bisexual

Mating Season

I’ve been neglecting the blog again, as I have a tendency to do when life gets busy and I spend considerably more time doing than thinking.  

Ah, summertime. The days are long, the weather is warm, the calendar is overflowing with more social engagements than my introverted little brain can handle. We’re going to parties and meeting new people, and inevitably, some of them are cute and charming enough that I want to rip their clothes of. Lovers from far-away lands come to stay and we go to visit. It’s mating season. 

Throughout all of it, I’m enjoying the flirting and dating, but I’m finding myself less and less interested in one-off hook ups, especially through connections made online. The apps and websites have their place, even more so in areas that are less gay than Boston, but they’re no longer for me. Quite simply, I’m sick of the behavior of within the apps, and even more sick of the way they’ve become a sort of barycenter for gay culture. 

I hear it all the time, in person and online: lamentations from men seeking boyfriends and complaining that every Grindr hookup has been a disappointment, and has never led to anything more. I sympathize. I really do. Gay dating can be intimidating in a heterosexist society, and hookup apps can seem like the easy way to go. You know everyone you chat with is gay and available, and rejecting someone is as simple as ignoring his message.  

But it’s a meat market, or like puppies in a pet store. You pick the cute one, or the body that looks like the ones you jerk off to. Maybe, if you’re looking for a real connection, you’ll write to the guy who’s wearing a Batman T-shirt because hey, you’re a “geek” too. You filter them by arbitrary and ill-defined types.  

You message him and chat just long enough to decide that he’s not a serial killer and meet up for a fuck.  

True love? 

Not impossible, but unlikely. You know nothing about these guys, and your initial attraction will be based off the physical and sexual compatibility you share, bolstered by a post-orgasmic endorphin rush. When that burns off and you start to really get to know one another, often the relationship fizzles. 

Instead, do what you love. Sometimes gay clubs and sports leagues get a bad rap, especially in more gay-friendly areas, because it feels self-segregating and like fulfilling a stereotype. But having a gay social network is healthy regardless of where you live and how supportive your straight friends are. You get to do things you love and meet people who share your interests who are also potential partners.  

You get to know them first, and then attraction might develop. Or maybe they introduce you to their friends, and one of them catches your eye. You get the opportunity to have a crush on a person rather than lust after a photo.  

So put your damn phone down and stop making faces into the front-facing camera.  

Go outside. 

Make new friends.  

Fall in love. 

After all, it’s mating season. 

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Walking the Line

Double standards.As I’ve mentioned before, bisexual erasure is a thing I feel pretty strongly about. It sucks– bisexuals have been around forever, and yet we’re still subjected to eyerolls and disbelief when we come out. Because of this, I think visibility is important and the more bisexuals who stand up to be counted, the better.

Yet I refer to myself as “gay” half the time. Where’s the logic in that?

I’m not one to dwell too much on labels, but after many years of alternating between the two in conversation, I stopped to think about why. The answer is almost unsatisfyingly simple: I identify with both.

I am bisexual in that I am attracted to all sorts of folks, among whom are men, women, and non-binary individuals. My sexual history reflects that diversity, and though I can’t predict the future, I expect the next five years won’t look two different from the past.

Despite that, I am also gay. All but one of my serious relationships have been with men. I’m open to another relationship with a woman or non-binary person, but all the partners I’ve introduced to my family and colleagues have been men. In other words, I navigate the world as a gay man and my romantic experience largely reflects that identity.

Is it disingenuous for me to straddle that line and claim both identities? I don’t really know. I do think my sexuality is more complicated than a single word (something which I think is true for most people) but I’m going to choose the most appropriate word to convey the point I’m trying to make.

These distinctions are all arbitrary anyway.

This Tired Debate Again? Yes, Bisexual Men Exist

Evidently there’s some recent hullabaloo about the millionaire matchmaker insisting that bisexual men don’t exist. My friend Lucas at Top to Bottom asked bi men for our thoughts on the subject, and I’m more than happy to oblige.

This shit again? It blows my mind that even now, there are people out there who believe that bisexuality, especially male bisexuality, is a myth. The theory is rooted in the chauvinistic idea that the dick is what “counts”: bisexual women are really straight, and bisexual men are really gay. We just haven’t accepted it yet.

The typical story goes like this: teenage/young adult guy grows up with the assumption that he’ll marry a woman and start a family. He might mistake intimate friendships with women for attraction, and he might date one or two of those women, but he’s never really able to dedicate himself to those relationships. He starts to notice his attraction to men and comes out as bisexual, holding out hope that he’ll meet the right woman and live out the traditional heteronormative relationship trajectory.

But it doesn’t work out like that, and he begins to accept that he’ll only ever be happy with another man. After some exposure to other gay guys, he realizes that he can still have the life he dreamed of with a long-term partner, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a white picket fence in the suburbs. He’s finally able to address his internalized homophobia and embrace the label that suits him: gay.

In my book, that’s a heartwarming story of self-acceptance that doesn’t “disprove” male bisexuality at all. I’m told it happens often, but I think that we’ll slowly start to see less of it as progress continues to slowly erode homophobia. The more kids grow up comfortable with the idea that gay or straight, you can live whatever lifestyle suits you, the less they’ll feel the need to lie to themselves and others about their desires.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen much of the “bi now, gay later” phenomenon here in Boston, but I hear how common it is from friends in the south and mid-western US.

Instead, I see bisexual men in larger numbers than you might expect. Many of them are out but invisibly bisexual within monogamous relationships. Some remain painfully in the closet, because their monogamous, heterosexual relationships make coming out an unnecessary risk. Others identify publicly as gay, because hearing “Sure you are,” every time they mention their bisexuality gets old, and they’re sick of explaining.

But make no mistake: we are not confused. We won’t pick a side. We exist. We always have, and we always will.

Bonus: 25 Celebrities You Might Not Know Are Bisexual