This originally appeared in BCN issue 75.

Can a person enjoy sex for it’s own sake with whomever they please, be they male or female, yet be only capable of having emotional relationships or falling in love with a similarly gendered mate?

Let’s get one thing straight, no pun intended, from the off. I’m new to this. If you’d have called me bisexual a year ago, I would have laughed loud and long. It’s simple really; never had a real boyfriend, enjoys sex with girls. Recently, as you know, I’ve been…changing. Discovering myself. Discovering who I might be.

Being a Lesbian that sleeps with men is like being a vegetarian who orders steak medium-rare, right? Maybe, maybe not. There’s a new buzzword on the block. Homoemotional? No such thing. If you want to sleep with both men and women, you’re bisexual. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it? Well yes and no. Can we make room for another sexual identity?

Most people will agree that sex and love are not the same thing. Why, then, should the adjective we use to describe our sexual preference, that is, to define the group from which we select our lovers, also be used to identify those we desire as emotional partners? This may not pose a problem for the majority, but the few – should they be shackled by a suffix?

My homo- identity is very important to me. We go back a long way, homo- and I, but my bi- identity is important to me as well. Put in overly simple terms, a necessity – it’s really far more complex, one might see my erotic attraction to males as merely a sexual kink, while my heart lies with the ladies. This may yet prove to be a transitionary phase, but for now I embrace it.

If we, liberated as we are, can choose to have multifaceted relationships with one gender and only sexual relationships with another, can we have a word for it?

I suppose I could start introducing my self as ‘predominantly homosexual, incidentally heterosexual’ in a self important Kinsey-esque manner. Accurate yes, but more than a mouthful. One comrade suggested ‘queer grrl with boys (very) on the side’. I’m afraid

that’s a little too vague for my tastes, and that’s where this concept comes in.

A dictionary definition might look something like this – Homoemotional adj. One who enjoys physical relationships with people of both sexes, but has emotional relationships solely with people of their own sex.

I can almost feel the controversy.   But  to me, it makes perfect sense. My relationships with women are intricate and involved, sexual, yes, but much more than that too. Dating men satisfies only my baser instincts, warmth, food, pleasure, ugg. I am a bisexual, homoemotional woman.

Now, I have discussed this notion with a number of folks, and the reaction so far has not been wholly positive. The tendency has been to agree that we do have different types of relationship with people of different genders. But, so far, I’ve come across no-one who feels that their more involved relationships are preserved for one gender only. This begs a rather horrifying question. Is it just me? Am I the odd one out? I suspect not.

My theory is yet to be stretched to its limits. I have never had a relationship, fling, liaison, quick grope or anything else with a person who falls outside the gender binary. Until I do I cannot affect to have a fully comprehensive understanding of my orientation. Is half a theory better than no theory at all? Usually I’d say not, but here at least I hypothesize on what I know. I don’t want to presuppose my reactions within relationships with those who proudly tick the box marked ‘other’.

After a middle of the night discussion with a friend, and someone I’ve not mentioned my theory to before, I came upon a discovery. I am not alone; my mate, we’ll call her Jo for the sake of brevity, has similar relationships with her lovers and partners. After a bad break-up with a female partner, Jo’s emotional and sexual desires have been turned on their head. No longer can she engage in comprehensive relationships with the sex she once most craved, she conducts her same sex affairs on a strictly no-strings basis. Sex for its own sake with ladies, and satisfying relationships with the gents.

Jo will happily admit that her behaviour is likely down to the psychological damage caused by her time interned in an emotionally cruel relationship. She is afraid. Afraid of letting another woman into her head. To my mind, if she is content, that’s as good a reason as any. For now Jo is happy. She, a predatory female of the highest order, defines herself as a homoemotional bisexual.

Jo, has particularly chosen not to engage in emotional relationships with women. I have not taken that choice, I simply, at this time in my life, feel incapable of opposite-sex association that is any more than casual.

This too will change, or so they say, and if it does, be it next week or next year, I’m happy to change with it.