Tag Archives: sexuality

reader questions about attraction

edit: i bet you’re wondering why i called this post “pansexual attraction.”  yeah, me too.  i think i was working on another post at the same time that was actually about pansexual attraction, but i got mixed up and misnamed this post.  really, this post is about attraction in general.  sorry about that, cats!

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one of my totally wicked readers sent me some really good questions and i answered them as best i could.  i figured i’d better share our conversation with you neon cats just in case other people have similar questions and/or folks have stuff to add to the conversation.

I read your article about pansexualism and I had some questions. You said that if you say you’re sexually attracted to ‘men, women and trans’ that’s cissexist. But what if you’re a heterosexual man who is just not attracted to any kind of genitals other than a vulva, and any other kind of person than somebody that identifies as a woman? Or what if you are bisexual, but you only are attracted to people with penises that identify as men or people with vulvas that identify as women? Can you really help what kind of genitals you are attracted to, and what you like your ideal person to look like? I think saying that you’re attracted to transpeople makes it sound like you don’t consider them to be male/female, especially if they are binary identifying trans people, I just wonder about bisexuals and heterosexuals and homosexuals that only are attracted to people whose genitals match their identified gender. I guess, can you be attracted to a certain sex of person and a certain gender? I don’t really know.

Also I read your post about the tits and the pumpkins and I totally always buy the last thing in the discount bin because I don’t want it to feel lonely. Just thinking about it kinda makes me teary eyes.

I’m also very sorry if I was offensive, I’m just learning. That’s no excuse, but it’s the truth, and I’ve combed through it trying to get rid of offensive language.

–anonymous

hi!  i love questions!

the problem with saying you’re attracted to “men, women, and trans* people” is that you’re placing all trans* people outside “men” and “women.”  this sucks because some trans* people ARE men or women; they don’t need any well-meaning pansexuals to erase their existence.  society already tells trans* men and trans* women they aren’t “real” men/women and that they’re “really” the gender they were designated at birth; and they don’t need any more of that kind of thing.  i think you already know this, but i want to make sure we’re on the same page.

moving on.  by definition, a heterosexual guy is a (cis or trans*) guy who only experiences attraction to women.  he may experience attraction to some bodies/genitals but not to others, but that doesn’t impact his heterosexuality.  so a straight guy who only likes vulvae is no more straight than a straight guy who likes all sorts of genitals.  as long as he’s only really attracted to (cis and/or trans*) women, he’s heterosexual.

same thing goes for the bisexual person you describe; they’re no more or less bi than a bisexual person who’s attracted to people with all sorts of genitals.

the other thing to remember is that lots of trans* people get bottom surgery and, in many cases, are thereafter indistinguishable from cis folks.  that means that a straight guy, for instance, who only likes women with vulvae may experience attraction to trans* women with vulvae as well as to cis women with vulvae.  if the mere fact of transness is a problem for this hypothetical guy, he’s kinda cissexist/transmisogynist.  however, if he really just likes (cis/trans*) women with vulvae– cool.

so, yes, it’s totally ok to only be attracted to certain genital configurations; it’s a healthy part of some people’s sexuality.  i’m going to include some relevant reading: the “ethical” imperative of disclosure and the question of fetishization.  they’re both natalie reed articles that discuss trans* bodies, attraction, and all sorts of interesting stuff.  you may have already read them, but i thought you might like them.  also, attraction down the privilege gradient by lisa millbank is kinda relevant.  it discusses how our attractions don’t develop in a vacuum, but are informed by our social/political climate.  anyway.  just in case you love reading.  <3

your message isn’t offensive at all!  i’m really not very uptight about stuff like that (though i think i know why so many people think i am).  we all mess up (me, too!) and i think it’s important to call each other out so we can learn from our mistakes.  that’s all.  no public shaming or stoning or anything like that.  :)

thanks for asking and please lemme know if you have any more questions or if i didn’t answer these questions well enough.  stay splendid!

splendidly,
mx. punk <3

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any thoughts, readers?  how’d i do?  any further advice for the asker?