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Detoxing from Heterosexuality

Detoxing from Heterosexuality


ve been extremely attracted to women, lately. Being attracted to women is not unusual for me - but feeling an intense pull to have a sexual encounter or romantic relationship with one is.
I always called myself heterosexual. I have to admit, I really, really love men. I mean ... reallllllly. The chest hair, the arm hair, the facial hair ... I mean, all the hair. It’s so animal. So sexy. And don’t forget a certain body part that I so love to play with.
I always assumed I’d end up with a man. And in fact, I thought I would prefer it.
Until now.
“I’m so into women right now,” I told my bestie, Sunny, a few weeks ago. “Still into men, too. But definitely wanting to explore more. ”
Sunny asked (without judgment), “Why do you think you’re so into women lately?”
I really couldn’t answer her at the time. I’d always been “into” women, so that was nothing new. What was new was that I wanted to actually do something about it. What was new was that I was giving myself permission to stop orienting myself around a heterosexual future.
So why that? And why now?
After a lot of pondering, and with the help of recent comments I’ve received from male readers, I realized it’s because I need, very deeply, to detox from heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships.
I don’t think it’s too drastic to say that heterosexuality oppressed everything that I am. Here's how:

Stick to your character

Each person has a part to play in a heterosexual relationship — a part that is defined by our gender.
We start out with the Knight and the Damsel. That’s how we get sucked in. I’ll admit it — I’ve downed that Kool-Aid and even still sometimes swoon at the thought of a big, strong man riding in on a big, strong horse, to save poor little me.
We’re sold this story. Men are supposed to be that hyper-masculine slayer of dragons, someone who can carry their princesses off into the sunset. Women are supposed to wait patiently for their hero to arrive, knowing that their lives will finally feel fulfilling once he’s there and they can live happily ever after.
This is incredibly unfair to men, who, even if they temporarily embrace this role, find themselves drowning in the responsibility of saving another human being on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, it entirely disempowers women, making us passive objects in our own lives. We can only sit and wait for someone else to come drive this car.
Then there’s the dynamic of the “man of the household.” I’ve always been with men who insisted on this. They were the heads of the household and I was to follow their lead.
Incredibly…I acquiesced to all of it. Because that’s what I’d always been taught to do.
And then there’s the mother/son game, which is where heterosexual relationships too often devolve. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship in which I didn’t eventually end up being my lover’s mother. I did their laundry. I made their lunches. I comforted them with embraces. I asked them to please stop leaving their dirty underwear on the floor. I snapped that I didn’t want them to stay out late on yet another Friday night. And then I ironed their shirts while they were gone.

Inequality

I’ve never felt like I had an equal amount of power in a relationship. Never.
If he wanted pizza and I wanted Chinese food, we’d have pizza. If he wanted to have sex and I just wanted to be held, we’d have sex. If he wanted to watch The Fast and the Furious and I wanted to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, we’d watch The Fast and the Furious.
I did almost all the chores — most of the indoor chores because my partners said that kind of stuff was “a woman’s responsibility.” And I took care of making sure our bills were paid on time because my partners were always too busy to pay attention to those deadlines — and I got sick of paying late fees.
My exes always had fancy cars and motorcycles and they’d keep them in the garage, but ask me to park my car in the driveway so there wouldn’t be accidental dents or scuffs from doors opening against one another.
I accepted it all. Because I was taught that I was already inferior to a man…simply because I wasn’t one.

Giving up myself

No one ever taught me that what I wanted or needed mattered. My dad, who grew up in a very different time, literally taught me that I didn’t have a say over what happened to my body — that if I didn’t carefully control my sexuality, men could (and would) do whatever they wanted to me.
I was also taught that it was my job as a woman to preserve a man’s masculinity, at all costs. That was a wound they supposedly could never recover from. To that end, I dated men I actively disliked simply because they repeatedly asked me out and I couldn’t figure out a way to strongly and definitively say NO without potentially damaging this sacred masculinity I’d been told about.
In my deeper relationships, I’d find myself constantly changing who I was, editing what I said, and altering my opinions in order to please the man I was with. One boyfriend didn’t like me to dress sexy in public, so I got rid of the few low-cut shirts I had. One boyfriend didn’t like my politics, so I stifled my voice and opinions, always deferring to him when we were with friends and family. None of them liked my anger, so I never got angry.
Over and over and over again, I gave up everything I was in order to make myself more palatable for my partners. In order to make our relationship work better.
And every single time, I’d find myself folded up into a tiny box, barely taking up any room, at all.

The detox

I want to be clear that this has been my experience of heterosexuality. I do not blame heterosexuality for my experiences — I blame our culture for imposing its sexist standards onto this relationship dynamic. Just as toxic masculinity evolved, so too came “toxic heterosexuality.”
I’ve been troubled to discover that I still play out these scenarios to this day — even in my male/female friendships. Toxic heterosexuality contributed to my descent into an emotional affair last year and to other interactions with men that have been extremely unhealthy for me.
And I want out.
As I’ve found myself more and more drawn to women, I’ve also been gifted with male supporters who have made me look at relationships and even men in a whole new way. I realize that I have shortchanged myself by orienting my romantic and sexual radar solely on men. And I’ve most definitely been shortchanging myself by failing to examine my addiction to toxic heterosexuality.
When I read comments from some of the amazing men who follow my work, I am stunned by how different my life might have been had I not been taught to value myself so little. I am stunned by what I’ve missed because I was taught to keep the bar really, really low.
But it’s never too late to learn and change. Yes, I can open my mind and allow myself to explore dating women. And even more impossibly…I think I can imagine hiking that bar up at least 25 notches, when it comes to men.
If I’m going to be with a man, I’m not going to need a knight anymore. I’m not interested in following the head of the household, and I’m definitely not interested in being a grown man’s mother. I won’t be less than someone’s equal. In fact, I want to be revered, the same way I’ve revered the men I loved. And by goddess, I am not going to erase myself anymore — no more editing what I say, no more folding myself up into the tiniest package I can make. I want to take up space and not only that — I want to be loved for wanting to take up space.
There are men here that are teaching me that that’s possible in a relationship. Men who are sticking with me through my anger, listening to me, and supporting all my work — not just the sexy stuff.
They’ve shown me that I want to detox. I want off this toxic heterosexuality. It’s nothing but a bad trip.
It’ll take a while for everything to move out of my system. And it’s already making me a little sick. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I’m heading that way, no matter what it takes…
This article is dedicated to the kind, supportive, open-minded, truly feminist men who have encouraged me to speak, who are interested in everything I have to say, and who keep me going when things get rough. You all know who you are and you have my love and endless gratitude.


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