Seventeen years ago, i came out as bi. To my ever so slight dismay, and still to this day, it was the most underwhelming reveal i had ever made. No shock, no awe, not even feigned horror or disgust. Just a simple smile, a “No you’re not,” and a pat on the head as my mom unceremoniously walked out of the room. Needless to say, i started my sexual journey off with a thoroughly confused fizzle.
i lost my virginity to a girl, soon to be trans guy, later that year (i was fortunate enough to see how much happier he was after starting his transition and coming out). The next time i had full on intercourse was three years later with my long-term, cisgendered boyfriend. He, coincidentally, gave me a soft introduction to kink and BDSM – though neither of us knew that at the time. Through the years i’ve had many different types of encounters and relationships with men and women, from the overtly sexual, to the intimate, tantric, and spiritual, and because of my multi-gendered attractions, i settled into this label of bisexuality. But there was always a little bit of a rub between me and the label. Somehow it didn’t quite fit.
i have had sex with more men than women overall, though not necessarily by design. Truth be told, i have enjoyed sex with women on the whole more than i have with men with one fantastically amazing exception (i Love You Dominus Blue). Men were both more accessible and acceptable. i am a fun, energetic, intelligent, pretty girl so finding guys to date or otherwise was never a problem. For some reason though, i didn’t have the same luck with women. i suppose i just didn’t know how to go about it.
The first girl i approached was quite receptive and we actually continued a semi-romantic and sexual relationship well into both of our respective first marriages. i had a couple drunken experiences with other women at parties and even hooked up with a girl on a spring break cruise, but nothing significant or lasting. The next several women i had sex with came by way of my exploits into swinger life through sites like SwingTowns.com, where you build somewhat of a dating profile in your search for like-minded sex lovers. i loved swinging. i could suddenly approach a whole new world full of freaky women.
But even on a sexually free swinger/lifestyle site, you still have to identify yourself as one of the listed sexual orientations. SwingTowns.com does give you a ton of choices though. Bisexual is my default because it’s easy and familiar, but to me, it is inaccurate. i don’t like men or women as a specific group, I just like who i like. i’ve tried other labels too – hetero and homoflexible, pansexual, omnisexual i contend is close. i can’t stand “queer,” i know other people love that identifier, but it makes me feel icky (that’s a technical term). And “other?” “C’mon man,” in my best Cris Carter voice. Nothing really fits me the way i want.
i am a lover of all things love and sex. My sexuality, and thereby my sexual orientation is so much broader than a checklist of whom i envision myself fucking. According to Roman Krznaric, a leading expert on empathy and social change, “the ancient Greeks [had] six words for love,” each of which had its own significance and connotation. Two of the words, eros and phelia spoke to me. Krznaric says that while phelia, brotherly love (think Philadelphia), was the most respected and coveted of the forms of love, eros, or uncontrolled sexual passion, was the most feared. The Greeks were concerned over its unwieldy nature. “Eros was viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you,” Krznaric wrote. No wonder i am so attracted to that word.
i need passion and fire, but i also need friendship and camaraderie. i need the longing that exists in a single glance, and the love that grows over a lifetime. The who of my interaction is not as important as the how. So how do i identify? For now, i am coining erophilasexual (it’s not even googleable yet!). Those two Ancient Greek words seem to best encompass my orientation toward lascivious kinship and enamored desire. And since i’ll likely not see erophilasexual in the drop down menus of sex and dating sites anytime soon, i’d like to ask the web masters for one little favor – could you please add a type-your-own-response box to the list of sexual and gender identifiers? Because, for real, “other?” C’mon man!