What Does It Mean To Be A Biromantic Heterosexual?
Education is one of the first steps toward understanding, healing, and acceptance. And, education regarding sexuality and the ways that it can be expressed is important for this reason. Although there is an ever-increasing understanding and acceptance of sexual expression and deviation from what was once the expectation or norm within romantic relationships, there is still a woefully low bar for educating people about their own sexuality and the sexuality of others, which includes the different ways that sexual desires and impulses manifest, as well as the distinct differences between sexual desire, romantic desire, and attraction.
Terms And Conditions: The Wide Array Of Sexual Identities
Although many people still believe that sexual identities are rooted in three things (homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual), the body of evidence suggesting otherwise continues to mount. Far from only containing these three expressions and identities of sexuality, the sexuality spectrum is large, diverse, and at times, seemingly contradictory, with countless combinations, shifts, and nuances present at any given time.
Because there is very little education widely available in schools and other public forums regarding sexuality and the spectrum it encompasses, many people are unaware of their own sexual identities and the complex ways that they can be expressed. Many adopt a single identity without ever evaluating or working through the possibilities that exist.
Far from having only three separate and distinct forms of sexuality, human beings exhibit a vast array of sexual appetites, beliefs, and interests. These can easily change, shift, and morph over time. Some of these interests and desires may lay dormant, out of fear or uncertainty, and some of them may only be expressed within the confines of a strong romantic connection and relationship.
What Does “Biromantic” Mean?
The term “biromantic” describes someone who experiences romantic feelings for people of multiple genders. Romantic feelings are feelings rooted in romance and emotion rather than having another source or another means of expression. Romantic attraction is also responsible for the desire to create a close, intimate relationship with someone and the desire to turn to a specific person when in need of love, comfort, and acceptance.
For many, romantic attraction lies along the same line as their sexual attraction, but this is not always the case. Romantic attraction is a small and focused aspect of the attraction or sexuality spectrum as a whole and can be extremely nuanced in its expression over time. Because romantic attraction often focuses on traits of individual human beings, biromantic people are often mistaken or confused for people who identify as pansexual. Still, the two are different, as one indicates a sexual desire, and the other indicates emotional interest.
Romantic Attraction Versus Sexual Attraction
Although romantic attraction and sexual attraction are usually considered the same, the two are different in how they are expressed and their effect on a person. If you are sexually attracted to someone, you are interested in having sex with that person. This is usually an involuntary response to someone and frequently occurs quickly, without warning or a conscious effort. The sexual attraction is responsible for sexual impulses and is typically the primary requirement for engaging in a sexual relationship or encountering someone.
Conversely, a romantic attraction is an attraction involving emotion. Usually, your romantic attraction yields feelings of love, devotion, or affection. These feelings can evolve into sexual attraction for some but might remain perpetually and firmly in the realm of romantic attraction.
For many people, romantic and sexual attraction are inextricably intertwined. Still, the two do not necessarily need to live in tandem for many others, and the two are seemingly at odds with one another, or one form of interest is more wide-ranging than the other. For this reason, someone might identify as biromantic while firmly maintaining that they are hetero-or-homosexual.
What Avenues Of Sexuality Does “Heterosexual” Cover?
Although heterosexuality was once understood as a small and limited expression of sexuality, other aspects of the sexuality spectrum can play here. Someone may be heterosexual, but biromantic, just as someone can be both heterosexual and aromantic, or uninterested in pursuing a romantic relationship. Heterosexuality can also be paired with heteroromantic, meaning that someone is only attracted to the opposite sex for romantic relationships. However, someone who identifies as heterosexual could also identify as homoromantic and experience romantic attraction to individuals of the same sex. This is known as a “cross-orientation,” or “mixed-orientation,” as it contains two opposing forms of attraction within the same body.
Understanding sexuality and attraction as living on a spectrum is important because it demonstrates the enormous diversity present in relationships. Understanding diversity relieves much of the stigma surrounding sexual and attraction orientations and how they are expressed and allows people of all orientations and genders to come to their unique expressions of themselves without fear, limitation, or confusion.
Biromantic Heterosexual Versus Heteroromantic Bisexual
Although the two may initially be easy to confuse, they are quite different in how they are felt and expressed. An individual who identifies as a biromantic heterosexual feels sexual attraction only to the opposite sex but might experience romantic attraction to two or more genders. This means that a sexual relationship will be limited to someone of the opposite sex, but a romantic relationship might be enjoyed with someone of any gender identity. This can be a difficult concept for some; a few people engage in romantic relationships without involving a sexual aspect, but not everyone requires a sexual component to be immediately present to engage in romance, and people whose romantic orientations either defy their sexual orientations or cast a wider scope than their sexual orientation are included in that group.
Conversely, someone who identifies as heteroromantic only experiences romantic attraction to individuals of the opposite sex. If a female is heteroromantic, for instance, she will only experience romantic attraction to males. If a male is heteroromantic, he will only experience attraction to females. However, a heteroromantic bisexual female may only experience romantic attraction to males but can experience sexual attraction to people of 2 or more genders.
Sexuality And Mental Health
Identifying as heterosexual or homosexual is associated with the fewest number of mental health concerns. This may be due, in part, to the likelihood of acceptance within both arenas. However, people who identify as homosexual are not as well or widely accepted as people who identify as heterosexual. The mental health issues and sources of concern increase the more varied and complex your sexual orientation is, including bisexuality and other forms of sexual expression. Some psychologists have posited that this is due primarily to the lack of community for people who exist on a broader spectrum than the standard hetero/homosexual and romantic. In contrast, others have not identified an exact reason for the disparity.
No matter the precise reason, though, the effect remains the same: if you experience a romantic or sexual attraction that deviates from the norm, you may be at greater risk for depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Soliciting the help of a therapist, such as the therapists working through ReGain.us, can help mitigate the effects of these conditions, as well as helping you sort through your identity. Therapists may also be able to point you in the direction of help and support for your unique identity and experience, ranging from local support groups to forums and support groups online.
What Does It Mean? Sexuality’s Wide Spectrum
Although sexuality used to be understood as an extremely limited series of interests, the understanding of sexuality’s large, unique, and diverse spectrum has grown in recent years and continues to expand. While there is still very little education provided to young people, adults, and seniors regarding the many different ways that sexuality can be felt and expressed, increasing numbers of young people are coming into their own and carving out sources of information and education for themselves, much of it found in online communities.
Perhaps one of the most interesting and least understood expressions of sexuality is any form of sexuality that involves seemingly contradictory expressions of romantic and sexual interest. Whereas “biromantic” and “heterosexual” would once have seemed wholly opposed and nonsensical, increased awareness of the sexuality spectrum has revealed that romantic and sexual attraction is not always working in tandem and that people’s attraction to romantic and sexual partners do not always follow a clear, straight, or well-defined line.
Although you do not have to perfectly understand your sexuality or discover the exact label that describes what you feel romantically and sexually, it can be liberating to determine labels for what you feel and experience, particularly if you feel isolated or alone in your experiences. Cultivating a gender, romantic, and sexual identity is not a prerequisite for a happy or fulfilled life. Still, it can help you cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness and community and help you navigate your dating and romantic life with greater confidence and comfort.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a biromantic heterosexual?
For some people, the gender-based attraction might differ when it’s sexual or when it’s romantic. Someone who identifies as a biromantic heterosexual woman, for example, may experience romantic attraction to two or more genders, typically other women and people of another gender. In contrast, they only experience sexual attraction to a gender other than their own.
Biromantic means a romantic attraction to multiple genders but does not necessarily include someone’s sexual attraction within the label. For example, someone can also identify with biromantic asexuality, or identify themselves as a biromantic asexual, if they experience romantic attraction to their own gender and others but experience little to no sexual attraction whatsoever. Thus, it is possible to be biromantic and not bisexual.
Biromantic asexuality is not uncommon and is not the same as choosing not to have sex. Rather, a biromantic asexual person. However, they feel romantically attracted to people of multiple genders, do not generally feel sexual attraction, and thus may or may not seek out sexual experiences.
Just because someone identifies as biromantic asexual does not mean that they can’t have meaningful relationships; they may want to start a romantic relationship with another biromantic asexual person. Still, their partner doesn’t necessarily have to identify as a biromantic asexual or even as asexual.
Biromantic asexuality means that someone doesn’t experience sexual attraction, although they still experience romantic attraction. Biromantic asexual people may even want to incorporate sex into their relationship, especially if they’re dating someone who is not another biromantic asexual person.
A common misconception is that biromantic asexuality is the same as sex repulsion. While many biromantic asexual people can experience sex repulsion, it is not the case with every biromantic asexual person. Even if someone doesn’t experience sexual attraction, they may still have a libido or a desire to please their partner, which is why some biromantic asexual people incorporate sex into their relationships, especially when they are seeing someone who does not identify with biromantic asexuality.
How do I know if I'm biromantic?
If you are questioning whether you are a biromantic person, it can be helpful to imagine whether or not you could see yourself in a romantic relationship with people of multiple genders. Some biromantic people experience attraction similarly to any gender, while some biromantic people have clear gender preferences. If this is you, you may be biromantic and bisexual, or one or the other.
It can often be difficult to discern our emotions, which does not exclude our romantic feelings. Many people grow up and determine their sexuality based on the people they develop crushes on. However, this can be slightly more complex for biromantic people and especially biromantic asexual people.
When you don’t experience a sexual attraction, such as in biromantic asexuality, a crush can be harder to discern. Biromantic people may develop crushes on genders different from their own and on their same gender, but a crush may feel different depending on the person’s gender. It may even just feel like you want to be friends with the other person.
In any case, if you are questioning whether you are a biromantic person or you want to chat with other biromantic people, there are many safe and welcoming online forums to choose from. Asexuality.org is a great resource for asexual visibility and education, and this particular thread is about biromantic asexuality. Biromantic and panromantic are common labels within the asexual community, as asexuality does not impact the genders one is attracted to romantically. Thus, many people choose to identify as a biromantic asexual person or with biromantic asexuality. People who identify as biromantic asexuals can see themselves in a romantic relationship with people of multiple genders but just don’t experience sexual attraction.
What is a demisexual Biromantic?
A demisexual person is someone who only experiences sexual attraction to someone they have a bond with. A biromantic person is someone who experiences romantic attraction to multiple genders. When someone experiences both of these identities together, they may identify as a demisexual biromantic person. Because demisexuality fits under the asexuality umbrella, this person may also identify with biromantic asexuality.
It is important to remember that the identities biromantic and bisexual are not the same, and thus not everyone identifies with both at the same time. This is why the label of biromantic asexuality can be such an important distinction for a biromantic asexual person.
Biromantic asexual people can also identify as biromantic and panromantic at the same time, or prefer the label, panromantic, as these two identities can have a lot of crossovers. It can be important for biromantic asexual people to distinguish themselves from bisexual people, as they may have very different life experiences. In addition to the stigma placed on the entire LGBTQIA+ community, people who identify as biromantic asexuals also may experience the stigma against asexuality. Therefore it is important to promote asexual visibility and education whenever possible within the community.
What does demisexual mean?
Demisexual means that someone only experiences sexual attraction after they have developed a bond with someone. It is an identity that can be paired with gender-based sexual and romantic attraction identities as well.
For example, someone who experiences romantic attraction to multiple genders but only sexual attraction to their same gender may call themselves a biromantic homosexual person. If they only experience that sexual attraction after a deep bond has been formed, they could identify as a biromantic homosexual and demisexual person.
Demisexuality falls under the asexuality spectrum, and thus some people who experience demisexuality also prefer using asexual labels like biromantic asexual if that applies to them.
How many sexualities are there?
Did you know there are more sexualities than just gay, straight, and bisexual? It may seem confusing at first, but many people identify with a more specific label that best describes how they experience sexual and romantic attraction.
Because everyone has a unique experience, no set number of sexualities already exist. Think of labels instead as customizable to each individual, and maybe that means there are as many sexualities as there are people. But, it doesn’t have to be that overwhelming.
Think about sexuality in terms of both romantic attraction and sexual attraction, with everything on a spectrum. Someone may experience romantic attraction to multiple genders, so men, women, and non-binary people, and thus use the term biromantic. However, they may not experience sexual attraction at all, so they use the term asexual. They then may use the label biromantic asexual. However, biromantic asexuality isn’t the only way this can work. Someone may be heteroromantic but bisexual, demisexual and homoromantic, or heterosexual and biromantic. It all depends on each individual’s unique way of experiencing attraction to others.