James W. Hicks, M.D.

Flexamorous

In Flexible People, Sexual Types on July 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm

(Updated 4-7-11) I previously referred to this type as “polyamorous,” but the word “polyamorous” is already being used by some people to describe their non-monogamous relationship preferences. In other words, they believe in having loving, sexual relationships with multiple partners. I had used the word with a slightly different focus on the capacity to fall in love with more than one gender.

You are flexamorous if you are capable of having romantic relationships with both men and women. In contrast to those who are ambisexual, you do not necessarily view your sexual desires as equally strong in both directions. You view each relationship, whether with a man or a woman, on its own terms. You do not define yourself by the gender of your partner, even to the extent of asserting an equal interest in both. You fall in love for a variety of reasons, and sexual excitement is not the defining condition. You are sexually compatible with both men and women, but the sexual component in your relationships may have more to do with physical comfort and affection rather than intense sexual desire.

Flexamorous sexuality is a more common presentation among women than men. Many women who do not define themselves assertively as bisexual nevertheless consider themselves capable of falling in love with both men and women. Perhaps this reflects a cultural expectation that men are primarily interested in sex and women in relationships. In either case, for men or women, this category places greater value on falling in love with an individual, regardless of his or her gender.

This category also captures men and women who may have never questioned their sexuality, and who continue to have sexual desires for the opposite sex, but who have found themselves unexpectedly in love with someone of the same sex.

Cynthia Nixon, the star of Sex and the City, may be a good example of the flexamorous type. She is commonly described as lesbian, but in fact she was married to a man for fifteen years before falling in love with her female partner of the last five years. Nixon told the Advocate this month , “I identify as gay as a political stance… I would have said I think we’re all bisexual. But I had that point of view without ever having felt attracted to a woman.”

  1. Great blog. I think you’ve developed a good set of sexual types and descriptions for covering much of the range of sexualities out there (well, in contemporary Western society, at least).

    However, I think you should find another word for this type, as the term “polyamorous” is already well-defined and widely accepted. Using it for a different meaning is unnecessarily confusing. Same goes for “transitioning”. If this type is the romantic parallel to the “ambisexual” type, then the more logical term would be “ambiamorous”. I admit it doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely, but it makes more sense.

    As for “transitioning”, which is currently used primarily in reference to transexual/transgender (your “metamorphic” type), why not use something like “fluid” or “in flux”?

  2. Excellent suggestions. This is a work in progress.

  3. I never would have thought to describe myself in this manner – but after reading it, it makes a whole lot of sense to me. I always wondered why I could have such strong feelings for an **individual** regardless of their gender.

    This coupled with the description of ambisexual, I’m beginning to understand myself a little better. …wow…

  4. I am glad I found this site and that people are working on finding new ways to identify sexual orientation that goes beyond what I consider are the outmoded, incorrect and limiting sexual identifiers of the past–it will be good for everyone of all such identifiers for the old labels to at least be expanded and redefined if not totally done away with, with new terms found that reflect the reality of the expansiveness of human sexual expression!!!

  5. Very insightful! I always knew what I felt, but now I feel a bit better defined, as I never really thought of myself strictly bisexual… for me, being female, it was always more of the mental chemistry that makes my relationships work (especially with females, but also with males)and the sexual attraction usually follows suit quickly.
    Thanks so much for that!
    PS: I agree about the above-mentioned ambiamorous comment above… I wiki’d it first and I was thinking…. “No….” But your description is a yes.

  6. As someone who is currently in a polyamorous relationship, I agree that the term “ambiamorous” would be much more appropriate for what you’re trying to convey. The concept of consensual non-monogamy can be difficult enough to grasp as it is, without adding the confusion of different meanings of the word.

  7. As someone who has been researching polyamorous and exploring polyamours relationships myself (even before I knew there was a name for it) – I agree with the first posting (anonymous)and yesterday’s posting from “S”.

    Polyamoruous is already defined, well documented, written about etc…as more of multi-relationship. But its note tied to gay, straight, or bi. you can be strictly gay and Polyamorous (as am I) or strictly lesbian, or bisexual and still polyamorous.

    I have a gay/male husband, a gay/male boyfriend, and a gay/male lover. Everyone is aware of each other and the different roles they play in the relationship. But I have no desire to be with someone from the opposite sex. By definition – this would be Polyamorous – but not by your definition.

    Not upset aboout – like others i’m glad its being talked about and that you are seeking other identities other than just gay, str, and bi. But do agree that maybe you can find a better word to meet your definition – rather than use polyamorous.

    Thanks for what bringing up the conversation and letting me contribute.

  8. I think your new term “flexamorous” took care of the problem I and others were having with using “polyamorous”. I’ve commented in the past, so I won’t say more about that now – just that I like it better this way. Plus, the new automated scoring system works well.

  9. Hi James,

    I’m the original “anonymous” who posted the first comment back in October. I agree with DK: the new “flexamorous” term works well. Keep up the good work.

  10. I often said I was bi-amorous to distinquish my self from the bisexual men who are just into sex with one gender or the other and not romance.

    So my particular bi-amorous is for feminine people regardless of gender. But flex amorous is just as cool.

    This is what gay men and straight women need to know that certain bi men will make the best lovers they ever had and to not be afraid of their romantic flexibility.

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