Stand bi me

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Question

I'm completely and utterly bisexual, always have been and always will be. The way I see it, if I like someone it doesn't matter what naughty bits they have because that's not why I like them. And I'm perfectly comfortable with it. I had a boyfriend a while ago who wasn't so comfortable with it. He was very paranoid and constantly thought I was cheating on him or liked someone else. When my sexuality came up, his actual words were, "You're twice as likely to cheat on me!" That was really the stupidest thing I've ever heard, because I'm a very loyal girl. The way I see it, it's the same as him just saying, "You were already likely to cheat on me, but now you can choose from either sex!"

Obviously I'm not involved with this guy anymore, but this conversation left me wondering: are bisexuals often thought to be disloyal? Does bisexuality just mean a person who will fuck anyone and everyone? Do I have to be a cheater to like boys and girls? A little clarification would be nice. My biggest question is, are bisexuals considered this way often or is this guy an idiot?

BISEXUAL BOO

Answer

Yes, Boo, it's true, many people tend to think of bisexuals as indecisive and/or indiscriminate and some of us are, just like people of any orientation. The thing that is different, though, is these qualities don't inevitably define other orientations, with the exception perhaps of male homosexuality. When heterosexual people fuck and date aimlessly, the verdict never falls on their orientation as the reason—it's just that they haven't found the right person yet. (This is annoying for different reasons, obviously.) Those who establish a more singular orientation are allowed to experiment within it and still maintain the integrity of their orientation, while our attractions to both sexes are often perceived to undermine each other, even when we take on traditional dating models like serial monogamy.

On the bright side, your idiot ex's concerns are a refreshing change from the more typical straight male expectation that bisexual means "threesome with my roommate Cindy" or "sleeping with other women is fine because it doesn't count." At least he sees your girl/girl liaisons as threatening; a form of validation, albeit an exasperating and misguided one.

Here's the thing, though: there are some compelling reasons why even the most open-minded person might secretly question the authenticity of bisexuality. For one, it's often the default setting for people who are on their way to Homoville. When gay friends of mine sheepishly confess, "I was bisexual once," I understand this to mean that they were using bisexuality as a catalyst to reaching their true desire.

Telling people who automatically assume everyone is straight until further notice that you're bisexual is a lot easier for some than coming out and proclaiming oneself a great big flamer (especially if you're still questioning) but it does leave people with the impression that there's a fence we're all sitting on.

Then there are those kooky teenagers throwing the term around all higgledy-piggledy because, let's face it, nothing proves your mystique at the age of 16 quite like the announcement that you're a fluid spirit. People using this orientation so capriciously don't help its already capricious reputation.

The suspicion cast around bisexuality also makes many of us go stealth and the queer community isn't above reprimand in creating an unwelcoming atmosphere. I think you'd be surprised at how many women who identify as lesbians continue to sleep with men on the DL; they just don't want their Junior Lesbian Ranger badges taken away. Dykes can be a tough crowd on us ladies who like the pole and the hole.

The other problem, and you're not going to like this, is bisexuals rationalizing their orientation by saying that they don't care what naughty bits people have, they like them for who they are. Why are straight and gay people allowed to be cock and pussy hogs but we have to define our desire in this wishy-washy, disingenuous way? I'm not saying that genitals make the man or woman; I'm just saying you're allowed to own your attractions, and how you express them, with more certainty. My suggestion while you're navigating skeptical waters is simply not to take any shit. And you didn't. Good for you.