Dictionary of Identities

Best Guess for image credit: Imgrum?

DISCLAIMER: Identities are incredibly personal, and while many people might share one label, what that label means to them varies wildly from person to person. Think of your own labels – your religious identity, for example. While hundreds upon thousands of people might share your same religious label, you can disagree about what that means, how that religion should be conducted, and even how important it is to your everyday life. It’s the same with any label, and any identity.

So what I have listed here is what these labels mean *to me.* It is not at all to be taken as a be-all, end-all definition that every single person on earth who has that identity can share. This is just me, and what these words and terms mean in the context of my life.


Bigender

Art by BethanyAngelstar on Deviantart

I have two genders, and I oscillate between them. Sometimes I’m both at once. For me, one of my genders is a femme demigirl, the other is a slightly more masculine nonbinary gender. They are not “man and woman” or even “boy and girl,” as I think *both* my femme and masc side lean heavily towards the nonbinary center of the gender spectrum. However, I tend to use the words girl and boy for them, because it’s a lot easier to say, and especially easier for the cisgender people in my life to conceptualize.

(Cisgender is a term for anyone whose gender identity fits with what they were given at birth. It’s the gender version of “straight.”)

My body is dfab (designated female at birth) and I experience dysphoria (anxiety that your body is very, very wrong) in some contexts and at some times, usually when I am feeling more strongly masculine, look down, and see the total opposite. (Or anytime I look in the mirror and think fuck yeah, I am guyish as hell today, and then open my mouth and adorable girl voice pours out). Or when people try to engage with my body sexually as if it were a 100% female body.

Bisexual

Art by Kirstendraws on Redbubble

This one you’ve probably heard of. Bisexual is being attracted to more than one gender. Another good definition is bisexual means I’m sexually attracted to genders similar to mine and different than mine.

I don’t separate my sexual and romantic identities, though many people do, especially those on the asexual spectrum, because generally, my sexual and romantic feelings go hand in hand. It’s virtually impossible for me to feel sexual attraction to someone I’m not romantically interested in, and by and large, the reasons I have sex have a lot more to do with my romantic feelings than any happy pants feelings. 😛 Which leads us to…

Demisexual

Art by Kaenith on Tumblr

Demisexuality is an identity on the asexual spectrum. It means I do not have sexual feelings toward anyone until I have developed a very strong connection with them, usually romantic but largely just based on trust.

This is not the same as “While I think lots of people are sexy hot, I choose to only have sex with people I trust or am romantically involved in.” When I say I do not have sexual feelings, I mean they do not exist. I prefer to exist as a non-sexual being. I don’t think about it or engage with it at all most of the time. When I see an attractive person, I feel no sexual feelings towards them at all. Usually I’m like “omg she’s so pretty I just want to pet her hair” or “omg he is so cute, can I like, put my head on his shoulder. please.”

In this way, I operate in my daily life largely as an asexual person might. It’s only with a handful of very select people (I think I can count them on one hand) that I’ve felt strongly enough toward them, that I started to think sexy thoughts about them. It really is like a switch being flipped. One day I’m perfectly normal, the next day I’m like “yeah ok so sex now please.”

Demigender / Demigirl

Art by ChelberNo1 on Deviantart

Being a demigirl means I’m “sort of a girl.” It means I ID as “girl” but not 100%. I used to say I was “bigender demigirl” because I felt more femme than not, and because “girl” was such a solid part of my identity. As I’ve explored my masc side more and more, though… it’s a much more even split, and I’m not sure demigirl 100% fits me. It’s still a word I use regularly, though, especially to describe the more femme side of my gender identitiy.

“Demigender” is a term that describes anyone who feels they are kiiiiiiinda their gender. Demiboys exist, so do Demienbys (those who are ~sorta~ nonbinary).

Polyamorous

There are many forms of non-monogamy, and polyamory is only one of them. It’s where at least one person is involved (romantically, sexually, queerplatonically) with two or more people, and everyone knows about it, and everyone is enthusiastically consenting to it.

So the key components are

a) more than one person. You can date two, six, nineteen, whatever. A couple can have a third person who dates both. Two couples can date each other. A network of five people can all be involved, or just one person has a bunch of partners. Etc. etc.

b) everyone knows about it. This is what distinguishes polyamory from cheating. If your partner is seeing someone else on the side and not telling you, that’s cheating. If they come to you and say they have feelings for this other person and would like to date them with your full knowledge and acceptance and you give them your blessing, that’s polyamory.

c) everyone enthusiastically consents. If not every single person is on board, it’s cheating or it’s abuse. Bar none. If your partner sometimes sleeps around and you’re aware of it but it kills you inside, that’s not polyamory. If your partner comes to you and says they have feelings for another person and want to date them, and you say yes because you’re terrified if you say no the relationship will end but you really hate it – that’s not polyamory.

How does this differ from “swingers” though?

Art by Jymaru on deviantart

Swingers are purely sexual, and while there may be a platonic friendship involved, there is never a romantic component, and an ongoing relationship is not required. A polyamorous person might have sexual-only relationships, and casual hookups, etc. but there are also romantic relationships or the potential for them.

It’s about focus. Swinging as a practice, the focus is on sex, but your main relationship (typically) is emotionally monogamous. Polyamory, heart and body are non-monogamous, and the focus is (typically) on relationships, while having sexual flings is also an option.

Again, though – everyone does polyamory differently. This definition is how I, and the people I am involved with, do polyamory. A great resource for polyamory and explaining how all the nuances and details work for people is More Than Two, which is actually the site I started on when I was a baby poly.

If you have any questions or want me to define something further, you can always send me an anonymous question: