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.