I distinguish between sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and platonic orientation because many straight guys, for example, have gay sex on the side. They often say, “It’s only sex.” To me, they are HeteroRomantic (straight in the romantic sense) and bisexual (bi in the purely sexual sense). Many HomoRomantic guys (gay in the romantic sense) are also bisexual (bi in the purely sexual sense).
The Need for Two More Bisexual Categories and the Necessity of Adding a Romantic and Platonic- Orientation Graph Many queers remain uncomfortable with having straight, bi, and gay as the only three sexualities from which to choose self-labeling (excluding transgendered, of course). Just as many bisexuals claim relief upon discovering bisexual as a label, borderzone bi need terms that more accurately describe their feelings toward males and females. Postmodern readers are probably echoing the mantra that “labels don’t matter,” but sometimes categories are needed to make sense of feelings-just as up, down, right, and left continue to be used when these terms mean nothing in outer space. Words are powerful, and so is the absence of words. Today, Kinsey 1s, 2s, 4,s and 5s are forced to identify as straight or gay because the term bisexual conjures up the 50/50 stereotype in most people’s minds. “I’m more gay than straight,” a Kinsey 5 male may say, eschewing bisexual as a label altogether because “it doesn’t exactly describe what I am.” The problem is that this forces him to ignore his opposite-sex attraction because he lacks a label with which to verbalize his feelings. Of course, studies on the effects of such repression are lacking, but I’ve developed a three-circle diagram that, if accepted by enough bisexuals, may come to symbolize bisexuality in the coming decades. The diagram is as follows: The largest circle on the left represents summer and heterosexuality; the medium-sized circle in the middle represents fall and bisexuality; and the smallest circle on the right represents winter and homosexuality. Inside the straight circle, there is a picture of summer-symbolic for the simultaneous privilege and oppression of heterosexuality; the bi circle has a picture of fall-symbolic of bisexuality as a transitional season, as bisexuality is sometimes a transition to or from homosexuality, yet permanent in that fall returns every year; and the gay circle has a picture of winter-symbolic of gayness as both snowy beautiful, yet very cold and alienating for many gays. The bi circle is larger than the gay circle and smaller than the straight circle because, I believe, more people will identify as bi in the future than as gay, yet most people will continue to identify as straight-perhaps 65% of the population, vs. 17% bi and 10% gay.muscles is worked during sex.
The straight and gay circles intermesh slightly into the bi circle, creating a gray area between the straight and bi circle and between the bi and gay circle. People falling inside these gray areas need names, as the lack of terms causes confusion for people trying to verbalize their sexuality beyond the simple straight/bi/gay trichotomy. Two terms could be used to describe these borderzone bisexuals (remember it’s a zone where the circles intermesh, not the Kinsey line). The terms are: Heterosexual . Unisexual . Bisexual . Trisexual . Homosexual Heterosexual, . . . being in Zone 0 (the straight circle), and sexually attracted to the same sex 0/4 of the time in FREQUENCY Unisexual, . . . being in Zone 1 (the zone where the straight and bi circles intermesh slightly), and sexually attracted to the same sex ¼ of the time in FREQUENCY Bisexual, . . . being in Zone 2 (the bi circle), plus the present-day “50/50” definition with regard to FREQUENCY Trisexual, . . . being in Zone 3 (the zone where the bi and gay circles intermesh slightly), sexually attracted to the same sex ¾ of the time in FREQUENCY Homosexual, . . . being in Zone 4 (the gay circle), and sexually attracted to the same-sex 4/4 in FREQUENCY While the Kinsey continuum places one’s orientation on a horizontal line, the three circles allow people to place their orientation horizontally and vertically.
A 50/50 bisexual, for example, may be near the top of Zone 2, near the bottom, or near the center-depending on his/her mood on a given day. That is why high-quality photographs fill the three circles, as pictures have a thousand places that people can identify with (e.g., the top of a tree on one’s wedding day vs. the ground on a “blue” day). The three circles, in short, are three-dimensional vis-à-vis the two-dimensional Kinsey scale. Moreover, the circles include a hovering moon on the upper-right-hand side, a moon that should transgendered people so decide, can come to symbolize their sexuality. (My essay “Borderzone Bisexuals” goes more deeply into this.) The adding of two labels doesn’t have to mean the dissecting of bisexuality as a political movement, for bisexual can continue to be an umbrella term for all bisexuals. The categories unisexual and trisexual, however, would presumably be employed by borderzoners on a more personal level. In Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life (1998), Marjorie Garber wrote that nobody has significantly altered the Kinsey scale since 1948. As of today, laypeople and sexologists continue to talk about the sexual-orientation scale when referring not just to sex, but to love, romance, and friendship. In their rush away from categories, they have lumped varying and often contradictory facets of human relationships into one scale. This needs serious remedying if bisexuality-and human relationships-are to be understood three dimensionally. For better or worse, males often divorce sex and romance. A straight-identified male, for example, may say, “I’m not gay! I just love cocks in my mouth.” What he means is that although he enjoys sex with males, he isn’t romantically attracted to them. The gays are the “poofs” and “fairies” because they are homoromantic, wanting more than just to “beat off their meat” or “fool around.” Straight men, of course, don’t describe themselves as heteroromantic (romantically interested in the opposite sex), but if society ever comes to terms with admitting everyone’s innate bisexuality, sexual politics will probably revolve around people’s romantic orientation. In short, I propose three, different circle graphs (all following the same zone principles outlined in Part I of this article).
1. Sexual-Orientation Circle Graph (measures a person’s sexual attraction to a given sex). Heterosexual . Unisexual . Bisexual . Trisexual . Homosexual. (The sexual-orientation graph is explained in Part I of this essay.) 2. Romantic-Orientation Circle Graph (measures a person’s romantic attraction to a given sex). Heteroromantic . Uniromantic . Biromantic . Triromantic . Homoromantic Heteroromantic . . . being in Zone 0 (the straight circle), and romantically interested in the same sex 0/4 in FREQUENCY Uniromantic . . . being in Zone 1 (the zone where the straight and bi circles intermesh slightly), and romantically interested in the same sex 1/4 in FREQUENCY Biromantic . . . being in Zone 2 (the bi circle), plus the present-day “50/50” definition with regard to FREQUENCY Triromantic . . . being in Zone 3 (the zone where the bi and gay circles intermesh slightly), and romantically interested in the same sex 3/4 in FREQUENCY Homoromantic . . . being in Zone 4 (the gay circle), and romantically interested in the same sex 4/4 in FREQUENCY (E.g. Presumably, most males today are bisexual and heteroromantic.) 3. Platonic-Orientation Circle Graph (measures a person’s platonic attraction to a given sex). Heteroplatonic . Uniplatonic . Biplatonic . Triplatonic .Homoplatonic Heteroplatonic . . . being in Zone 0 (the straight circle), and platonically interested in the same sex 0/4 in FREQUENCY. (This is something that most gay males, presumably, are guilty of, as their same-sex friendships often turn into sexual relationships Uniplatonic . . . being in Zone 1 (the zone where the straight and bi circles intermesh slightly), and platonically interested in the same sex 1/4 in FREQUENCY Biplatonic . . . being in Zone 2 (the bi circle), plus the present-day “50/50” definition with regard to FREQUENCY transferred to the platonic orientation discussion Triplatonic . . . being in Zone 3 (the zone where the bi and gay circles intermesh slightly), and platonically interested in the same sex 3/4 in FREQUENCY Homoplatonic . . . being in Zone 4 (the gay circle), and platonically interested in the same sex 4/4 in For those confused by the platonic orientation graph, it is the inverse of the sexual and romantic orientation graph. People who are gay in the sexual and romantic sense are straight in the platonic sense and people who are straight in the sexual and romantic arena are “gay” in the platonic sense-for it seems that gays “bond” platonically with the opposite sex, while straights bond platonically with the same sex (e.g., homosocial bonds). If one follows Billy Crystal’s line in When Harry Met Sally (1989), most straight men cannot remain pure friends with women because females’ sexual attractiveness tempts men to make sexual advances on them, destroying any chance of men and women being “just friends.” Men like Crystal’s character would, presumably, be homoplatonic (only capable of forming platonic relationships with males) and heteroromantic (romantically interested in the opposite sex). The possibilities for sexual identification are endless, and because of this, the sexual-orientation circle graph will most likely remain the focus of political organizing for many decades. In the far future, however, it is likely that researchers will have more concepts with which to describe the diversity of human relationships. With enough sophistication, the masses may start talking about sexual, romantic, and platonic orientations by the middle and latter part of the 21st century. Bisexuals and transgendered people, more than any other sexual minority, are the most likely candidates to adopt the three-circle graphs because they are not mired in the either/or paradigm of heterosexuals and homosexuals.Anthony