sexuality

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.

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On Demographics

Allyn and I had a blast in New York this weekend, spending time with friends and seeing Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot. The show sparked an invigorating conversation about the continued value of live theater and dance, and left me with a storm of thoughts about theater, accessibility, and appealing to a younger generation raised on explosions and CGI absorbed passively from behind a television, separated by a degree of sterilization and impersonalization.

Food for thought, though not what this blog is about and not something I’ll dwell on here.

February is a big month for us, between the NYC trip this weekend, flying out to DC for Winter Fire next weekend, and our roommate’s birthday later in the month. We’re appreciating the opportunity to really spend time together, where the question of what we should do for dinner is more exciting than dreaded and our hedonistic flag can fly at full-mast (…get it? It’s totally a dick joke).

Still, I am undeniably an introvert at my core. For every night of debauchery, I need at least three of video games, reading, and silence. I’m not heavily involved in our local scene mostly because it’s just outright exhausting. There seems to be an expectation that being kinky means being a part of the scene, but I haven’t got the stomach for it.

When we consider the demographics of kinky people, we take a look at the scene and generalize from there. But how many more of us out there who keep our fun to ourselves?

“There are so few dominant women.” “Kink and non-monogamy go hand-in-hand.” “Kink events are so white.” “Lesbians aren’t kinky.”

Why do we assume that these are facts, rather than a reflection of a small subset of the kinky population? Why do we argue that there “aren’t many dominant women” rather than acknowledging that we live in a culture that actively discourages dominance and assertiveness among women, and that the scene isn’t exactly welcoming for them?

Why don’t we factor in the exorbitant costs of participating publicly when taking our demographics into account? Even if attending weekend-long retreat events didn’t cost hundreds, it still involves taking the time off work and ensuring that you’ve got child/pet care covered in your absence.

We only see the overwhelmingly homogenous tip of the iceberg. I suspect that the demographics of the kinky population are much broader than the scene would have you believe.

Faggot!

A Statement on Separatist Faggot Acceptance -- Zac Slams

Credit: Zac Slams

Disclaimer: This post may piss you off. I know you probably hate that word. Hear me out, though.

The word stings like a slap to the face, with a hard “g” and a Sid Vicious snarl. 

Faggot.

Brutal. Antagonistic. Caustic. It’s been slung at me by classmates and strangers on the street.

I like the bitter taste it leaves on my tongue. Not when they say it, but when I do.

They say it as an expression of hatred, to degrade us for our sexuality our femininity. But I don’t find either of those degrading. I am not “straight acting” or “masc.” To embrace faggotry is to throw  up middle fingers at homophobia and the misogyny it stems from.

Let’s turn the brutality of the word back on itself. The faggot is aggressively, unabashedly queer, anti-assimilationist, and dismissive of the idea that we are just like them. I want the word to strike fear not in our hearts, but in theirs, and to remind them that when we call them out on homophobia we pull back the curtain on their fears: the fear that our faggotry will disrupt their system, corrupt their binaries and crush the boxes they’ve constructed.

I wouldn’t expect anyone else to embrace it and I wouldn’t apply the label to anyone who doesn’t identify with it. I respect the guys who fit into the traditional, hetero narrative of married life and white picket fences, but I expect the same respect in return. I’m not an angry person, but as a queer, trans, non-monogamous pervert, some view my mere existence as an act of aggression.

Faggotry is punk as fuck.

I’m a cocksucking faggot, a flaming faggot
A fuck bunny, fruitcake, cum superdeli, homo
Uncle Walt, Auntie Mame, little sissy pansy
Fudge-packing butt pirate, drag queen, hairdresser
Interior decorator, pervert, pornographer
Sodomite, sex fiend, mincing, limpy-wrist
Scat-nosed poof prince, a resident of Castro
And president of the united states of love

Pansy Division – Cocksucking Faggot

Relationship Structure or Identity?

The summer before I turned 18, I broke up with my high school boyfriend after a long, drawn out series of arguments about my desire to sleep with other people. I wanted to open our relationship– I’d been saying it for the past year. I loved him (in the way a kid loves his first crush), but I wanted to get my jollies off elsewhere. He insisted that it was impossible. True love meant that he’d be “enough,” and that even thinking about opening the relationship meant that I didn’t love him. I thought that was horseshit.

It’s been seven years since breakup, and I haven’t gone back to monogamy. I thought about it once, out of sheer desperation at the end of my relationship with The Traveler, but we called things off instead. At that point, we’d been together for nearly six years, and I’d been with my other partner for four. I made the right choice. Desperation makes you think crazy things.

The point is that monogamy isn’t for me, and I’ve known that for a long time. At this point, I wouldn’t go back. Not when I “settle down,” or when I “meet the right person.” I know that I’m capable of falling in love with two people at once and maintaining multiple relationships, and I just don’t see “exclusivity” and “commitment” as synonymous.

And yet, I don’t identify as polyamorous or non-monogamous.

Many people liken it to sexual orientation, but I’m not sure that’s an apt comparison. When discussing sexual orientation, we’re talking about gender. While the line between genders may be  blurry at times, there are few people who would claim that it’s non-existent, and there are well-established physiological and neurological differences between men and women. Consequently, there’s a large number of people whom a monosexual person wouldn’t be attracted to, purely based on gender and associated traits.

The same can’t be said when comparing monogamous folks to those who prefer open relationships. I don’t think anyone has conducted the studies, but I’d eat my hat if science found significant differences across the monogamy divide. I’m not only attracted to other non-monogamous people, despite how convenient that would be, and I can’t tell whether a new acquaintance is monogamous.

Instead, it’s the #1 item on the list of requirements for a relationship with me. Monogamy is a deal-breaker, alongside having children, joint bank accounts, and disliking my dog. I might be interested in you initially, but if you need monogamy, we’re not going to make it very far.

I’m interested in hearing others’ perspectives, though. Is (non-)monogamy something you do, or part of who you are? Why? Are you open to either structure, or is one or the other a deal-breaker?

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