Hi all! HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!!!
Sorry this post is not as soon as expected, but I hope the length will make up for it a bit.
As you guessed from the title, we're getting sexual (and asexual) today - are you intrigued?
I thought so.
First, however, I think it's so important to break down the difference between romantic and sexual attraction (as well as platonic) and to inform those reading that neither of these things are attached to how someone identifies or expresses/presents themselves. I mentioned this in a post back in May of last year, but was still toying with this 'definitions in my posts' idea and now that I've finally got around to it, I really want to break this subject down (as briefly as possible since this can become a very long conversation).
Romantic attraction can most easily be defined as the desire for a romantic relationship with someone, and can be experienced by anyone towards any gender or identity.
Sexual attraction, therefore, can be defined as the desire for a sexual relationship with someone. I think it goes without saying that this type of attraction can also be experienced by anyone towards any gender or identity.
Upon first reading these two may seem similar, yet they are in fact quite different. If you start to mentally make separate lists of romantic activities and sexual activities - you'll start to see what I mean. Some people, especially those on the Asexual spectrum (yes, it has it's own spectrum and it is vast), have mixed combinations of romantic and sexual orientations - myself included, but we'll get to that in a bit.
Some examples of romantic activities are sharing a meal, seeing a movie together, holding hands, cuddling, and even kissing. Some examples of sexual activities include... well, I really don't think I have to go into these, but I will say that different people have alternate ideas of what activities are considered sexual than others.
With those two aspects now defined separately, let's dig a bit into the spectrum of asexuality. Here is a fantastic overview of what asexuality is, as posted by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, and here is some general FAQ asked about asexuality.
The breakdown is that someone who is asexual does not experience sexual attraction. That being said, there is a spectrum of definitions that break this idea down a bit further - including those who are repulsed by sex, or those who experience stipulations on their sexual attraction.
Personally, I identify as a Demisexual, which means that in order to feel sexual attraction towards someone, I need to form an emotional bond with them. I personally would never have a one night stand, since I'm not sexually attracted to someone on first sight, and porn doesn't do much (if anything) for me either since I'm not emotionally invested.
I truly believe that more people fall into this category than they realize, and while I'm becoming more and more indifferent about labels as I move on in life, when I first learned about the asexual spectrum and that I wasn't alone in my demisexuality, it meant a lot to me. So before anyone judges about how there is a "label for everything nowadays" and calling people snowflakes, just remember that how they anyone labels themselves is not your problem and could be the only thing keeping them mentally stable in that time of their lives.
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Next, I want to talk about Pansexuality, which is traditionally defined as the sexual attraction to a person regardless of their sex or gender. A fun way to put it is "hearts not parts". To backtrack a bit, bisexual is traditionally defined as the sexual attraction to both male and female gender identified people. However, this definition is shifting seemingly more than any other currently, as people who identify as bisexual will say that they simply are attracted to (or will be sexually active with) more than one gender. Perhaps they are attracted to women and non-binary folks. Alternatively, people will identify as bisexual even when they may feel that they are pansexual simply because they want to fight the attempted erasure of bisexuals from the community. Which I love, by the way. I spoke to someone recently (more info on this as the month goes by 😉) who stated this to me and I thought it was brilliant. The attempt to erase bisexual identified people from the community is strong, and real, and disappointing. People may not realize how much conflict there is within the LGBTQ+ community, but it is absolutely an issue that we face, even within each letter of the acronym. For example, some people will argue that in order to be "transgender enough" the individual must have surgery and undergo hormone therapy to conform to the gender that they identify as. Similarly, people who identify as bisexual but are in a heterosexual relationship are scrutinized and sometimes not believed to be "truly" bisexual. Whatever that means. There is a lot of negativity in the community and it's so hard during Pride month to hear all of this conflict when we all need to stick together and help each other.
Now that I'm starting to rant about how to change the world, it is time to end the post.
Fun Fact: The spell check on this tried to change every 'demisexual' to 'bisexual' 💓💛💚💙💜