Love Wins: Embracing Sexual Fluidity

Nobody:

Me: “All I wanna do at 40 is be Niecy Nash at 50.”

Honestly y’all, I’ve been saying that for the last year. I’ll be 40 on October 26th, if the good Lord says the same. You know once you turn 35 you’ve got to start using Ole people colloquialisms. Yes. That was a shameless birthday plug to y’all, my Fearless Black Women friends and followers…

Ok back to Niecy. I can’t remember if it was the pink sequin Christian Siriano ball gown with matching turban and cape she wore to the 2019 Emmys, or the black painted-on one piece she rocked while dancing to Cardi B’s “Drip” that did it for me. I’ve followed her and loved her fashion sense and body goals, but something about this Niecy on social media, in movies and on TV shows is different. Couldn’t put my finger on it.

The things I see on Beyonce’s internet don’t always amaze me, but imagine I’m scrolling the ‘gram August 31 and see Niecy Nash in a whole wedding dress marrying a whole woman. Surprised wasn’t even the word. I was not the only one.  Included under the post captioned, “Mrs. Carol Denise Betts” in the almost 24,000 comments of congratulations, heart emojis and rainbows there were quite a few  “OMG”, WOW” and IDK. Matter of fact, her Better half, singer/songwriter, Jessica Betts, 41, made a post saying “I got a whole wife.” She couldn’t believe it either.

The two married in an intimate ceremony with twenty-four of their closest friends and family at their home in Ventura County, California on August 29. Betts has never been married and even joked about what to do next after the proposal.

This is Nash’s third marriage. Both prior marriages have been to men. Her divorce to Jay Tucker was finalized in March. She told People Magazine that she and Betts were friends and that she never saw Betts as someone she would date. She says something shifted.

“I loved her before I was in love with her because she is such a special human being. But we began to see each other in a way we never had before.

Sometimes you get so broken by love, you run from it, but I’ve learned that you should always hold space for magic because it can happen at any time.”

Who doesn’t want a magical loving relationship, right? When asked about her sexuality, Nash said she was not suppressing anything throughout her life and that she loves who she loves.

“I’ve done everything I wanted to do on my own terms and my own way. So my choice now in a partner has nothing to do with who I’ve always been. It’s a matter of who I am in this moment”

So if you’re like me and weren’t on the guest list which included other fearless and fabulous black women: Ava DuVernay, Lala Milan, and Yvonne Orji, or if you’re wondering how she can be married to a woman now after dating, marrying and having children with men, let’s talk. Is Niecy Nash a lesbian or at least bisexual?

Bisexuality means different things to different people. It can mean attraction to the same gender and different gender or both. It’s not a half gay or half straight category either. Getting briefly into gender identities, some people that are bisexual date cisgender men and women whose identity relates to the sex they were assigned at birth.

Dating another gender doesn’t automatically make you straight either. I asked 100 women age 40 and over, and they all knew someone that had dated, married and/or had sexual relationships with the same gender, but ended up going back to the opposite sex or vice versa. Ok—it was really about ten, and they ranged in age and race but they shared stories of knowing of women dating women and building families with them (either through surrogacy, adoption, or children from previous relationships), but when they saw them at the next family function, these same women were with a man and making his plate. Y’all don’t come for me about these gender stereotypes I threw in there, ok?

So—in the words of a good Baptist minister on a Sunday morning, “I’m not gon’ hold y’all too much longer. Tell your neighbor, say ‘Neighbor, Sexual fluidity’.”

Lisa Diamond, Ph.D., professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah wrote a book on the matter, “Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire”. The book is based on the idea that sexual orientations can change over time and may change based on the situation at hand.

“I define sexual fluidity as a capacity for a change in sexual attraction-depending on changes in situational or environmental or relationship conditions,” says Diamond.

People can also identify as sexually fluid. Everything Nash described as far as living and loving in the moment (regardless of gender) unexpectedly, and moving from being hurt in love to finding love in friendships is exactly what sexual fluidity is. It doesn’t give exclusivity to either sexual orientation or gender. It depends on a person’s experiences and relationships.

The Betts have done interviews and social media posts and the message is loud, proud and universal. In choosing HERself, Niecy Nash chose Jessica and love wins.

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