Bisexuality and Pansexuality

I know I posted something yesterday, but I had to write this. I don’t really understand why some people are confused by the difference between the terms bisexual and pansexual, but it seems that some are having a hard time to pin down the definitions. So I’d like to try and shed some light on the subject, though I may just be making it harder for some who already know the difference or those who don’t have a vast knowledge on queer identities.

Depending on whom you ask, each person will give you a different definition to the word bisexual. This is probably because the three most known sexualities are heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual, so bisexuality kind of becomes a catch-all term for anything that doesn’t fit into the other two categories. However, knowing what somebody means when they use the word can easily be solved by simply asking the person in question how they define bisexuality.

There is really no debate that pansexual means “sexual attraction towards all genders”. Bisexual, however, causes more confusion because of the prefix “bi-” which, as you probably know, literally means “two”.

This could basically be interpreted in the following ways:

– Sexual attraction towards the same gender as oneself and genders different to that of oneself

– Sexual attraction towards –only- men and women

– Sexual attraction towards two genders (these can be any two genders, not just man and woman)

Many people think the second one is absolute, and therefore is the difference between bisexual and pansexual, but that would exclude the other two options, which are also widely accepted and used by many bisexuals.

The first is easily confused with pansexual, since it is really also an attraction towards all genders, but I’d say the main difference in this case is the preference; preference for one term or the other and preference for one or more genders over others. Pansexuals, though they may enjoy having a sexual relationship with one gender more than another, usually don’t care much about their partner’s gender. Of course it is an important part of the person, but it isn’t a decisive factor when it comes to choosing a sexual partner. Bisexuals, however, tend to feel sexual attraction towards one gender more than others.

Let’s take as an example a lady, Jane, who happens to be bisexual and defines her sexuality according to the first interpretation. She may feel sexual attraction towards any gender, but usually tends to fall for other ladies 80% of the time. Craig, however, is pansexual, and may feel sexual attraction towards any gender, in equal percentages. Kyle also has no preference for a gender in particular, but still identifies as bisexual because she likes the word better.

The third interpretation also somehow causes lots of confusion due to the idea that “man and woman are the real two genders”, and therefore “all sexualities must include them to be valid”. I have no idea where this came from, but I’ve seen it mentioned, though not that bluntly, in many places where bisexuality/pansexuality are concerned.

Who cares what the difference is, you ask? Not making this difference is erasing the identity of any bisexual and pansexual who has a preference for one word or the other, as well as invalidating the genders of all those out of the binary that would not be included in the “bi” from bisexual in the second interpretation.

How do you define bisexuality and pansexuality?

If I could, I would

I feel like I’m in one of those cheesy and dramatic romance movies that I never finish watching.

She told me her heart was beating fast; she was nervous and blushing rapidly. I was already on the train but she grabbed my shirt from behind and pulled me off it, back towards her. I turned and she cuffed her hands together, wanting to tell me a secret. I looked at her as I leaned down, but she avoided eye contact. Her whisper tickled my ear; “I like you”. She pushed me away and the crowd got me back onto the train. When I turned to look at her I couldn’t catch a glimpse of her face, she was pacing away on the platform covering her nose with her hands.

I hadn’t seen it coming, she was supposed to have a boyfriend. I never planned how I would reject somebody before, let alone my best friend. Since when did she like me? What did she mean when she said so? I had told her I was asexual.

When I got home I sent Pear a message telling her that, being aromantic, I don’t fall in love with people that way and that I couldn’t really return her feelings. I was hoping to have this conversation in person, but summer holidays have arrived and I won’t be seeing her in at least a month.

She confessed that she had fallen in love with me when we first met, but then she went out with a boy to sort out her sexuality and feelings.

She knows I’ll give her everything I can, but I don’t have what she wants. I will never know what she feels, I won’t understand the endless nights she spends thinking of me, the butterflies she says I make her feel, what she thinks of when she sees me. I am not what she needs.

I never thought it would be this painful to not love someone. She is nice, funny, clever and beautiful. She knows how to draw. Her laugh is gorgeous. She complements me every day. She reads the same books I do. She notices all the little things I’m not sharp enough to see. We have so many tastes in common. She brightens up my day. Is she not perfect enough for me to love?

Pear and I

I haven’t mentioned Pear yet. Before I introduce her though, I thought maybe I should stop putting letters as people’s names and maybe assign them fruit instead so they are less confusing. Pear has nothing in common with a pear by the way; the names are chosen randomly.
Pear and I met at drawing classes. I try to be as outgoing as I can when meeting new people, otherwise I’m most likely to end up alone in a corner of the room, so I got into the habit to talking to everyone in my drawing class (30 people). This means that I have a good relationship with everyone and walk around the room talking to all and none in particular (I think that’s what you call a floater when studying high school girl cliques?). When Pear showed up half way through the year, nervous and solitary, I also presented myself and we soon became great friends. I usually get bothered with people fairly quickly and have an urge to run away after they talk for too long, but she was different. I consider her to be my best friend and I often get an earlier train to see her in the mornings.
One day we were walking to the train station together; we were talking about manga and, somehow, she ended up saying that she loved characters who dressed up as the opposite sex, as well as androgynous Asian singers. I thought that it would be a good enough moment to come out as non-binary, but I cowardly changed my mind. Instead I gave her one of my smirks with hidden meaning and agreed, then proceeded to say a list of characters and gender-bender series that I also loved.
Five minutes later she started complaining about her boyfriend, because he didn’t let her cut her hair. I knew she’d be bothered if I went into feminism mode and told her that her boyfriend had no right to decide which haircut she should have, but I did tell her she should be doing whatever she wanted with her own hair. Anyway, then she said she was sick of relationships and “wished she was asexual”. That definitely caught me off guard as I was incredibly surprised that somebody in the mainstream population (cis-hetero-monogamous-vanilla) would know about the term. Second time that I had a perfect opportunity to come out and stayed quiet.
Another day we were scribbling our names on a piece of paper and drawing flowers around them, when the guy sitting in front of us said to another friend that “all the girls around him turned into lesbians, even Pear”. I don’t think I need to make much of a comment on the nature of this statement, seeing as it basically speaks for itself, but I could’ve taken this (third) opportunity to come out to her. As usual, I didn’t.
Of course later I was ashamed of myself for not saying anything. She is the most accepting person I know and would have no problem whatsoever with me being trans or ace. But if you think that my chances of disclosing my identity were over, you should know that I was given yet another opportunity to do so.
It was last week. I thought I might as well mention that there’s the Barcelona Pride this Saturday, and that I’d be going. She was upset because she couldn’t go, so I said I’d buy her a flag or something. She told me she wanted the pansexual one. I made sure to tell her that I’d be buying an asexual one for me and in response I got “why would you want an ace one, being asexual is so sad!”, as she proceeded to tell me that only 1% of the population is asexual. I wasn’t going to waste this chance so I butted in with a “I’m part of that 1%!”. She was shocked for a second or two but then started squealing and jumping up and down, saying that she finally met an asexual person and that she’d always wanted to know my sexuality (really?).
She’s been very interested and asking a few questions these past few days about asexuality and aromanticism. I also came out as genderqueer. She suspected it and says it’s fine, that she has no problem whatsoever and feels so much closer to me now. Turns out she’s pansexual too (not a lesbian).

Sex is the biggest nothing of all time

Pleasure. That’s this month’s topic for the Carnival of Aces over at The Pleasure’s All Mine. I’m thinking that thepleasuresallmine chose this theme on purpose –also considering the subject of her blog in general- just to hear all of our little dark secrets, but she won’t be getting much from me considering I am not sexually active in any way nor do I masturbate.
I’ll start with clearing up one thing first. I have decided that I will and want to die a virgin (how can I miss something I never tried?). That makes me a celibate ace, I guess. It doesn’t bother me in the least what people will think; why would I have to have such an intimate moment with somebody if I myself don’t feel that it’s important nor want it. I hardly have a libido and am also sex-repulsed. The sex itself doesn’t disgust me, but ever since I remember I am reluctant towards bones and muscles; that leads to me not wanting to touch anyone, neither animals, because I feel that I will break into pieces by their touch. I swear it isn’t personal.
Another factor for not wanting to partake in a sexual relationship is my dysphoria. Thankfully I don’t have strong body –or social– dysphoria, but surely there are things, such as sex, that will trigger it. And I am not going to take my chances.
I also doubt I will ever find somebody who I trust enough to have that kind of relationship with. I dislike being vulnerable. They say “there’s somebody for everyone”, which I don’t really doubt much, especially since in my case the statement is true (I am popular enough with the lads when I present femme), but me being aromantic doesn’t permit me to return the feelings.
I am aware that there are many kinds of pleasure, not just the physical. I would like to say I am an incredibly interesting person and that my hobbies range from east to west, but truth be told my obsession with Japan touches all the corners of my life. It started with a manga and then proceeded to have me studying Japanese culture, history, language, religion and anything related. So you could say that I get my pleasure in digesting more useless facts I will never need about a country at the other side of the world. Reading, cartoons, the internet and drawing also keep me content. Call me childish if you must, but I prefer to say I’m simply not interested in physical pleasure.

Dean_Martin_everybody_loves_somebody

Asexuality, video games and the future

For the first time, I will be participating in the Carnival of aces, which theme this month is “Analogies to an Asexual Experience”. I had a hard time understanding the topic, mainly because of the word analogy; it isn’t a word I usually come across, let alone use, and had to read and re-read the explanatory post many times. But I think I finally managed to understand. In situations like these, I often tend to blame my lack of comprehension on the fact that I don’t live, and haven’t lived since I was a kid, in an English-speaking country, instead of just accepting the fact that I don’t have a vast knowledge of difficult English words – not that the word analogy is that difficult though.

Luvtheheaven, this month’s host, suggested writing about something else we don’t experience other than sexual attraction, such as not understanding why all of the other people in my peer group enjoy playing video games, while I don’t. I thought this was curious because I frequent many manganime spaces where all we talk about is drawing, dressing-up, watching anime and playing video games. I hardly watch anime anymore and, though I will not admit this in real life, have only played one videogame before (at a friend’s house). I love to read manga, however, and hardly understand why people fuss so much over an anime or game when the manga equivalent is so much better – it’s like saying the Harry Potter movies are better than the books (don’t get me wrong, the films are great, but J.K. Rowling’s words are incomparable)-, which could also be compared to how I feel about sexual attraction. But I won’t get into manga because, if I properly start, I will not finish any time soon.

Truth be told, even though I identify as a grey-demiromantic gynosensual asexual, I don’t often frequent ace spaces. Precisely because I basically lack any kind of sexual or romantic attraction, I don’t really think about it much. I found a label I feel comfortable with and proceeded to file it in my mental drawer for self-identification terms, under the big packages and pieces of paper that correspond to my gender, which for some reason keep popping up again and again.

I actually couldn’t care less about my (lack of) sexuality; I might fall in love someday and later on feel some sort of sexual attraction to a special specific person, which is great. What is also great is that I might never find anybody hug-worthy or feel that I will want to sleep with anyone. What would be the greatest of all is that I might fall in love and start an asexual (sensual) relationship with a gorgeous lady with short hair who likes manga and doesn’t question my gender identity, who happens to find sexual satisfaction with another lovely partner who prefers the Harry Potter books to the movies, therefore creating a gay (as in happy) polyamorous relationship. It would also be great if one of them was rich and shares their money with me.

I am young and my future is unknown to me; I don’t know who I will meet or who I will like or dislike. I am not going to fret over my sexuality as long as it isn’t important to do so.

I would usually end my post here, but since I think I failed at writing something about this month’s theme (analogy!), I guess I will bring up the topic from before. I really don’t understand why people enjoy video games so much. Nor do I understand why people like sex so much. Nor do I understand why I bite my ring fingers’ nails more than any other fingers’ nails.

Thoughts from the balcony

After accidently locking myself out on the balcony, I found that I had plenty of time ahead of me to think, since nobody was coming to save me anytime soon. Basically I was wondering about what in the world I’d make a post about, since this is supposed to be my gender/sexuality ranting blog –not that I have any other blogs anyway- but, believe it or not, I really don’t have that much to say about it. Sure, I have the typical bathroom problems (which I wrote about here), or things like my gender suddenly changing halfway through the day; but other than that my life is pretty normal. And then I realised! My drawing teacher is the only one I have come out to in real life as non-binary (though I really don’t know how others haven’t picked up on my gender or sexuality yet, because I don’t really try hard to hide it) and only because he asked me which pronouns I preferred. As you may have guessed by the way he asked the question, he has some knowledge on the subject and so I didn’t really have to give him the whole “you see, gender and sex aren’t the same thing” talk.

My sister found out I liked girls and was trans* while using my computer (note to self: hide what you don’t want others to see), but she said, and I quote, “all of this stuff doesn’t exist. You’re just making it up”. She was actually my gateway to the rest of the family, being the person most open-minded. If I managed to make her understand, my parents would slide right into acceptance. But I soon gave up on her when I saw that she seriously didn’t care in the least. I told my father I was genderqueer, as well as carefully explaining the term and how I felt, but it soon became clear he didn’t believe me and was convinced I’d grow out of it once I got a boyfriend. I haven’t even mentioned anything to my mother because she insists on buying me female clothing every time she goes out to the shops –which is quite often since she works in one. I wear them once a month to keep her happy. My other sister is totally out of the wave. She has no idea of anything that is going on. Or maybe she is a shadow-lurker that knows all my secrets and I am the real clueless one.

I’ve decided to take baby steps and slowly people will catch on to what’s going on with me. I’m going to go to a lesbian meet-up in a few days (which will be totally awkward) and find myself some LGBT friends that will come in handy if I get into one of my dysphoria tantrums or need a shoulder to cry rainbow tears on. I’ll also be sending a letter to my school asking if I can use the disabled toilet as a neutral one.

Excuse me ma’am… um… sir?

Sometimes I’ve been asked “what are you”? I’m guessing whoever said this meant something along the lines of “Excuse me; I’d like to know which pronouns you prefer, since I wouldn’t want to misgender or offend you in any way”. I try to avoid responding in a rude or unpleasant way, since it will probably be me who will be taking the blame for getting angry, clearly without a reason, but sometimes I can’t help but thinking “you wouldn’t understand anyway”. And the truth is I doubt anyone can understand my gender and sexuality, since it’s already hard enough for me to grasp its sudden changes. But I don’t mind if nobody understands me. I only want people to understand that they can’t understand me, and accept me anyway, and respect my preferences, and give me a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ or a ‘they’ whenever I warn them about my current gender. Also, there is much more to me as a person than my queerness. Did you know I have started to draw on the computer, instead of on paper? I’m hoping to win a scholarship thanks to the big project I got a 100/100 on – it’s in the finalists already. I’m trying not to bite my nails so much. I have subscribed to a French magazine so I can practise the language, plus read a whole lot of cool stuff about animation. And I’m going to get my driver’s licence soon.

But if you still really want to know what in the world I am, well then I’ll tell you I’m a heteroqueer masculine gynoromantic genderqueer demidominant lesbian trigender grey-A demisexual polyamorous-positive stone-butch transgender. And right now I go by he-him-his.