I’ve found over the years that bisexuality is something not widely understood, even within the LGBT community. American pop culture certainly hasn’t helped things with its fascination of two straight girls making out. There are a lot of misconceptions, such as the ever-so-popular “bisexuality is just the stepping stone to being gay,” or that true bisexuality doesn’t even exist.
Well, I’ve considered myself to be bisexual for roughly eight years now, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a “stepping stone,” and I’d say it certainly exists. So what is bisexuality really? I’m not a psychology major and don’t hold any degrees, but I will do my best to explain what bisexuality means for me.
First-off, at it’s core, bisexuality is a physical attraction to both male and female. Some people look at this as just being “sex-crazed” but it’s a bit more complicated than that. For me, my attraction toward women is a masculine attraction toward them, whereas my attraction towards men is a somewhat transgendered feminine attraction toward them. Both sets of feelings exist within me, and which is more prominent can change from day to day.
This can make monogamy difficult at best, because ultimately having a single partner denies half of those emotions. Thankfully I was brought up with solid morals, so I’m not inclined to cheat, but it is certainly the most difficult part of being bi. So far, the best situation has been having a relationship with another bisexual person so that my partner at least understands those sort of urges and doesn’t feel as threatened by them.
Now that we have the basic gist, here’s where things get complicated. The attraction between the bisexual individual and each gender does not have to be equal, and as was stated earlier; the form of the attraction is usually not the same either. For me, my physical attraction is generally stronger with guys, but my ability to connect and be emotionally attracted is stronger with women than it is with men. Other people’s bisexual nature can lean them closer to heterosexuality or homosexuality. As Laci Green said once in her video blog, sexuality is not a polar, black and white system. It’s a spectrum and people can fall just about anywhere along it.
Personality generally is a little different too. Now, I don’t want to make sweeping generalizations because everyone’s different, but I will say that the personality of a bisexual person is a bit different from their hetero and gay counterparts. People who fall in one one end of the spectrum or the other tend to exhibit strong personality traits of the masculine or feminine, creating personality archetypes like the “flaming homo.” Since bisexuals fall somewhere in the middle, they tend to have a softer blend of the male and female personas, not being overly dominant in either. Again, this is not true with everyone, but it does seem to be a common trend.
This moderation of personality and sexuality can make it easier to “hide” as a bisexual person. This leads me to a theory I have, that there are a lot more bisexual men than we think. It took until I was almost 20 years old to admit to my closest friends that I was bisexual. I had known about my attraction toward men for much long than that, for as long as I can remember really, but dismissed it due to my seemingly equal attraction toward women. I don’t have to repeat what has been said countless times in the media that it’s difficult for an adolescent growing up and coming to terms with their sexuality. But, as hard as it is for someone to admit that they’re gay, even when it’s impossible for them to have an intimate heterosexual relationship, I think it’s even harder to come out when you’re bisexual, because it’s easy to hide behind the facade of heterosexuality because you have a legitimate attraction toward the opposite sex.
Then you add in social pressure. No matter how forward thinking society seems to be, there is still social stigma around being anything other than heterosexual. With women at least, being homosexual or having those tendencies is more accepted and sometimes sought after by horny guys who mistakingly think that means they get to have two girls to themselves (not realizing that men really are NOT god’s gift to women, and that they really want nothing to do with the pervert). With men, it’s different. To show feminine traits is to show weakness. Attraction toward other men is the ultimate, and the term “gay” has become a word to describe anything that is weak, convoluted, or inferior. This makes things a bit harder because no one wants to admit to themselves, or to others, that they are weak.
At that point, it’s no wonder that bisexual men don’t seem to come out until their 20s at least, possibly later, or not at all. We don’t generally have to play the pronoun game like homosexuals do, because we generally have a few real heterosexual relationships to talk about if needed. Also, since a bisexual person can have a real relationship with someone of the opposite sex, their bisexuality can regress into a “dirty little secret” they keep stashed away somewhere. Of course, most of this is speculation based on my own experiences, but it really leads me to believe that there are a LOT more bisexual people, especially men, out there who simply won’t admit to their own nature. To those people, I say be honest with yourself. Being bi won’t make you weak, but the hole that it burns in your heart if you deny it very well could.
Hopefully this clears up some misconceptions and gives people a better understanding of bisexuality. It’s certainly not something to be ashamed of, but it can certainly make things difficult or complicated. Then again, if life was too simple, it would get really boring, no?
Pingback: The Road to Repeal | Stonewall AJET