A Declaration of Ambiguity

As I find myself being more and more vague when talking about dating, I realize that nobody knows what my sexual orientation is. Maybe I’m becoming more aware from getting closer to my queer friends, or finally feeling comfortable enough to talk about sex when I talk to other women (of all persuasions).

Well, it’s about time I outed myself in honor of Blog Against Heteronormity Day because heteronormity is what made me default to straight. Well, this is my first public admittance: I don’t consider myself a heterosexual.

It feels good to say that. So what am I?

I’m not bisexual. I’m not sure why the term bisexual makes me so uncomfortable. Maybe because it only seems one step off of a binary, positioning my self in the middle of a system as if my interests can be broken down into percentages. Or maybe it is left over from my teen years when I was torn between hating raunch culture and wanting to participate in it. (I didn’t realize at the time I was so saturated in the gazing male narrative that I saw the world very much from a male perspective, but that’s a future blog post.) I wanted guys to think I was hot, sexy but I wanted approval, too, and too few girls met both qualifications.

When I was in the tenth grade, I had a crush on a girl in my class. I told my boyfriend and he thought it was cool. When I broke up with this guy, I admitted I had liked this girl to two of the boys who courted me my junior year. The first, the nerdy senior boy from this post started saying things like, “Since you’re bisexual…” in front of other people. I freaked out because that wasn’t his label to give me. The second boy, a pot smoker who was my age but had been held back, was actively pursuing me (by my interpretations) through cuddling, calling, and flirty IMs. We went to the Sadie Hawkens dance with a group and I dropped him off last so we could talk about whether or not we were dating. He told me he didn’t want to date me because he wasn’t into bi girls.

“I’m not bi,” I said. He ignored me, his mind was made up. Bi girls seemed so objectified, and that wasn’t for me.

Am I a lesbian? Nah, that’s not me. I’m not a pansexual, either, although I’ve had crushes on transpeople. The term pansexual, all-sexual, suggests that I like sex, that I’m into sex. And I’m not.

Not into sex? I must be asexual! No, I’ve ruled out that one, too. Although I’m currently celibate, I would like to enjoy sex someday. I just think it will come later. And when it does happen, I don’t want to feel like I’m not supposed to enjoy it because of my identity. Right now I want to keep sex out of dating, but don’t want to label myself something that will rule out options. (Although I love being single, I also don’t want to feel I can’t pursue someone because I’ve labeled myself something usually associated with being a non-dater.) I’m not going to find empowerment through sex, but I may learn to enjoy it someday when I’m fully riveting with everything else that excites me: learning, creating, loving. Writing, theorizing, having conversations that bring people somewhere new.

I do like the word queer. Maybe someday I’ll be comfortable using it to describe myself. Right now, I don’t know if I’m queer enough. Sometimes, I feel like I’m nothing. Is it privilege of living as a perceived heterosexual to identify myself as no orientation? I don’t think so, since the models of sex and relationships I’ve had growing up have made me feel inadequate for not being more interested in sex.

But I’m not nothing. I’m ambiguous. Fluid, undeclared. Well, I’m declaring it a sexual orientation, my sexual orientation. And it’s one that won’t leave me stagnate, will grow with me. One that opens options for me, rather than closing them.

It feels wonderful to talk about this, to be open. To have an identity.

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This entry was posted in Carnivals, Blog Against -ism Days, etc., Personal, Queer Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A Declaration of Ambiguity

  1. Yay! Thanks for sharing this. Fluid is a beautiful way to describe yourself.

    I’m queer, leaning to bisexual side of things, but find that it’s not the right label for me. This is complicated by dating a not-so-straight guy, and also not being so into sex. Grappling with privilege and invisibility is an everyday thing.

    It was difficult to for me to talk about this before, but I’m getting to be more and more comfortable. I also like to reject the Kinsey scale and like to think about sexuality in terms of a mobius strip as Marjorie Garber articulated in _Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life_, which has been helpful. I can be myself and not have to worry about where I fit on an arbitrary scale.

  2. Lake Desire says:

    I might pick that up from the library.

    I find talking about it that I’m not as alone and freakish, and I get more comfortable talking about the things that used to plague. I’m still secretive about somethings, but I’m getting more open.

  3. tekanji says:

    Brave post, Ariel, I’m glad you felt comfortable enough here to share it with all of us. ^_^ I don’t think there’s anything wrong with defining as “fluid” or “ambiguous” — after all, it’s the reality of what most of us are even when we choose to take labels to define ourselves. Human sexuality is a complex subject, and I think all too often it’s oversimplified in ways that leave people wondering what’s wrong with them, when the reality is that the narrow ideals ingrained in our society is what’s wrong. I think the more people read posts like this one, the better able to understand that it’s okay to be who they are, and it’s okay for others to be who they are, too.

  4. Winter says:

    I have a t-shirt which says DEVIANT in big glow in the dark letters and I think that pretty much covers it. I certainly “deviate” from lesbian identity! I also like “queer.” Sometimes I call myself a “queer lesbian” or a “queer dyke.” You know, perhaps what we really need to resist is the categorising impulse. Perhaps what we call ourselves should change as we move though life. After all, heteronormativity is partly founded on the notion that sex, gender and sexuality are stable and permanent aspects of out lives. I think you could justifiably call youself queer Ariel insofar as people who refuse to have sex in this sex obsessed culture are about as queer as anything!

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Lake Desire says:

    You’re welcome, Winter!

    I suppose that is pretty queer, especially because our culture makes sex seem like the be all, end all. I’m glad women are portrayed as enjoying sex these days, but we’re allowed to be whores, now, too, and it isn’t a bad thing. But we’re still stuck in a binary.

  6. Meghann says:

    Fantastic. I’m happy you’ve found something that works for you. People need to be able to define sexuality for themselves. I’m so happy you’re happy with who you are and feel open enough to share it with others. Labels suck. heh

  7. Hekie says:

    Good post (and labels suck, so more power to you), but I did want to point something out about your comment about asexuality. I’m homosensual-asexual but only recently identified as such (I was going by lesbian before because it seemed the closest fit up until now).

    You said about asexuality: Although I’m currently celibate, I would like to enjoy sex someday. I just think it will come later. And when it does happen, I don’t want to feel like I’m not supposed to enjoy it because of my identity.

    Asexuality is about a lack of sexual attraction not sex drive (not a libido issue but an orientation one). While some asexuals are repulsed by sex there are some who are perfectly happy to have it in relationships with sexual people because of the emotional closeness and to make their partner happy. Myself, I have a very high sex drive and always have had but it doesn’t “drive” towards anyone, male or female. Sex can feel good but it’s just not my thing and I’m not sexually attracted to my partner, even though all the physical stuff works fine. Does that make sense?

    It’s just that your mention of asexuality felt more like a physical like/dislike of sex as opposed to an orientation wherein one’s sexual drive isn’t directed at either men or women. I wanted to try and clarify that that is not the case. I don’t want to be in a relationship (which is separate from my asexuality) but at times when I have been or if I am in the future, I’d be fine with having sex with a partner and physically it might feel good, but there wouldn’t be any sexual attraction to the person from my side (only emotional and aesthetic attraction).

  8. Sage says:

    I wrote on a very similar subject. I don’t call myself anything at all. I let people know I’m attracted to this guy or that woman, but refuse any labels or categories at all. Why do we feel a need to call ourselves anything? As I say in my post, when looking at the people I’m typically attracted to, I should really call myself “brown-eyes oriented” because that’s the most prevalent similarity between them!

  9. Lake Desire says:

    Hekie, thank you for clarifying. It’s often hard for me to distinguish between sexual attraction and sex drive. You’ve taught me a new side of asexuality I wasn’t aware of. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Hekie says:

    You’re welcome, Lake Desire. Glad to have added to the ‘A’ knowledge ;-)

  11. Ampersand says:

    Wow – some of this post is like you’ve peered inside my head and you’re writing my point of view. Weird (but in a good sort of way). I’m glad you did the work of articulating it, but if I ever articulate my own sexuality, I’m gonna have to work hard to not swipe from this post!

    (I was going to clarify that asexuals can enjoy sex, but Hekie beat me to it!)

  12. Lake Desire says:

    I’m glad you can relate to my post… I hope that I will inspire you to write your own. I’ll be all the more flattered if it is similar. I’m happy to find that I’m not so unique after all.

    You know, you’re someone I really see referred to as heterosexual by default when people discuss how surprised they are that you’re a man.

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  15. Loosely Twisted says:

    I was moved by your post. I can’t define who I am either. I can’t say any of the labels I have heard describe what/how attracts me to others. I find I am attracted to people who are not only intelligent, but they put it to good use. So I could be attracted to anyone. Would that be a pansexual? (no idea what that entails) just seems to fit.

    But on the other hand, I can leave sex and not think twice about it. It’s the emotional need inside that I crave. To be loved for who I am, appriciated for who I am and to be able to return that love 10 fold. No matter who it is. (consenting adult of course, gah don’t think I am that bad) **shivers inspite of herself**

    One thing I am positive of, is I am in the wrong body. That’s always been there. The anger and frustration of everything boiling inside me, the one truth that I cannot deny. I have never admitted it til just now.


  16. Lake Desire says:

    LT, I’m really happy you were able to realize something knew about yourself from reading my post. I’m glad we’re able to identify, that’s like the biggest reward for a blog post. :)

  17. Andrew says:

    Good day. I like your blogspace. =) I think that I will stick around. It is keen to find safe space as a feminist and as a pansexual.

    I have to ask why you write that the term “pansexual” suggests that a person likes sex? I mean why does “pansexual” or “omnisexual” denote being “into sex” any more than bisexual, homosexual, or heterosexual for example? I am not saying that I necessarily disagree, I am just curious as to the premises of your argument.

    Peace and Love,

  18. Danielle says:

    I’m exactly the same way. I considered myself pansexual, because that’s what I was told I was, but I really don’t know. I’m not sexually attracted to either gender; I just think they’re both beautiful. I consider males hot, but I can’t look at an incredibly sexy male and think “I’d have sex with him.” I wouldn’t have sex with anybody unless I was completely in love with them. Only when I’m in love is when I’ll be sexually attracted to a person. I hate not being able to tell people what I am, because that means I just have to explain it, and they’ll think I’m extremely fucking weird. Not that I mind, mind you; I just hate having to explain things like that. It takes so much time.

  19. Lake Desire says:

    Andrew, when I hear pan or omni I think of all encompassing and versatile and easy to please. When I see those words next to sexual, my mind makes a connection between open enjoyment and sex itself.

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