A brave Reddit user decided to be completely honest with his girlfriend of five months and reveal that he is heteroflexible.
For those just hearing the term for the first time, Wikipedia defines heteroflexible as “a form of a sexual orientation or situational sexual behavior characterized by minimal homosexual activity, despite a primarily heterosexual sexual orientation that… distinguish [es] it from bisexuality.”
It turns out his girlfriend wasn’t as understanding as he had hoped she would be.
So I was casually talking in bed with my girlfriend of about 5 months and she mentioned how an ex had once told her that he had once experimented with a guy and as soon as he said that she lost all attraction to him. As she told me this, my body went into full panic mode and she immediately realised something was wrong. She said “Have you, too? Or do you like men, too?”.
I said no and she said that she felt like I was lying to her for the first time. After an insufferable silence I went onto to explain (very badly – I’ve never felt the need to explain/quantify this before) that I am a little heteroflexible. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her about the experimentation at the time and still haven’t told her.
I am incredibly open-minded and don’t really care for labels, what other people are into etc., but clearly this is not the case for her. She gets upset and didn’t know what to say. It ends up with her deciding that I am lying to myself, that I should allow myself to explore these feelings. Basically – that I am at least bisexual and maybe even gay, but in denial. I tell her that this is offensive – I am quite capable of exploring my own feelings and have come to my own conclusions. The conversation ends in tears on my own part (over her reaction), with her comforting me but refusing to say anything positive about the conversation, saying she doesn’t know what to think. She’s out of town today with work so I’m sat (working) at home on my own having the worst time of my life.
She just can’t comprehend on any level how I can have a passing interest in penis/male sexuality and maybe fantasize about every now and then, without this being a defining part of my sexuality. She thinks it HAS to mean that I attracted to men and want to be with men. How can I express this in some terms that she might understand? What can I say that might make her understand? This is the worst possible way I can think of losing someone I love.
Here are some great pieces of advice he received from fellow Reddit users:
The question you need to ask yourself is if you want to be in a relationship with someone with those issue. Wouldn’t you want to be with someone that accepts you completely?
Also, for the record, I think most people are somewhere in the middle when it comes to sexuality. Even if it’s just a casual, “yeah, I’d try that”…I think such feelings are far from abnormal. You could try to work through educating her about such things or other issues she is having, but again you need to decide if it’s worth it.
As far to how to help her, you can recommend some reading and such but real changes would have to come from her. You can’t force someone to see things another way.
Another user wrote:
There’s a lot made out of people in straight relationships being secretly closeted and leaving their partner as a result, not to mention the stereotype that being bi is a guaranteed stepping stone to gayness. You see those scenarios presented pretty often, but there isn’t much talk about the alternative, which is that many people are marginally bi-curious but don’t feel any strong need to explore it.
It sounds like she hasn’t grasped the idea that sexuality exists on a spectrum. A lot of people have the misconception that you’re either gay, straight, or equally attracted to men & women, with nothing in between. I’d find some good resources about what it means to be on the spectrum and have her read up on it. Hopefully once she grasps that it’s possible to be a Kinsey 1, or 97% straight (or however you define yourself), she’ll calm down a bit.
It might also be worth pointing out that it’s extremely common to be not 100% straight and to have experimented with the same sex. If she’s going to use that as a criteria for dating people then I think she’s going to be pretty disappointed in her prospects. I mean, she’s already seen for herself that it’s common.
Best of luck to you, I hope you guys can move past this.
To illustrate how complicated this all really is, watch the award-winning short film “13 Minutes or So Minutes”, which dramatizes heteroflexiblity.