, it's a common thing to do - but it has implications that aren't great.)

Attraction is not based off of what genitalia you enjoy/prefer/have a fetish or philia for. We define attraction based off of gender (and to imply that genitalia defines gender is definitely transphobic).

You can find someone or parts of people aesthetically pleasing without being sexually attracted to them. You can certainly have sex with people without being sexually attracted to them as well.

The answer to your question lies here: "Only sexually attracted to women". That's what sexual attraction is based off of. Who (not what!) you are/can be sexually attracted to. I see your profile lists you as "female", so it sounds like - from that quote alone - you're an (aro) lesbian. However, caveat - as aepaex said, if the label bisexual is in any way useful to you and you want to use it, then it sounds like you're bisexual! If you want sexual relationships with men as well as women, regardless of who you're attracted to, then bisexual would indeed be a useful label. This seems like a good point to throw in my usual spiel: labels are not some predetermined answer to who you are. They are for us and we should use whatever label(s) make us happy/comfortable, whatever label(s) we actually want to use, and/or whatever label(s) helps us communicate how we feel/what we want to others.

I know that seems a bit contradictory. I'm happy to try and talk about it more in depth if you want.

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On 4/16/2020 at 10:14 AM, horriblegoose said:

Attraction is not based off of what genitalia you enjoy/prefer/have a fetish or philia for. We define attraction based off of gender (and to imply that genitalia defines gender is definitely transphobic).

I wonder if sexual attraction as you defined really exists. If it does, it seems to be extremely rare and overall of virtually no importance in motivating sexual behavior for most people.

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8 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I wonder if sexual attraction as you defined really exists. If it does, it seems to be extremely rare and overall of virtually no importance in motivating sexual behavior for most people.

No one I know has to see someone naked in order to be sexually attracted to them. And you cannot assume you know someone's genitalia if you haven't seen it. Sexual attraction is based on SO MUCH (aesthetics, symmetricality, pheromones/smell, fashion, makeup, hair, style, body type,, etc.). Genitalia can - and for many does - absolutely play into all of that, but it's merely a part of a bigger concept. It does the entire concept and everyone who feels it a disservice to pretend it's based purely on genitalia. A focus/concentration on genitalia only would be a philia or fetish.

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2 hours ago, horriblegoose said:

Genitalia can - and for many does - absolutely play into all of that, but it's merely a part of a bigger concept. It does the entire concept and everyone who feels it a disservice to pretend it's based purely on genitalia.

This is a statement I can get behind but is definitely not what you said initially:

On 4/16/2020 at 6:14 PM, horriblegoose said:

Attraction is not based off of what genitalia you enjoy/prefer/have a fetish or philia for. We define attraction based off of gender (and to imply that genitalia defines gender is definitely transphobic).

This statement implies genitalia should have nothing to do with it and that the OP listing what they like is inherently problematic. This is a line of thinking I hear a lot from trans people but that I personally disagree with entirely. 

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I guess it's perception, not intent, that matters, but I don't find what I said contradictory. "We don't define attraction based (purely) off of genitalia" is not inherently at odds with "genitalia can play a part of your attraction". Sorry that was confusing.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, horriblegoose said:

No one I know has to see someone naked in order to be sexually attracted to them. And you cannot assume you know someone's genitalia if you haven't seen it. Sexual attraction is based on SO MUCH (aesthetics, symmetricality, pheromones/smell, fashion, makeup, hair, style, body type,, etc.). Genitalia can - and for many does - absolutely play into all of that, but it's merely a part of a bigger concept. It does the entire concept and everyone who feels it a disservice to pretend it's based purely on genitalia. A focus/concentration on genitalia only would be a philia or fetish.

I agree that sexual attraction can easily happen without seeing the genitals. As you point out, when people are not undressed.

But I fail to see what all the factors you list ("aesthetics, symmetricality, pheromones/smell, fashion, makeup, hair, style, body type, etc") have to do with gender. Strictly speaking they have nothing to do with it. Only in a loose, indirect sense.

With gender we have the situation that it can be

  1. a self-identity (self-concept) and
  2. a social grouping that is imposed by others - in different ways.

Point 1., the self-identity, is most likely completely irrelevant for sexual attraction. Whoever is attracted to, say, Miley Cyrus, it's rarely of any importance here that she identifies as genderfluid.

So it must be about point 2., gender as externally-imposed grouping. People think they're straight if they are only attracted to people they themselves categorize as the opposite gender (most likely that equals perceived / assumed biological sex). I reckon that the run-of-the-mill straight man puts Miley Cyrus squarely into the group "women" and doesn't doubt that he is straight if he's attracted to her. Now if he gets the information about her gender-self-id he has two options: either he drops his own attraction-self-id or he thinks "Yeah, fine, but I'm still straight". And he'll likely choose the latter option.

So we are in the uncomfortable situation that there is a conflict between gender-self-id and attraction-self-id.

This might sound far fetched. But there are more drastic cases, like if said straight man declares: "I'm not attracted to Laverne Cox because I'm not gay!".

This results in quite a mess that reminds me of the status of Trent Reznor and fans as "industrial musician" and "fans of industrial music" respectively.

Reznor is usually regarded as industrial musician. Indeed as one of the most popular and established ones.

Yet he never "identified" with that genre. Still he can't escape this externally imposed grouping. Even Wikipedia lists him under this category.

And then there are some people that accuse him of not producing "true industrial music", despite he himself never expressed any intent of doing that. And if you're a fan of Reznor does that make you a fan of industrial music? Are you "allowed" to identify as such?

While in the case of "music-associated social groupings" this just leads to relatively harmless bickering, the takeaway from this comparison is: this issue has not been resolved after many, many years of argument --- how could it be? there is no rigorous theory behind it!

Gender is taken a bit more seriously than music subcultures. To apply a similar "theory", which is perplexingly vague and most of its fundamental terms are elusive to the point of becoming evanescent, may be a bad idea.

I hope that the happiness people get out of this "gender" and "attraction" classification thing outweighs the negative effects. But I wouldn't be surprised if that's not case.

Personally, I'd rather opt out of it.

Edited by DeltaV
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@hemogoblin has a point.  i don't intend to speak for all heterosexuals, but i believe i'm as heterosexual as you can get, and i'm not attracted to guys because of their genitals.  i wouldn't have sex with anyone with biologically female body part(s) like a vagina (or watch porn featuring any such person) because that's off-putting for me--i imagine it's similar to how sex-repulsed asexuals feel about all people/bodies, and i hope that's not wildly off-base.  but i could absolutely be attracted to a trans guy with his pants on.  and i wouldn't be attracted to anyone, including cis guys, whose presentation and demeanor were more feminine than not.  

for the record, i have seen naked women and men in illustration class, and that's different because i'm focused on drawing them; it's like drawing anything.

On 4/16/2020 at 4:14 AM, hemogoblin said:

You can find someone or parts of people aesthetically pleasing without being sexually attracted to them. You can certainly have sex with people without being sexually attracted to them as well.

certainly i can find women very aesthetically attractive.  if in my fashion design career i ever have models, i'll choose them based on that, both their face and (clothed) figure.  and again, i certainly cannot have sex with someone without being sexually attracted to them.  i understand this statement was about people in general, and that it is of course physically possible, but i don't get how it could be enjoyable.

On 12/18/2019 at 5:54 PM, TripleA said:

I enjoy flirting sexually with men

yeah, that doesn't sound straight.  when i came across your post the first time i did say bisexual.  but idk man, as others have said, it's up to you.

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8 hours ago, aro_elise said:

and again, i certainly cannot have sex with someone without being sexually attracted to them.  i understand this statement was about people in general, and that it is of course physically possible, but i don't get how it could be enjoyable.

There are asexual people who enjoy the sexual activity, so this is possible. May not be common, but it is still a thing. Lke enjoying sport, or music... a lot of things in life don't include sexual attraction and we still love them. Just, the experience is different and not enjoyable for the same reason.

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Okay so, liking penises does not equal to liking men (trans women and AMAB non-binary people exist y'all) and it's entirely possible to have sex with someone you're not sexually attracted to and enjoy it. So, nothing about the points you wrote actually indicates that you feel sexual attraction towards men, which would be a requirement for being bisexual. Therefore you aren't bisexual.

It does seem like you might have a sexual philia for peni? 

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On 9/23/2020 at 7:33 PM, nonmerci said:

There are asexual people who enjoy the sexual activity, so this is possible.

Asexual sex workers exist.
Libido, sexual interest and sexual attraction are different things.
It's perfectly possible that alloromantic aces may have sex only because of it being romantic coded and thus "part of the package".

Just as aros can enjoy and/or wish to do romantic (coded) activities whilst being uninterested in or even, extremely, repulsed by romantic relationships there can be aces with similar attitudes towards sexual activities.

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On 9/23/2020 at 8:33 PM, nonmerci said:

There are asexual people who enjoy the sexual activity, so this is possible. May not be common, but it is still a thing. Lke enjoying sport, or music... a lot of things in life don't include sexual attraction and we still love them. Just, the experience is different and not enjoyable for the same reason.

The underlying reasoning is likely that (1) for you to regularly enjoy an activity, you must desire it. And (2) desiring sex is equated with desiring a person sexually (which is sexual attraction, right?).

We usually don't make the inference (1) if we're talking about less intense activities. Like the proverbial walk in the park. We often enjoy walking in the park without a desire preceding it (could for example be just a routine or we have to take the dog out).

But sex is regarded as an intense experience ... it's not assumed to be like e.g. "a bit boring but still enjoyable". Though I don't know where this comes from, there's so much evidence that some people experience sex this way.

The equation in (2) is more understandable to me. Strictly speaking it's not the same but imho the difference seems very subtle. At least if we're talking about a strong desire.

9 hours ago, Mark said:

Asexual sex workers exist.

Sex can (always) be a negative experience for a sex worker. Wouldn't be a problem, I would say. At least as long as it's not intensely negative.

Like cleaning a toilet -- I'd rather avoid doing it but it certainly doesn't do me psychological harm.

I think part of the reason why sex work is that controversial is that so many people cannot imagine anyone could ever experience sex as a non-intense activity.

Edited by DeltaV

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