When I was in the fifth or sixth grade a girlfriend from school came to spend the weekend at my house. She was pretty, her dark reddish hair in a pixie cut, generous freckles on her face and arms. She was taller than me, it seemed like everyone was. I didn’t even realize it at the time but I had a big ‘ol crush on her.
That weekend we made a big bed on the floor of my bedroom with all the blankets in the house and the cat and probably a dog or two. We marauded around town during the day and went to the beach. Home by sundown each day we arted with my mom and watched tv at night.
When we had settled into bed that first night we did what all preteen girls do… giggle and talk. As we giggled and talked there was something different about our energy. I didn’t know that at the time but I felt something with her that I hadn’t felt before.
Then she kissed me.
Her lips were so soft and the kiss was really gentle, shy, and she smelled good. A boy at school had run up to me one day and kissed me hard on the lips. I didn’t like it. And I’d been abused by the nasty old man down the street. I really didn’t like that. So this moment with her, this was different in every possible way and I felt awake. Curious. Excited.
I was what, eleven? Twelve? I didn’t know shit about shit but I knew I liked kissing her.
That night our little kisses morphed into wandering hands and some light petting. I remember feeling my body was kinda warm and squishy. I didn’t know what arousal was then but my body did.
Nothing else happened that night and shortly after it began I think she pulled away and it was over.
The next day I obsessed all damn day wishing it was nighttime again and we could kiss. When we got in bed I shyly reached for her but she said, I don’t want to do that again. And that was that.
Decades later I’m married, we’re pre kids and I’m sexually attracted to women as often, if not more, than men. Does that mean I’m bisexual? I thought it probably did and it was all I knew besides gay or straight so that must be it. Okay, I’m bi. It felt good to know that. I liked that about me.
I tried to talk to my husband about it, to tell him what I was feeling and what I thought it meant for me. Predictably he instantly said, ‘pick one out! I’m totally into a threesome.’ Not at all what I’m saying here dude, not at all. And also, ew. I barely enjoyed sex with him. For damn sure I’m not inviting another woman to our bed to experience that!
For a time though the conversation did perk us both up. He’d see a woman when we were out and say, what about her? For me? Sure! With him? No. But it added a titilating dimension to our sex life that we desperately needed.
In 2011 I’m sitting in a meeting room at Washington State University listening to my extraordinary best friend and director of their GESORC center give an ally training session to university faculty and staff. My friend has passed out a multi page packet that lists all of the different sexual orientations identified at that time and their definitions.
I’m following along with her presentation, most of these I now know. I’m more hip than I was in the nineties, I’m an ally, I know there are more ways to identity than gay, straight, or bi. Then she read the definition of pan sexual and my brain hitched. I read it over and over while she moved on. She catches my attention again when she reads the definition for sapio sexual. Well fuck me. There I was. Pan/sapio sexual.
That day answered a lot of questions I’d been having about myself FOR YEARS! I felt like throwing myself a little party right then and there. Understanding dawned and I felt kinda calm about it. Mystery solved. This explains A LOT.
In the eleven years since that revelation and my divorce I’ve explored my sexuality in freeing and healthy ways. I have since taken women lovers, had threesomes, and been with partners that are comfortable having these conversations. Some that are open to their own explorations without any drama about being gay and threatened. Just adults talking openly and honestly about what feels good and what they’re curious about.
How totally fucking beautiful and healthy.
Recently I was out at a concert with a couple friends, a man and a woman. It was cold, I was sitting between them on a sofa. We squeezed in together and my body erupted with desire. No more or less for one or the other of them, and we don’t have a sexual relationship, it was just plain old desire, equally, for this man and this woman. Simple. Nothing happened and I just sat there at home in my body, embracing my duality.
One of my daughters recently came out. She identifies as queer. We’ve talked a lot about it and I love how safe she feels. And I appreciate how much information there is for her to explore. She has a huge, safe community of peers and the support of her family. I’ve always been open with my daughters about my sexuality and I hoped to create an environment where they could feel safe to explore whoever they are in all aspects of their lives.
Her coming out is raising another question for me now. I mean, I know who I’m attracted to intellectually, physically, and sexually, that riddle I’ve long since solved and really I don’t need labels as much as I once did but I still like knowing that they bring. Now though another question comes up for me.
I’m nearly forty nine as I write this and the term queer is widely accepted and no longer considered derogatory by most of the community. So now I’m sitting with this… am I queer? I do not see myself as heterosexual. I never did. But am I queer? Does that fit? I don’t know. I know that if I do identify as queer it doesn’t diminish any else’s experience but still somehow it feels like an affront to the queer community if I do.
I guess if I had to put a label on it I’d say I’m omnivorous. That is the label that most fits how I feel about my sexuality. Yes, that fits, it feels right for me. Omnivorous.
I love writing I mean I LOVE WRITING. It’s helped me regain agency over my dark stories and celebrate my growth and joy stories. Writing helps me self-heal and has given me a place to explore my creativity and keep my sanity! Working for Our Story and Starfish Connection gives me an opportunity to do what I love and give others a place to do the same in a supported community that we built for storytellers like me.