Straight, gay, or lying?
It’s not a question but rather the title of a 2005 New York Times piece about a study that called bisexuality into question. Even though this study, and its corresponding article, are more than a decade old, the title is just as current as ever. For straight men toying with the idea of bisexuality, your “motives” are often called into question. Other straight guys and women automatically assume that bisexuality is just a stop on a one-way trip to Gayville. If you can’t prove that you’ve slept with a woman in the last 24 hours, no one believes you. It’s a sad but all too true reality.
Bisexuality and Everyone Else
SELF contributor Eliel Cruz faced the same scrutiny when he came out as bisexual to a gay friend. “It only took a few minutes for him to ask when I’d last had sex with a woman. I was prepared for the question and gave him the answer without missing a beat. This was nothing new to me,” he writes. It’s great that he was prepared but it’s disappointing that he needed to be. However, his gay friend’s mentality is the dominant one. Think you’re bisexual? Prove it.
There’s an endless sea of surveys and think pieces out there for women. They all ask the same question: would you date a man that’s bisexual? Some women are open to it while others can’t even deal.
And it makes sense. Biphobia exists among straight men and women and is rampant in the LGBTQ community. You probably expect your dating life to resemble that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie dates a bisexual man, and eventually realizes she isn’t progressive enough to handle him.
To others, it seems that a person who’s sexually attracted to both men and women is an alien. Even though we’re now living in the age of demisexuals and pansexuals, the average person still can’t wrap their head around bisexuality. Your straight guy friends think you’re gay. The women you date think you’re gay. With all the preconceived notions floating around, it can be tempting to play it straight, and keep your bisexuality private. But living your life half in the closet isn’t fulfilling.
It’s time to embrace your bisexuality. Know that you’re not alone. The number of men who’ve had a same-sex encounter has more than doubled in the last two decades. You can help influence that number even more by accepting, and experimenting with, your sexuality.
Embracing Your Bisexuality
To truly embrace your bisexuality, you first need to accept some blunt realizations about yourself and all the people out there who don’t understand you.
- Who you’ve dated in the past, and will date in the future, doesn’t determine your sexuality. Even if the last woman you dated was well over a year ago, that doesn’t mean you’re no longer bisexual. Bisexuality is about attraction, not notches on your bedpost. Don’t let others simplify or trivialize your sexuality.
- There’s no magic percentage of you or your time that gets devoted to a certain sex. When most people think about bisexuals, they imagine a 50/50 split. Sorry to disappoint them, but there’s no formula. And you don’t need to explain this to them.
- You’re not greedy. You’ll hear this criticism, too—that you’re not bisexual. You’re just so horny you’ll sleep with anyone. Even if that was true, there’s nothing wrong with it. But we both know it goes deeper than a need for sex.
- Being bi doesn’t mean you’ll be unfaithful. In the aforementioned Sex and the City episode, Carrie lets her insecurity get the best of her. She asks if her new beau is scoping out the other guys in the bar. Contrary to what she, and all your straight friends, think, the world is not one big candy store where you walk around chasing after every person who walks by. You experience love and attraction just as everyone else does, and when the right person comes along, you’ll be committed.
- You’re not confused. This will be a common criticism that you’ll need to get used to but you don’t have to accept. You’re evolved; they’re not. End of story.
This is the fun part, which you may or may not have already started. As a newly minted bisexual, sexy time with guys is new territory. There’s plenty to know about sex (we’ve got you covered with guides on topping and bottoming). But aside from technical specifics, there are a few ground rules you should heed:
- Explore with someone you’re genuinely interested in. Don’t just start having sex with random dudes for the sake of it. Make it count.
- Have an open mind. You’re new to this, so there will be positions and sensations that you love as well as those you hate. Try them all, but be vocal about what you like.
- Be open. You’re still dating women, and it seems the fairer sex is split down the middle about whether they’d date a bisexual guy. Be open upfront to avoid any awkwardness later. It might be weird at first, but it’s worth it.
- But if you don’t disclose anything, that’s cool, too. If you’re just having fun, you may not feel inclined to reveal your life story and full sexual history. That’s okay. Just keep in mind, if things move in a serious direction, that conversation should happen at some point.
- Don’t rush. There’s no reason to rush through your experimentation phase. Take your time, and enjoy it. Use this as a time to get to know yourself.
- Be safe. This goes without saying for everyone—not just bisexuals.
- Don’t freak out about bad experiences. We all have them. One bad experience with a guy doesn’t mean you’re no longer a bisexual. It just means you had bad sex.
- Have fun. Experimentation should be fun. Relax, open yourself to the possibilities, and learn.
As a straight guy, embracing your bisexuality is difficult, and understandably so, given the strict social constructs that the hetero world abides by. But if you recognize this as your journey, and no one else’s, it can be much easier than you’ve ever imagined.