March 19, 2012
A Guest Post by RUBYYY JONES
At the moment I couldn’t tell you what the label is for my sexuality or orientation. I’m still in a discovery phase after a very swift 2011.
At the beginning of that year I was just ending my first experience of heterosexual non-monogamy with a dash of heterosexual polyamory after ending my relationship with one long-term long distance lover and another lovely lover in an open marriage. Then I dived head first into full on polyamory with a lover who lived off the poly grid, without primary, secondary and all those ‘little’ boundaries and who now identifies as an RA: Relationship Anarchist. During my time with him I learned more about my evolving sexuality. My bi-curiousity became heteroflexibility and regularly swings into bisexual territory as I’m refining my sexual side. I suppose if I had to define myself, the closest thing I could say at the moment is: I’m a heterosexual, non-monogamous, poly spirited lesbian.
Actively allowing yourself to live out your chosen life isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth any heartache, exhaustion or fears that may arise. Part of living your chosen life is examining some of the labels you chose to apply to yourself, in order to communicate, network and connect.
So now you might be thinking, well if we’re in the ‘woo flow’ and we’re loving life and ourselves and peace on earth and whatever, why do we need labels? To which I would reply ‘Well done!’ give you a lollipop and a pat on the head. I would agree that labels aren’t always fun or necessary, they can be rigid. BUT what if it’s a personal label, one you’ve chosen for yourself or given yourself because you feel it best represents, your sexuality, your religion, your morality.
I think what keeps labels from being fluid is our own lack of imagination and our misconception that our labels, once chosen, cannot change. I think it’s natural for your orientation to change throughout your life, and though I believe it’s totally natural for some to remain a single sexuality throughout their lifetime, part of me doesn’t believe you can truly know your sexuality until you are at the least open to the idea that you could be something other than what you are now. The great Betty Dodson, has identified as a “heterosexual, bisexual lesbian” and now identifies as simply “sexual” and she inspires me with her witty definition and also her anti-label label, similar to the past orientation flavour of the month: pansexual but perhaps the most open definition available.
One of the more taboo aspects about sexual fluidity and change is the pressure some feel from their communities to remain attached to them in a specific way and the hostility and hurt that arises when seeking outside of your orientation. Groups, like individuals, don’t always respond to change so well.
People who are neither secure in their own self-awareness, nor empathetic to the, sometimes fragile, journey that is discovering and declaring your personal orientation, often become quite frightened when their beliefs are challenged. I’ve seen it in most communities – monogamous, gay, queer, tantric, poly, kink, hetero, you name it – I also know of people who remain fixed in their communities for primarily due to fear of rejection and the angry backlash they would likely face if they chose to at seek out sexual experiences outside them. I’ve felt the sting of rejection, judgment and coldness over defining my sexuality on a very individual level – that doesn’t line up with the definitions of particular groups that I’ve worked, socialized and fucked within – myself. For me, charting my own sexual course has always been worth the not so nice stuff, because without fail it always leads me to new and very genuine connections that allow me to honour myself and who I really am.