Yes, I’d like to have a monosex discussion.
Perhaps you’re wondering, “What is monosexism?”
Despite the fact that sexism is almost always defined in relation to gender, it can also refer to biases based on sexual orientation.
Because of its promotion of the falsehood that one can only feel genuine attraction to one gender, monosexism is often used as a synonym for biphobia. By limiting sexual orientation to two options—straight or gay—monosexists perpetuate the false dichotomy between the two and further reduce the spectrum of human sexuality to just two possible identities.
It’s that (least) beloved stereotype: the promiscuous bisexual! (or even pan!)
Everyone in the gay and straight communities knows that bisexuals can’t keep their sexuality under wraps. Those who don’t identify as monosexual are often viewed as materialistic, mercurial, or desperate for praise. People who identify as bisexual or pansexual are included here (who are attracted to individuals regardless of their gender or sex, including people outside the gender binary of woman and man.)
It’s assumed that a bi or pansexual person can’t be happy with just one partner because their sexuality is purely physical.
Since they are “neglecting” half of their sexual desires, the other gender will inevitably become a source of increasing temptation, leading to infidelity. You could say we’re the succubi of the gay world.
Lack of Diversity in Gender Roles
In different ways, both heterosexuals and homosexuals can defend monosexism.
Traditional heteronormative narratives of progress and stability of gender roles within relationships are threatened by the constant threat of one’s partner choosing the other team. This is especially true for the more supposedly open-minded bigot.
You should move your rainbow away from the neatly manicured lawn and white fence.
To them, sexuality is framed as either masculine or feminine, so the idea that you two could potentially desire each other is terrifying.
They are afraid that trusting you will compromise their sexual purity because you might suddenly come out as gay at any time.
Furthermore, there is no such thing as monogamy in the minds of straight monosexists.
In the gay and lesbian community, monosexism runs even deeper, fed by fears of lack of acceptance.
A lot of people will say they fought for their identities and they don’t want to waste their time on someone who can always go back to their comfortable straight life if they so choose.
If you’re not gay or lesbian, you’re just a passing through; everyone else is just hedging their bets until they make up their minds.
People who aren’t monosexual are often viewed with suspicion because they may not have had to fight as hard to establish their queer identity.
After all, it’s not hypocritical to act in a way that undermines a group’s right to freely express its sexual orientation.
They don’t want their pride compromised by developing feelings for you because you might switch back to being straight at any time.
To add insult to injury, homosexual and lesbian monosexists don’t understand monogamy.
Myths Regarding Monogamy and Biphobia
Over and over, monosexism is justified by the fear of acting impulsively.
People who identify as bisexual or pansexual are often viewed with suspicion because they are seen as radicals in the orientation community, either because they are quick to abandon their current group for another when a better opportunity presents itself or because they can’t help but pursue the satisfaction that comes from having sexual relations with people of the opposite gender.
Issues of trust are trust issues, however you slice them.
You should probably talk to your partner if you’re seriously concerned about infidelity.
The idea that bi/panphobia allows you to project your own insecurities onto another person because you wrongly assume their orientation could make them a rebellious nymphomaniac is a load of crap.
The idea that bisexuality and pansexuality are motivated solely by lust and are dependent on one’s gender is one of the main myths that contribute to this misunderstanding.
First of all, just because someone identifies as bi or pansexual does not mean they want to have sex with anyone and everyone. That’s a lot of work!
This doesn’t imply that physical attraction is what drives them. It is commonly believed that bisexuals have an equal attraction to both men and women (with the latter typically being limited to conventional gender presentations to emphasize the difference), but this is not the case.
In fact, many bisexuals and pansexuals simply see themselves as capable of making a romantic connection with someone of any gender.
Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to give monogamous-loving bi and pansexuals special status. I don’t intend to shaming sluts.
No one should judge a bisexual or pansexual person for wanting to have casual sex or open relationships, as that is their right.
The point is that sexuality expression is a personal choice and not determined by one’s orientation.
Bi- and Transphobia
The disparity in how the sexes view bisexuality is also intriguing to me.
The bi/pan male population seems to be singled out for discrimination.
Because men’s sexuality is assumed to be more fixed and innate than women’s, bi and pansexual men are often stigmatized as secret homosexuals.
Some of my most progressive female friends are still hesitant to date a bi or pansexual guy because they don’t believe it’s possible for men to be bi or pansexual.
As being a man is so often assumed to be heterosexual, any same-sex desire a man may express is automatically taken to be much more pervasive than he lets on.
Surely he is just temporarily comforting himself with the idea that he finds women attractive.
Many women avoid bi or pan men because they fear the perceived embarrassment of dating someone who is neither.
The tolerance shown toward bi/pansexual women may give the impression of greater acceptance, but it is actually grounded in the same condescending logic as monosexism.
Sexual identity is more fluid for women than men.
A woman is expected to grow out of her free-spirited phase and find a steady partner, so her exploration of bisexuality or pansexuality is written off as a phase.
Women’s bi or pansexuality is typically interpreted as a performance for the benefit of the male gaze.
The traditional misogynistic ideology of infantilism reassures society at large that any sensible woman will return to the heterosexual fold once she realizes how wonderful it is.
Women’s college slang like “LUG” (lesbian until graduation) and “hasbian” confirm such skepticism as long-running jokes.
Take note of the androcentric views that permeate both camps.
The men who identify as bi or pan are actually self-hating gays, and the women who identify as bi or pan are actually immature narcissists who indulge their own egos and shirk adult responsibilities by basing their lives around a man.
The attraction of masculinity is amplified in both scenarios.
When the allure of masculinity is entangled with phallocentrism, the result is a pervasive and harmful ideology.
Since cissexism and transphobia frequently coexist within monosexism, trans men and women are often marginalized.
Ultimately, we all want to have “the power of the penis,” but only cis men have the anatomical make-up to do so.
Therefore, it is believed that males mature into queerness, while females mature out of it.
This once again normalizes the idea that men’s sexuality is fixed and unchangeable while women’s is fluid and subject to manipulation.
Putting aside any potential sexism, it’s clear that neither viewpoint does anything but erase the existence of bi or pan people.
In other words, being bisexual or pansexual is not a sign of ambivalence or uncertainty about one’s sexual orientation. It’s a way of thinking.
Putting salt on an open wound. Many people still view pansexuality as a made-up orientation that people claim to be in order to gain attention or respect. Many people mistake pansexuality for bisexuality. Validating pansexual identities is crucial.
No, we’re not trying to put on an air of superiority or steal from either group.
Monosexism is a slack approach to shaming a demographic for their desire for “twice as many options,” when in reality, they may not care about gender at all, or they may simply be attracted to people regardless of their gender.
Bringing another person down to your level in order to feel better about yourself is counterproductive.
Get Out There With Your Gold Stars!
Again, the “gold star gay” is a product of binary ideals’ monotheism.
If a person has never had sexual relations with someone of the opposite gender, they are considered to be “gold star gay,” which suggests they have always been comfortable in their own skin and have never tried to pass as straight.
There are a number of troubling implications at play here.
To the gold star gay, one’s sexual orientation is something one “finds out” about at a certain point in time.
Having a heterosexual fling would be a source of embarrassment because it would indicate that the partners are secretly gay and trying to hide their true sexual orientation.
As with homophobia, harmful stereotypes persist when people view heterosexual sex as dirty and as a permanent stain on one’s sexual purity. What if you have sex with someone who is transgender, either now or in the future? (Would they take away your trophy?)
Once again, this line of thinking fails to account for people who are ambisexual, pansexual, or transgender, and it also assumes that all people have a fixed sexual orientation by the time they reach puberty and downplays the importance of a lifetime of exploration into one’s sexuality.
Put an end to establishing a shaky queer hierarchy in an attempt to prove your sincerity.
Being queer can be defined in a number of different ways. That’s the whole point!
It is important to keep in mind that no one else has the right to claim responsibility for another person’s identity.
Unless it is challenged, monosexism will allow tired prejudices against both straight and queer people to persist.
The silver lining is that it can be prevented entirely.
Given that the LGBTQIA+ community is meant to be a welcoming and accepting place for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, perhaps we should stop picking apart each member’s choice of sex label.
A queer person may be able to pass as straight if they are in a heterosexual relationship; however, they do not enjoy the same benefits as straight people because (a) they are not straight and (b) they still have to deal with prejudiced assholes on both sides.
People who identify as straight should not assume that their bi or pansexual partner is hiding their true sexual orientation. And if you think you are, it shows that you either don’t get who they are or don’t respect it enough to be with them.
It would be juvenile and, frankly, lazy to use someone’s bisexuality or pansexuality as a barometer for the success or failure of a hypothetical relationship.
Our culture should not be used as a club with which you beat down weaker members of society.
We own our own reputation.
None of us is lost or bored or desperate.
We will not let prejudice or preconceived notions diminish our sense of self-worth.
By Stefani Moore – Writer/Blogger/Adventurer