Until fairly recently, American culture really only recognized two sexualities – straight and gay. Now that we’re progressing a little and recognizing that not everything is black and white, more sexual identifications are coming out *pun intended* to the table. Most of us are familiar with the more prominent ones, but what about the ones that aren’t mentioned as often? What about being heteroflexible?
Many people closely relate heteroflexible people with bisexuals, meaning that they have a romantic and attractive desire for both genders. [Read: Dating a bisexual person – things you should never say]
In fact, heteroflexible is a subcategory of bisexuality.
The difference between heteroflexible and bisexual people is that a heteroflexible person identifies more with being straight. They might have same-sex desires, but they’re primarily interested in the opposite gender. Heteroflexibility is often described as “mostly straight.”
Heteroflexible is a fairly new identification that’s said to originate from college slang in the early twenty-first century. [Read: List of sexualities – 15 gender orientations you need to know about]
Two different New York publications used the term in 2002, both in reference to college campuses.
While the word is a little newer, the act of being mostly straight is definitely not. “Gay” and “straight” have never been enough to capture the existing array of sexualities.
In fact, when Alfred Kinsey developed the Kinsey Scale in 1948 to better reflect the ranges between heterosexuality and homosexuality, he put a significant amount of focus on other possibilities.
The scale goes from zero, depicting exclusive heterosexuality, to six, depicting exclusive homosexuality. That leaves a fair amount of wiggle room for numbers one through five!
In a 2016 survey completed by millennial-aged participants, sixteen percent rated themselves either a one or a two on the Kinsey Scale, indicating potential heteroflexibility.
The same survey completed among Gen Z participants shows that twenty-one percent selected ratings that indicate heteroflexibility. [Read: Coming out of the closet – what it means & 31 steps to help others accept you]
Simply put, being bisexual means that you’re pretty equally attracted to both men and women. While being heteroflexible does mean that you’re attracted to both men and women, it has a little extra flair that bisexuality doesn’t.
If you’re heteroflexible, you do find yourself to be attracted to both genders, but you definitely have a noticeable preference for the opposite gender.
Both words can absolutely relate to similar experiences, and some even use them interchangeably. It isn’t uncommon for a person to identify as both any more than it is for a person to be distinctly drawn to one label over the other. [Read: Biromantic – what it means & how to tell the difference between biromantic and bisexual]
There isn’t a standardized quiz that you can take to determine whether you are or aren’t heteroflexible. Such is life. It might feel even more confusing because the term doesn’t necessarily have a strict and rigid definition.
However, there are a few indicators that you more strongly identify with being heteroflexible than any other sexuality.
Maybe you feel pretty straight but find yourself being attracted to the same gender on occasion. Perhaps you find yourself curious about playing around and experimenting with someone of the same sex.
Those feelings are perfectly okay and normal! That’s why this is the “mostly straight” sexual orientation. [Read: Romantic orientation – the most common ones all of us must know]
It’s even possible that you’ve already had some sexual experiences with someone of your same gender. Did you enjoy it? Would you do it again? If it isn’t something that you would rule out, but you also feel like it’s something you could take or leave, this might be the perfect label for you.
Let’s say that you know without a doubt that you’re not completely straight, but you don’t necessarily feel entirely bisexual, either.
You know that you feel attracted to the same sex from time to time, but you also know that you have a much stronger preference for the opposite gender.
Referring to yourself as straight doesn’t feel right. Calling yourself bisexual doesn’t seem comfortable. Heteroflexibility might just fit you like a glove.
There is much to be learned about this mysterious sexuality. People are still trying to understand what it really means. Are they straight, bisexual, or gay? If you really want to know about this unique sexual orientation, read on! [Read: Are you a try-sexual? Find out now!]
When someone identifies as heteroflexible, people who don’t understand this sexuality might be uncomfortable and form their own opinions that are often incorrect. Here are the most common misconceptions about heteroflexible people:
Many people immediately dismiss heteroflexibility as being a “phase” that the person is going through when they find out that someone they know is heteroflexible. They say that they’re just experimenting but are ultimately straight.
This misconception doesn’t consider the fact that people who identify as heteroflexible don’t really have a choice in the matter. Even if they ultimately end up with someone of the opposite gender, it doesn’t mean that they’re technically straight. [Read: Infatuation vs. love – ways to tell the difference]
Of course, people often confuse heteroflexible and bisexual. They think that anyone who identifies as heteroflexible is just bisexual, but they don’t want to admit to that sexuality.
This is false. While heteroflexibility and bisexuality do share some similarities, they aren’t the same thing. Bisexual means that you’re attracted relatively equally to both genders.
Heteroflexible, however, means that you’re more strongly attracted to the opposite sex, but you’re occasionally drawn to your same gender.
The biggest misconception about this sexuality involves a desire for attention. People think that if someone is saying that they’re heteroflexible, they just want to get attention from certain people.
Sure, people do crazy things to get attention all the time. However, being truly heteroflexible is NOT just wanting attention. It’s important to not invalidate people and their sexual orientations. [Read: 20 sexually enlightening movies all about sexuality]
Misconceptions get a little out of hand when certain people don’t really understand what being heteroflexible is all about.
But it’s important to spread the truth out so that people who identify as heteroflexible don’t face stigma as a result of misconceptions. Here are just some facts about heteroflexible people:
Heteroflexible people tend to be more attracted to the opposite sex, just like heterosexuals, but they’re not completely straight. Because they do have a slight attraction to the opposite sex, even if only occasionally, it means that they can’t identify as completely straight. [Read: How to tell if someone is gay – subtle clues that make it likely]
They may only date and choose to romantically be with the opposite gender, but they’re still heteroflexible.
If they experience an attraction to their own sex, even if they don’t act on it, they’re heteroflexible. Even though “hetero” is in the name of this sexuality, hetero they are not.
The line between heteroflexible and bisexual remains very blurry. While heteroflexibility may be a category under bisexuality, they’re certainly not the same thing.
Those who are heteroflexible prefer the opposite sex over their own gender, whereas bisexual people experience equal pleasure with either gender. Therefore, while others may mistakenly categorize them as bisexual, they aren’t. [Read: Sure ways to tell if you’re really bi-curious]
Can you imagine trying to explain to your straight partner you are, in fact, into them but are also attracted to individuals of your own gender? It’s likely not exactly easy.
It’s often difficult to help someone who doesn’t feel the same way to understand those types of feelings. It can even cause backlash and wind up ruining a relationship if the other person refuses to accept it.
Some heteroflexible people have a hard time understanding how they even feel.
One moment, they experience intense feelings for their opposite-sex partner. The next moment, they feel like they want to experiment with their own gender sometimes.
Just because they feel this way doesn’t mean that they completely understand it. It’s especially difficult if you’ve identified yourself as straight for your whole life and are just now realizing that it might not be the case.
Ruined relationships sometimes occur between a straight partner and a heteroflexible partner because they just don’t and can’t understand their way of life.
It’s hard for people who are heteroflexible to find someone who not only accepts them but can also really understand the way they feel. [Read: 15 rules to be a good partner in a relationship]
As you can imagine, society perceives people who don’t identify as straight in certain ways, most of which are negative. That being said, there are downsides to being heteroflexible in a society that frequently shuns this way of living.
People often roll their eyes at those who announce that they’re heteroflexible because they consider that person to be someone who just can’t pick a sexuality, and they don’t take it seriously.
While heteroflexibility is certainly a sexual orientation, other people can have a hard time accepting this.
Yes, some people accept the ones they love in their entirety, and that’s awesome! But there are also people who refuse to accept someone who identifies as heteroflexible based on their own beliefs.
It takes a long time to open up to your partner if you’re unsure of how they might take the news, which also means you can’t really be yourself around them. You’re always holding back, unable to give them all of yourself. [Read: Self-reflective questions to help stay true to yourself]
If you’re someone who has always been straight but has also been semi-curious about your own gender, it can be really confusing. It makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you.
In reality, you’re probably just heteroflexible, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
There are probably TONS of people out there with no idea that heteroflexibility exists and might suit them, but they continue to live their lives in mild confusion. They never quite know where they belong in this confusing world. [Confession: My first heteroflexible, accidental threesome experience]
Be an ally to a heteroflexible person the same way that you’re an ally to any other person who’s part of the LGBTQ+.
The most important thing is respect. Respect how they identify and choose to label their sexuality. Provide a safe and open ear free of judgment for times when they might need to talk through their problems. It’s important that you’re willing to listen and talk.
Confronting negative bias is another big one. Defend your friends and anyone else who might identify within the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t tolerate comments or jokes about them, and let others know that you find them offensive.
Stand up for them because they are a PERSON. Regardless of race, sexuality, or gender, every human being deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
Just be an active and open-minded friend. [Read: How to be a good friend – 49 traits & friend codes that define a real pal]
Ask! The same rules that apply to every sexual orientation apply in this situation, too.
A heteroflexible person isn’t likely to display their signs of affection any differently than anyone else. If you feel like they’re flirting with you, they probably are! If you’re into it, flirt back a little and see where it goes.
Being heteroflexible comes with some struggles. Whether you’re heteroflexible or know someone who is, we hope that this feature taught you a little more about this sexual orientation and how to support it.
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