Mythbusting Bisexual Men

Bisexual men, ‘the unicorns of the sexuality spectrum,’ do, in fact, exist. Hugo Schwyzer argues that bi guys are no less capable of fidelity than the rest of us.

“You’re either gay, straight, or lying.”

I first heard that oft-repeated phrase when I was an 18-year-old freshman at UC Berkeley. I was at my first meeting of the GLBA (Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Alliance). I’d recently broken up with a girlfriend, and had been dating (and sleeping with) both men and women; I was ready to “come out” as bi and to get involved in campus activism. But as I quickly found out, though there were equal numbers of gay men and lesbians in the group, the only bisexuals were women. And while many of those women faced a certain amount of “bi-phobia,” at least the GLBA acknowledged their existence.

Bisexual men, I was told, didn’t exist: we were either cowards or liars, too scared or too dishonest to admit we were really gay.

This belief that bi men are the unicorns of the sexuality spectrum remains tenacious. A widely cited 2005 study found no evidence that men could be sexually attracted to both genders. (The study involved showing both gay and straight porn to a group of men who identified as bi. Seventy-five percent of the men in the study were physiologically aroused only by the gay erotica—and the other 25 percent only by the hetero stuff. No one was equally turned on by both.)

One of the corollaries to this dismissiveness of the possibility of male bisexuality is what I call the “sexual one-drop rule.” The original one-drop rule, developed in the Jim Crow era, declared that anyone who had as much as a drop of “Negro blood” was to be considered “colored.” To be white, one had to be free from any African ancestry. The sexual version is similar: It declares that any man who has any sexual attraction to other men is gay. Women can have complex and fluid desires, but men live by a strict dichotomy. You either are or you aren’t, and if you’ve ever wanted to fuck a man (or acted on that want), then you’re gay. End of story.

I ran into the one-drop rule just a month ago. My wife and I were out to dinner with a good friend of ours, a single woman in her 40s. She was sharing her war stories from the cyber-dating world, and mentioned having met a great guy whom she really liked—until he let slip, on the third date, that he had had boyfriends as well as girlfriends in the past. “That ended that,” our friend said. “If he’s been with men, then he’s gay in my book.”

I chose the moment to share my own history of having dated both men and women. Our friend was floored. She kept looking at my wife, her eyes seemingly asking the question her lips wouldn’t speak: “How can you trust him to be faithful?” My wife just smiled her Mona Lisa smile in return.

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I’ve known I was attracted to both men and women since my early teens. Long before I’d been kissed, my sexual fantasies featured both boys and girls. I remember the trepidation and excitement I’d feel changing for PE classes, desperately afraid I’d get an erection and be outed. (It never happened, thank goodness.)

I was equally eager to see naked girls—I just had much less opportunity to do so, at least in real life. At age 14, I found a porn magazine featuring a pictorial of two men and a woman, and I used that as a masturbation aid for months until the pages literally fell apart.

My introduction to sex with men came in a ménage a trois. My first teenage girlfriend, who had her own kinky streak, knew my fantasies and wanted to see me with another man. She set up a threesome with a co-worker from her job at an ice cream store. It was the most erotically memorable experience of my high school years, and is something I still think about on the rare occasions I find myself in a Baskin-Robbins. After that girlfriend and I broke up, I had sex with a series of men (and women) over the next several years.

But before I went to my first GLBA meeting, I’d figured out something about myself. While I was sexually attracted to both men and women, I found the idea of actually falling in love with a man to be preposterous. With men, I wanted hot sex and nothing else. I didn’t even enjoy kissing guys (the stubble burn was a turn-off. I had no idea how women endured that.) But I knew from experience that I could fall in love with women. On a physical level, I was drawn to both; on a romantic plane, I was straight as an arrow.

Researchers on bisexuality have often noted that those who identify as bi often have that same heart/body disconnect that I experienced. In the 1860s, the pioneering sexual rights crusader Karl Heinrich Ulrichs wrote of “conjunctive” and “disjunctive” bisexuals. The former could be sexually and romantically drawn to both genders, while the latter could fall in love with just one sex while still lusting for both. Ulrichs claimed that “disjunctives” came in both varieties (some bisexuals could fall in love with their own sex but not the other; some could fall in love with the opposite sex but not their own. But in order to “qualify” as bisexual, disjunctives needed to have physical desire for both men and women.)

Ulrichs considered both conjunctive and disjunctive bisexuality in both sexes to be a normal variation on the human condition. Though he was scorned and mocked for his enlightened views, the real tragedy may be that he wasn’t just ahead of his time—when it comes to accepting male bisexuality as authentic, he’s ahead of our time.

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In more than a quarter-century of thinking, writing, and eventually teaching about male bisexuality, I’ve become convinced that the inability to accept the reality of bisexuality in men is linked to fears about fidelity. The myth that men are naturally promiscuous while women are naturally monogamous endures. So we assume that a bisexual woman can make a commitment to either a man or a woman, and that she’ll be able to stay faithful. But we already think straight men have a hard enough time remaining true—the expectation that a bisexual man will invariably cheat is high. When our friend shot my wife that look when I revealed my sexual history with men, I’m fairly sure that’s what she was thinking: He’s either lying or cheating.

But though she didn’t ask, she may have been wondering how my wife coped with the visceral reality that I have had sex with men. We live in a culture in which sex between two women is regularly eroticized while sex between two men gets labeled “disgusting.” While the most fervent declarations of revulsion at the thought of guy-on-guy sex are usually from men (especially the ones who feel pressure to prove their heterosexual bona fides), I’ve known plenty of women who liked gay and bi men perfectly well—but were repulsed by the thought of what those men actually do in bed.

In my younger, single years, I found that women had two reactions to the discovery of my bisexuality. (It wasn’t something I often announced on first dates, but I rarely kept it a secret for long.) Some women, like my first girlfriend, found the idea incredibly hot. The stereotype of the man who pressures his girlfriend to have a threesome with another woman is justly famous, but I can attest that the reverse is not as rare as might be imagined. Though only one woman went so far as to arrange a ménage a trois with another guy, there were a couple of others who loved it when I would recount erotic details to them in bed.

The stereotype of the man who pressures his girlfriend to have a threesome with another woman is justly famous, but I can attest that the reverse is not as rare as might be imagined.

The second reaction was, of course, disgust. I can recall dating a grad school classmate of mine back in the early ’90s. Liz had impeccable liberal credentials (a Wellesley alumna, she’d experimented with women in her teens), but her progressive politics stopped cold at the thought of dating a man who had had sex with other men. “I’m so sorry, Hugo,” she said when she told me she was calling things off. “I’ve got no problem with gay men. But I can’t be intimate with a man who’s done what you’ve done without getting a giant image in my head of what you’ve done. And forgive me, but it’s just … gross.”

If there are two things you can’t talk people out of, it’s what gets them hot and what turns them off. Once the truth came out, I had no chance with Liz.

♦◊♦

But in the end, the big fear so many people have about bisexuality really does revolve around the capacity to be faithful. I can’t speak for every man who has dealt with a lifetime of sexual attraction to both men and women. But I can speak from my own experience, which is that monogamy is no harder for bisexuals than it is for straight or gay folks. Even if you’re only sexually attracted to females, there’s no way your wife or girlfriend can possibly embody everything that draws you to women.

One of my exes had a beautiful voice, a soprano so breathtaking it brought tears of joy to my eyes. My beloved wife, Eira, has a thousand amazing talents, but can’t carry a tune. I’m no more likely to leave the mother of my daughter for a man than I am to leave her for a member of the L.A. Master Chorale. No partner can be everything to us. Every honest heterosexual in a monogamous relationship admits that his or her partner lacks something that others might have. It’s no different for bisexuals. Really.

Before making a lifetime commitment to someone, almost everyone—gay, straight, or bi—struggles with the realization that if everything works out as they hope, they’ll never have sex with anyone other than their partners for the rest of their lives. Lots of people find that terrifying. But that’s a general fear about the loss of possibility rather than a specific anxiety about not being able to sleep with a particular type. An engaged man might have some misgivings about fidelity, but he’s not thinking “Damn, my fiancée is a brunette. I’ll never fuck a natural blonde again.”

We accept that women’s sexuality is remarkably fluid. That’s a good thing, as that recognition opens up a whole world of possibility. But the flip side is the continued insistence that male sexuality is static, simple, and comes in only two distinct flavors: gay or straight.

That thinking doesn’t just sell bisexual guys short. It reinforces the toxic myth that men can never have inner lives as rich, complex, and surprising as women so evidently do.

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More from Sex Week at the Good Men Project:

Amanda Marcotte: What Women Don’t Tell You

Charles Allen: Why I Hate My Giant Dong

Joshua Matacotta: Do Gay Men Fear Intimacy?

Emily Heist Moss: Does Size Matter?

Ed Fell: 10 Secrets to Satisfying Sex

John DeVore: Multiple Inches of Love

About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website

Comments

  1. Fastidious answers in return off this query with solid arguments and explainbing all regarding that.

  2. I’m dating a bisexual man, and I’m a man. I must admit its the chemistry that brought us together, still after 2 years I feel for him– never loved someone as much as him. He wanted a break, moved out of state,came back and cheated on me. He’s a workaholic, and I initiate everything from dates, events, and sex. He’s not romantic, doesn’t surprise me, doesn’t go down on me, and I’m sick of hearing about his fucking houses and his lame jobs. When it comes to sex, its always quick blow jobs, and we have to run out the house. He doesn’t blow me, he won’t go all the way with me, and he won’t let me go down on him all the way either. We don’t go out, because he’s too tired, and he’s canceled plans on several occasions at last minute. He leaves town out of the blue to go out with buddies, and makes fucking excuses. And I can’t pinpoint that he’s cheating on me, though daily I feel he’s messing around. I can’t trust him, and I’d like to see things change. Though I don’t know if i can deal with bisexual men anymore.

  3. Thanks for writing this piece. It can be very lonely to be the only “out” bi man anyone knows. I have come to accept that mentioning orientation or history will bring on a litany of the same questions I always get to answer.
    In ancient Greece and Rome, it was only the weirdos who wanted sex with just their wives and mistresses. We are genetically nearly identical to those people. I think that same level of near universal bisexuality finds expression now in the way the advertising industry has tapped into using sexy male bodies to sell products to men.

  4. My man keeps cheating one with men denies it promises he loves me and will not happen again we have been together 6 yrs and a baby girl later. He says his been with but it was just a phase yet I still find things on his phone talking flirtatious with men when I confront him he says he doesn’t want to sleep with men he just likes attention from both sexes and he doesn’t want anyone but me his excuse is I don’t show him
    Enough attention what should I do so fed up

    • He loves you, though he wants to have this cake and eat it too?
      I would not trust the guy,he’s impulsive and acts out on his sexual urges.
      He does not respect you, love you, nor care for you.

  5. I think that we are all just sexual. Not hetero not homo not bi, just sexual. You love who you love, you are attracted to who you’re attracted to whether male or female. Monogamy or fidelity is a different issue. I think, no, I know that there are men and I’m sure women, that are happily married for years, and one day they come across someone of the same gender that ignites something in them and they find themselves feeling that they must be with that person no matter what. Even though they have never had a same sex attraction in their lives. If that’s what you’re mind and body want, who needs to label that? You just want to be sexual, not homo hetero or bi. Just my opinion

  6. High-five for this article, Hugo.

    For what it’s worth, I know a bisexual man who has only ever had sex with his wife.

  7. forgot to mention above
    The Grey’s of Bisexuality for both men and woman

    There are men who prefer women and have sex with men
    There are men who prefer men and have sex with women
    There are men who prefer both men or women equally and these are generally the one’s that will have relationships. This is not always true, I’ve known or heard about every combination

  8. Good article but the premise is flawed in one way. It assumes that to be the preverbal “good person” you have to be “faithful”.

    Some Context;
    “Being Faithful” in traditional terms is more of a social religious doctrine and not really suited for a modern society among intelligent homo-sapiens. This is mainly because religion and intelligence can’t go hand in hand. Yes, there are “smart” religious people out there but I have yet to meet an intelligent man or woman of a religious nature. This is because people of “faith” have a fatal flaw in their ability to think and reason for them selves, they place their values and morals in the church, bible and god which are all logically and fundamentally flawed at their core.
    A quick example: Morals
    Ask anyone who believe in god if the believe in god and if so is gods word absolute? As soon as they answer yes they become morally bankrupt because the next question is what do you do when god orders you to kill your child or loved one?

    So back to the premise of this response, “traditional faithfulness” has nothing to do with being a “good” or “moral” person because my girlfriend loves me being bisexual and we find other bisexual men to join us in our love making. I am not faithful and neither is she but we are both honest and moral people, way more moral than any religious person could ever hope to be.

    Why would anyone truly want to have sex with one person, I’ve done it in my first marriage and I lost 15 years of my life which I can never get back because there is no other life than the one you are living now. That being said the only logical conclusion is hedonism or the pursuit of hedonism.

    There are basic shades of bisexuality, bisexuals that will lean more towards one gender or another and those that are straight down the middle. I could NEVER have a “relationship” with a man, I love woman but I have a strong drive to have sex with both men and woman and the key is honesty. You tell your lady upfront and honest about everything, not on the first date but at least early on in the relationship so nobody invests too much time in to a relationship before making an important decisions. Basically you have to sell it, own it and be honest about it.

    • Maybe for you that’s the case, but if you say that’s the case for everyone you come off judgemental and pushy.
      If neither side of a relationship wants fidelity from their other half, then that’s their right. but when one side of a relationship wants monogamy and the other side wants to sleep around, THAT’s where the problem is.

    • As someone who is bisexual and has lived both monogamously and polyamorously, I would argue that one is “unfaithful” when they willingly violate the terms and agreements of their relationship/s, whether those terms dictate monogamy or otherwise.

  9. I am glad things are changing culturally on this subject. A therapist once told my bisexual girlfriend who I was only briefly involved with that “if he is bisexual he is gay and in the closet and you should not be involved with him.” I had mostly hetero relationships. It hurt tremendously deeply. I told her it wasn’t true and the therapist laughed and said ” there is no such thing as a bisexual man.” The therapist was gay. I too only fall in love with women. I felt found loving friendships with my male partners, but it was never the same. Oddly the “gay and in denial” thing is the whole culture has been in denial of bisexual men and bisexual feelings in men in general. Biphobia is a form of homophobia that both the straight and gay culture colude with. For straight is a way to “keep the gay away” for gay – I don’t know it seems perhaps it sows seeds of doubt in the minds of many gay men. But really it is NO threat at all.

  10. I am the girlfriend of a bisexual man and i’m the only girl he’s ever slept with. Weirdly enough he said the identical thing about the difference between love and sex.. when i met him he had been in a gay relationship for 3.5 years, but hadn’t kissed anyone for over a year. People make comments at me sometimes, that it’s weird that he still wanks over boys and other things like that.. but if i’m honest, him having slept with men means that he’s more understanding about a lot of things.. i.e the true horror of having a cock shoved down your throat… he’s not stereotypically gay-acting (if there is such a thing) he doesn’t like sport THANK GOD but apart from that he’s just like any other straight guy. but better. because he’s gorgeous and clever and mine!

  11. love this article, when you hear so much that bi sexuality is a myth you start to believe it. nothing drives me crazier than this thing. why do people just not want to believe it exists? Someone is straight or gay so they figure everyone else has to be. amazing such a huge part of the population has such trouble with anyone who is different than themselves. I hate how it is assumed that we just havn’t figured it out yet, we’re in some sort of denial. don’t act like I don’t know myself, nothing worse than that..

  12. Great article, Hugo! Thanks for discussing this topic! It’s also worth noting that the the one drop rule is often used on bi women, just the other way around. If she says she’s bi or has had a relationship or experience with a man, she’s really just straight and lying.

  13. This hit home on so many levels… Intellectually, I know that I’m not alone, yet it’s fantastic to read someone’s views that so closely match my own. Thank you, Hugo!

  14. This blog has helped me a great deal, as a wife of a bisexual man It’s difficult to hear people say that that Bisexualism does not exist. After 12 very happy years together and two children I know that he loves me, and our healthy sex life shows me he is also physically and sexually attracted to me. He is however sexually attracted to men. It was difficult for me to accept initially but his bisexuality is another part of his personality and something else that makes me love him. I was disappointed in my reaction as I myself have had moments with girls and women during my teenage years aand have always considered myself openminded and non judge mental, but I think it was the shock and the fear of loosing him!. In 12years we have had one indiscretion in that he had an encounter with another man – and like any person after an extra marital affair I was crushed – but we worked things out and have moved on – like any couple. Its dangerous for people to use bisexuality as a get out of jail free card, a free pass to screw around. If your not happy in any relationship then you need to look at what you can do to be happy, don’t use your sexuality as an excuse – its unfair on the majority of bisexuals who live happy lives with partners however long that relationship will last. Yes some bi men and women can’t be happy with one person but the same can be said for gay and straight people! I am proud of my husband and I love all of his traits, we now talk openly about his feelings – and my own and look forward to the future together 🙂

  15. This blog has helped me a great deal, as a wife of a bisexual man It’s difficult to hear people say that that Bisexualism does not exist. After 12 very happy years together and two children I know that he loves me, and our healthy sex life shows me he is also physically and sexually attracted to me. He is however sexually attracted to men. It was difficult for me to accept initially but his bisexuality is another part of his personality and something else that makes me love him. I was disappointed in my reaction as I myself have had moments with girls and women during my teenage years, but I think it was the shock and the fear of loosing him!. In 12years we have had one indiscretion in that he had an encounter with another man – and like any person after an extra marital affair I was crushed – but we worked things out and have moved on – like any couple. Its dangerous for people to use bisexuality as a get out of jail free card, a free pass to screw around. If your not happy in any relationship then you need to look at what you can do to be happy, don’t use your sexuality as an excuse – its unfair on the majority of bisexuals who live happy lives with partners however long that relationship will last. Yes some bi men and women can’t be happy with one person but the same can be said for gay and straight people! I am proud of my husband and I love all of his traits, we now talk openly about his feelings – and my own and look forward to the future together 🙂

  16. How many binary thinkers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Depends on if its a “Good” light bulb or a “Bad” light bulb. A “Democratic” light bulb or a “Republican” light bulb. A “Black” light bulb or a “White” light bulb. A “Straight” light bulb or a “Gay” light bulb. Etc ad infinitum. Because as long as we continue to look for the solution through a binary lens, that light bulb ain’t never gonna get turned on.

  17. An interesting point to ponder. Frankly, the idea that men who say they are bisexual is either gay, straight or lying is rather sexist. Why can’t men enjoy women and men like women who enjoy men and women?

    I like that you pointed out that it has to do with the perception of faithfulness. Where did the idea come from that women don’t cheat? I’ve heard of married women who cheat on their husbands with their ex-girlfriends. So how?

    *grin*

  18. I love this post. I think in the last seven years the contoversy of the reality of bisexual men is forcing us to push back and say “WE ARE HERE”. I fankly won’t take anymore shit anymore. I am trying to do it in a way that just simply calls it out as biggotry. But I also want gay support on the issue frankly and it is few and far between. I have faced homophobia from some straight people. But in the realm of “liberal” urban straight and gays, straight people support me and don’t care while I get hassled a lot from gay men. But I have few gay friends who support me. And as my xboy said “I support you, because the gay community has a serious shortage of tops.” I rolled with laughter hearing him say it.

  19. BTW, portrayal of those studies about arousal is not accurate. It’s not true that they showed only exclusive arousal to either gay or lesbian porn. Bailey (who’s BTW well known for raging transphobia too) artificially divided results into two groups that they could resemble results of “gay” and “straight” men. I remember other studies done by the same author, those which suggested that women are equally aroused by everything (in fact, only on group average, because there were particular women who were exclusive – and more so in lesbian group), and even though men there were only self identified Kinsey 5 and 6, quite a big number didn’t show exclusive arousal – about 1/3 of straight men were only a bit more aroused by lesbian porn, the one and only research participant who truly showed equal arousal was “straight” man, and 2 gay men (for about 20) were even a bit more aroused by lesbian porn.

    That last sentence should be interesting to Rick S. – so apparently 10% of gay men are more aroused by women.

  20. “But the flip side is the continued insistence that male sexuality is static, simple, and comes in only two distinct flavors: gay or straight.”

    And with that, we welcome Exodus International and the National Association for the Repair and Treatment of Homosexuality (NARTH), and all other religious conservative nutball organizations that argue that sexual identity is a “choice”, and therefore “homosexuals” are “immoral” because they consciously make the “wrong choice.” I mean, if they were right with “God,” they’d be straight, no?

    My own experience is that women’s sexuality is very fluid, and I’ve seen lesbians who’ve gone straight — without the need of therapy or religion — and I’ve seen straight women get into lesbianism. But I know very, very few gay men who — despite all their best efforts — get turned on to women, and as for straight men — considering how aggressive the male sex drive is — if more straight men truly had a “bi-curious” dimension, it would have come out in society a long time ago. I myself can speak from painful and humiliating experience of hitting on my straight friends in my youth, indulging in that same wishful thinking that Hugo Schwyzer does, that many straight guys are really “bi.” They are not, just as most gay men are basically gay.

    • Actually, according to Diamond’s study about “female sexual fluidity”, it’s not that fluid contrary to the term. It seems like just most women define their orientations by their emotional preferences of partner, not sexual feelings. From my experience, most men define themselves by their sexual feelings. And since as those studies suggest that “emotional feelings” are far less stable than sexual attractions (which basically during those 10 years of study remained in the same range), it’s no wonder why it often looks like “lesbians go straight” or “straight women go gay” – but in fact either they were always into that gender sexually, or just fell in love with one particular person (it’s separated issue from sexuality).

    • I have had many many of my straight friends come out and some come onto me. Yes many straight men are actually bisexual. My best friend finally said after ten years “I made out with a guy but I didn’t want to go there because it would complicate my life. In one case a “straight” guy asked me to have sex with him and his wife and I did. The thing is I am 6’3″ muscular 220 lbs x football player and out as bisexual. They look at me and see me as “straight” not “gay” and when I tell them I am “bi” I usually get a strange mixture of homoeroticism, curiosity, identification, and homophobia. If they become homophobic I put right back in their face and usually get an instant outing of a “straight” guy. I have no idea why gay men want to keep their head up their ass that a good number of “straight” men are actually repressed bisexuals. This is true not a fantasy. I came out to my football team as their captain and guess what half the team “felt as I did” I want to blow the lid off and expose the fact that “straight” is pretty damn queer. As a “straight” guy in highschool I saw my straight friends play with each other and blow each other. Pretty queer behavior for “straight” guys. Gay men are not privy to this because they were cast out as “sissies” etc. While “straight” men enjoy mansex with each other.

    • Many straight men are bi and they don’t feel comfortable coming out. But they have come out to me! Gay men are often so divorced from straight men that they don’t get it. And guess what it comes out in the culture ALL the time. Male bonding rituals of all sorts are a way of sublimating homoerotic feelings. I am bisexual and a football player for 12 years, have you ever seen how a football team behaves in the locker room? Men laugh and emulate homoerotic positions, etc. But these guys have confessed to me how they really feel, it is not a joke. It is the only way they express their homoerotic feelings. After seeing years of this behavior I decided to get it for real.

  21. “I have experienced job discrimination, harassment, assault, insults, but worst of all that is having partners reject you. I am glad I am with someone who accepts but truly the depression still lingers.”

    I will go out on a limb here and argue that all of the above happened for reasons OTHER than your “bisexuality”. And I happen to be gay, and I speak for a lot of gay men for have dated openly bisexual men in good faith, fallen in love with these guys — and then get the inevitable “I love you, but I’d rather be with a woman”…and then you see these guys in the arms of another man several months later.

  22. Yes, bisexual men do exist, even genuinely bisexual men who are attracted to both men and women in nearly equal measure. But not as many bisexual men exist as gay men who claim to be bisexual.

  23. I believe that a far greater than we think number of men are sexually attracted to other men to some degree. In my opinion this number of men is probably even greater than the number of gay men. I think sex between two men is very different from het sex and expresses itself naturally in customary male ways: it’s about power, competition, and consumption.

    If the social conservative wing feels threatened by the social acceptance of relationships between two men, just wait until the time comes when it’s more accepted for guys to like both oranges and apples. I think the coming acceptance of “spectrum sexuality” for men will be far more upsetting to their fantasy world than gay relationships are now.

    And just to comment on the writer’s point that the sticking point of accepting male bi-sexuality revolves around fidelity, I agree but I think there is more to it than that. I think more people would be threatened by the implications of finding and acknowledging male-male desire and consumption, i.e., the thing that most in the majority find immoral and disgusting about the gay community, within the larger group of heretofore presumed straight men. Husbands, sons, and even fathers might be thought of differently.

  24. Matthew says:

    And as far as Dominick’s comment stop being a sexual orientation Nazi. Although I have more often dated women (nearly 4 to 1) and fallen in love with women, my relationships with men were loving and rewarding. And I have realized that “falling in love” is an irrational phenenon while choosing to love is a conscious and aware. I have a circle of friends and family and peers and collegues in the art world where NO ONE CARE IF I WERE GAY or had a relationship with a man forever. The point is why do I have to mutilate my sense of self because gay men can not conceive of my existence? Or even in a relationship that I am told by outsiders that I am a liar or coward. In 1972 YOU Dominick were considered a Disease by “science”. Do you get the fascist hypocrisy!

  25. Although out for twenty years and having a similar experience as the author, the degree of discrimination has so upset me in this last year that I am depressed. I am dating a biwoman now but I am still depressed over this reality that I am perceived as non-existant. I tried to never let it bother me but some how now I can’t help the fact that it really upsets me as if finally I have allowed myself to feel the grief of being marginalized. In all reality bisexual men have nearly everything to loose and little gain by being out. I have experienced job discrimination, harassment, assault, insults, but worst of all that is having partners reject you. I am glad I am with someone who accepts but truly the depression still lingers.

  26. Dominick says:

    I don’t believe that bisexuals exist in the sense of biological orientation for I see no reason to (no evidence) and many reasons not to (evidence and common sense to the contrary). The study cited in the 2nd paragraph bears this out.

    It is very significant that 75% of the ‘bi’ men in the study were, in fact, gay — when gay is only, roughly, 6% of the male population. This tells us that the so-called ‘prejudice’ that most all ‘bi’ men are actually gay is, in fact, a fair one. That 75% would wish to be ‘bi’, not gay, is a consequence of their internalized homophobia/heterosexism — just how wrongly difficult straights make it for gays to live happy lives free of prejudice and discrimination. This is tragic, but not surprising. We all hope that such gay guys eventually realize that being themselves is the only option, which it is, and come out.

    The 25% of the men in the study who tested straight (although wrongly self-identifying as ‘bi’) are, I believe, men who, like the author, learned somewhere along the way, that physical pleasure is possible through having sex with another male. In the author’s case, this occurred through his girlfriend’s arranging a ménage a trois. My guess is that had she not, he would have never come to think of himself as ‘bi’ nor would he have, by his own initiative, ever had any gay sex ever.

    Such men wrongly describe themselves as bisexual. If actual bisexuality exists, which I doubt it does, it would mean being 100% gay and 100% straight (with the needs – sexual, emotional, and relational, that go along with that) all at the same time.

    In fact, the author goes on to say that he’s ‘straight’ in terms of who he falls in love with — women only. Explaining further, he tells us that when he did have sex with men, he never kissed, explaining that kissing is romantic, when, in fact, kissing is also sexual / physical. That he would not want to kiss for the sexual / physical pleasure of it with his male lovers evidences that he truly doesn’t think of himself as gay. Simply put, he’s straight, but has enjoyed non-relational sex with other men. If you’re 100% straight, but you’re not also100% gay, you’re straight, not ‘both-gay-and-straight’ (actually bisexuality).

    Think of the following, the converse, to see my point more clearly: It would be absurd to say that gay men married to women are not gay. They are. But, even so, they do have sex with women, namely, their wives. They have orgasms even, as borne out by the fact that they have biological children with their wives. (How they manage / force themselves to make love with their wives is beyond me. The whole thing is just such a tragedy – homophobia / heterosexism, again.) But just as that sex doesn’t make them straight, the author’s past sexual experiences didn’t’ / doesn’t make him gay; he is simply a straight man who has had gay sex.

    Fact is, gays like me really don’t have time for bi’s (even ‘actual’ ones, if they indeed exist), for they never choose to live or be ‘out’ as 100% gay (in addition to living / being ‘out’ as 100% straight). Instead, they are ‘out’ / living as 100% straight and merely make use of the gay community to find sex partners – not lovers, not friends and certainly not fellow travelers seeking to end heterosexism. The ‘B’ of LGBT should be dropped. (As should the T, since that’s not about orientation either.)

    Assuming that there really were actual bisexuals — 100% gay and 100% straight — I think it is fair to ask what partnering they ought to pursue. To answer this, we would have to know whether bisexuals experience equal attraction to ‘either males or females’ or ‘both males and females’. If I were to learn that the answer was ‘either’, than I would have to respond that such ‘bisexuals’ aren’t actually bisexual, but, rather, ‘gay at present, and possibly straight at a later time, depending’ (or vice-versa).

    If the answer is ‘both’, then it is impossible for bisexuals to be in monogamous pairings which can truly satisfy – either the ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ side, whichever the case may be, is going to suffer from deprivation. I think that these true bisexuals ought to seek each other out and ‘four-some up’ with other true bisexuals, so that both ‘husbands’ and both ‘wives’ gets both their sexual, emotional, and relational needs met at the same time in a stable exclusive arrangement that can persist through time – the bisexual equivalent of monogamy.

    • I highly highly highly HIGHLY disagree with this comment.

      I am a bisexual woman. I have been in MONOGAMOUS and FULFILLING relationships with BOTH men and women. But, basically you just told me that isn’t possible. That I am kidding myself and that I should “pick”. That I need to a) Just come out already (because other women don’t have “time” for me) or b) stop experimenting (again – it’s wasting people’s time). This kind of reaction to *MY* sexuality is not new for me, and I’ve experienced A LOT Of bi-phobia from the gays, believe me. Some of it was nice, some very much less so.

      *Ahem.* I can find you MANY WELL EDUCATED AND INTELLIGENT people RIGHT NOW who will tell you that you, sir, are not actually GAY. That gayness just straight-up doesn’t exist. I do not doubt for a second that they can ALSO site studies, and probably FAR MORE than just the one. They will gladly tell you all about how YOUR sexuality isn’t natural, doesn’t exist, and that YOU are just fooling yourself. They will happily discuss ALLLLLL the things THEY know about YOUR sexuality – and how it’s actually delusional. And you should just stop, already.

      But, hey, you go ahead and do the same to the bi’s. Sure, why not. Since YOU’RE GAY you must know better than ME about what I want and desire and, frankly, how I will behave (… and, of course, that straight homophobe over there knows more than you do, too). *Heavens to betsy.*

    • Dominick, since you’re using the 2005 study by J Michael Bailey in your argument, you should probably understand what the study means and what it actually tested. This goes for the author in the OP too, for that matter.

      They did not use ‘straight’ and ‘gay’ porn. They used only same-sex pairings. Gay and Lesbian porn. The researchers felt that having hetero porn could confuse results because gay men might be attracted to the penis, even if there is a woman present. I think that was their fatal error. They should have actually tested that. Get some good quality cunnilingus and vaginal penetration. I’m willing to bet all the bi guys would respond, and only a fraction of the gay guys would.

      Personally, I never watch lesbian porn. I adore the female body, but I’d rather look at nude singles of women than lesbians. I watch straight porn and gay porn, so even though I consider myself a ‘straight leaning’ bisexual I’d probably appear gay in Bailey’s test.

      Dominick… you’re not bi. From the way your post reads, it’s pretty obvious you don’t understand the complexity of sexual attraction that bisexuals face. The guys that responded only to the lesbian porn are probably a particular type of bisexual–autogynephilic genderqueer bisexuals. They’re attracted to the female body, but they enjoy homosexual relationships too as long as they’re the receiving partner, because their attraction to women is in the first person. They’re aroused by the idea of being ‘used’ like a woman. That desire is incredibly strong, to the point where they have to pursue gay relationships as well as straight ones. They’re definitely not ‘straight men that realized they could get off with other guys’… they have a hard-coded queer aspect to their sexual identities. There’s a difference between being able to date men and actually wanting to throughout your life.

      In my case, it’s a bit of that, plus a separate attraction to men. I’m a bit closer to the 50-50 mark, and I can emotionally and physically be attracted to both sexes.

      The idea that I would need a poly 4-way relationship to be satisfied is laughable. Gender is like hair color for people like me. You can like blondes and redheads but it doesn’t mean you have to date a blonde and a redhead to be satisfied. Maybe to you it’s a pretty big deal. It seems to be something important for gay and straight men, but that’s part of what makes us different. That unbreakable emotional you have to your preferred gender… yeah… we don’t have that.

      • To add to this post: the 2005 study by J Michael Bailey was repeated this year and they found men who were aroused by female/female as well as male/male porn this time. The difference was screening participants beforehand. Bisexuals were recruited from bisexual websites instead of predominantly gay venues. Bisexuals could also only participate if they had a history of relationships with both sexes, to make sure they were sincere.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/health/23bisexual.html?ref=health

    • “impossible for bisexuals to be in monogamous pairings which can truly satisfy”…

      Dominick, never say never. I was completely “out”, monogamous with a male (same sex) partner for 16 years. Essentially “married” (so friends said). Broke up. And recently had a monogamous relationship with a woman for 3 years. Both relationships were basically the same to me in many ways. I totally feel no one partner ever could fulfill my every desire of the moment, but that’s the compromise of a relationship I’m absolutely happy to make. Not. A. Problem.

      I find it odd gay people, who want social acceptance of their sexuality, are so harsh judging mine. Let me be please!

      The craigslist bi is about honesty. But it’s hard to be honest when people won’t listen or accept what you’re really saying.

  27. This article has been profoundly helpful in a turbulent period of my life and marriage. Thanks for speaking up for us Hugo!

  28. Excellent post. Thank you for this thoughtful and honest exploration of your own sexuality that illuminates so much about others’–and mine.
    I’m amazed that I’m reading about the theory of “conjunctive” and “disjuntive” sexuality just now for the first time, when the idea has been around for 150 years. Shows you how difficult it is to counteract a culture’s cherished stereotypes with reason.
    I consider myself to be bisexual–the best of an inadequate set of labels. As a woman, I’m the complement to your “disjunction.”: I fall in love with men, not women, yet find “both” sexes attractive and desirable.
    Thank you for helping me understand that I can be “disjunctive” and still bisexual.

  29. wellokaythen says:

    I understand somewhat why there is so much focus on claiming and reclaiming labels. People need to feel visible, and they need to be recognized that they exist. I also think that people should feel free to label themselves as they see fit, and it’s great to have a discussion about the power of words and how categories are defined and all that.

    Part of me, though, wonders what the point is of wrestling over a label. Who cares if very few people seem to fit into some horribly defined category called bisexual? (It’s clear to me that there really are bisexual people out there. It just seems like a silly argument in some ways.) It seems like there’s this assumption that a sexual orientation is, deep down somewhere, completely clear, unchanging, just “really who I am.” And that ultimately, reality will win out despite any “experimentation.” That’s really presumptuous for anyone to label part of someone else’s past “experimenting” and then label some other parts “reality.” That assumes there is some kind of natural “settling down” sexual period in which you finally mature into being X and nothing else.

    For those who think bisexuality does not exist, using the word “experiment” as a kind of put-down sounds pretty prudish. So, real sexual orientation means no experimentation? People who are “just hetero” or “just gay” never experiment? Just because you do one thing first and another thing second doesn’t mean that the first thing wasn’t real or that the first thing was just a transition.

    To be fair, though, there are plenty of people who seem to have gone through a bisexual phase, or at least parts of their lives they were more actively bisexual than others. Some, maybe not many, gays and lesbians who come out of the closet attempt to moderate the shock by coming out in stages, calling themselves bisexual and then a little later identifying as gay or lesbian. That’s partly where the anti-bi stereotype comes from. (Dan Savage has recently talked a lot about this on one of his blogs.)

    This reminds me that in college, there was a small cohort of female students who were dismissed as LUG’s (Lesbians Until Graduation). It was a term used my straight men engaged in wishful thinking, straight women who thought it was all posing, and by the LGBT community behind their backs. The label was meant to suggest they were just wannabes, experimenting to be cool or to make some political statement. I don’t know what happened to them after graduation, but there certainly seemed to be an assumption that it was all just a phase.

    • I agree with alot of what you said; well-thought-out answer.
      I do have to disagree with the idea behind “experimenting.” I absolutely accept that a person, even into his or her later years (40s, 50s) can experiment with other partners, and various acts of intimate (sexual) congress. There are those who never “experimented” earlier in life. Either they just accepted the label society put on them, or were too afraid to try what their proclivities would have them do.

      What I don’t accept as “experimenting” is where a guy (or gal) repeats the same acts, or goes with the same person, yet still considers it experimenting.
      One experiments once, and one time only, across the variety of acts and partners. One only experiments once, after that he knows.
      i can understand something not going the way one planned, and it might not have the best experience. However, even if it went badly, that’s enough for any reasonable person to figure-out whether or not the activity was for him/her.

      • Brent K says:

        My problem isn’t with the idea of bisexuality, which clearly exists just as much as some have equal hand dominance. It’s the fact that the bi guy trait (the one that’s perpetuated on hookup sites like CL) has accepted that guys are only good for getting laid, and girls are the ones you build relationships with. I’ve yet to see it the other way around: a guy that’s looking to get laid with chicks while struggling over being faithful to his male mate.

        • I am bi and recently met another bi man. He is in a long term 10 year relationship with a man but eventually he arranged with his partner that he can date other woman. At first only he and his partner knew because all of his gay friends just hassled him about his bi identity and decided to be “gay”. I have mainly dated women and have never struggled at all to be faithful. But I found straight women mostly can’t handle the bi thing so I am now in a relationship with a bi woman. At first our relationship was open and I had a male lover and she had a woman and we were casually dating. Now we are pretty much monogomous and I don’t fantasize about anyone else. But I am sure it will come up – and we are both open to safe sex outside partners.

  30. Good piece, acknowledging the difficulty we collectively have thinking of bisexual men as incapable of fidelity. But there’s another problem we have as well, exemplified by this notion from the piece: “Before making a lifetime commitment to someone, almost everyone—gay, straight, or bi—struggles with the realization that if everything works out as they hope, they’ll never have sex with anyone other than their partners for the rest of their lives.” As long as we squeeze ourselves into forced monogamy-for-life just because we are partnered, the fear of bisexual men is likely to remain. To my mind, the issues go hand in hand.

  31. Excellent article. As a bisexual male I have frequently faced the “gay, straight or lying” argument on more than one occaision… as have many of the people I’ve dated. I have never really understood why I have to explain myself because it seems perfectly natural and understandable to me that people can be attracted to either sex. It’s not as if we’re blind to whether people are ugly or good looking and if a someone can classify another person of the same gender as ugly, then said person obviously has some idea as to what makes a someone attractive? It depends on the attraction and how we chose to act on that attraction, I guess, but I’ve known a number of straight guys who have had several gay experiences.

    I discovered my bisexuality not through a secret physical attraction to another male, but with the realization that the feelings I had for another guy were the same as I would have for a woman with whom I’d be interested in developing a relationship. And you’re right about monogamy in a bisexual relationship, for me anyway: it’s no different. I’ve been in three relationships in the last five years and each one of them has lasted more than a year and I remained faithful in each one. In each of those relationships I was that person’s longest relationship by far so clearly my bisexuality hasn’t led me to stray. My bisexuality has less to do with sex and more to do with the human connection which is far more important to me than what someone has hiding between their legs.

    And, Hugo, I’m stealing this line (or at the very least I’m going to paraphrase it) for my next discussion about bisexuality: “Even if you’re only sexually attracted to females, there’s no way your wife or girlfriend can possibly embody everything that draws you to women.”

    • YEAY! YOU’RE YOU!! i think more men who are truly bisexual should come out and show that they are in fact what they say they are and that not all bisexuals are slutty or greedy. that one hurts us big time. i’m a bisexual woman and i must say, i prefer other bisexuals men and women, not that i wouldn’t date a nice straight guy or a beautiful lesbian, its just they both tend to judge pretty harshly and i hate hearing from a guy, “damn thats hot you want to have a threeway!” which i don’t or from a women, “so, are you real or what?” i came out two weeks ago at the age of 24 after being in denial about it. i feel love is not only color blind but gender blind too. i am monogamous person and most bisexuals that i have met since coming out are too!

    • This: “I have never really understood why I have to explain myself because it seems perfectly natural and understandable to me that people can be attracted to either sex.”

      I feel EXACTLY the same way.

  32. Thank you for this great, informative post. It is truly a shame the way the bisexual community is often treated, even by the LG part of the LGBT. As a supportive gay man, I did a post on this on my husband’s blog a while ago: http://hulshofschmidt.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/the-b-is-for-bisexual/

  33. Excellent and fluid writing, as usual. Beautifully framed and posed. I hope your honesty opens up discussions, if not lives!

  34. Jameseq says:

    A fine article hugo

  35. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    I’m het and poly (in theory.) I don’t practice the poly part currently because my wife isn’t. I think that heteronormativity is the real problem, and I sometimes think that the definition of “good man” here just assumes that sexual-repression-into-monogamy is a disideratum, when, in fact, it isn’t.

  36. bernadette says:

    Though to be fair, the idea of women’s sexual fluidity is far from always a good thing. It’s that sort of thing that keeps people form accepting a lesbian or even bisexual identity (it turns into a one drop rule where they’re always assumed to be stright). Hell, one guy was so set on nailing a friend of mine that he offered to buy us both drinks after he got into his head that we were a couple.

  37. The problem for bisexual men is that there are so few of us but it is great to see such a sane article as this which surely reflects the experiences of many bisexual men as it certainly does mine.

    • Jameseq says:

      There are more bi or bi-capable men than u believe. As with lots of thing once male, some male features are now viewed as ‘female’. The current female beauty standard is a male body-long lean legs, small bum, small hips(all more usually found on male bodies).
      It is not uncommon for the legs in hose advertising to be a man’s

      Put a photo of the legs of a tv in phose, hiheels infront of men that are attracted to the bodies of thin women- i bet most of them would feel arousal..and be confused by it lol:-)

  38. I find the whole i love your fun bits and love to play with them thing but ewww to kissing, cuddling or anything intimate with you besides pure sex because you’re(insert whatever sex here) very hedonistic and sad from bisexuals. How demeaning to whatever gender it’s directed towards.

    It’d be nice if people like that can just leave their sex and relationship wants to the sex that can fulfil both needs rather than using one sex as fun bags while being disgusted at “romantic” stuff and using the other sex for the serious stuff.

  39. Pandericthys says:

    How do you explain that study you mentioned? Especially when analogous studies on women yielded completely opposite results (pretty much EVERYTHING aroused them, even chimpanzees having sex iirc)…

  40. I agree with the girlfriend who broke up with you when you fessed up – I wouldn’t be able to date a man that had been with another man. Yet here I sit, married to one. He told me he had a very short relationship with a boy when he was 13 and in prep school. I asked if that was it for his same sex experience and he said yes. I snooped in his archives after we were married and found his history of being gay, then bi, and saw his visits to a website for bi married men, which is how he identifies himself. I confronted him and he said he lied because he knew I would dump him. He’s right – I would have. We’ve been married now for three years and I am miserable. Every time we have sex I think about him with a man and am totally turned off. I think he was still seeing his gay lover after we were married. He looks at gay porn and reads gay and incest stuff. I would leave him now but I’m a full-time student and dependent on him financially. As soon as I graduate, I’m leaving. I can’t live like this forever.

  41. zjsimon says:

    Fist things first:

    *Gives Hugo a big thankyou hug*

  42. I am finding these series of articles this week rather confusing. Men are not supposed to be insecure but open to vulnerability and intimacy. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse (male to male) it is very difficult to find where I fit within the continuum. You haven’t mentioned celibacy. I choose celibacy because the traumatic memories surface when intimacy occurs. Through therapy I am hoping to reach the day when sexuality is not threatening but fulfilling…

  43. I’ve met plenty of folks who think bisexual women are either crazy or lying, too. Of all people, my freshman roommate at Oberlin held that particular belief. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Still, I know bi guys have it worse. Thanks for writing about it.

  44. Rob Howard says:

    Funny that fidelity and lack thereof is the big issue of the article, which is excellent. To me there were bigger issues.
    I told my wife I was bi-sexual before we got married in 1965. She was OK with that until the HIV epidemic and until we had children. We stayed married for 34 years and raised 2 great kids. When I had gay sex during that time it was primarily only with other married men. Safer that way. After the dog died and the kids moved away, I decided I needed to have free gay sex.
    When I came out as a gay man I had already decided not to use the “BI” term for the reasons stated above, people think you either are lying or are trying to cover up your gayness.
    I find the Kinsey scale helpful where at one end of the spectrum one is primarily gay and at the other primarily straight. I put myself about two or three clicks away from primarily gay.
    I have only had one menage a trois with one woman and one man and it was fun, but I am not giving up Facebook for it.
    I’m looking forward to the rest of “Sex Week” on this medium.

    • You spent 34 years with a woman you were barely attracted to… And you were having sex with men during this time… AND you wanted her to be ok with it? What are you smoking? That is extremely selfish, unless she too had a free pass to have sex with other men (presumably she was not also bi).

  45. It’s about fears about fidelity?! Funny, I thought there was a different word for when people react with fear and disgust to the idea of homosexual sex….

  46. Excellent essay.

    BTW, I have heard from numerous lesbians that they enjoy gay male pornography because nothing is faked.

  47. “But in the end, the big fear so many people have about bisexuality really does revolve around the capacity to be faithful.”

    The above article conclusion seems like a near total miss to me – the simpler and more obvious answer would requires asking a closeted bisexual man why he is not willing to expose his bisexuality.

    The answer back will not be a perceived loss of individual faithfulness by self or by others looking in.

    Everyone should read the link above posted by Quiet Girl.

    • Quiet Gurl’s link is an equally amazing piece of work… what is your point?

      Look, the quandary I have dealt with for 20+ years now, as a bisexual male, is the factor of “oh so when you want some dick you’re just gonna go find it”… fidelity. bottom line, There is no “fashion porn” for bisexual men. Women don’t congregate around the coffee maker/water cooler lamenting that they wish “her man would suck a dick for her”…. its a social stigma. A social double standard. EVERYONE wants to think its hip. cool, sexy, fashionable to be a bisexual or bi-curious/furious chic. Take 16 minutes on any dating site… the girls with the most attention are either bi or bi-curious…

      Women are, in my feeble opinion, selectively monogamous. Fashion, Marketing, Society, and the internet (aka porn) have opened the flood gates for WOMEN to frolic and its no longer INFIDELITY if its another woman. But give a guy the same “free pass” oh no… that’s “gross” , “unsafe”, “dangerous” etc.

      Don’t post an ambiguous statement. If you don’t agree with the blog, step up.

      Maybe I am completely missing your point… but then again, you didn’t make one….

      R.

      • What are you babbling about?

        My point is pretty clear. The author’s conclusion with regards to faithfulness is off base. You pretty much make the make same point yourself.

        If you need me to spring board off of into a comment – feel free, but don’t be a goof about it.

        • I understand where Elissa is coming from with her statement. If I understood her correctly, she is just criticizing the way the article was concluded vs. the actual, over all, message of the article. I may be off here but this is, at least, what I got from her original post.

          =)

  48. What a fantastic article! Thanks for writing it.

    One thing I want to mention, though, is in reference to this:

    “Before making a lifetime commitment to someone, almost everyone—gay, straight, or bi—struggles with the realization that if everything works out as they hope, they’ll never have sex with anyone other than their partners for the rest of their lives.”

    I certainly agree that the majority of people have that hope/expectation. And there are quite a lot of people who are in open relationships, whether they’re polyamorous, in a triad or other group relationship, swingers, or non-monogamous in any other structure.

    You said recently that “monogamy should be a choice, not the default. Those of us who like and embrace monogamy can do so without insisting that ours is the only (or even the superior) path.” But to phrase monogamy as the result of “everything working out as [people] hope” seems like it’s in some tension with that.

    Other than that one nit-pick, I loved this piece and will definitely send it around. 🙂

  49. I’d point that using “opposite” as a qualifier for sex is not too helpful. It’s an other sex, maybe THE other sex if you want – but it’s not opposite.

  50. daftpunkydavid says:

    great read. i do have a problem with the use of “equally”. does being bi mean you have to be attracted to men and women equally? even the writer seems not to be of that opinion, since he says his attraction to guys does not translate into falling in love with them…

    • No, some people are equally attracted to men and women, others mostly men, and others mostly women. While I detest labels, technically I am bisexual. I find both sexes attractive, but I engage in more sexual encounters with men than women. I suspect that most bisexual people favor one sex over the other. I also suspect that most bisexual people have specific attractions or desires when it comes to either sex.

      I think that is why the study Hugo mentioned ended up with the results it did. The study results only told what turns on bisexual people more, and not necessarily what their actual orientation is. And perhaps the study did not factor in the taboo nature of male-on-male sex. That taboo could result in greater interest without necessarily reflecting the person’s real desire.

    • I don’t think it means an equal 50/50 split on attraction (in fact I suspect that even though such a divide is not a problem, I think its quite rare). Even though I’ve been sexually attracted to both men and women in my day speaking in strict numbers I’m actually more attracted to women

    • absolutely not.. I am an an openly bisexual man, and my desires run 75/25 to 80/20 percentages Female/male.

      Hugo has set a new benchmark in recognition that the “fashion” of feminine bisexuality is waning and the REALITY that bisexual men are, for the most part, the unsung heroes of true open minded sexual exploration.

      There are many women who openly seek bi-men. There are millions more women who quietly crave male-male sex visually & viscerally.

      Its a simple fact. Gay porn, both e-viewing as well as good old fashioned DVD purchases, is at least 40% of the buyers/watchers are FEMALE…. things that make you go hmmmmmm.

      Thank you Hugo. I have linked your work to other sites (proper credit of course).

      R.

      • Women viewing gay porn is different than women actually wanting to participate in such a scenario. I think the majority of that is just women fetishizing male homosexuality. For them it is a novelty, a sort of cartoonish fantasy of male sex. Yaoi is a good reflection of women’s comical and unrealistic perception of male homosexuality.

        But that is a separate issue from male bisexuality. In my experience, women are not that accepting of male bisexuality, especially if the man is open about it. I doubt it has anything to do with revulsion about the acts that men engage. It likely comes from assumptions about men’s preferences and concern over competing with a man for their bisexual lover’s attention.

        • Jameseq says:

          Melissa;
          …But the worst is to
          feel bisexuality is “cooler”
          and more acceptable for women
          because MEN find it hot.

          Melissa and jacob both raise an interesting point. Broadly speaking why do het men find being in a relationship with a bi woman ok and hot. But het women do not (even pre hiv) find it ok or hot to be with a bi man.

          I believe this is one of the main reasons for the invisibility of bi men. The disapproval, of the broad mass of het women

      • Pandericthys says:

        Straight women liking gay men is pretty much the exact same situation as straight men liking lesbians, just with the sexes reversed…

  51. fabulous article

  52. Melissa says:

    Amazing, Hugo! I actually wrote something really similar a couple years ago on a blog, as a journalist, so I can assure you we face the same problem here in South America. Bisexuals, both men and women, are automatically taken as unable to commit. I remember going out with a girl and right on our first date, all of her friends were telling her she shouldn’t even go for it, simply because I was bi and therefore – so they believed – unreliable. I could totally relate when I read about your friend’s reaction and I’ve seen that oh-you-poor-thing look being thrown towards a girlfriend when I told I was bi. We grow up hearing from our gay and lesbian folks that we are in the closet, while we have to listen to our straight friends saying it’s only a “phase”. It only got worse after Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”… then it became a fashion statement. ¬¬

    While most people have a really hard time believing that bisexuals do actually exist, I came to think that everybody is at least potentially bi and that straight or gay labels are much more related to a monogamous society rule than to in fact being one thing or another, as I can assure all my gay and lesbian friends (and I do have a lot gay and lesbian friends) don’t leave aside the chance of maybe, someday, feeling attracted to someone of the opposite sex st a party and most of them already have in mind at least one person they would actually hook up with “maybe, someday”.

    It’s very common, thought, that people assume you’ve become gay or straight depending on who you’re with. I stayed three years dating only girls in a row and someone said “oh, so now you’re lesbian, huh?” and I had to explain that even if I stayed the rest of my life sleeping with only girls, I’d still be bi. And vice-verse. But it seems that bisexuality implies bigamy. If you choose living a monogamous relationship you have to stick to one sex (gosh, isn’t it obvious?) and in other people’s eye that means you were always secretly gay (or straight).

    I think bisexuality faces different problems of acceptance for men and women. For us, it’s much more socially accepted, but in a very superficial way. It’s acceptable because no one takes the feeling serious, they think about girls who are friends and had a “thing”. People rarely gave credit to my relationships with girls. No one thinks you’re seriously in love, unless you’re lesbian. If you dated men as well, no one would be believe I meant staying with my girlfriend or that we faced relationship problems just as anyone else, everything came back to the “oh, I think you miss going out with guys” argument. But the worst is to feel bisexuality is “cooler” and more acceptable for women because MEN find it hot. Well, there goes all the validation…

    What you pointed out, thought, is also true. I heard so many times people saying “Bi girls, ok, fine. But bi men just don’t exist!” and I always stood there alone, defending that anyone could feel attraction or love towards both sexes. I think the “gayness” for men is much more stereotyped and strong (and “feared”) as for girls. It’s still unacceptable in out society that men feel any sort of attraction for other men. It makes them automatically gay. That’s so stupid… I wish people would care about what really matters and act on what they feel like doing… they would have amazing experiences and be much closer to who they sincerely are! And I kinda think it’s even more absurd that the gay community won’t be open minded about it… they prejudge just as much (or worse) as the straight community.

    I also loved the references on the article. I will search for the work of Ulrichs! Thank you for the awesome articles, as usual. This became one of my favorites, right after the one about “Male Nudity x Female Nudity” and the one about the Princess complex. I wish everyone would read whatever you write… it’s always intellectually valuable! 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

    • Melissa says:

      Oh my god, I wrote too much. Sorry! lol

    • Melissa, hands down, your reply to Hugo’s article is the best one, yet. =) Awesome insight.

      Also, before I continue, I would like to thank Hugo for creating this in the first place – I truly enjoyed the reading.

      I find it funny, frustrating and interesting on how our general public sees and approaches sexuality. Heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality…does it really matter? I don’t think so but I don’t think most will agree with me.

      As many have already stated, it is all about labels and, even, status. Take some of our politicians, regardless if they are straight, closeted gay or bi, they do as much work to prove that they are in a heterosexual and very happy monogamous relationship. If you are straight but act outside your gender role then you must be gay or a dike. (insert rolling eyes here)

      Homosexuality faces hatred and insults from outside the LGBT as much as it comes from within. Speaking of adult men (out of high school – since that changed things) who are “closeted gay” are mocked in the gay community for not being out and proud. Heterosexual men or women in a gay/lesbian club are going to be questioned about their sexuality from everyone around. (insert rolling eyes here).

      So this leaves us with bisexuality – a sexuality that is mocked by everyone. If you declare yourself as bi then you will automatically be considered selfish, going through a phase, in the process of coming fully out of the closet, etc.

      I’m a man who enjoys sex with men and women. In terms of romantic emotions, I’m a man who is only attracted to women. I am a man who enjoys being single as much as being in a healthy (monogamous) relationship yet aware that a polyamorous relationship may be best.

      The point here is that I am a man who is comfortable, honest and happy enough with whohe is to not be focused on what label I, or anyone else in this world, match with because it does not matter as long as you are happy with yourself and live YOUR life the way you wish to live it.

      Is that so difficult to do? Because I don’t think so…but not many will agree. =)

      • PS: =) Cheating as much as being faithful is not determined by gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. It is determinded by the individual and their views; nothing else.

        • Melissa says:

          Couldn’t agree more! Cheating is a matter of character, of principles… it has nothing to do with your sexuality. And, yes, does it really matter what “you are”? I would like people to start seeing what “you are” as what you want or feel or think about at that very moment.

          You also raised a really good discussion… Why, oh, why do we go around gay parties asking people about their sexuality? Don’t we hate it when straight folks do it? And more importantly: shouldn’t it be insignificant?!?!

          We still have a long way to go, dear Society. But it thrills me to see such positive and “ahead of out time” opinions from different people here! 🙂

  53. I like gay male porn. Does that make me a gay dude?

    Um… right.

    Couldn’t agree more with you here, and it certainly hits a chord with me. I identify as bi, and have encountered the “oh, you’re just experimenting” from others, *mainly* my gay and lesbian friends. I feel like it’s “oh you’re just experimenting” for bi girls and “oh you are gay gay gay” for boys. And the whole infidelity thing? Women-on-women isn’t cheating, and yet bi men *must* be cheating… wtf?

    There is so much here… I really want to explore this further one day… Great post.

    PS A great vid of Dan Savage discussing the constraints this all places on straight dudes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS2my1FN_A4. Not exactly on topic, but it’s still about putting everyone in a box, instead of allowing sexuality to be free.

  54. As a bisexual woman, there is so much in this article that I relate to. I TOO lust after both sexes but can only imagine falling in love with men. I TOO have been given that “eye” with regards to monogamy. Could I actually stay true to someone when they are limited to one sex and not constantly desire the opposite?

    Honestly, I never considered a bisexual man to be such a rare thing. I had no idea of the stereotypes. Then again, I think many people are terrified of their true sexual nature and squash much of what they think is “hot” anyway.

    Kudos to you for writing this. Wonderful article!

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