I’ve been wanting to put my sexuality into words because I don’t feel any of the pre-assigned orientations really fit how I feel. So I decided I was going to break it down as precisely as I could to straighten out my thoughts for both my own understanding as well as to assist others in seeing where I’m come from.
Up until this summer when I became involved with a new community, I hadn’t given a second thought to the ways in which I was attracted to other people. Prior to the past seven months, I haven’t been single for more than a month in the past six years. As such, my mindset was very relationship-based and thus my usual thought process went a little something like this.
"Oh, she’s cute, she’s nice, she wants to have sex with me? Well, then let’s do this."
That’s still more or less the current process, just with a few tweaks here and there. You see, I had assumed that if I (a) found someone cute, (b) nice and (c) interested, we should probably just have sex and date, end of story. Over the past few months, I’ve definitely encountered a lot of cute, nice and interested individuals that I’ve discovered a lack of desire or need to have sex with. Through these experiences, I have realized that I feel attraction in different tiers, so to speak.
Tier 1 - Aesthetic Attraction
(n.) an attraction that is not connected to a desire to do anything sexual or romantic with an individual; an appreciation for an aesthetically pleasing appearance
I have found that, aesthetically, I am attracted to a perfect mix of confidence, strength and humor; whether or not I’m sexually attracted to this person is a completely different concept. As much as I want to separate the long haired from the short haired, the large from the small, the tall from the short for y’all, I’m not sure that I can based on my track record. The array of individuals I find attractive range from one side of the spectrum to the other, from the super jock to the dainty lady. It’s about the confidence, the humor and the knowledge of when to apply that humor to any given situation.
I refer to two aspects in respect to my ‘strength’ comment. On the one hand, I’ve observed that individuals with high emotional strength tend to positively correlate with being confident. Seeing someone assert their positions without stepping over others toes, being able to cope with rough situations in a calm and stress-free manner… it’s these things that make you look sexy as fuck in my book.
On the other more obvious hand, I really like someone with physical muscle strength. However, I’m not talking about a supah jacked motherfucker. If you’re strong enough to pin me down, you’re strong enough to me. In terms of my aesthetic attraction, gender identity or expression have no role.
Tier 2 - Sensual Attraction
(n.) an attraction that causes people to desire sensual (but not sexual) things with certain individuals, especially relating to tactile sensuality such as cuddling
As I’ve grown, I’ve developed into a very sensual person, i.e. I love hugs, kisses, snuggles, cuddles, you name it. Until recently, I’ve considered sensuality and sexuality to be interconnected, intertwined, as one. I only kissed who I had sex with and only had sex with who I kissed. It was a very simple concept and it worked for me. Being a part of a community where kissing is as common as a handshake, I’ve had to reanalyze my perspective.
Sensual attraction to me is all about comfort; I need to be comfortable with your overall self. This can mean a plethora of traits: your personality, your physical person, your attitude and your smell being a few. As a note, smell is a very strong and important sense for me when it comes to being sensual. Certain smells put me into a trance that makes me feel welcome, relaxed and at ease. That being said, I don’t just tell anyone they smell good. If you smell good, you smell really really good.
Bottom line, I’ll hug those who doesn’t make me want to vom, I’ll kiss those of you that I find quite aesthetically pleasing and I’ll cuddle with those who make me comfortable. If I’m comfortable enough to lay down next to you, I’m comfortable enough to cuddle. :P Gender identity or expression are not often a factor, but it may vary from situation to situation.
Tier 3 - Sexual Attraction
(n.) an attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest
Men, listen up: I would first like to point out that there is a significant difference between “me thinking you are physically attractive” and “me wanting to have sex with you”. I came out as a lesbian at the age of 14, pushing me deep into the homosexual non-closet, so to speak. Now at the age of 21, I’m just starting to re-evaluate how I identify, so the penis thing is still kinda scary/new/awkward/weird/chooseyourword to me. Yes, I’m starting to realize I find certain male features attractive. No, your penis is not yet one of those features. I ask for your respect in understanding that my rediscovery of my sexuality is currently being developed and that my seemingly bipolar flirtation is attributed to said process.
I’m trying to step out of a very recently acknowledged heterophobic mindset that I’ve constructed upon myself over the past seven years and it’s showing to be more difficult than I expected. A year ago, if a guy would have started to flirt with me, I would have taken it as offensively as some straight men take gay male flirtation. The lesbians I knew took it that way and thus, so did I. So if you notice that I may be flirting with you but on the receiving end, I’m getting super awkward? I just ask again that you respect the current development and bare with me. I’m going to be awkward, I’m going to quiet down, but I will be honest with you. As I said before, just because I’m flirting with you does not instantly mean I want to have sex with you. I need to be not only comfortable with you and physically attracted to you, but I also need to find that connection between us. I need to have that deep-seeded trust to know that my inexperience will not be taken advantage of or poked fun at; being respected and protecting myself from further insecurities mean more to me than becoming experienced.
I find it easier to express my sexual preferences in regards to women as I have more knowledge and experience in the field. Ladies, if I find you both aesthetically attractive and sensually attractive, I’m most likely sexually attracted to you. I know I just bludgeoned the complete opposite with the guys, but it’s just the way things are for me right now. However, I’m also not an asshole. If I’m sexually attracted to you and you don’t reciprocate the feelings, I completely respect that and have no problem easing up on any advances you may be receiving. All I ask is that you tell me instead of falling off the face of the earth because good ‘ships are all about respect and communication. Preference wise, I tend to find myself sexually attracted to women who are near my height and size, who tend to float around the gender expression spectrum and who have really pretty eyes. I’m really into body modification, whether you’re pierced or tattooed or just have some really pretty hair, you’ve just +10ed in my book. I realize there is a slight gender bias in terms of my sexual attraction to individuals, but I hope that this continues to diminish this over time as I get more comfortable.
Tier 4 - Romantic Attraction
(n.) an attraction that brings forth one’s desire to create a romantic relationship with an individual
Being single by choice for the past eight months has really given me the time to reflect on the type of person I am romantically attracted to. For me personally, I need to be attracted to a person in all of the above ways. I need to be physically, emotionally, and sexually comfortable with a person in order to subsequently feel secure in developing a romantic attraction towards them.
Romantically, I’m totally a sap for surprises and cute little things. The cute little note shoved in my bag for me to discover later, the surprise visit during my lunch break, the dinner with the dimmed lights; I want to be treated like I’m worth the extra step, the extra mile. I need someone who will be committed to me, who will respect me, who will talk to me and who will accept me.
- Commitment - Plain and simple, I need a person who isn’t going to flake on me. I understand when legitimate situations arise where plans may have to be cancelled or a promised phone call can’t be made, but I expect to be somewhere high up on a person’s priority list.
- Respect - We cannot stress the respect factor enough in this community. If I say no, it means no. I don’t like people who belittle my ideals or my morals and I won’t stand for them. If I’m not respected by someone intellectually, sexually, verbally, physically, it’s a deal breaker. In other words, even if my opinions differ with yours (in reference to our morals, beliefs, politics, food preferences, sexual preferences, whatever), I will always expect my beliefs to be respected even if they’re not necessarily shared.
- Acceptance - Acceptance shows up in many areas of a relationship. I need a person who accepts themselves, accepts me, and accepts any baggage I may come with. My family is awkward, I make mistakes, I change my mind a lot and I can be picky about things at times. I live by the saying ‘to each his own’ and I expect the same in return. For example, instead of hearing “ew, you like that?”, I always prefer hearing “that’s not my thing, but good for you”, you know? Respect and acceptance go hand in hand in that aspect.
- Communication - Talk to me. I don’t. bullshit. around. If you tell me nothing’s wrong, then I believe you. I’m not going to try to pull it out of you because you know what? we’re not in the third grade anymore. We’re growing adults and we need to start taking responsibility for our own emotions. If I’m upset and you ask me what’s wrong, I’m going to tell you.
Right now in my life, although I’m not very comfortable sexually with men, the romantic interests in my life have been ranging from men to women, let’s say with a 1:3 ratio (#mathmoment). The issue I’ve been facing is just what I stated before: just because I find myself emotionally and physically attracted to someone doesn’t mean I definitively want to have sex with said person. But that’s a whole conversation for a whole other time.
NOTE: This list is not all inclusive; it may change at any point as I’m human and my preferences change without notice and/or personal regard to this note.
tl;dr?: I still identify in public as a lesbian, but I’m starting to find myself attracted to certain men. However, at this current point in time, I’m super sexually hesitant with the guy thing and will be supah awkward until I’m comfortable in my own skin again.