I would like to start with the phrase “There was a time when things were simpler” but that’s untrue. My life has never been simple. In some ways, my knowledge and understanding of my three different genders has made some things easier to understand. In others, it has made them more complex.
However, one thing always sticks on the back of my mind–the disconnect between sexuality and relationships–and I figured I’d try to flush it out.
The definitions to the following terms are directly from Merriam Webster. As each word had several definitions, I chose the ones that dealt with the meaning in this post.
What are Relationships?
Relationship: a romantic attachment
What is Sexuality?
Sexuality: the quality or state of being sexual: expression of sexual receptivity or interest especially when excessive
What is Gender?
Gender: the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex
What is label?
Label: a descriptive or identifying word or phrase
So… why am I giving you a definition lesson? I’m not, but I wanted to have these definitions set so that you can read what I have to say within those confining labels.
Have you ever noticed how confining labels are? Male. Female. Gay. Straight. Liberal. Conservative. Religious. Open.
Each one of those words, no doubt had an image (or more) flash into your head as to what they mean. You’ve instantly boxed whatever that label means, and anyone you have attached that label to.
Let me state I have always been against labels. Whenever I’ve been given a label, or even accepted it as part of me, I also rejected it. Being branded with a label, to me, is kind of like being pushed into a box that doesn’t fit. Because no label fits all of me. It may fit this bit… or this bit… or even that bit… but I am a vast amalgam of genders, sexualities, identities, thoughts, beliefs, snarkiness, shyness, reserve, brashness, openness, intelligence, confusion, attitude, love, and… I could go on into infinitum.
But if I allow one label to overshadow me? It pushes away the other 99.9% of who I am.
This was brought front and center 8 days ago.
For the sake of this post, I define myself as a trigender sapiosexual–I have three genders: masculine, neutral, and feminine and am sexually attracted to intelligence–who is attracted to a tiny, itty bitty percentage of the male population. (But I am so much more, so don’t squish me into a box!)
Ahem, back to what I was saying… 8 days ago, I spent several annoying hours in the ER of a local hospital when my dad had an attack and we called 911. So while we’re sitting in my dad’s ER room, in walked his doctor. Now let me state that I never find someone attractive right off the bat. I have to get to know him first. Plus, having grown up around hospitals, I know for a fact that doctors are never attractive. However, that said, I was automatically attracted to this particular physician. Tall with blond hair, a little salt and pepper at the roots, lithe, intelligent… let’s just say YUM. Oh yeah, and he was probably two feet taller than me. LOL
We saw him three times before he stated they were keeping my dad overnight and that the attending physician in the hospital side was coming in to talk to us. So, we sat there and waited and a new doctor walked in and introduced themself. And for the second time in one night, I found myself attracted to someone. Which is shocking enough. Instant attraction just doesn’t happen to me. The difference is, in this instance, the doctor was female.
The automatic zing that went through me as she introduced herself and shook my hand was a bit of a surprise. I’m open enough that I can state it wasn’t shocking. But it did open my eyes to the fact I had bought into a label: that I was only attracted to men. Now, as I’ve never been attracted in that way to a woman before, it’s possible she may be the only one ever. OR, now that I’ve noticed it, I may find myself attracted to more women in the future. Or, and this is most likely in my opinion, I’ll not notice because I usually DON’T notice attraction to either sex just by seeing or talking to them. Usually it takes getting to know them.
Now, where am I going with this? I do have a point, believe it or not 😉
The way we define relationships is wonky. When I fully recognized my three genders, it was with a relief, though it did screw up the way others defined me. The problem I see is that the world defines its capacity for loving relationships by their sexuality.
What is the problem with definining relationships by sexuality? (and by the way, I caught that typo the moment the word was finished typing, but it sounded so exceptional in my head that I left it.)
If you are gender: masculine and occupy a male physical body and are sexually attracted to gender: feminine in a female body, you classify yourself as heterosexual. Or, if you are that gender: masculine male and are sexually attracted to other masculine males, you classify as homosexual. And that doesn’t even bring in all the multitudes of mixtures of gender and physical body and attraction factors.
Defining one label is so limiting. Because what happens if in twenty years you realize that definition doesn’t fit? What if you find you are more than you thought you were? By then you’ve dug in waist or throat deep and everyone knows you as “X, Y, or Z” and can you dig your way out? Because that’s what labels do: they shrink who we are by putting strict definitions on our heads. And if we change, others do their best to put us back into our box because that’s where they are more comfortable.
Just as bad, it is defining a possible loving, romantic relationship by sexuality. Which doesn’t necessarily mesh. Wouldn’t an attraction that creates a long-lasting relationship be more based on gender and personality than sex? Sure, sexual attraction can be important depending on one’s sexual needs. And don’t get me wrong, I have a high libido and need a high level of sexual activity when in a relationship. But a relationship is built on more than sex. If it wasn’t, nobody would stay married to the same person for 60 years. Hell, nobody would get married at all.
So what’s left? How about not defining it at all. Or going by one term. Humanity. Because who we are sexually attracted to and who we are emotionally attracted to might get wonky, especially as the limited paradigm of male/female is dumped.
Want a what if? Try being a trigender individual who has a strong masculine side which comes out when I date. Now try being the het guy who dated me. At least I now know why I acted the way I did back when I dated and why the guy either went running in the other direction or became my best bud.
We need to expand our ability to see beyond the label, to see beyond what we think of us and those we associate with. And most of all, we need to be open to who we are and who we might become.
It’s taken me 5 decades to figure out so many things about myself. It makes me kind of excited for the things I’ll find out in the next 5 decades.
In conclusion, I don’t know if the connect and disconnect in my brain between sexuality, gender, and relationships will ever be figured out. Back when I ‘thought’ I was a crazy person living in a female body, what others said ‘sounded’ simple—the whole dating, relationship, marriage conundrum—but never was. Now, I know much more about who I am, nothing is simple anymore. Dating, relationships, sexuality… it’s all a crazy mess.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be a person looking for a companion without all the other shit in the way?
I dream of the day when a label is nothing more than a post-it note on someone’s calendar. Not their life.