In this week’s readings we were learning about the identities of those who describe themselves as asexual and bisexual. I had previously known these terms but was slightly naïve at the deep qualities that they possess. Until recent interest, both of these identities have had relatively little research done in comparison to the massive amounts of literature describing hetero-/homosexual relationships.
It seemed to me that asexuals seem to be lacking a sexual identity niche even within the novel sexual spectrum. A person “lacking interest or desire for sex” does not seem to be included anywhere within the two poles of hetero-/homosexual. Yet for whatever reason approximately 1 percent of the population identifies as such. However, the term ‘asexual’ applies to all low sexual desire people who have varied asexual experiences. Some are engaged in romantic or other relationships and can still partake in sexual encounters, despite what is inferred from the name.
On the other hand, bisexuals do fit within the framework or sexuality, but the existence of the term frustrates some working to deconstruct conventional notions of sexual identity. As historian George Chauncey puts it, “Even the third category of ‘bisexuality’ depends for its meaning on its intermediate position on the axis defined by those two poles.” These people would argue that by acknowledging bisexuality, the contrast between heterosexuality and homosexuality becomes more pronounced and difficult to deconstruct. My beliefs are more along the line of Steven Angelides. He emphasizes the tri-nary relationship between the terms and states, “to invoke and define any one of the terms hetero-, homo-, or bisexuality is to invoke and define the others by default. Each requires the other two for its self-definition.” I think bisexuality refers to some arbitrary point within the continuous spectrum referring to a person with a broad sexual desire. The term may suggest polarity but does not take away from the reformist ideas of sexuality. Potentially a new term, such as ‘polysexual’, could be used to describe the diverse interests of this identity and would also satisfy the deconstructionists.
Regardless, these two cases show the difficulties in coming up with a concise conception of sexual identity. Each person is different and thus likely experiences different sexual desires and identities. Compounded with the fluidity within each person as their life continues, it seems nearly impossible to come up with a framework that satisfies and categorizes everyone’s experience. I disagree with the assertion made by Sharday Mosurinjohn about the need for marketing towards non-heterosexual individuals. Marketing is designed to target the masses, and in our society the majority of relationships are heterosexual. It is not private business’ responsibility to inform children of their sexual options. I think this again falls to the role of education. If students are taught openly about sexuality, they will be better informed when they do come face to face with confusing sexual experiences. Educating future generations is the only way we will become able and willing to embrace the diversity of sexual identities.