Bisexuality vs Sexual Fluidity

Dear world,
The mother of my beautiful niece once asked me how these two sexual identities could be different. I personally find them to be quite distinct, so I found the question bizarre.

American culture views gender and sexuality as a binary. In this system, every member of society is assigned identity A or identity B. Sociologically, this is beneficial. Without some kind of common ground, a social structure would be unable to unify it’s members into a single entity. In a school, everyone is learning or teaching. In a sports club, everyone is dedicated to the sport.

The larger the group, the more difficult it is to develop cohesion among it’s members.
In American society, cohesion is partially maintained through gender and sexuality. The simplicity of a binary allows our social structure to easily accommodate this basic need. This is difficult because modern society is so large (American population is about 315 million people).

My identity as a man allows all other Americans to recognize me well enough to be able to incorporate me into their world view. Without some kind of socialized identity on display, others cannot do this very easily.

Take homeless people for example. They make many people uncomfortable. I believe this is true because homeless people often cannot afford to put their gender and/or sexuality on display in the first place. I am oversimplifying, but the point is most cannot see how or where they belong.

While advantageous sociologically, the binary system is also rigid and unforgiving on a psychological scale. Bisexuality references the binary system we use. In other words, it combines “identity A” with “identity B”. Thus, the term conveys meaning specifically through the binary system. It carries specific connotations with it, just as the terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual” do.

Sexual fluidity makes no such reference or connection. It is an identity that exists outside of the binary system. It carries few connotations and stereotypes with it. Telling a person I identify as sexually fluid does not allow that person to assume anything about my personality. My sexual interests remain a mystery. This is because sexual fluidity has no place within the binary system.

Bisexuality is an identity which connects to our social structure. This allows the identity to be put on display. A bisexual could discuss their sexuality with any American, as long as that person feels comfortable. It lends itself very well to an extroverted identity.
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On the other hand, sexual fluidity does not connect to our social structure. It is not a socialized identity, and so cannot be displayed. In order to understand it, others are forced to interact with me more intimately. It lends itself very well to an introverted identity.

I cannot escape the fact that I am a member of American society. Therefore, my sexuality will be understand by people around me as “homosexual” or “heterosexual”. However, this is just a simplified version of my sexually fluid identity. My sexuality is a conscious & personal choice, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Frolicker of Sexual Fluidity

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