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  #251  
Old 09-21-2012, 12:33 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Hey Nyc, thanks for working through it with us. I totally get that you're not in any way homophobic in your daily life, and I'm not saying you need to fight your personal preferences, but yeah, it remains hard to understand "bi = less masculine" as being not about some kind of prejudice or misconception about gay/bi guys. The competition part makes more sense in the abstract, though I still have a hard time grasping it on a personal level.

I think the best analogy would be if you were to ask if a straight man might be considered homophobic if he lost interest in a woman after learning she was bi. And to be honest, yeah, I would be pretty pissed off and would have a hard time understanding it as anything other than prejudice if a man expressed an attraction to me and then backed off once he learned I like women as well as men. It *would* kinda be better if he'd never been attracted to me at all, because then it wouldn't be solely about him rejecting this one, integral part of my identity, which our culture as a whole is going into such convulsions over lately.

It's much harder to make an equivalent comparison to a gay person, male or female, not wanting to date bi people, because there's not the same cultural bias against opposite-sex attraction that they'd be playing into. I would still be annoyed at the hypothetical gay person on a personal level, and might question if they had misconceptions about bi people, but I wouldn't tend to chalk it up to some kind of "straight-phobia", y'know?
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  #252  
Old 09-21-2012, 12:59 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I find the competition aspect interesting. The closest I've ever come with is the opposite. When I had discussions with friends about what we'd do if guys cheated on us, I always thought, if it's with a guy it won't be as bad, because I would get it, that the guy gives him things I can't. But with another woman I thought I might feel like I was being judged against her and compared, etc.

That was way before I thought about being with a poly person though. Now it really doesn't matter if their partners are male or female, I'm not going to feel like there is competition of any kind. Cheating would be even worse though, because it would be hurting me for the sake of hurting me.

About polysexual, I've head people, in that context, that "monosexual" for someone who is either gay or straight, and "polysexual" for someone who is bi or pan. However, in a polyamorous contexts, these words are also used to mean someone who has sex with several people or just one, respectively, which I think makes the whole thing confusing.
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  #253  
Old 09-21-2012, 01:53 PM
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Perhaps polysexual can be used to be something between bisexual and pansexual? So the people that identify themselves as bi specifically because they are not attracted to transpeople or androgyny (not all bi people identify this way but for the sake of those who are using it that specific way) and then the people who are pansexual being attracted to everything (presumably or possibly attracted to most everything), then polysexual might be something in between. Maybe you like men, women, and transmen, but not transwomen or crossdressers. Or in my case, I tend to like androgynous people of both genders, men (although not hypermasculine ones), transwomen, and crossdressing men. I probably wouldn't be attracted to a super girly girl, but I wouldn't rule it out. I've never been attracted to a transman that I know of, but I think it is probably likely that I would find one attractive at some point if I met enough of them. I tend more toward males than females, although most of the men I date are pretty feminine.

That whole paragraph to say, I have my preferences, such that I feel like using pansexual might not be completely appropriate, because it is a rare woman that I really get attracted to and my girl crushes are few and far between. Polysexual might be the most appropriate term for me, then, because I have a lot of different things that I am attracted to, but there is a hierarchy and some people I'm much more attracted to than others based on certain gender characteristics.

Bah, that was long. I've been wanting to try and talk through and pin down my sexuality for a while. I like the term polysexual.
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  #254  
Old 09-21-2012, 03:52 PM
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Edit to add (because wow this post ended up hugely long!) tldr - I'm never sure how to ID myself personally, I don't feel fully straight or bisexual. I think everything is on a sliding scale and labels should only be applied to oneself, not to others.

***
I actually have quite a lot of trouble trying to figure out what label I should apply to myself. I don't get hung up on it, because hey, I'm just me really and labels shouldn't matter, but it's something I've thought about from time to time.

My general feeling on any label is that you shouldn't try to apply them to other people, only to yourself. Let other people deal with their own identities, and I'll go with however they want to present themselves. I call my husband bisexual, because that is what he calls himself. Likewise with my boyfriend, who identifies as straight.

I know a lot of people who identify strongly as either straight, gay, or bisexual. I'm not sure if I know anyone in real life who identifies as pan. I definitely know a few who identify as queer, and a few trans-people.

For myself though, I'm never sure. I've never been in a relationship with a woman, although that's not saying much as I've only actually been in two relationships (the two I'm still in!). I have kissed a fair number of girls/women over the years, and slept with one. So does that make me bi?

I tend to default to ticking 'straight' on official equal opps monitoring forms because I guess maybe I don't feel 'bi enough' to identify as bisexual. More and more though, in recent years, that feels a bit like a lie. I want there to be a scale that I can put an approximate mark on! When talking to friends I think I tend to say I'm on the straight end of bi, or the bi end of straight, depending on my mood at the time.

I can certainly look at both men and women and find them physically attractive, beautiful, sexy etc. It's not always the same types either. I find lots of things attractive. I like 'girly' looking girls, I like a bit of androgyny in both genders sometimes, I like long hair on men, I quite like a bit of make-up on men (I think that's left over from my time in the goth scene) but I also like it sometimes when they are a bit scruffy and stubbly - rough & ready... It's hard to really pin down a type

I've never met a girl I wanted to have a relationship with, but that might be more a function of the fact that I'm quite picky (finding someone physically attractive doesn't necessarily mean that I want to date them!) and for ten years from the age of 18 to 28 I was monogamous with my husband so wasn't really looking, beyond going 'ooh, that person's pretty' occasionally.

When I fantasize however (in a sexual context), there are almost always women involved (as well as men - I tend to fantasize about group settings )

I'm not keen on the -curious suffix, as some others have said. It sounds wishy-washy and feels very teenage to me - like girls kissing girls because it's fun and 'it doesn't really count' or something. I've heard people using heteroflexible, but that doesn't sit right with me either. I would read that as basically straight but willing to have sex with someone of the same gender, like maybe in a threesome situation.

Pansexual doesn't feel right either, but that might just be because I'm not as used to the term, having only come across it in recent years. It seems too all-encompassing. I do have physical preferences, and I think I'm somewhere towards the straight end of the scale in general, just not 100%. But then maybe it is true that I am attracted to a person simply for who they are, rather than what gender they happen to be (my husband and boyfriend are quite different, although both obviously male). Would that make me pan?

Meh, I know. I should stop fretting about labels and just be me!

Sorry for going off into extended personal musings!

Last edited by Papillon; 09-21-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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  #255  
Old 09-21-2012, 04:45 PM
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What is it about the term heteroflexible that doesn't sit well with you? I'm curious because it was a label I thought of applying to myself for quite a while and it is a term that I think both of the legs of my V like to use. They do not play with each other, but they are both comfortable having threesomes with me and get turned on by the element of watching me with another man. They have also had passing interest in/experimentation with guys but mostly aren't attracted to them.
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  #256  
Old 09-21-2012, 05:36 PM
SkylerSquirrel SkylerSquirrel is offline
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Okays. Just so you people know, I didn't mean to imply that transwomen didn't count as women and transmen didn't count as men. I know they do.

That question came up in response to Magdlyn saying that a person who didn't particularly identify as either gender would be categorized as hetero or homo based upon their physiology. I was asking, if that was the case, would that logic apply to transpeople as well?

Tonberry's response made much more sense to me.

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In the end, your orientation is what it is, and it might change and fluctuate (or rather, what you identify as might), but it might not. Don't hope for it to change is my point, deal with what you've got.
To get more specific, I have reasons for believing that I'm not 100% straight. I definitely get aroused by looking at an attractive women, especially if she's not wearing much . But I'm only interested in doing things with men, and have only wanted romantic relationships with men.

There is one girl who I love very much and feel a strong connection with - and find very attractive - but the thought of a physical relationship with her makes me squick a little. I'm not sure whether that's society's heteronormative programming making me feel like it would be "corrupting" her, or if it's just that I'm naturally not interested in sexual interactions with women?

So my orientation is basically towards men for all practical intents and purposes, which is why I say I'm attracted to men.

Last edited by SkylerSquirrel; 09-21-2012 at 05:41 PM.
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  #257  
Old 09-21-2012, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
My "issue" is about who they're attracted to or interested in. And for some reason, tangled up in that, is my perception that their masculinity quotient goes down. Just as Tonberry said that she can't fantasize about gay men because she knows they'd never be interested in her, there is something about a man being attracted to another man that takes away what I see as potential to be attracted to me. It's like, if he's attracted to other women, I know how to compete with that. But in my mind, I can't compete with other men, so as soon as I find out a guy is bi or gay, I lose interest.
Honestly based on the responses I've heard and read from other women about dating bisexual men, this is quite common. They mention the whole competition thing a LOT. I can't personally wrap my head around it, because if you think about it, nothing is a competition unless you make it one, imo. I feel like if I don't intrigue you off top, it doesn't matter who else wants your attention; I probably wouldn't have a chance later on in life either lol. It just is what it is.

But I might feel differently because I myself am bisexual, and Arii is pan, and nothing about either of those things make us NOT attracted to one another; it doesn't make him less masculine to me at all, just adds a dimension to his personhood that I hadn't been well-versed in prior to meeting him (still learning of course).
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  #258  
Old 09-21-2012, 08:51 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
But masculinity isn't just about physical appearance or interests and pursuits. It's an energy I respond to, and I can't quite explain it. And I know that my disinterest in bisexual men isn't about where their cock has been, or if they like to be top or bottom...

My "issue" is about who they're attracted to or interested in. And for some reason, tangled up in that, is my perception that their masculinity quotient goes down. Just as Tonberry said that she can't fantasize about gay men because she knows they'd never be interested in her, there is something about a man being attracted to another man that takes away what I see as potential to be attracted to me. It's like, if he's attracted to other women, I know how to compete with that. But in my mind, I can't compete with other men, so as soon as I find out a guy is bi or gay, I lose interest. I don't do it on purpose, it's just like a door shuts for me. I can find them physically attractive, and I can be attracted to them as friends, but there is no more sexual interest. But, I really don't see that as homophobic.
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
Why would a lesbian be attracted to an extremely butch woman? (I am still learning about dyke culture so I don't have this all figured out yet.) I guess some lesbians dress butch partly to be unattractive to straight men, partly because they just like it. Femme lesbians can be looked askance at by butches, thought of as untrustworthy.

In the case of the Michigan Womyn's Festival, he would be, as long as he didnt announce himself as male. Apparently, as long as he has female appearing genitalia, should he take a public shared shower, he's allowed in, even if he's sporting a beard and new muscles and has had breast surgery to get a flatter chest. But transwomen, perhaps even post-op, are not allowed in, as they aren't "womyn-born-womyn", born womyn, raised as womyn, living as womyn. Sigh...
There is so much going on in this thread - in good ways - that I do not know where to start.

Ok, so first I'm going to define the terms I'm using. Sex and gender are NOT the same thing. Sex is biological - it is the body, chromosomes, hormones and so on that we are born with. And sex on its own is freakin' complicated. There are folks who are born with indeterminate genitalia, (intersexed is one common term). There are folks who have chromosomal differences - who look outwardly like stereotypical men or women who are actually chromosomically very different.

Gender is the accummulated social mores, beliefs, thoughts, ideology, that get attached to sex - gender is what makes a man a man and a woman a woman. Gender is the sets of practices that we all do consciously and unconsciously to indicate to others where we stand - do we present as women or men? (Keeping in mind that some present as both, or neither, or other.) Gender is truly a performance - it is what we do.

So, to continue. Masculinity does not equal man. Femininity does not equal woman. Butch women are so attractive to many lesbians and bi women (myself included) because they are masculine AND female. How a butch woman 'does' masculine is different from how a man (straight or gay) 'does' masculine. The energy is very different. It's hard to describe but once experienced, instantly recognizable. And, yes, some butch women realize that they are trans and decide to transition - to match up their masculine selves with their sex self (so masculine AND male). Also how femme women 'do' femininity - even though the tools (makeup, clothing, etc.) are the same - is different from the femininity of straight women.

Butch lesbians aren't butches to repel men. They couldn't care less the ones I've met. Most like men just fine as brothers, uncles, friends, coworkers. They are not the mostly non-existent lesbian man-hater. Their presentation of self is not about men at all. They are not hiding their attractiveness or downplaying their looks but presenting themselves to a particular audience. They express a more masculine sense of themselves through their clothes, their look, their energy, how they walk and talk. And generally, it's total catnip to the people butches do care about - lesbians and bi women.

Ah, I miss butches. I don't have enough of them in my life. Anyway...

Femme lesbians can 'blend' in more easily than butch women. Until you know how to look, femme women look a lot like straight, stereotypically feminine women. Bi women who are conventionally feminine presenting also have a similar problem where they can just disappear in a sea of straightness. That privilege or problem depending on how you define it can and does cause tension between butch and femme women, between lesbians and bi women.

On a side note, I strongly believe that the Michigan womyn's festival has lost its mind over the trans policy. I haven't gone since shortly after they put it in place and won't until it is gone.

Hmmm. More to say but I can't easily organize it in my head just yet.
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  #259  
Old 09-21-2012, 09:20 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Ivan Coyote (a butch lesbian) talking about femme lesbians. Really, explains a lot. Plus she is a great writer - check out her work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q7Iz...ature=youtu.be
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  #260  
Old 09-22-2012, 01:27 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I wonder if "polysexual" could mean that you're mainly attracted to multiple people, and/or that you feel a strong desire to be with two people at once, such as someone who prefers to have sex with a couple?

(I'm just imagining here, I don't really know what it means to identify as polysexual).

This has been an interesting discussion. I have a couple questions for NYCindie, if you don't mind:

You said you wouldn't want someone who is specifically (or only) attracted to plus-size women, because that would be a fetish, someone objectifying you for being plus-sized. But how is that different from someone just having a preference for a particular body type?

Is that different from someone with a preference for femme lesbians, or for men with big cocks, or for boyish-looking men, or...? I mean, ideally, everyone would be attracted to personalities and be able to see past physical characteristics, but there's a strong physical component to sex & attraction, and people have their preferences, stuff that just turns them on.

Another question: how would you feel if a man you were already involved with confessed that he is bi? (Or that he wants to have, or has already had, same-sex experiences?) I doubt you would stop liking him. It sounds like mainly, that when a potential interest of yours turns out to be bi, you use that a process of elimination not to pursue him. Would it be different if it was someone you knew well and/or someone who really liked you? Would you want to work past your preferences in that case?

Just curious. This stuff is all way more complicated than it appears!

Another complication for me is the dominant/submissive angle. It took me a long time to figure out, and feel comfortable with, the fact that I am attracted to men who are sexually dominant. I'm not even all that kinky, just a bit sub-ish in bed and very sexually compatible with dom-ish/top-ish men.

Obviously sexually dominance isn't a purely physical characteristic--I mean it's not something you can tell about someone at first sight--but I've found that I can sometimes pick up on a sort of "dominant energy" that is hard to articulate but nonetheless is attractive to me. Conversely, I have also felt un-attracted to men who did not radiate this energy. But that energy is not the same as masculinity or maleness, I don't think.

Ironically, I finally became aware of and comfortable with my attraction to this "dominant energy" when I met a woman who radiated it. She was a butch lesbian/bi, and I wasn't really attracted to her (although she is quite awesome), but somehow meeting her made me recognize her energy, and then my own mental processes sort of clicked. I realized, "Oh, I'm not attracted to men who are assholes, I'm just attracted to sexual dominance!"

After that, I was able to articulate what I was looking for and eliminate the asshole men from my search. (There are quite a lot of assholes who radiate sexual dominance)

Lately I've been trying to learn more about my own preferences and figure out if men can be sexually compatible with me without being the type of people who radiate sexual energy at all. (Since there must be men who are dominant in bed but don't exude it out of every pore, like men who are introverted or reserved in public, etc).

And then there's also smell and pheromones as markers of attraction. That's not something I have any control over. I have never met a woman who exuded the chemical smell that I am attracted to.
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