What Does It Mean to Be Heteroflexible?

A writer finds out sex isn't a simple "copy + paste" job

LightField Studios

In 2019, sexual orientations (who you go to bed with) and gender identities (who you go to bed as) that have long been relegated to the margins are becoming more accepted and understood. We’re gettin’ there. But one term still remains a mystery to many: "heteroflexible.” That is what I am.

Heteroflexible, in layman’s terms, means “mostly straight.” I had been mildly curious about sex with people with vulvas since I was 13 and downloading porn on my family’s shared desktop computer that we should have nicknamed “Old Yeller” because it eventually ended up with so many viruses on it we had to put it down. I’d print out streaky photos of “lesbians” riding each other’s faces (yes, I put “lesbians” in quotes since no real lesbians wear square tip press-on nails) from my 1998 Canon printer and hide them in my underwear drawer but thought nothing of it. I was in my early teenage years, curious about sex but obviously inexperienced, and like Lil’ Kim famously said, “scared of the dick.” I was simply one of the many, many straight women who watch lesbian porn.

As I became sexually active, I went about my life as a heterosexual woman. I crushed on, dated, (and even fell in love with a few) cis men. I didn’t feel like anything was missing. I was happy and living a life 100 percent true to who I am. But then, last year, while road tripping across the country and back, I landed in Austin for two months and kept running into dudes who said they’d never been tested for STIs before (ah, the Bible Belt). With the dating pool shrinking to a puddle, but still stupid horny, I decided to explore the teeny, tiny curiosity that had been living in a small corner of my brain since I was thirteen. I didn’t have any reason to explore my possible interest in sex with someone else with a vulva before then and now I did. (And they were great about being on top of their sexual health.)

I foolishly thought it would be a simple copy + paste job. Sex is sex, I thought. It didn’t matter who I was having it with. But after my first sexual experience with a fellow chick (who had a vulva that looked exactly like mine, which was trippy. I swear, if one of our pussies committed a crime and there were a police lineup, there’s a 50/50 chance the correct one would go to jail), I realized sex with women is a completely different experience.

My experience was more sensual, slower-paced, and mentally stimulating. (You have to concentrate while eating pussy, while I can practically compose my grocery list in my head while suckin’ dick.) Though I’m a hardcore submissive with people who identify as men, I found myself in a more dominant role with folks who don’t. It was new and different and fun. I enjoyed myself so much more than I thought I would.
I foolishly thought it would be a simple copy + paste job. Sex is sex, I thought. It didn’t matter who I was having it with.
I was so glad I allowed myself the space to explore my sexuality. I wanted to know everything about what she liked, so I gave her a full-body massage and ate pussy multiple times. Not only did I have a great time, but my partner—a card-carrying lesbian—did, too. It was both a great experience and so, so different from what I was used to. Sex with a person with a vulva isn’t superior to sex with a person with a penis (or vice versa), it’s just different. And I found it’s something I crave a couple times a year. It’s like those people who make yearly pilgrimages to Disneyland. Just because I’ve been to Disneyland once doesn’t mean I live there now. It just means I have a yearly pass.

But, of course, after I confided in a few friends that I had slept with a woman for the first time, they all insisted I was officially bi. And while I’d have zero problem calling myself “queer” or “bi” it just… didn’t feel 100 percent right. Was it because of some internalized phobia? I really sat with that question for a while, but in my gut, I knew the answer was no. The term heteroflexible simply felt like the perfect fit. It made me feel understood even though most of my friends insisted I had made it up. Just like all the terms that we use to describe our sexual identity, the most correct labeling comes from the person who’s using it to self-identify, not the person who’s taken it upon themselves to place a label upon someone else.
The most correct labeling comes from the person who’s using it to self-identify, not the person who’s taken it upon themselves to place a label upon someone else.
I had even asked my bi friends to explain when they knew they were bi to see if I could connect to the experience. I couldn’t. Even though some have as much contact with the same sex as I do (or even less!) and label themselves bi—and they’re just as valid as other bisexual folks—it was just further proof that it all comes down to trusting that others know their orientation best and should use whatever terms feel the most appropriate for them. The biggest difference I found with my bi friends was they expressed that if they had to live their life as straight, they’d feel very inauthentic to who they are. I, however, would still be happy as a clam if I had to give up clams. I also discovered the terms hetero and homoromantic—while I could feel homosexual attraction, unlike some of my bi buddies, I’m solely heteroromantic (I, sadly, can only fall in love with dudes). And since I don’t crush on or have a desire to date women, it wouldn’t be distressing for me to ever give up sleeping with ‘em. If I had to give up sex with men, I’d become incredibly depressed and feel like I were living a lie. While defining your sexuality is deeply personal and one person’s experience while using a term does not represent all the people who also use the same term, for me, heteroflexibility means I’d still live a complete, happy life if I didn’t have my occasional tryst with women. But I will say it’s nice having the option. I just like to ride Splash Mountain once every year or two, okay?

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