Wait, what? Isn’t that the same? No, I’d like to argue that it isn’t.
I’ve written before how I don’t like the “straight” label, because for me, it holds a lot of heteronormativity. That’s why I adopted the “heteroflexible” label on Fetlife, despite the fact that at that point all my sexual encounters had been with cis women. That’s been shifting though, so it’s time to re-evaluate.
I’ve been raised in the strict heteronormativity of the 90s, in a rural place. “Homo” was a slur that we called each other, and I don’t want to count the amount of times I’ve been called a “mietje” (roughly translates to sissy). Not exactly an environment that fosters open-minded exploration of your sexuality.
For the past years I’ve tried to approach my sexuality with curiosity instead of fear, and I used to joke that it was such a shame that I didn’t find men interesting, since it excluded so many fun people. Still, men didn’t really do much for me, and they still don’t.
What did change is me meeting several enby people that I found very attractive. Most of them have been AFAB1, but I recently found myself kissing a AMAB2 enby3 person, and thoroughly enjoying the experience. Under different circumstances I’d probably have been open to more too. So, does that mean I like men after all?
I’ve pondered that question, trying to really be open about it and to let go of all the homophobia I was raised in. The conclusion I came to that no, I still don’t feel attracted to men in general. The attraction here was an energy thing. As in, they didn’t feel like a man to me, despite physically checking all the “male” boxes. They didn’t feel like a woman either, they felt enby. It is its own thing, and I’m learning that that’s something I’m attracted to, regardless of what body parts it comes with.
So, what does that say about my sexuality? I’m not pansexual, since I still don’t feel attracted to men. Basically, I’m attracted to “everything except men”, which feels like a clunky definition, except… it’s actually literally what heterosexual means. Heterosexual comes from the Greek “Heteros”, which means other. I’m a man, and I’m attracted to… people who aren’t men. So, it’s actually a perfect fit.
So, what about straight? Now, this isn’t very scientific, but if you ask a random person what being a straight man means, they’ll probably say it’s a man who’s attracted to women. So, even if I disregard all the heteronormative baggage that the term holds for me personally, it’s still not a label I feel comfortable with.
Now, I realise that most people will probably feel the same about “heterosexual”, so me using the strict translation as my definition is a little bit of a linguistic sleight of hand, but it does fit. I’ll probably keep Heteroflexible as my label, but technically speaking: I’m heterosexual, in the widest sense of the word.