We all know by now that the key to establishing and maintaining relationships - any relationships, is Communication. But what if you don't understand what the other person is saying because they use words that you don't understand? Or, worse yet, they use words you understand, but with a totally different meaning than what you are familiar with!
A former partner of mine used to always say "words mean things". They were very proudly living with Aspergers, and would get irate when a "ticketed plumber" didn't actually hold tickets, or an "omnisexual" was not ok with trans or NB people. Even way back in the early 90s, living My "sex-positive" life, I actually had a guy argue with me because I would not sleep with him. Oh, sweetie. Just because I embrace sex, doesn't mean I want to embrace you.
So, just for the record, here's a bunch of terms that often get thrown around all willy nilly. This is a super lightweight version, and this encompasses a few chapters in My upcoming book (early 2022), so be patient or ask questions:
A. Attraction Preferences: These are the people you find yourself attracted to, that you would have relationships with regardless of the situation. This means sexual, romantic or emotional attraction. Essentially, if you saw a person, you would feel comfortable having sex, dating, etc, within your own set of B:
bi - traditionally, people who identified as bi were people who did not accept that gender is non-binary. They were attracted to the gender they were assigned at birth and the "opposite" gender. This has (thankfully) evolved to be accepted as "attracted to people of two or more genders"
pan- pansexual was, from back in the 80s, people who were attracted to people without gender (or genitalia) being a factor. A good example is when people are attracted to qualities like femininity, intelligence, etc, regardless of the gender of the person possessing those qualities.
omni/polysexual- These tend to overlap a little with bi, but for people who recognize that gender was a spectrum. Omni encompasses people who are attracted to all genders across the spectrum. Polysexuals are attracted to many, but not necessarily all genders. For both omni and polysexual, gender does factor into their preferences.
B. Intimacy Preferences: These are the types of relationships you would have with people, once you figured out your A. I include only a few of the more common expressions I've seen. Again, this is a huge area, and many of these phrases are combined to micro-label more effectively.
aromantic - People with little or no romantic attraction. Again this is a huge spectrum, and is very neatly clarified here.
demiromantic - when you need to have a strong emotional bond with someone prior to commencing a romantic relationship.
asexual - people who have little or no sexual attraction to others. They tend to not pursue sex, but may be open to it if presented. As with all things, asexual (or "ace") is a spectrum including sex-indifferent and sex-repulsed.
sex-positive - seeking the normalization of sex, casting off the shame and stigma of pursuing sexual relationships. They typically advocate consensual exploration, and consent is key.
demisexual - when you need to have a strong emotional bond with someone prior to commencing a sexual relationship.
C. Situational Preferences: These are the times when you would put aside your A and accept something other than what you would pursue on your own.
heteroflexible: this is a person who would not normally pursue a gender group, but in certain situations would be willing (and enjoy) the encounter. Usually, this is people who find a certain gender or type of person attractive, but would only act on it if another person (their primary demographic A) were present. I see this a LOT in My work as a ProDomme, in men who would be "gay for Me".
club-gay - People who are heterosexual, but will flirt, kiss, make out with other genders while altered (drunk, high, etc) and usually only in public places like nightclubs (including nightclub bathrooms!). This is often a performance for other people, but not always.
Vacay-gay - you know the old "what happens in vegas stays in vegas" saying? Some people grab the opportunity of being far from home, work, friends, and family and explore alternative attractions. It could be visiting a bathhouse, exploring a nude beach, or just canoodling in the hot tub on a cruise.
D. Relationship archetypes: regardless of your A, B, or C, these are simply the archetypes of relationship parameters. They have absolutely NOTHING to do with A, B, or C, so get that out of your heads right now. Terms alone are included because frankly, it has nothing to do with all the other stuff we talked about today. More to come, I promise!
Perpetual Cheater (aka "the dickhead" or "unethical non-monogamy")
Regardless of the terms we use, it is important to know the generally accepted meanings. This can avoid a LOT of awkward conversations. For example, I had a friend who liked to say they had a "very open relationship" which to them, meant that they talked to their partner about everything and that there were no secrets. Unfortunately, when the partner would tell coworkers that they had an open relationship, one coworker, in particular, decided she wanted to "shag them like a rotten monkey up against the wall", which led to an embarrassing rejection following an awkward sexual advance. Words mean things, so educate yourself and don't just decide that you will call the color of the sky "sga" because you feel it is "more appropriate". If all else fails you can say "I am [insert word here] and for me, that means [insert explanation here]. But really, isn't it just better to correctly use the words that already mean things?