The Virgin Mary...or
an idealized, virtuous and beautiful woman
I recently discovered the term “heteroromantic bisexual" on a Twitter thread and I almost had an existential crisis when it came to my own sexual idenity and exploration. The term is used to describe those who are attracted to both women and men but are exclusively romantically involved with members of the opposite sex. In an April 2015 piece for Cosmopolitan, writer Michelle Ruiz didn't explicitly use the term but did outline the dynamic of women who sleep with women, specifically “They're ladies who "self-identify as straight, who want relationships with guys, but also enjoy a woman's body and affection here and there." And I couldn’t possibly relate more to that description. I struggled growing up with my sexuality due to the slight stigma of identifying as bisexual. But this idea of women who sleep with women seemed to encapsulate my sexual identity.
I realize now writing this that I was sexually attracted to women WAY before I was to men. Thank you to all the practically naked and sexy visuals of the female body I absorbed growing up, with a special shout out to the Pussycat Dolls, all the late night HBO films, and every glimpse of cleavage and sideboob in early 2000s movies.
If it wasn't for the entertainment industries’ hypersexualization of women and all the SEXSEXSEX readily accessed on the internet, my sexual discovery would have arrived much later. It was in middle school I truly felt my sexuality was something I should keep quiet about. It wasn’t until my experience at a performing arts high school that I was openly exposed to, made acquaintances with and became best friends with people of different sexual orientations. Yet, I feared identifying as “bisexual” or even “bicurious” would be socially percieved as a code for SLUT. So all throughout high school I repressed my attraction to 90% of the school population GIRLS and strictly focused on the 10% of the single straight guys in the school who only dated the pretty, skinny, drama, dance, art, vocal, instrumental, and film majors ….ha it was hard.
I finally came out as bisexual in undergrad, with much support from my gay best friend. Considering how anxious I'd been about it, it was not a shock my parents had some reservations about it. My mom told me to pick a team, “either you’re gay or straight” and my father just didn’t want to know about it. A few years later, I stopped publicly identifying as bisexual; because I've never fully dated a woman. I made out with and gotten to a few bases with women but I didn't feel it was enough to identify as bisexual because I truly do not see myself in a romantic relationship with a woman right now. Discovering this term, a more precise description of my sexual identity, helped me understand who I am. And I'm not alone!!!!
In the society we live in with necessary need for labels to fit us all in, our sexuality is not always something that can be easily checked in a box. This speaks to larger issues about how our culture perceives all sexualities in the amazing community. As people find more specific ways to identify their sexual and romantic orientations, we have to acknowledge how sexual attraction relates to identity and how absolutely LIBERATING it is to come out. I’ll be here to write when needed as society comes up with more and more labels to describe who we like having sex with. In the meantime, I believe using this platform to stray away from all the many labels put on the modern Black woman is freeing enough!
Lorraine Bee , prima Black Madonna