What is an abrosexual? Let me explain, as it took me 30 years to realise my identity

When I tell people that I’m abrosexual, I’m often greeted by a blank expression (Picture: Emma Flint)

‘When did you decide this? Is this even a label – I’ve never heard of it. I support you, obviously, but this doesn’t sound real.’

Just some of the words that greeted me when I came out as abrosexual to a close friend, back in 2020. 

Needless to say, we’re not friends anymore.

For those of you who don’t know what abrosexuality is, in layperson’s terms, it simply means when someone’s sexual identity fluctuates and changes.

I read and re-read the text, the dismissiveness of their message cutting deeper each time. Here I was, sharing my identity with someone I trusted, only for them to scoff at my words.

Although the easy defence is that you can’t determine someone’s tone from a text message, I think it’s clear that the vibe was far from supportive. It was judgmental, and immediately doubtful.

Sadly, this person isn’t the only one who has voiced their opinions on my abrosexuality – and I doubt they’ll be the last.

When I was growing up, I’d never heard the term abrosexual – you were either straight, gay, or lesbian as far as nineties society was concerned. Anything else was made up. 

Of course, we know that’s far from the truth – but societal blindspots mean we learn terms much slower than if they’re readily accessible.

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Often, people don’t go looking to educate themselves on different orientations unless it directly affects them – without that incentive, I’ve found many stick to what they know already.

I didn’t learn about abrosexuality until two years ago, when I was 30. Up until that point, I’d struggled to identify what my sexuality was because it fluctuated so rapidly. 

There were times that I too scoffed, chastising myself for being so uncertain of who I was. It wasn’t that I couldn’t make my mind up, but rather my identity shifted. 

One day I felt like I was a lesbian, yet days or weeks later, I’d feel more aligned with bisexuality. My sexuality was fluid.

There’s always some people who enjoy demanding that I ‘pick a lane’ so that my identity doesn’t offend them (Picture: Emma Flint)

Before learning about abrosexuality, I felt lost, as if out at sea. I also felt like a fraud because of how much I changed my identity when chatting with loved ones.

No one was intentionally hurtful, but I’d get the occasional, ‘but you said you were a lesbian only last week’. They didn’t understand and, at that time, I didn’t have the right words to explain myself.

It was only when I was reading the Instagram page of Zoe Stoller, a US based creator, educator, and social worker, who seeks to improve the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community, that I saw the term abrosexuality for the first time. 

You know in cartoons when a lightbulb appears above their heads? That’s how it felt when I read their post.

Finally, I feel seen.

Yet, while discovering a new term for me has been hugely beneficial to understanding myself better, to some people, my identity is one that evokes confusion. 

When I tell people that I’m abrosexual, I’m often greeted by a blank expression, followed by a question of what the term means. 

And questions are fine, as long as they’re respectful. I’m not expecting everyone to know what it means – hell, I didn’t until two years ago – but you should always listen with respect.

I’m happy to say that the rest of my friends and family have been very supportive of my identity, and have strived to learn more.

Before coming out as abrosexual, I felt restricted, unable to be myself because I didn’t quite know how to accept the parts of me I didn’t understand (Picture: Emma Flint)

One question I have been asked is about how being abrosexual impacts my love life and, in short, it doesn’t.

It doesn’t alter my romantic relationships in the same way being bisexual doesn’t cause a person to feel any differently about their partner. I love the person, rather than their gender so it doesn’t matter if my sexuality fluctuates while I’m with them.

However, even after explaining this, there’s always some people who enjoy demanding that I ‘pick a lane’ so that my identity doesn’t offend them. I want people to know that, just because you don’t know or understand an identity, doesn’t make it less authentic. 

But it’s still hard to hear things like ‘mate, you’re just confused’ or ‘just say you’re bisexual and be done with it’.

I refuse to be boxed in by someone else’s limited knowledge.  

We’re all learning new things about ourselves all the time – that’s what growth and development is about. 

Eventually, I hope that abrosexuality will be seen as normal, just another identity that someone might have, and not regarded as a way to be ‘on trend’, as some of the hurtful comments I’ve received suggest.

Acceptance can only come from education, and stepping outside your comfort zone to familiarise yourselves with terminology you might not know. 

There’s a whole wealth of LGBTQ+ knowledge online that people would benefit from learning, so that ignorance isn’t the main language so many of us speak.

Without individuals like Stoller, I’d still be in the dark about my sexuality. I’d know that it was ever changing, but I wouldn’t know why or what it meant in terms of my authenticity. I’d worry I was a fraud, or that something was wrong with me. Being closed off from yourself is an awful experience.

I wish I knew why my friend reacted to my identity in such a hurtful way.

Before coming out as abrosexual, I felt restricted, unable to be myself because I didn’t quite know how to accept the parts of me I didn’t understand. 

Now that I know, I can put a name to my identity, and am excited to see how that fluidity emerges. 

I’m no longer nervous about my sexuality because it makes sense to me, and in the end, that’s all that really matters. 

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