The word bisexual...should it mean BOTH sexually and romantically into both men and women? Or should we separate sexual attraction from romantic attraction?
Imo as an amateur linguist its a really interesting debate between macro and micro labeling. If you macrolabel then you've got to understand that people mean different things when they use the label, and if you microlabel then you've got to understand there will be loads of people who don't understand your new(ish) term
@ariellescarcella Curious why people seem so focused on what labels "should" mean. No label is going to mean the same thing for everybody. And if they did, they would be so tight fitting we would need hundreds more labels. Not just talking about this comment here, but also like how people are so mad about non binary people or people who sleep with men identifying as lesbian. Really not trying to piss anyone off, I'm just genuinely looking to understand.
I'm pro separating sexual/romantic attraction. It seems to be a common enough experience to a lot of people that some just have sexual desires with no romantic interests, or vice versa, or that some people could be more sexually attracted to one gender, but inclined to be more romantic with the other gender.
Language doesn't have to be so technical all the time though. If someone says they're bi, I think it's reasonable to assume someone as being both sexually/romantically attracted to both genders, unless if they choose to clarify anything.
Boy, you asked a question for all eternity that I'm not sure will ever have an answer. As an OG dyke, I had an amazing relationship with a bi woman exclusively for 1.5 years. But when her switch flipped (suddenly) and her focus turned towards men and less me... well, I still don't have an answer for what happened because nothing went South between us. First and last time ever dating a bi woman. I guess the question should be asked to people who identify as bi to help define it. Because I'm pretty sure I can't pinpoint the answer.
Edit: Guess I should have denoted that she was a Sagittarius, lol.
I'd say it only matters if there is a separation. For instance, if you are aromantic-bisexual or even heteroromantic-bisexual, it's better to make the distinction so people don't end up hurt in your dating/sexual sphere. I think a lot of hetrom-bisex women would benefit adopting the split spectrum if they are with lesbians, because YES... As a formerly-identified-lesbian who realised I was bisexual (thus having felt both experiences), there IS the problem of a hetrom-bisex woman wanting only sex, a lesbian wanting romance with sex, and then the negative stereotype of "screws women but dates men" happens. Which falls on the rest of us who feel romantic attraction to women.
But as a biromantic bisexual, there's no NEED for me to make the distinction. My romantic attraction is bi, my sexual attraction is bi, I'm bi. If I were to say I'm bisexual to ANYONE, they would immediately understand this and not question the potential my romantic/sexual attraction has a split difference.
I generally took it to mean both sexually and romantically, but that is more so because I am pursuing a degree in psychology and time and time again my textbooks and instructors have beat the idea of a massive correlation between the two. Chemicals that come from one... can and generally do lead to the other, and that is healthy and normal. So, in my opinion, yes, these things should stay lumped together.
I feel that bisexuality, as a legit orientation, DOES mean experiencing a capacity for sexual AND romantic feelings towards both sexes. I honestly don't like that people try to separate bisexuality in terms of sexual vs. romantic attraction, by saying that some bisexuals only experience "sexual" attraction but not "emotional/romantic" attraction towards same-sex partners.
Technically speaking, that is incorrect, for a couple of reasons.
For example, either a man or a woman can have and enjoy sex with members of the same sex, but will only seek out romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex.
Keep in mind - this isn't the same thing as a closeted gay person trying to have a "straight" relationship while fulfilling an innate sexual or emotional desire, and this is NOT what a hetero-romantic bisexual is.
Say, for example, that you feel an attraction towards a member of the same sex. You end up having sex, you enjoy it, but you aren't totally comfortable acknowledging what enjoying gay sex means for you, especially when you happen to experience genuine attraction towards and fulfilling relationships with the opposite sex. You admit that you enjoy having gay sex and you might even care about the other person, but you avoid expanding that relationship beyond sex itself (because "no homo" ). When it comes to finding a prospective partner, you lean towards the opposite sex, and only engage a same-sex partner to "scratch that itch" if/when it strikes you. That's not to say that the CAPACITY for an emotional or romantic connection isn't there. The problem is that A LOT of people (and most definitely a portion of the bisexual population) deal with internalized homophobia - they might be cool with having gay sex, but they can't bring themselves to engage emotionally, let alone romantically with a same-sex partner. Part of that has to do with our own perceptions of both homosexuality and bisexuality - being "homo" is wrong, and being "bi" is just being confused (and wrong). It's hard to accept that you CAN have a fulfilling same-sex relationship, when part of you says that it's not ok or acceptable. Sex behind closed doors is one thing. Holding someone's hand as you walk down the street and acknowledging them as your person is another.
In this case, this a bisexual essentially fighting their sense of sexuality, heavily compartmentalizing one attraction away from the other.
In other cases, people label themselves "bisexual" without actually being bisexual - and as a bisexual myself, this lowkey annoys the shit out of me. It's totally fine for people to experiment with their sexuality - that's how you find out what your orientation actually is. But I have an issue when people call themselves bisexual without actually being queer - you'll run into a lot of fuckboys/girls if you're not careful (they're experimenting and having fun, but they're not serious). I would honestly say avoid sticking a label on yourself until you understand what your orientation is, because "bisexual" isn't just a label - it's a GENUINE orientation, and I legit hate that people regard it as either a "kink" or a "phase".
Here's a breakdown:
Hetero-romantic bisexuals experience more attraction to the opposite sex but do feel a degree of attraction to the same sex.
Homo-romantic bisexuals lean more towards same-sex attraction, but do feel a degree of attraction to the opposite sex.
Bisexuals who sit in the middle of the spectrum don't have a clear or marked gender preference either way - they go by the attraction and the connection they feel, almost completely regardless of gender. This flavor of bisexual is what we refer to as "pansexual". The middle of the bisexual spectrum IS the pansexual spectrum, which is why the two often get confused.
Holy balls, this turned into a rant quick Apologies, y'all.
I think it's more useful to have /sexual and /romantic labels. That gives bisexual people an easy way to self describe what they mean by that. Especially because you are someone who wants to know if a bisexual gal is heteroromantic.
Let's chat. My discord is Shenanigans #8037.