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103 Responses

  1. Gillian Love
    Gillian Love August 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm |

    I read this and it was like reading my own diary! I’m in a long-term relationship now with a man, and so I haven’t really figured whether or not to come out as bisexual to people who don’t already know (mainly family and old friends). And Glee TOTALLY failed on the bisexual issue. Damn them!

    But I don’t really regret ever not playing the field before I met my partner (I had a couple brief encounters with women, but nothing substantial). I struggled at first, wondering if I was curtailing my ability to explore my sexuality fully. But I am lucky enough to be with someone who explored that sexuality with me, and I don’t feel I miss out anymore.

  2. Ciara
    Ciara August 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    Wow this is almost exactly my situation. I had two unsatisfactory sexual experiences with girls in my past and thought, oh i must be straight. It took me too long to realise that I had just slept with other bicurious girls instead of girls i was actually attracted to.

    So at 25 I’m in a long term, monogamous relationship and i often feel like my bisexuality has been erased. A few friends know and my partner of course. i’m not worried about reactions it’s just that everyone ASSUMES i’m straight therefore the issue of sexuality isn’t raised much among non gender/sexuality/feminist-y types of friends and it seems weird to just bring it up. Although i never hide it, i do sometimes wish i could go out wearing a shirt that says “just because i have a boyfriend doesn’t mean i’m not looking at your boobs” or something less offensive just so that i wouldn’t feel like this part of me is invisible.

    I wouldn’t swap my partner for some hypothetical relationship with a woman but i wish i’d figured all this out sooner or met him later. I love him but i often wonder what life would be like with a red-headed feminist woman who likes picnics and reading and art and …sigh.

  3. Sarah
    Sarah August 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    I haven’t done any reading on the subject, either, and I identify as straight, so maybe I’m not the best person to be answering the question. But I would say that whatever makes you comfortable is best. If your friends and the people who surround you who assume you’re straight would also be okay with you being bisexual, I say go for it – tell them. Assuming, as I said before, that you’re in a safe and open environment, the worst that can happen is a brief awkward moment, and it sounds like it would make you feel better.

    A very close friend of mine is bisexual and has also only ever dated guys (but has had romantic and sexual encounters with women outside of the context as dating, so is not in the same situation as you). She’s in a long-term relationship with a man. She hasn’t come out to her parents and doesn’t come out to most people she meets, because the fact of being bisexual doesn’t stand out as especially important to her. And that’s fine for her. But it’s not for you, and that’s fine. I believe that sexuality is entirely personal (I know that some people disagree with me), and whatever makes you most comfortable is the right choice for you.

  4. Caroline
    Caroline August 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    My position is somewhat similar: I have only dated men, and, while I have been intimate with women in the past, I have much, much more sexual experience with men. I am also very committed to my male partner. Said partner knows about my desire to have more sexual experiences with women, and is supportive. We have explored this together in MFF threesomes, and have also talked about further opening the relationship where I could pursue more physical relationships with women. For me, this is the best of both worlds. You say you are in a monogamous relationship, but are you 100% committed to this?

  5. Amanda H
    Amanda H August 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

    This is a tricky subject – and while I applaud you for your honestly, I do have to say this:

    Bisexual people are often though of as indecisive and selfish – never fully satisfied with their mate because they are craving someone who is a different gender than their mate…

    I’m bisexual – and I have only had sex with a woman once when I was a teenager. Since then, the only people I have been attracted to happened to be men.

    Do I wish I had more sexual experience with women? I don’t know. All I know is that insensitive people who know I’m bisexual often ask me that question, or make jokes at my partner’s expense (oh! Aren’t you afraid Amanda’s gonna run of with a woman?).

    I don’t really know what to say here, other than this made me pretty uncomfortable and felt like the old bisexual stereotype of never being fully satisfied with one partner/gender.

  6. Eh
    Eh August 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm |

    I think there are lots of people in spaces like that. I like boys but not that much and I like girls but not that much and I used to think I was hetero, then asexual, then kind of queerly asexual/ homoromantic/ wtf I don’t know. I am not very interested in dating right now for whatever reason. I recognize that I have and benefit from straight privilege; I also recognize that isn’t the whole story. And I’m not particularly eager to come out to people because… it’s a whole novel and it doesn’t seem that important? But I am ok with taking a long while to work it out.

  7. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm |

    I’m still not totally comfortable with being bisexual. I knew it shortly after puberty, but totally blocked it off because I was not allowed to think those sorts of thoughts.

    In college, with some degree of freedom, I began to experiment with gay sex. For the most part, I enjoyed myself, but the trust issues with men I have always were present. I was partially terrified, partially aroused. And I have to say I wish I’d been more discriminating with men I took to bed. I was so eager to prove to myself that what I was thinking and feeling was normal that I had no standards.

    I’ve only really had two boyfriends, both for a short period of time. Both were older than me, one much older. I have established that for right now, barring an unforeseen breakthrough in trauma therapy, a same-sex relationship isn’t tenable.

    There’s more a willingness to engage in an open relationship should both partners be male, I have discovered. This is often true with involving multiple partners in a sexual situation. I’m still processing whether monogamy persists after a certain period of time. In the beginning of a relationship, I rarely look at anyone else. But after time, a drab kind of formality enters. This is when I begin to contemplate concepts like polyamory.

  8. annajcook
    annajcook August 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    I was pretty much in your situation (assumed I was “mostly straight,” didn’t date) for the first 27 years of my life. Then I fell in love with my current partner of three years, a woman, which meant I had to do a BUNCH of scrambling to figure out what exactly the “mostly” in “mostly straight” meant and how I actually understood the queer side of my sexuality.

    Now that I’m in a visible relationship with another woman, I don’t have the issue of “bi invisibility” most of the time that bi/fluid/etc. folks do when partnered with an other-sex partner. I had one incident early on in my relationship with my partner in which a blog commenter, who had been assuming for years I was straight (and I’d never bothered to have the “mostly straight” conversation with her) said some anti-gay-marriage things to me on a blog thread and I was finally so irritated that I was like, “when you’re saying stuff like that you’re talking about me and my partner, so fuck off.” … the web can sometimes make sexual orientation invisible, even for folks who are partnered. It means making the decision whether or not to come out verbally as …X… in each conversation, unless your personal history is known within the online space in question.

    My strategies before and after consciously coming to terms with my non-straight sexuality have been remarkably similar, since my politics regarding homophobia and human rights haven’t changed all that much. I do sometimes feel like I’m in a stronger position to be like, “hey, when you say that you’re talking about people like me!” which puts a personal face on the stereotype or whatever. I think you can do that regardless of whether your relationship is same-sex or other-sex. It’s about your individual experience of your sexuality, not your current relationship status.

    Though I’d also say there’s an element of “pick your battles” since acknowledging bi/fluid desires while being committed to your partner is probably going to raise questions and initiate longer, more complicated or personally disclosing conversations than you’re always going to be ready for. I’d suggest having (in your head) tiered responses that you can pull out depending on whom you’re speaking with. The very personal, more nuanced discussion for close and open-minded friends, the shorter version for acquaintances, etc. Not everyone needs to know the quality of your desires…not everyone is entitled to know. You can speak up for equality and for more open-minded approaches to sexual orientation and gender identity, etc., without enumerating your own personal experience in every exhaustive detail.

    Have you read Lisa Diamond’s book on sexual fluidity? There’s a wealth of personal narratives in there from women who have navigated this path … you might find it interesting as a resource of examples for how folks have dealt with these issues in their lives.

  9. Lindsay
    Lindsay August 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    Thank you more than you can ever know!!!! I am crying right now because this is my exact story! Only difference I can see is the length of my marriage. I can’t express myself very clearly right now, but thanks again!

  10. annajcook
    annajcook August 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    As a follow-up to my already long comment … I sometimes feel like it’s helpful to remember that the pressure to disclose non-straight sexual feelings (or the awkwardness/shame of doing so) comes because of a culture where everyone is ASSUMED to be straight. If we assumed everyone was queer on some level (or, at least, assumed that in any given group of folks there was likely to be some who experienced a level of same-sex desire, etc.), then the awkwardness you’re describing with conversations in which folks assume you are straight unless you speak up wouldn’t happen.

    Since I was a teenager, aware of my not-entirely-straight desires, I was pretty careful about not claiming 100% heterosexuality. Yet when I partnered with a woman lots of people were very surprised because they had just assumed I was straight, even though I had never claimed the label. Which put me in the position of having to “come out” of a closet I had never felt I was in in the first place!

  11. Jadey
    Jadey August 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm |

    I spent a few months in high school being very upset about the fact that I was simultaneously hot for my male computer teacher and that really cute nerdy girl I’d just started hanging with. It took me that long to realize that “bisexual” was a thing that I could be (even though said nerdy girl was also openly bisexual – I can be a bit thick sometimes), but eventually the pieces fell into place. Well, mainly – a few years ago I got myself educated about the wondrous variety of human gender and sexuality, and I now slightly reluctantly refer to myself as “pansexual” in a futile attempt to slot myself into the available linguistic categories. More aptly put, I enjoy bodies of all kinds, especially when belonging to a person who is awesome for lots of other reasons, and I wish the language wasn’t so hung up on the relative matching of sex bits and gender expression, and I am contemplating coining the term “omniphile”. (I really dislike the way that pansexual often defined as “doesn’t care about gender” – of course I care about gender! I just don’t *pick* based on it.)

    In the past I’ve primarily been more comfortable dating queer women because I sometimes have trouble coping with my heteronormative upbringing, but more recently I’ve learned how to track down like-minded people of all genders (yeah, dating sites!), so that’s opened up my options considerably.

    The pain of bisexual erasure has been a slow build for me. As a teen, I was fairly sheltered within my own queer-friendly support network, but also not in touch with the larger queer communities and all the politics therein. I was just ecstatic that Ani DiFranco was bi and annoyed that everyone called Willow a lesbian, because what the hell did that mean for her feelings toward Oz? Anne Rice’s vampires made sense to me because they all seemed to be primarily attracted to interesting (if “preternaturally” beautiful) people without much fuss about defining their sexuality. But as I’ve gotten more and more exposed to the bisexuality myths floating around out there, the more marginalized and misunderstood I’ve felt. I mean, I’m sure monosexuality makes about as much sense to me as the polysexualities do for monosexual people, so I don’t expect perfect empathy, but the casual dismissal from both straight and queer people grinds my gears. Many of my close female friends are also bisexual, but because it’s easier to meet straight guys than queer women, it’s not uncommon for them to not have had relationships with women, as with your situation, and it’s infuriating that in some people’s eyes this makes them posers or fakes.

    I also really dislike the assumption that because I’m capable of being sexually attracted to many people that I necessarily am. I actually tend somewhat more toward greysexual, which puts another crimp in convincing people that my sexuality actually exists. I struggle with feeling like I have to sexual sometimes in order to validate my identities, as opposed to going with what I want to do for myself.

    The ignorance itself is also exhausting. I once had a therapist derail a session so that I could explain to her that bisexuality is actually a thing, and even just watching television with my sister meant having her get confused when I would follow a “he’s cute” with a “she’s cute” (although she’s gotten better about it). I want people to learn, but sometimes I’m just plain tired of being the only one around to teach. My sexuality is only one part of my life, and most of the time I don’t actually want to talk about it – I just want it to be!

    Basically, as a queer, poly, kinky, sort-of-greysexual, cis-but-gender-experimenting *omniphile* (there, I said it), there is very little about the mainstream sex and sexual orientation narratives that doesn’t make me feel like a complete alien. Hence the neologisms.

  12. alynn
    alynn August 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    YES! This is me too!

    I won’t say that I have to any degree truly come out. My closest friends know about me, but that’s about it. To be honest–having many queer friends who face many real obstacles, I feel weird identifying as anything other than hetero, even though hetero isn’t my reality. I’m sitting over here steeped in privilege, w/ a relationship blindly accepted by society. Being married to a dude (a wonderful one at that!) who I do plan on keeping around a long, long time I get to feeling that my own queerness is irrelevant, because, like you, I’ve never been w/ a woman. On the other hand, I know my real feelings, I know who I really am inside and in a different world, if I hadn’t ever met my husband, things could have been very, very different.

    One thing that he struggles with, despite all of his understanding and efforts, is believing that I don’t regret our relationship. I don’t stay up at night worried that I have not had a chance to explore this other side of myself. I’m so very happy with him-we’ve been together since 2003 and it’s as good as ever. But because I came to understand this about myself while with him, he’s gets worried that I feel unsatisfied or fixate on “what if” –which I don’t.

  13. alynn
    alynn August 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

    I’m loving your posts by the way…this is the second post you’ve written that is like it’s speaking my soul, the first being “Twirling in Neon.”

  14. UnFit
    UnFit August 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm |

    Funny to stumble upon this.
    I’ve identified as bisexual pretty much since sexuality became an issue.
    I have also always identified as fiercely polyamorous. And outrageously kinky.
    I had affairs with men – and very few with women – even during the first year or so of dating the guy who is now my partner.

    Over the course of our relationship, a lot of things have changed, and a lot of things haven’t. Suffice it to say, somewhere along the way I lost the desire to screw other people.
    And I’m fine with that. We’re awesome together. I’ve always been more attracted to guys that girls, and I’ve never gon out there searching for someone who matches my exact set of kinks (he’s very… open minded in that department and just generally awesome, but doesn’t have a whole lot of experience)

    So now we’re at the point where I’m going to move cities – nay, contries – to be with him.
    And I’ll be starting with this completely clean slate. No one there will know about my moved past, no one will question the default notions about our relationship – straight, monogamous, vanilla.
    He knows and I know that we’ve arrived at this outer appearance along a completely different path, and that things are nowehere near as rigidly defined as they’ll probably seem.
    But I’m really curious about how it’s going to feel, and how much I’ll feel inclined to come out to peopl about this, that and the other.
    t’s going to be an interesting transition – as if getting used to a whole different culture wasn’t interesting enough already.

  15. August
    August August 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    Yeah, I’ve always had insecurities around being polysexual. Before my first sexual experience with another woman (I was maybe 22 years old?), I wasn’t even sure that I WAS truly polysexual since a whole string of boyfriends before then kept trying to brainwash me into believing “You’ve never had sex with a woman, therefore you are straight.” Which is wrong for so many reasons, but anyway. Insecurity.

    For a long time I felt too gay for the het crowd and too straight for the gay crowd. Way back when I was still very new to women, I remember being in a lesbian club once and they sang a queer version of the 12 Days of Christmas – and one of the lines (which the crowd enthusiastically sang) was “Four greedy bi chicks!” Which…whoa. I can still vividly remember how it felt to suddenly realize that I was not in a safe space even among other women who love women.

    And to some extent, I still do feel insecure even though two of my current play partners are women (my husband and I are not monogamous), largely because while I have plenty of sexual experience with women, I have yet to have an actual full-fledged relationship with another woman. Which makes me feel Not Queer Enough and that claiming queer membership makes me a fraud since, as far as the vast majority of people know, I’m living the het American dream with a husband and kid. And the passing issue is certainly one that I have (and still do) struggled with, as far owning my privilege goes.

    I would LOVE to come out of the closet (friends know, family and coworkers do not), but part of me is also scared shitless that being a polyamorous queer mother of color means that my right to care for my child may be seriously threatened if the wrong people decide that my household is an unfit place to raise a child. When my daughter is a lot older, I do plan on coming out as both queer and poly, but until then, it’s in the closet I shall stay.

    Anyway, that was a lot of rambling just to say that yeah, I feel ya. You’re not alone.

  16. Roxy
    Roxy August 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    It seems to me that the emphasis on a specific word ends up throwing everyone for a loop. I am a cis-women dating a cis-man. I get off thinking about mostly women. I have plenty of ex-girlfriends. I am very very very bisexual — no grey area, more inclusive. Love girls. Dating a guy.

    But all of this (bi, pan, grey) can be covered with one beautiful word: queer. I am not middle-of-the-road America. I am creative, non-conformist, attracted to femme chicks and butch dicks. Queer pretty much encapsulates all of that.

  17. Cat
    Cat August 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

    This was definitely me. Is me, I suppose, still. The difference is that my boyfriend and I are not monogamous. If I met a woman that I was attracted to I could pursue that.

    But, as other people have pointed out, bisexuality is not terribly well accepted everywhere; I’m extraordinarily cautious around women who may only be “bicurious when drunk” and then there’s the fact that law school eats up so much time I’m shocked I have time to date one person.

    There’s also the fact that I am, in fact, in an intimate, committed, sexually open relationship. I love my boyfriend; I am in love with my boyfriend. And we both also have sex with other people. We haven’t yet tried having sex with another person together, but it’s on the table if we ever met someone who interested us and was themselves interested. I, honestly, get more awkward and big-eyed “Oh… that’s interesting…” responses to that than to being bisexual. But it definitely keeps me from acting on my attraction to women. Maybe it’s the way women are socialized (okay, I’m pretty damn sure it’s the way we’re socialized), but they’re even more awkward about the whole open relationship thing than most men I tell. Which means I don’t usually hook up with women. If I’m interested in pursuing something physical with someone, I always tell them about my relationship situation – to prevent confusion about where my emotional priorities lie.

    Defaulting to hetero is just the path of least resistance. And I irritate myself whenever I discover that’s the path I’ve chosen.

  18. Megan
    Megan August 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Stop reading my mind. No, seriously.

    I’m 21, cis woman, and have been dating my cis man BF for almost three years; we met soon after I started college. My bisexuality feels almost theoretical–I don’t know how solid it is, if you know what I mean, because I’ve never had any kind of sexual encounter with a woman. Most of my friends think I’m straight, except for a few folks who got me a bit drunk at a cast party and now know waaaay more about my sexual proclivities than they ever wanted to…

    But that’s another story. BF knows about me being bi, and we’ve had some really good, thoughtful discussions about the possibility of exploring that through swinging and threesome play, though probably not full polyamory. He’s been very understanding about it.

    I don’t know whether I should come out to people; there’s a strong sense of “Bisexuals are just greedy/indecisive/nonexistent/girls who want male attention” around my college. Those stereotypes that were mentioned upthread are tough, and there is a feeling that I’m fulfilling them by wanting what and who I want.

    Though, when someone says, “I don’t believe in bisexuals,” my general go-to response is, “But bisexuals believe in you, darling…”

  19. XtinaS
    XtinaS August 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |

    I had a very similar situation, re coming around to being bisexual — I liked boys, apparently, so I never got around to the rest of the flowchart until I was in a threesome, and realised that I also like women.  (Note: Probably not a common way to discover this.  Ah, early polyamory.)

    I am polyamorous, bisexual, and genderqueer.  There are, for me, two aspects to passing: the privilege, and the erasure.  So for example, I have passing privilege when I’m out with my boyfriend; we pass as straight and monogamous, because that’s the default.  Bundled right in is the erasure, because we’re not.  It’s incredibly frustrating, because while I have some ideas for how to not necessarily pass as straight, I can’t figure out how to not pass as monogamous without like going on more-than-two-folk dates, and clearly being romantically with more than one of them.  Alternately, buttons.  Or I could wear special earrings…

    Dealing with passing/coming out is easier if the situation is ongoing — work, acquaintances, et cetera.  The easiest way is to talk about both my boyfriend and my girlfriend (context-appropriate), and see how long it takes the other person to realise that I am not at all the sort of person to refer to my woman friends as “girlfriends”.  At which point, the other person is so hung up on polyamory that the bisexuality is forgotten.

    I am totally blessed that I’ve not run into, in person, people who say that bisexuals are greedy or indecisive or similar.  It’s unfortunate, however, that there’s such pressure on women to… perform lesbianism for men, I suppose?  Similar.  It makes for a lot of wariness, on my and others’ parts, when a woman wants to explore her same-sex sexuality, or is otherwise new to it.  I wish society would cut it out.

    Cat:

    “Defaulting to hetero is just the path of least resistance. And I irritate myself whenever I discover that’s the path I’ve chosen.”

    This, entirely.

  20. sam
    sam August 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

    You’re in good company.

    I’ve had a good number of relationships with women, and with men. I have now life-partnered with a man. It is very difficult, volunteering at a queer youth resource center, for many of the youth to think I can identify with at least a little of what they’re going through – the queerness is erased.

    I dream of a world where sexual orientation is irrelevant to everything.

    Maybe someday.

    Maybe.

  21. j
    j August 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm |

    this really spoke to me because I am going to a similar thing where all my life I have date men, and was even engaged. Recently however, I (surprisingly-at least to me)fell in love with a woman, and although nothing but a kiss came out of that it made me question my sexuality. I am now moving across the country and starting fresh in university and I am not sure how to go about it,or come out in the school’s community. There’s the frustrating issue of passing, and also like someone already mentioned, me feeling like I am too “straight-acting” and not queer enough, so Idk.

    Thanks for this article, as the thought provoking comments, everyone.

  22. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm |

    Question 1. Do you like boys? If yes, then you are heterosexual. If no, then proceed to question 2.

    Question 2. Do you like girls? If yes, then you are homosexual.

    Good lord, I’ve been a homosexual all these years without knowing it!

    Joking aside, I really admire the way people are so willing to share their personal experience on this issue. It also makes me feel as if at least a tiny bit of progress has been made in these past few decades.

  23. TY
    TY August 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    Really, thank you for telling your story here and opening up this discussion here. Like many of the commentators, I feel like I am a similar situation and being able to connect through that means a lot. I am also a bisexual ciswoman in a long-term monogamous relationship with a cisman and I’ve never kissed a woman.

    I’m 22 and I came out as bisexual two years. The first person I came out to was my boyfriend, who I am still with. He almost had a nonresponse to it, almost as if he already knew. I was surprised by the complete lack of a need to explain or defend myself; it was the best response he could have had. It made coming out to other people a lot easier.

    I consider myself to be open now, although there are always awkward situations where people make assumptions. Most significantly, my undergrad advisor, who is wonderful and supportive but is often very (subconsciously?) heteronormative in his view of the world. It is both awkward in that I dislike his assumption, but it is also not relevant to my relationship with him, which while close and personal, has no involved much discussion of my personal life. (I should mention: I do not think he would react badly, just weirdly.)

  24. Ursula B
    Ursula B August 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    Oh, wow. Thank you for this. It really resonates with my experience too, even though mine is a little different.

    I am not partnered, because it doesn’t really fit with my other life priorities. And I don’t really date much. I’m more often attracted to men than to other women, but I’ve definitely had crushes on women before, and even though this has been happening since I was 20 or so, somehow it never occurred to me until 13 years later that this meant that, you know, DATING WOMEN might actually be an option for me. Because I just assumed I was straight, and any of these crushes on women were aberrations, ha ha isn’t it funny how that happens, etc.

    Then finally, for some reason, I got whacked with a clue stick and realized that, gee, I could date women if I wanted to. But I feel frustrated and sad and confused because I feel that the best opportunities for exploring the possibilities of dating women are past and no longer available.

    And it’s hard to figure out what to think about my identity. I don’t want to have to have an identity but I’m going to get assigned one no matter what by people’s assumptions. But, none of the options I might claim for myself seems right. It seems shitty to just let people assume I’m straight. But it also seems shitty to try to claim an identity like bisexual or something – because I’ve never actually been involved with a woman in any way, and it seems unlikely that I will (because I’m not really in a position to date anyone at all, and because it IS rarer to find a woman I am attracted to than a man). So it’s not like I’ve paid any kind of price for having that identity like other people have – and so it would seem like an asshole move to go “I’m bisexual” when I’ve never actually done bisexual things or paid any kind of price for being bisexual — it’s like claiming I’m oppressed when really I’m not, or something.

    I also feel hella embarrassed because it seems like I ought to be old enough to have this shit figured out by now.

  25. Jen
    Jen August 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    Yes, I am so relieved other people feel this way.

    I’m bisexual, but also on the autistic spectrum. People in the past have tended to take my natural sincerity, politeness, and difficulty knowing when someone’s hitting to me to mean either “completely straight.” In their mind, no way could I be associated with those “bicurious sluts.” I was given the speech by a few people: “Well, you’re still a virgin, what do you know? You need to sleep with both genders to know you’re actually bi.”

    I feel often like I don’t really “belong” in either the autistic or LGBT communities. I’m too “high-functioning” I’m “half-straight,” my parents accepted my sexuality, always supported me but never medicalized me.

    Then I feel attracted to a certain woman, or stim in public and I don’t feel like I belong in the straight, neurotypical world either. But I pass as those things (mostly because of others’ ignorance), and it lets me live me life smoothly.

    If I could live forever among my family (church and secular), who see me first as a loved person than as a bisexual autistic person, it would be a lot easier. But why should I have to feel tied to them to be safe? They’re my strong tower, not my prison.

    If I think too much about it, I get a bitter taste in my mouth.

  26. AtheistChick
    AtheistChick August 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm |

    I have had a lot of conflicting emotion regarding my bisexuality. Most of it was due to my conservative family, but a fair portion of it was due to the false straight-or-gay binary. I have found that bisexual women, at least, are erased largely until straight men find out about their being bisexual. Then there’s this big hoopla about how it’s so “hot,” and then when they find out it’s not for their viewing pleasure, you get erased yet again. Or at least I did; I don’t claim to speak for anyone else here. That being said about the whole “hot” thing, sometimes I admit that it is tempting to play up my relationships with women for attention and free items, but I know that is problematic.

    Good mention of Glee– I have noticed that also. Brittany and Santana could both easily be bi or pan or somewhere in between straight and gay. While I appreciate the increased diversity in sexual orientation, it does upset me that there are still only two choices.

    I don’t feel that anyone has a “responsibility” to be out, per se, but I do think it’s a good thing to speak out if you feel comfortable doing so. No, it’s no one’s responsibility to educate others, but when you speak out about bisexuality (or whatever), you inevitably do so. And that’s a good thing.

    I didn’t actually know I was bisexual until I was 20 or so. Even then, I tried really fucking hard to deny it as a phase. I was in a committed relationship with a man, and now we are married (though non-monogamous). I thought that noticing and paying attention to my attraction to women meant I was “turning into a lesbian,” as my mother always feared I would after I began taking women’s and queer studies classes at college. But of course the attraction to women did not go away, and neither did the attraction to men. It took about a year or so, but finally I became comfortable calling myself bisexual.

    For the record, I recognize the term “bisexual” as problematic in some ways, but it’s what I am comfortable with publicly labeling myself with at this point. I, too, am probably more accurately described as pansexual, but I always say bisexual.

    Of course you haven’t read much about it… there doesn’t seem to be much. Much of the queer literature that I have seen/read/heard about does focus on gays/lesbians in a straight world.

  27. TY
    TY August 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    I should also mention: Even though I identify as bisexual, I have always really disliked the word because I believe it denotes some kind of binary nature to sexual identity and orientation. For this reason, I prefer pansexual in general, but I’m not quite happy with this either; for a while I would refuse to use a word and responded with some variant of “I’m not picky”, which is actually a lie since I AM picky, just not based on sexual identity.

    Of course, ideally people would just not assume I’m straight and then I think it would pretty easy to figure out. And yes, I know if wishes were horses, we’d all be eating steak.

  28. DouglasG
    DouglasG August 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

    I think part of the particular consideration for the bisexual partner in a mixed-orientation relationship is that one is often coming out for two in a sense. This has some impact on same-sex couples, but probably much more on opposite-sex couples. How ready the straight partner is to be open about having married/partnered into the bisexual community is something I’ve seen to have had significant impact on the openness of the bisexual partner.

    Even with that consideration out of the way, it can come down to weighing how much one might prefer not to wind up in the position of a reluctant educator against the good that might be done by improved visibility.

  29. TY
    TY August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Roxy:
    But all of this (bi, pan, grey) can be covered with one beautiful word: queer. I am not middle-of-the-road America. I am creative, non-conformist, attracted to femme chicks and butch dicks. Queer pretty much encapsulates all of that.

    This.

    Read this after my second comment above, and queer is actually one of the labels that I really feel like I can identify with and not have to worry about whether this is really what I mean, etc, etc.

  30. AtheistChick
    AtheistChick August 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm |

    Also, a bisexual friend of mine sometimes seems uncomfortable with my marriage being open as it is. She once told me that she felt bisexual people should be monogamous if only to dispel the stereotypes of slutty, unable-to-choose-sides bisexuals. I understand how she felt, even while I strongly disagree. But it’s food for thought.

  31. UnFit
    UnFit August 4, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    annajcook: That, and I think it goes even further than that. Why does it have to be “queer”? Why does there have to be one assumed normal sexuality and then everything else?

    And yes, I am totally aware of where that comes from, but… it’s just so sad and limiting that who you sleep with and how should be such a crucial part of your identity.

    How about, right now I’m sleeping with someone who has kids and a dog and a PhD, none of which I have. Who speaks a different native tongue and belongs to a different social class, but still shares so much of my outlook at the world, it’s almost uncanny. And who is yet different enough from me to open my mind to new things.
    All of that should be more important to the people around me than whether or not they’re of the male variety and if I’m also currently sleeping with someone else.

  32. Jadey
    Jadey August 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm |

    Roxy:
    It seems to me that the emphasis on a specific word ends up throwing everyone for a loop. I am a cis-women dating a cis-man. I get off thinking about mostly women. I have plenty of ex-girlfriends. I am very very very bisexual — no grey area, more inclusive. Love girls. Dating a guy.

    But all of this (bi, pan, grey) can be covered with one beautiful word: queer. I am not middle-of-the-road America. I am creative, non-conformist, attracted to femme chicks and butch dicks. Queer pretty much encapsulates all of that.

    For reals. Of all the things I’ve called myself, queer is the only one that ever fit just right, maybe because it is just so very flexible and accepting of everything that it could mean. I mean, I’m sure some people are queer in ways that I am not queer, and vice versa, but it still feels like a family name we share. Things just get tricky when people want specifics.

    Cat: Defaulting to hetero is just the path of least resistance. And I irritate myself whenever I discover that’s the path I’ve chosen.

    Plus a million to this. I feel the same way about my gender-transgressiveness too – sometimes I just give up and let people assume what they want based on how I’m presenting that day.

  33. Lori
    Lori August 4, 2011 at 8:01 pm |

    Wow, Shoshie, I could’ve written this post. I’m pretty sure I’m bi-sexual, and have never acted on it. I’m married, happily, and have been for 10 years. I’ve only recently talked to my husband about this part of me and he has been very understanding. He doesn’t quite know what to do with the information, but we’re talking about how it might be that we can stay married and contemplate a non-monogamous relationship if need be. Again, thank you for writing this post. It resonated so strongly with me and it’s really nice to know that I”m not alone in feeling the way I do – happy in my marriage, but feeling as if I’ve suppressed a big part of me for a long, long time.

  34. Ruth
    Ruth August 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm |

    It is so freaking comforting to read this post, these comments. I can’t even describe it.

    I’m queer. I don’t date. I’m attracted to people regardless of gender, though it doesn’t happen very often. My sexual experience is limited to a single heterosexual one-night-stand, which was a deliberate losing-my-virginity, and physically exciting but not really worth the effort.

    So am I allowed to say I’m queer, when my experience doesn’t show that? Hell yes I am. I’m the one who gets to define me.

    Do other people see me as queer? Well. Maybe. People close to me know. For a while, I’ve had very short hair, which seems to be enough for folk round here to call me a lesbian. But I’m growing it out, and once I have, I’m worried I’ll slip straight under the radar, as it were.

    Maybe I should just dig out my old rainbow jewellery and be prepared to explain it to anyone who asks.

  35. Placebogirl
    Placebogirl August 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    I love this post. Your story is my story, almost, but with the added complication of having been in a situation where it was very difficult to meet women for most of the years where I could have (rock climbing computer scientist=no women for me!). Interestingly, as a result of a conversation I had with an extremely smart friend, I’ve more recently started identifying as genderqueer due to my personal preferences and my attractions, though my experience is limited. As a result of this, I’ve even had someone who is experienced and bi attempt top deny my identity because of her perception of my lack of experience.

    And yes, while passing makes me safe, it also denies who I am. I don’t know how to manage it.

  36. Athenia
    Athenia August 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm |

    I don’t identify as bisexual, but I’ve had some interesting feelings and experiences in the past. I’m pretty comfortable with that past now. The most I’ll tell other people is that I’d have sex with so-and-so celebrity which kinda feeds into the whole “being bisexual for the menz” fantasy, but I genuinely feel that way.

    I don’t understand why some people feel that they are acting on their bisexual identity when they are with a same-sex partner, but not with an opposite sex partner. The way I feel doesn’t change when I’m with my opposite sex partner.

    Then again, I’ve never dated another woman so maybe that’s a whole different ballgame.

  37. Libby Anne
    Libby Anne August 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm |

    This is me too! Only add to that that I married the FIRST guy I ever dated. I was raised fundamentalist and part of the homeschool Christian patriarchy movement. I was taught that dating was “practice for divorce.” So not only do I now wish I had acted on my feelings toward women, I also wish I had dated around and learned more about how relationships worked and gained more experiences. It sucks, because I love my husband to death, and he’s awesome and everything, there’s just this sadness and regret there.

  38. Still Hiding
    Still Hiding August 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm |

    I don’t know where to start. Partly Shoshie’s story is my story, but add twenty years and less self-examination.

    Some days I’m so upset by my unexamined sexuality and the expectations of society, I want to cry. Some days I’m really angry at myself for being so closed and ignorant when I was younger, because I was a pretty open minded kid (I used to get into fist fights defending Freddie Mercury). Most days though I love my husband, because we are the best of friends and have a great sex life.

    While I grew up in a burgeoning understanding of queerness, it was still a childhood spent in small town 80s. I did have queer heroes, but I didn’t allow myself to recognize their queerness and own it as a part of them I enjoyed. It has also taken me 25+ years to recognize my first sexual experience was with a girl (and not just the “doctors and nurses” I wrote it off as), my first crush was a girl and I learned to masturbate to pictures of nude women. I thought of these things as just a weird phase, because I had internalized that gay was a guy on guy thing, and that whole “well, I like guys TOO, so I can’t be gay”.

    I feel so dumb.

    I too met my husband very early. We’ve been together 20 years. We work well together and love each other. But I have a huge unexamined hole in my life that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fill. I’ve come to this realization slowly over a few years, since I’ve started truly doing feminist academia and being involved as a queer ally. People in my life see and accept me as a straight, bar my husband, because he is the only one I’ve talked about this with. He’s cool with my feelings, but we’ve not figured our way around the monogamy thing, and I hate how entrenched that is in our socialization.

    I often think that people in my past have known something about me before I did. A lot of women, straight and lesbian, have avoided me (because they thought I was different, or in the case of lesbians maybe were afraid I’d fumble coming on to them coz they thought I was straight), or manipulated me (into hetero pairings when I didn’t want dates/boyfriends, whether through socialization, or fear of me hitting on them). I can’t honestly say what would give people the idea that I might be queer, coz I thought I kept my “doctors and nurses” thing really quiet (I’ve never told anyone until now).

    The funny thing is I can’t talk about this with my parents, even though they’re very cool and open minded about sexuality, and I know if I’d come out as a teen they’d probably be completely unsurprised (my mom has always said I had trouble finding my place in life). But now that I’m married, and have been married for so long, it would just seem wrong to drop that sort of thing on them (esp the in laws, I know they wouldn’t understand AT ALL).

    I am not out to anyone but my husband, though I wouldn’t call it being “out”, just more of an understanding. And it hurts.

    But don’t worry :) I’m ok. I have plenty of time to work this out. And I can enjoy looking…at both guys and girls.

  39. T
    T August 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm |

    I am so very happy to read this post and all these comments.

    For various reasons I hadn’t ever considered sex or sexuality at all until I started going out with my now fiance. He’s fantastic and supportive and the best thing that ever happened to me, and that was only proved more true when I figured out that hey, ladies are pretty sexy also.

    I want to explore my sexuality and my identity, but I don’t actually want to sleep with anyone else. I’m incredibly happy in my monogamous relationship. And for so long now I’ve just been feeling a bit lost when it comes to this. Do I really feel what I think I feel? What should I do about it? What does it mean to be a particular sexuality?

    Thank you so much to all of those people commenting and to the author because this is the first time I’ve seen for sure that what I am is real.

  40. queenrandom
    queenrandom August 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    My experience has been very close to yours – including what age I realized I was bisexual – except that I started dating my now husband at 16. As far as passing privilege, I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with it – like, the only reason (general) you privilege me is because you don’t know or maybe you do know but deny who I really am. I actually feel less…embarrassed? ashamed? when people know about my bisexuality and/or acknowledge it than when I am assumed to be straight/granted passing privilege. If that makes any sense. Being bisexual in this world can be really confusing – both to exist as, and to explain!

  41. NoNameThisTime
    NoNameThisTime August 4, 2011 at 10:35 pm |

    I have absolutely no advice to give, but I was just interrogating my own sexuality on the way home today, and I felt like this might be a useful forum in which to say something about it. The story ends with me deciding the whole issue is ridiculous and that I cannot possibly express myself in existing terms.

    I am a woman, married to a man (whom I love and stuff). While I’ve always known and expressed it, the fact that I am genderqueer has become very important to me recently. I have only dated men and only had sexual encounters with men, with the exception of a few drunk kisses. My husband is openly bisexual, has dated men, and is pretty much exclusively into gay porn. I consider myself “bi,” and am certainly attracted to women and have had crushes on them, but I feel quite differently about men and women, which is confusing and strange to me. As far as actual sex is concerned, I’m interested in men, but when I fantasize about sex, I imagine that *I* am the man and that my partner is a woman. When I read erotic fiction I always imagine myself as the man, and I love reading gay stuff. When watching porn, I like watching women, but not *just* women, there has to be a guy in there. In other words, I love heterosexual intercourse, I just feel like I’m on the wrong end. Not enough to consider a sex change, but it is significant.

    But what it comes down to is that I’m in the body I’m in, and I’m ok with that, and I’m attracted to some people and not to others, and I’ve had good sexual experiences and bad ones, and I don’t feel deeply compelled to talk to anyone other than my husband about it.

  42. miga
    miga August 4, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

    Haha, man this is familiar ground for me too.

    I tend to be romantically attracted to people with “masculine” tendencies (aka anyone less femme than me), and I feel like i’m not a “real” bisexual because I’ve never been in a relationship with a woman.
    And I only JUST figured out how to approach the menfolks when I realized my sexuality, so now i’m thrown for a loop as to how to show my attraction to or to approach woman-bodied folks. It doesn’t help that i’m shy and unsure and femme, so I can be in a heavily queer space and feel invisible.

  43. miga
    miga August 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm |

    I have a question for everyone else who identifies as bi or pansexual.

    Does the type of attraction you experience feel different?

    Like, for me there’s a certain feeling when I’m aroused by or attracted to men that I can point out really easily. It’s sharper, like a flood of adrenaline almost.

    With women bodied folks it’s different- there’s not as much…urgency. That OMG I WANT YOU RIGHT NOW feeling has never showed up, instead it’s almost a lazy comforting feeling of warmness when I fantasize or see someone attractive. It’s a flow or a swell of physical arousal- takes more time, but is more distracting in the long run.

    Perhaps this is because I have never been with a woman (my feelings of arousal for guys weren’t this intense before I had my first make out, for example), or because the “female” body type is more familiar to me, but I wanted to know if it’s that way for any of you as well. The difference in quality of feeling is what really made me unsure of my attraction., like “how do I know i’m not doing this just to be different?”

  44. XtinaS
    XtinaS August 4, 2011 at 11:33 pm |

    miga:

    “Does the type of attraction you experience feel different?”

    Yes, but I have a hideously difficult time finding the source for that difference.  Like, how much is that I IDed as het (more accurately, I defaulted into het) when I was a teen/young adult?  Perhaps that shaped my attraction styles.  How much of the difference is pursuer/pursued (man/woman) versus… I can’t think of a term.  Equality, I suppose?  How much is my own political views, colouring things?  (The more I’m a feminist, the higher my Kinsey score gets.)

    I embody the Platonic ideal of “overthinking it”.  *wry*

  45. Puss in Boots
    Puss in Boots August 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    I can’t hide how queer I am, but the only time I’m annoyed by bisexual married people is when they claim hardships that don’t come with their passing privilege. The hardship of having your identity crushed by mass ignorance is very real. Don’t feel like it’s wrong of you to want people to know things about who you are, even if those things are “moot.” If someone points out a sexy guy, you should feel free to say, “His wife is hot, too.” You’re welcome in my rainbow club, because once I was a virgin too, and circumstances altered that–but circumstances don’t make a person. You don’t have to consummate your sexuality the way we traditionally do with marriage ;)

    And furthermore, maybe you’ll get a kick out of this: I really have a hard time believing in straight people, or gay people. They’re not like unicorns, because I know they exist, and I don’t doubt they know their sexuality–I’m saying that they become invisible to me because it’s too difficult for me to imagine living that way. If I ever meet you, I’ll assume you’re bisexual until you say otherwise. I don’t mean to, but I’ve just been surprised enough times and fallen deeply enough into my own identity that it’s the default for me. Maybe there aren’t lots of people out there like me, but maybe it’s nice to imagine there are. :)

  46. BruisePristine
    BruisePristine August 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    Amanda H: I don’t really know what to say here, other than this made me pretty uncomfortable and felt like the old bisexual stereotype of never being fully satisfied with one partner/gender.

    Shoshie already addressed this, but I think it’s important to emphasize that marginalized and stereotyped peoples should have the freedom to do and say things that are considered “stereotypical” for their communities–that’s applying a standard to (in this case, queers) that isn’t applied to non-marginalized people who are allowed to do as they damn well please without being pronounced “stereotypical”. The problem isn’t inherent within the things that are deemed stereotypical, but with stereotyping itself–taking a few examples and then applying them to an entire community. People aren’t stereotypes. They’re people, and they exhibit a diverse number of traits across communities, including some traits that are deemed stereotypical for their community.

    The stereotype of a feminist is an angry, hairy-legged dyke, but that doesn’t mean you’re upholding stereotypes if you happen to be an angry, hairy-legged dyke, or that you’re “bringing the movement down” or “making feminism look bad” or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with being a poly bisexual, or a femme gay man, or a black guy that’s good at basketball. Shoshie was writing about what she feels, which may or may not play into certain stereotypes (I don’t think it does, given that she highlighted that she has no interest in actually having sex outside her relationship; she also made it very clear that this was her experience, not universal to bisexuals), but even if it does, Shoshie is entitled to her feelings, because she’s a person and not the living embodiment of all bisexual women.

  47. Diana
    Diana August 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm |

    I’ve had a very similar experience with my sexuality, although I have had some limited experience with a woman. I’ve always been in a relatively accepting environment, but I have never figured out how to express my bisexuality while dating a male without running into the ‘you’re dating a guy – you’re straight’ or ‘you just want attention’ tropes. Neither of them make ANY sense (the second because I’ve spent all of my adult life wishing for LESS male attention, rather than more, thanks to being an engineer and an online gamer), but that doesn’t stop them getting trotted out, and it doesn’t make people scoff less when I try to explain.

    I think the best thing we as bi- or pansexual women (and men!) can do is to try to be more open about it, though – the erasure hurts, but on a community level every ‘hey, I’m bi’ raises the perceived presence of multisexual people in our culture. (This is of course assuming at least a relatively safe environment, which unfortunately isn’t such a great assumption.)

  48. Jadey
    Jadey August 4, 2011 at 11:50 pm |

    miga: I have a question for everyone else who identifies as bi or pansexual.

    Does the type of attraction you experience feel different?

    I’m attracted to different people in different ways, but I’m not entirely sure how it breaks down. More along BDSM lines than anything else, I guess (e.g., some people I want to dominate, and some people I want to be dominated by). It doesn’t correlate with gender though, as far as I can tell.

  49. Shaun
    Shaun August 4, 2011 at 11:57 pm |

    Megan:

    Though, when someone says, “I don’t believe in bisexuals,” my general go-to response is, “But bisexuals believe in you, darling…”

    This is awesome and I am absolutely using this next time IRL.

  50. Shaun
    Shaun August 5, 2011 at 12:06 am |

    Jen:
    Yes, I am so relieved other people feel this way.

    I’m bisexual, but also on the autistic spectrum. People in the past have tended to take my natural sincerity, politeness, and difficulty knowing when someone’s hitting to me to mean either “completely straight.” In their mind, no way could I be associated with those “bicurious sluts.” I was given the speech by a few people: “Well, you’re still a virgin, what do you know? You need to sleep with both genders to know you’re actually bi.”

    I feel often like I don’t really “belong” in either the autistic or LGBT communities. I’m too “high-functioning” I’m “half-straight,” my parents accepted my sexuality, always supported me but never medicalized me.

    Then I feel attracted to a certain woman, or stim in public and I don’t feel like I belong in the straight, neurotypical world either. But I pass as those things (mostly because of others’ ignorance), and it lets me live me life smoothly.

    If I could live forever among my family (church and secular), who see me first as a loved person than as a bisexual autistic person, it would be a lot easier. But why should I have to feel tied to them to be safe? They’re my strong tower, not my prison.

    If I think too much about it, I get a bitter taste in my mouth.

    Autistically speaking there’s actually a disproportionate amount of us who are bi or otherwise queer (including genderqueer/trans but that’s another conversation). I totally get how this could be invisible in your social circle (it is with my local Autistic circle) but we do exist in large enough numbers for it to be a prominent subset of our community–though you could say this about any minority.

    As for the LGLG community, you hit the head on that nail. I’ve never run across a gay or lesbian social circle (by which I meant a community or network, not a small group of friends) that was not biphobic and monosexist. Throw in disability (or any other intersection) and you’ve potentially got a really hostile environment.

  51. Rebecca D.
    Rebecca D. August 5, 2011 at 1:14 am |

    I have only ever dated one person, who was a guy, though I identify as bisexual. I’m currently single, so I don’t feel any of the feelings you mentioned at the moment, though when was in that relationship I often wondered what it would be like to have a relationship with a woman.

    In terms of coming out, I am mostly out to family and close friends, and while I do feel that my bisexuality is important aspect of my personality, I’m never sure how to bring it up outside of a discussion about sexuality (“Hi, nice to meet you, by the way, I’m bisexual…In case you wanted to know”). Normally what I end up doing is dropping hints (e.g., using gender-specific pronouns when talking about crushes), but I wish I felt confident enough to say it in a more straightforward and less awkward manner.

  52. Shannon
    Shannon August 5, 2011 at 1:41 am |

    Thank you for sharing your experience! It makes me feel so much less alone. I’ve been in the same situation. I’ve always known I was attracted to both men and women, but have, as yet, never fully explored the attraction to women.

    I don’t worry too much about the labels…until I ask out/get out asked out by a guy. Then I feel like I should be one thing or another. People have asked me often enough if I’m gay, but I’m not…and even though everyone in my life is fantastic, I know they’re not going to get it by their reactions to other women in my same scenario. I shelve the attraction to women while dating (without too much difficulty because dating anyone keeps me busy enough). But I’m definitely not dating anyone seriously (at 27), and seeking to explore my sexuality fully before committing to the person with whom I most connect. If you’ve already found that with your husband, hold onto it dearly. And you can explore your sexuality within marriage also, if your partner is willing to let you figure out how in the way you think best.

  53. the-r-evolution
    the-r-evolution August 5, 2011 at 3:01 am |

    I’m in the same position. Getting married soon, but have never dated a woman and feel as though I missed out. Your story almost sounded as if I wrote it.

  54. Wow
    Wow August 5, 2011 at 3:37 am |

    Eh:
    I think there are lots of people in spaces like that. I like boys but not that much and I like girls but not that much and I used to think I was hetero, then asexual, then kind of queerly asexual/ homoromantic/ wtf I don’t know. I am not very interested in dating right now for whatever reason. I recognize that I have and benefit from straight privilege; I also recognize that isn’t the whole story. And I’m not particularly eager to come out to people because… it’s a whole novel and it doesn’t seem that important? But I am ok with taking a long while to work it out.

    Oh my god, are you me? Haha… like, this is almost exactly my life story.

  55. emotionalc
    emotionalc August 5, 2011 at 3:37 am |

    First time poster, long time reader…

    Great post. I think it’s good to open this up as I think there are lots of women in your position who feel a bit ignored/marginalised. First off, I agree that Glee ignores bisexuality. Makes my blood boil!

    I always knew I liked boys and girls, but nothing much happened (in that I identified straight and went out with boys) until I was in my early 20′s and had an intense relationship with a close female friend of mine that snagged into another area. We were never officially dating, but many things happened between us – emotionally and physically. To this day, mostly due to my ease in hooking up with men as opposed to women, I have never had an actual ‘official’ relationship with a woman, just sexual experiences. I think if I were single that I would date a woman if I met one I wanted to date – it’s more about the person than the gender for me.

    I’m in a monogamous relationship with a cis- straight man but I still very much identify as bisexual (except to my family who are very open-minded about homosexuality but who – sadly – refuse to acknowledge bisexuality as anything other than a fad or something that women do to please men).

    I’m lucky in that my man has supported me in my bisexuality and isn’t threatened by it – we have FFM threesomes on occassion (when we meet women we spark with) and this satisfies my bi side quite nicely. It works for us anyway. I know it makes him pretty happy too (you’d think that was a given, but many of my exes had real issues with my bisexuality and were never happy in the thought or reality of having FFM threesomes), and I’m lucky that we are so compatible sexually, emotionally and spiritually. Some of our friends know about this, some don’t. It’s not a big deal, just part of what we do.

    We only ever have FFMs threesomes though, it’s an extended part of our love life I guess. We have looked into both the physical and emotional extensions of this – swinging and polyamory for example – but they’re not for us. We’ve found out own little threesome niche and we love it!

    Some people might argue that we aren’t monogamous, and I guess if you are being pedantic about semantics we aren’t the exact definition of it, but we are only ever involved sexually with other women *together* so we are close to it!

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that it can work out, even if you are monogamous and happy and settled. It just depends on what your boundaries are and how your partner(s) feel about it.

  56. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon August 5, 2011 at 4:33 am |

    I feel somewhat similarly about my gender (FAAB femme-ish man-dater). I keep trying to make a more detailed post about it but it’s hard and shit.

  57. kiturak
    kiturak August 5, 2011 at 7:14 am |

    Just want to join in among the THIS IS MY STORY!!1 crowd, and thank you forever for the flow chart!

    It’s become a big question for me, whether or not to come out to people that I meet. Because, at this point, what difference does it make? What does it matter who I’m attracted to?

    I’m feeling this way a lot. Now, I just had another one of those realizations that has probably been evident from the beginning for everyone else: Talking to a bi friend, I realized that his coming out to me helped me in my process of self-identification and coming out as bi in my turn, years later – must have been around 30. If someone like him had been there when I was 18/19/20, things might have turned out differently for me. So, even if my considerations about coming out were/are concerns about me and my safety first, there’s also the thought that I am helping other people by just being visible.
    (Which is, as has been pointed out, hard enough even being out unless wearing big signs and t-shirts.)

  58. A (Male) Student
    A (Male) Student August 5, 2011 at 8:22 am |

    I’m really grateful for this article and the responses. This is pretty much what happened to me as well. I fell so hard in love with a girl in high school that I never thought I was anything but straight, despite some earlier experiences to the contrary. But in college, I suddenly felt both attracted to men and uncomfortable in my gender. I found some support at the LGBT center, but even there I didn’t entirely fit in since I wasn’t just gay and, although my gender identification was pretty far afield, I didn’t feel so uncomfortable with my birth gender to be transsexual. I will say the transsexual support group is where I made the closest friends, and over two decades later those friendships are the only good memories I have of what was an unbearably painful time in my life.

    I still don’t know what label to assign to myself, but I’m becoming more accepting of the diverse and fluid nature of my sexuality and gender identification. Feminism and queer theory have been a big help, as has my wonderful therapist (going on 4 years this Fall).

    Kudos to the poster!

  59. anna
    anna August 5, 2011 at 9:12 am |

    I’m a 21 year old who’s very recently come out to a small number of people. Oddly enough the first night I told anyone significant about it (a friend who came out when he was about 16… his response to me saying I was bi was “well obviously” haha!) was the same night I had sex with a man for the first time. I dont know if that means anything… maybe that it was the first time I’d stopped playing the “but which do i like MORE?!” game with myself. Anyway I relate so much to this entry. It’s not so much accepting myself as bisexual that I found/am finding difficult but rejecting the label of heterosexuality… my head still seems to be saying “but you fancy loooaaads of boys! you’re SO hetero!” No, head, that’s not right… i dont think you just want to hug ellen page with your legs in friendship now, do you.

  60. Nia
    Nia August 5, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    Yeah, I love this post. I am constantly feeling “not queer enough”, and being a sex worker who interacts primarily (but not always!) with men / male-id’d people seems to “reinforce” that sometimes, for some people.

    I have weird interactions all the time, with other queer / bisexual women, where it’s almost like we have to one up each other, “prove” how queer we are, in spite of “still dating” men. I’m having a really painful interaction with one of my best friends right now, a woman who’s supported me through thick and thin, where she broke up with a long term male partner and now is getting married to a woman who constantly gives off vibes that I’m not “really part” of their gay clique.

    My primary partner is a man. He is so wonderful, so un-creepily bi-positive (ie thanks for not making gross I-want-to-F*ck-them comments about my girlfriends / dates), and so sex worker positive (pretty much the only person who, during my recent stalker episode, wasn’t like “you brought it on yourself”).

    I also date girls, openly. This is a new thing for me. Idk why I felt like I had to be on the low with this for so long, unless it was on a stage. I mean “hot-girl-on-girl-action” – it’s a pretty common trope in porn. Why was I out when it was for someone else’s gaze, for years, and not out just for me? I have yet to completely untangle this, but, happily, that closeted part of my life is over.

    The sadness, for me, comes from (a) always being assumed straight, and crushed, or being outted and then being seen as my rock-star partner’s “freaky bitch”, and (b) never seeming to be able to get that “love connection” with a woman that I’m seeking. Every time I think I come close, like I start to have feelings, this stupid conversation happens where she’s like “so…. why are you still dating one of them?” And THEN, I don’t feel like I can continue the relationship, because even tho I don’t demand or even really want that my female partners interact with my male partner, in our relationship, I am responsible for his safety, and I’m responsible that I keep him safe from attacks on our relationship and his person (this is the agreement we have, he has other responsibilities to me).

    Poly works well for me – the poly crowd does not. BDSM works well for me – I haven’t yet found a community that works for me, and I’m WAY uncomfortable at BDSM straight events. I honestly don’t know what to do, and I keep meeting people who already dated my (mostly guy) friends on OKCupid. Damn!

    I am beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that part of sexism, and homophobia, is that there was never a model for me to love another woman in that way and I don’t have much of a clue how. I mean, I’ve read the books, I’ve done the sex, I’ve gone out on dates, I’ve gotten blocked by nasty bi-phobia, but somehow, I end up thinking that if I knew more what the hell I was doing and was more confident, I would be attracting a kind of woman who is attracted to, well, me. And everything that I am.

    Does anyone feel this?

    Anyway, great post. Our stories are different, but I related so hard. Best luck.

  61. Amelia
    Amelia August 5, 2011 at 9:50 am |

    Thank you for posting this, it was like you were reading my mind. For a Bi person in a small town it is rare to find a person who is out and bi or gay much less be accepted for it. I have only dated men and very few people know I am Bi, but it is simply part of who I am and I am getting tired of denying it. Planning to move to a bigger town soon and hope this helps me broaden all my options.

  62. Amelia
    Amelia August 5, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    Totally feel this. I think if I new how the hell to date and approach people it would not be as bad. Instead I am an introvert who has no idea how to come off as not weird and crazy to my dates anyway, lol. My last date went weird on me when I said I was a geek, can you imagine if I told them I was Bi?

    Nia:
    Yeah, I love this post. I am constantly feeling “not queer enough”, and being a sex worker who interacts primarily (but not always!) with men / male-id’d people seems to “reinforce” that sometimes, for some people.

    I have weird interactions all the time, with other queer / bisexual women, where it’s almost like we have to one up each other, “prove” how queer we are, in spite of “still dating” men. I’m having a really painful interaction with one of my best friends right now, a woman who’s supported me through thick and thin, where she broke up with a long term male partner and now is getting married to a woman who constantly gives off vibes that I’m not “really part” of their gay clique.

    My primary partner is a man. He is so wonderful, so un-creepily bi-positive (ie thanks for not making gross I-want-to-F*ck-them comments about my girlfriends / dates), and so sex worker positive (pretty much the only person who, during my recent stalker episode, wasn’t like “you brought it on yourself”).

    I also date girls, openly. This is a new thing for me. Idk why I felt like I had to be on the low with this for so long, unless it was on a stage. I mean “hot-girl-on-girl-action” – it’s a pretty common trope in porn. Why was I out when it was for someone else’s gaze, for years, and not out just for me? I have yet to completely untangle this, but, happily, that closeted part of my life is over.

    The sadness, for me, comes from (a) always being assumed straight, and crushed, or being outted and then being seen as my rock-star partner’s “freaky bitch”, and (b) never seeming to be able to get that “love connection” with a woman that I’m seeking. Every time I think I come close, like I start to have feelings, this stupid conversation happens where she’s like “so…. why are you still dating one of them?” And THEN, I don’t feel like I can continue the relationship, because even tho I don’t demand or even really want that my female partners interact with my male partner, in our relationship, I am responsible for his safety, and I’m responsible that I keep him safe from attacks on our relationship and his person (this is the agreement we have, he has other responsibilities to me).

    Poly works well for me – the poly crowd does not. BDSM works well for me – I haven’t yet found a community that works for me, and I’m WAY uncomfortable at BDSM straight events. I honestly don’t know what to do, and I keep meeting people who already dated my (mostly guy) friends on OKCupid. Damn!

    I am beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that part of sexism, and homophobia, is that there was never a model for me to love another woman in that way and I don’t have much of a clue how. I mean, I’ve read the books, I’ve done the sex, I’ve gone out on dates, I’ve gotten blocked by nasty bi-phobia, but somehow, I end up thinking that if I knew more what the hell I was doing and was more confident, I would be attracting a kind of woman who is attracted to, well, me. And everything that I am.

    Does anyone feel this?

    Anyway, great post. Our stories are different, but I related so hard. Best luck.

  63. R.
    R. August 5, 2011 at 9:57 am |

    Sexuality is a weird subject for me. I was on antidepressant meds from age 11 to until I was about 19, and during that time I had a few romantic crushes on both genders but no sexual feelings at all. I went to an all womens college and most of my friends there did not identify as straight. At some point I think people just started assuming I was a lesbian but I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet, and I let that assumption slide by.

    Now that I have a boyfriend, I’ve really just traded one lie by omission for another, but I feel worse about not talking about it now because there definitely has been a shift of having straight privilege now when I didn’t before. As for my boyfriend, sexuality is on the list of Things We Don’t Talk About (to be fair, he was abused in the past, I’m not accusing him of being homophobic). But I’m definitely jealous of all the people here who are in het relationships but can openly talk about sexuality with their partners.

  64. Emilie
    Emilie August 5, 2011 at 10:33 am |

    I am attracted to women, but have only had one boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/person I would want to spend emotional time with, my whole life (who is now my husband – I am 25). I am so happy and in love with my husband that I can’t imagine myself with someone else, boy or girl. I haven’t “come out” to anyone, including my friends and family, but have become more and more interested, active and vocal about LGBTQ issues and feminism in the last few years. I might be different from a lot of people here in how I feel, or maybe I am similar too, but I don’t feel I have to come out as either straight or bi or pan or queer or anything. I have never had to vocalize it before and tell my friends “I am straight!” so I think if they had made the assumption that I was, I would think they have never paid any attention to me as a person for our entire lives.

    Realizing I am bisexual had taken many years for me, since I had only dated my now husband and wasn’t (and still am not) interested in dating or seeing anyone else. I don’t feel that I lost out on anything, or that I am missing anything either. I think I am just happy. I tend not to think of the past too much, because I will think about the unhappiness I had before him, of the sexual assault that happened by a family member. I didn’t think love could happen when I was that young and that it would last this long but it did. Of course I sometimes think “what would have happened if I hadn’t met him when I was finishing high school? Would I have had other boyfriends, girlfriends? Not have gone to college, get mixed up with drugs or alcohol; could I have become homeless?” I think that since I am happy in the present, and plan to be in the future, there isn’t a point in over analysing my past decisions.

    I don’t think my husband would be upset or offended or worried if I told him I was bi. He knows I am open to saying “he/she is so hot”, “I would do her/him”, “I am attracted to her/him”. I think attraction to the opposite sex is a lot more natural than people seem to let on, but also that sexual attraction is that other step that people are sometimes afraid to vocalize. For him though, and myself, monogamy and devotion is the most important thing. It would be the same way I would be feeling for anyone I was with. Maybe I have a romanticized version of what I want love to be for myself, so I was just lucky I found what I wanted with someone else who wanted the same.

    Coming from a small, religious town anyone who has ended up anything but straight has left. One of my best friends is extremely religious and I consider myself a Christian, though I am sure most people of my community, and maybe she as well, would consider me a bad one. I do however have a personal relationship with Jesus and am a member of a Queer friendly church organization. This is rare, but also I have never come out and said “I am bi, how do you feel about that” to my friends and family. Maybe that conversation will come, and I kind of look forward to it. But I think I am also a little afraid and wonder if the people who I thought were so open in theory are actually assholes that would see me differently, though nothing about myself would actually change.

  65. raya
    raya August 5, 2011 at 11:07 am |

    I, too, love your post!

    As a sexual abuse survivor, the thought of dating men terrified me for a very long time through my teenage years. Then I fell in love with a girl and we started dating, but I often wondered if I’m just attracted to girls because I was kind of “scared” of sleeping with men (which is quite ridiculous). But the thing is, some of my close lesbian friends and my former girlfriend still think so, too, partly because I’m now dating a cis man and also because I’m presenting myself as high femme, I think. While I’m often annoyed that I’m assumed straight by strangers, family and acuaintances because I’m dating a cis man, I find it more depressing that I’m not accepted as a pansexual in many queer spaces. It was actually really hard for me to come out as not-lesbian to my queer acquaintances and friends, and some reactions to it really hurt me (“we told you so, you don’t look lesbian at all”, “now that you’re not afraid of men anymore, you’ll never date a woman again” etc.etc.)

    BTW in my experience, one’s non-heterosexuality is often only erased when you’re dating a cis man. In many queer spaces, when dating a trans man or woman, you’re automatically assumed to be bisexual/pansexual, which I find quite hypocritical.

  66. The Nerd
    The Nerd August 5, 2011 at 11:18 am |

    Shoshie: Eeek, I’m really sorry that this made you uncomfortable.It was certainly not my intention to rehash old, ridiculous stereotypes, which is why I tried to convey as much as possible that I am happy in my marriage and it’s not really an issue of not being satisfied with only fucking a man because I also want to be fucking a woman or something.It’s an issue of feeling that something was taken from me.Sexuality with women/nonbinary folks is something I should have been able to explore when I was first exploring sexuality in general.While I was openly crushing on boys to my friends I should have felt equally comfortable openly crushing on girls.When I went on my college dating spree, that would have been the perfect time to have had a fling or three with a few cute women who I was flirting with.But I didn’t.Because of the stupid flow chart.

    I used to be in exactly the same position, and that flow-chart is a complete and utter load of cow pies. And then something happened: I got (and still sometimes get) the opportunity to “experiment” with different types of people. I’ve had sex and dated people of different genders and races (all at the same time once). I learned something: the things I thought I was missing out on, I really wasn’t; and the things I actually was missing out on were trivial.

    The reason? Men and women and nonbinary people are not all that different from each other. That is to say, the differences between two individual men are often greater than the differences between the average man and the average woman.

    No, I’m not saying “everyone’s bi”. Obviously you can be attracted to different people in different ways. For example, it’s WAY more fun having oral sex with someone who never grows facial hair. But is a mustache an insurmountable barrier to a good time? Not with open communication and sensitivity, which people of any gender can display. In fact, the person most sensitive to my needs is a man.

    I’m not trying to sound all preachy here. What I am hoping for is raising the issue of the gender essentialism that “I wish I had dated some women in addition to men” can often imply.

  67. Jadey
    Jadey August 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm |

    The Nerd: For example, it’s WAY more fun having oral sex with someone who never grows facial hair.

    *eyebrow raise* Maybe it’s just poor phrasing, but this sounds like you’re making a universal statement about facial hair and oral sex that I don’t believe is tenable. Maybe it’s more fun *for you*, but that hardly extends to everyone.

    I definitely agree though that differences based on gender identity alone are exaggerated – there’s lots of ways for people to be different that cut across gender lines, and lots of overlap between people of different genders.

  68. Jennifer
    Jennifer August 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    I related to this also. I’m not sure what my label is and don’t feel I have to pick one, but I know that people probably assume I’m straight and that makes me feel like maybe I’m not being authentic. However, I don’t owe anyone an explanation of my orientation and I’m not sure I could give one anyway. I try to be out about queer/trans advocacy.

    Where I feel weirdest about it is with other women–I’m on the east coast where women hug & kiss more, even when they don’t know each other well, than they did in the western state where I grew up. I wonder if some women would behave differently around me if they knew I didn’t necessarily identify as straight. I also feel like sometimes I’m probably seen as standoffish because to me, hugging some woman I don’t know well isn’t all that different than hugging a guy I don’t know well, which I wouldn’t do. I don’t care too much about that, though.

    I’ve never had a romantic or sexual relationship with another woman and I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. I guess I don’t think it would be that different–every lover is different anyway, so it’s not like I could check off “women” as a category at any point.

    I heard about the Dinah weekends after I was happily partnered with my husband and I felt a sense of wishing I could have gone to one of those kind of events when I was unattached (we’re monogamous). I think this was based more on feeling very constrained in my sexuality in general because of rape culture and wanting a place where I could be more openly sexual without fear of stigma. As I thought about this, I had to question the image I tend to have of women as nonthreatening. I’m sure that women can be coercive as well. I’m not sure that I’d like an event like that anyway since I’m very much an introvert.

    Thanks for posting this, Shoshie–it’s obvious that a lot of people feel the same way!

  69. evie
    evie August 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    Yay yay yay. Co many awesome bi/queer/pan folks! First time I’ve seen comments thread on a bi-article on a non-bi site that HASN’T got derailed by haters. This is consciousness raising. So awesome.

    Throwing my hat in with: being on meds during teenage years that confused the hell out of my sense of sexuality. Feeling insecure about ‘not being queer enough’ despite being with a woman. Being massively pissed off with the LGLG (or frankly, sometimes GGGG) community that should know better.

    Shameless self-promotion non-Sunday: when I realised that I was wracked by internalise monosexism and didn’t have any pride whatsoever, I decided to start a blog to find and spread some pride for people on the bi spectrum. Come on over to http://bi-pride.tumblr.com/ if you could do with a little more pride in your life, or want to share any pride you’ve got!

    (Also, @TY 28: I was uncomfortable with the word bisexual for that reason, until I read this: https://radicalbi.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/words-binary-and-biphobia-or-why-bi-is-binary-but-ftm-is-not/ Definitely recommend.)

  70. Erica
    Erica August 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Ciara:
    Wow this is almost exactly my situation. I had two unsatisfactory sexual experiences with girls in my past and thought, oh i must be straight. It took me too long to realise that I had just slept with other bicurious girls instead of girls i was actually attracted to.

    These were my first sexual experiences with women, too…I was with a bunch of bicurious femmes and thought the sex sucked. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20s and realized that I was into butch women that my queer sex life got a WHOLE LOT better!

    That said, after a 4.5 year old butch/femme relationship, I am now dating a dude. It was a weird shift at first and still is sometimes (over a year later). I love him a lot and he’s awesome and the best LGBTQ ally I’ve ever met. I’m out as queer to his family and all of his friends. But I don’t like when anyone assumes I’m straight- I always want to be like “But guys! My longest relationship was with a woman! Look at MEEEE! Queer visibility FTW!” …but there really isn’t an elegant way to do that. I try to be a vocal, out queer whenever possible, without crossing the line of being hyper-identified and talking about it constantly. Sometimes it’s easy for me, because I have an LGBTQ related career and I am quite active in the community regardless of whom I’m dating. But I really struggle when I meet new people as a member of my current “straight” coupling, and people talk about gays as if there are no gays in earshot. I find myself sitting back smugly and waiting for my moment to make myself known! It is always a weird space to occupy.

  71. Erica
    Erica August 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    BTW in my experience, one’s non-heterosexuality is often only erased when you’re dating a cis man. In many queer spaces, when dating a trans man or woman, you’re automatically assumed to be bisexual/pansexual, which I find quite hypocritical.

    YES! So true.

  72. Lampdevil
    Lampdevil August 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm |

    Wrote a big long “me too” post. Found it long-winded and whiny, so I deleted it. At least all the writing gave me something to think about and something to work on. Thanks for getting this ball rolling, Shoshie.

    Miga: “Does the type of attraction you experience feel different?”

    Yes and no? No and yes? Crushes, y’know, the extremely prolonged ever-escalating OMG THIS PERSON IS FAB feelings, work the same wether I’m having it on a man or a woman. More immediate setting eyes on a person and going “hey they’re hot” gives me different reactions… but I think those might be due to some sort of negative aversion to men. (I was pretty horribly harassed in high school. Really mainstream-average-hetero-dudes flick my danger alarm, at the same time as they press my buttons. It’s… unpleasant.) I started out answering that yes! My reactions to both are SO DIFFERENT! …but those differences seem to come down to socialization and my magazine rack full of issues.

  73. Erin
    Erin August 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm |

    Dyke here, not bi/pan/fluid at all, but reading these comments reminds me of how important it is for those of us in mixed-orientation rrlationships to be supportive of our partners. My last long-term relationship was with a fluid woman who had only dated men before, and I did my best to embrace her sexuality in its totality. I like to think that I can help buck the trend of biphobia amongst monosexual queers.

  74. Tweeting the personal and collective mind alive | Joe Perez - Blogging Awareness

    [...] Now, a passionately #pansexual woman who never kissed a woman. #Sexuality is self-knowledge, how sad. - http://bit.ly/n6znkm#spirituality [...]

  75. Bunny
    Bunny August 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

    Ohhh I identify with this so much. I’ve slept with women, but only ever dated men, and I found sex with women really unsatisfying.

    Looking back, I realised sex with ALL my partners was unsatisfying, because I was 16, 17 and 18 years old and none of us knew what we were doing.

    I’ll have been with my other half for 9 years come October. I love him to bits and wouldn’t trade him for the world, but I do mourn occasionally for the experiences I’ll likely never have. Intimate relationships with women that go beyond JUST sex, a positive sexual experience with a woman now I better know my own body and how to pay attention to another person’s…

    The worst thing is, I seem to be fixating on a crush that was never realised. A very lovely, sweet and fun young woman I knew during my years of sexual exploration. She was, as far as I knew, straight so I never said anything. That, and it was the sort of embarrassing crush that renders the crusher incapable of speech.

    I bumped into her again a couple of years ago and, yep, crush is still there. It isn’t healthy, and I can’t help but wonder how much of my crush is actually just my regret at getting committed so soon.

    I also can’t help but feel really guilty about identifying as LGBTQ when I can so easily “pass” for straight.

  76. annajcook
    annajcook August 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    miga:
    I have a question for everyone else who identifies as bi or pansexual. Does the type of attraction you experience feel different?

    You might enjoy the comment thread at this post I put up at The Pursuit of Harpyness a few months ago, after a reader posed a question on another thread about sexual fluidity that I thought was worthy of a thread of its own.

  77. Sharing the love « The Lady Garden
    Sharing the love « The Lady Garden August 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm |

    [...] I like boys. But also girls. But also boys. Oh yes, I do. [...]

  78. bisexuality: we're doing it wrong. | making edible playdough is hegemonic.

    [...] an interesting post on Feministe from an excellent writer named Shoshie on the dilemma of how to be bisexual when you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship. Shoshie writes that she’s liked girls for as long as she’s liked boys, even though she [...]

  79. Jackie
    Jackie August 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm |

    I don’t consider myself lesbian, but I’ll admit when I see a woman I find attractive. I think I kind of joke about it, using the waifu meme. Like saying “Oh yeah she’d be my waifu.” I guess it’s kind of an immature dabbling into lesbianism, but I dunno. I find it hard enough to navigate the social world alone, let alone being someone with a controversial sexuality.

    I do appreicate that in a sense I have a choice about this matter, that others do not. So I really do advocate that all people should be able to find love with each other, no matter what gender. I believe in what the Beatles sang, that all you need is love. That’s the way it should be in my opinon, but I’m afraid it will never be that simple. At least things are getting better, with gay and lesbian marriages allowed in some places.

  80. Claire
    Claire August 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

    It feels really good to see how many people are commenting and saying this is their story too. It’s definitely mine. I assumed I was straight in puberty, but while I was in the dating stages I was never very sexual or communicative about my desires. I had a crush on a girl once back then, but it was void of sexual urges and sort of short lived so I assumed it wasn’t ‘real’. But when I look at that time I wasn’t that big on genitals of any variety, so maybe it was less that I wasn’t homosexual, and more that I just wasn’t that sexual at all.
    At 17 I met a guy where everything just fell into place so perfectly, and I’ve been with him since. The thing is, being with him introduced me to my own sexuality and it’s through my relationship with him that I started thinking I could be pansexual. But because I am super-monogamous I feel like I’ll never be able to ‘confirm’ my feelings toward women. I’ve talked about this with him obviously, and a tiny bit with a close queer friend, but mostly I feel like because I pass as straight, coming out to people is sort of just attention grabbing, especially as I’m not really sure.

  81. Maggie K
    Maggie K August 6, 2011 at 7:05 am |

    That’s kind of how it went for me, too, except I knew I liked girls sooner, I was just really bad at it. I had one relationship with a woman and it was about 80% long distance and also, she was just as bad at it as I was, so it didn’t go anywhere sexually. And now I’m dating a man I can see myself with indefinitely, but I’m not too worried about it because it’s a theoretically open relationship – we’re not going out of our way to be nonmonogamous, but if I have the opportunity I can sleep with women and it will be cool.

    I suspect this is partly because he doesn’t want to put me in, well, your position, Shoshie. He’s one of those feminist blokes who’s afraid of accidentally oppressing me with his penis. I don’t mind too much! xD

  82. alynn
    alynn August 6, 2011 at 11:52 am |

    @Puss in Boots

    The hardship of having your identity crushed by mass ignorance is very real. Don’t feel like it’s wrong of you to want people to know things about who you are, even if those things are “moot.” If someone points out a sexy guy, you should feel free to say, “His wife is hot, too.” You’re welcome in my rainbow club, because once I was a virgin too, and circumstances altered that–but circumstances don’t make a person. You don’t have to consummate your sexuality the way we traditionally do with marriage ;)

    You are awesome and it felt great reading this!

  83. Catalina
    Catalina August 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    Thank you for this post. And all of the wonderful comments. I am taking some time away from studying for my exams for law school to read and write this because it has been a very transformative experience to realize that I’m not the only person in what seems to be a pretty common situation (meaning bi, in relationship with man, liking-girls side not fully explored).

    So, I would like to take this opportunity to type the words I have never expressed about myself. I am bisexual. There. It’s nice to finally say it. (See second to last paragraph, however– can’t I just say “I don’t like labels, but yes, I like girls too” and be done with it???)

    My boyfriend knows, another close guy friend knows, that’s about it. Boyfriend and I are monogamous. We’ve been dating for about a year, friends for several years before that. Some friend-with-benefits intermingling, and the whole time I was pretty much in love with him (aww, I know). I told him I’ve had sex with women and he freaked out but now he’s okay (he was raised in a pretty conservative, heteronormative, church-going family. I think at first he felt threatened). I’ve educated him a lot I think, he seems to think “my views” (feminism) are “awesome” and he “totally respects them.” (I just wish they weren’t so strange to him).

    Has anyone had difficulty telling their straight female friends that they are bi? I haven’t even tried. Shame on me, I know, but I run with pretty heteronormative circles and just don’t hang out with a lot of GLBT people. Although, there is an GLBT law society on campus that I will be joining come to think of it… I just think that they would be awkward about it or something. Especially my roommates– one of whom is pretty conservative, politically and otherwise. So, if anyone has any advice to this end I’d really appreciate it.

    A few responses to earlier comments:

    Cat:
    This was definitely me.Is me, I suppose, still.The difference is that my boyfriend and I are not monogamous.If I met a woman that I was attracted to I could pursue that.

    But, as other people have pointed out, bisexuality is not terribly well accepted everywhere; I’m extraordinarily cautious around women who may only be “bicurious when drunk” and then there’s the fact that law school eats up so much time I’m shocked I have time to date one person.

    There’s also the fact that I am, in fact, in an intimate, committed, sexually open relationship.I love my boyfriend; I am in love with my boyfriend.And we both also have sex with other people.We haven’t yet tried having sex with another person together, but it’s on the table if we ever met someone who interested us and was themselves interested.I, honestly, get more awkward and big-eyed “Oh… that’s interesting…” responses to that than to being bisexual.But it definitely keeps me from acting on my attraction to women.Maybe it’s the way women are socialized (okay, I’m pretty damn sure it’s the way we’re socialized), but they’re even more awkward about the whole open relationship thing than most men I tell.Which means I don’t usually hook up with women.If I’m interested in pursuing something physical with someone, I always tell them about my relationship situation – to prevent confusion about where my emotional priorities lie.

    Defaulting to hetero is just the path of least resistance.And I irritate myself whenever I discover that’s the path I’ve chosen.

    I can relate. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year now, he was a close friend, then close friend-with-benefits, and then we started dating. I have had two women with whom I’ve had sexual experiences, and a couple others turned out to just be the standard “bi when drunk” syndrome to attract men. Other than that, I’ve dated lots of guys, and I wouldn’t trade my boyfriend for the world.

    I can certainly also relate to being shocked to even have enough time to date one person– law school is very consuming, to put it mildly.

    Question for you, if you are reading this: How do you get over the trust issue with being in an open relationship? Or is there no trust issue? Is “trust” (in the relationship sense, not the don’t steal my money sense) kind of a limiting concept fed to me by heteronormative culture? Being in an open relationship is certainly something I might consider but have never really brought it up or anything. Maybe I’m just more comfortable in a monogamous relationship, maybe it’s just simpler and less confusing. I used to be a cheater. The relationship before this one I cheated on him with like, 5 people including one woman. Thing is, I wouldn’t even think of it with the relationship I’m currently in. He completely satisfies me, I wholeheartedly adore him and while I certainly check out men and women, I couldn’t even begin to compare the intimate experiences I have with him with anybody else. It’s passion, pure and simple and hasn’t faded in the least bit over the past year we have been “officially” dated. But… is there a balance with open relationships? Do you still feel the intimacy of being in a long-term relationship with your boyfriend, while having fleeting sex with other men and women, and everybody involved is okay with the situation?

    The reason why I’m asking is kind of related to law school, actually. He’s a very sexual person, which I love about him, and honestly I am considering discussing an open relationship situation with him since I don’t have a lot of time on my hands… not sure how to approach the subject. How did you and your boyfriend decide on an open relationship? Was it right from the getgo?

    Hetero is the path of least resistance, yes, but for me it doesn’t irritate me that it is the path I’ve chosen because my current relationship is so fulfilling and my boyfriend is completely awesome. I’ve had other boyfriends in the past who, looking back, are misogynist jerks, and it irritated me a lot more back then. In fact I “cheated” or whatever on both of them with women. Kind of my way of saying “screw you, you misogynist, sexually selfish egocentric jerk.” Boyfriend now is just… everything they weren’t I guess. But, perhaps if a different path had laid (no pun intended) itself before me I would be in a relationship with a woman right now. Who knows.

    TY:
    I should also mention: Even though I identify as bisexual, I have always really disliked the word because I believe it denotes some kind of binary nature to sexual identity and orientation. For this reason, I prefer pansexual in general, but I’m not quite happy with this either; for a while I would refuse to use a word and responded with some variant of “I’m not picky”, which is actually a lie since I AM picky, just not based on sexual identity.

    Of course, ideally people would just not assume I’m straight and then I think it would pretty easy to figure out. And yes, I know if wishes were horses, we’d all be eating steak.

    Me too. To the very limited number of people I actually have told that I’m bisexual (or pansexual or whatever in fact I am), I haven’t actually used that word. I told my (straight guy) friend that I had sex with women before and he was kinda like “so, what, you’re bi?” to which I replied “I don’t like labels” or something like that.

    But, I don’t like labels because they often have certain connotations beneath them. I feel that often people (heterocentric people that is) hear the word “bisexual” and actually just hear “drunk girl trying to get men’s attention” or even “phase.”

    On that note, I tried convincing myself it was a phase for, well, until about 20 minutes ago. It’s not. Come on, I probably check out more women than men at school (which is the only place I ever am, and the men are slim pickings at my school actually. My law school’s class has more women than men!! woo hoo!!) I think I’m going to make a resolution to myself to tell at least a few more people, when it is relevant.

    Sorry so long, but again THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!

  84. Milla
    Milla August 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    This is really interesting to me, because I’m in the opposite boat— I’ve known for a long time (since the real awakening of my sexuality) that I was pansexual, but I have only ever had sex with a cis woman (my longtime partner who I hope & intend to spend the rest of my life with). This has presented me with some strange situations— most people assume that I’m a lesbian, which I am not and am generally clear about— my partner and I are both pansexual and monogamous, and both of us consider that important parts of our identity. We both believe in the importance of bi/pan visibility, and try to mark ourselves as such. . . although it leaves a lot of people wondering why. Both of us are pretty femme, too, which leads us some, um, interesting readings in public (are you two sisters?).

    I had some really frustrating experiences with the LG community when I was trying to come out before I started dating my partner, because at the time (about eight/nine years ago— this could be different now) there was very little available for bi/pan people who wanted to be part of the LG community. Even my university’s queer student group was explicitly labeled for lesbian & gay students (not trans* students, either. . . which was a whole bucket full of special). Even now, I feel isolated from the lesbian community because there seems to be little to no interest in acknowledging bi/pan women. It seems like if you’re a woman in a same-sex relationship, then you must be a lesbian. And while I have no objection (obviously) to lesbians, that’s simply not who I am.

    Luckily, I have a bi-identified friend who’s just gotten engaged to another woman, and it’s nice to have that solidarity. But I absolutely feel Shoshie— back before I met my partner, I assumed that it was more likely that I’d marry a cis man (ah, heteronormativity and baby me). And knowing that that choice would automatically erase my identity in most people’s eyes was really difficult to swallow.

  85. Miriam
    Miriam August 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm |

    THIS IS MY LIFE.

  86. Jade
    Jade August 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm |

    So my (male) partner forwarded this post to me. It felt so good to hear some of the concerns you have. They are my concerns well.

    I have always accepted my “bi-ness” at least to some degree. I’ve been attracted to womyn most of my life and since college I’ve been pretty open about my crushes with my closest friends. Until just a month ago, however, I had never acted on my feelings for a womyn. It’s odd.. i try to explain to people why. It wasn’t because i was scared, or embarrassed, or any of the normal reasons. The truth is that I never connected the feelings that i had for various womyn over the years as something that i could act on. Not that i wasn’t allowed, but it just never dawned on me that “oh, you like womyn. you can date them, you know.” It just never dawned on my that I could also date womyn.

    Now I find myself dating the most amazing womyn. My primary partner has been wonderfully supportive as I have actively begun to explore this side of my sexuality. What I currently struggle with though is that I can’t be “out and proud” with my girlfriend because my primary partner is divorced with kids and his ex-wife would try to take the kids away if she were to find out we were poly. For the first time in my life, I feel so sexually whole, and yet i can’t share it openly. It is a great sadness and frustration that we are trying to work through.

    I also appreciate how so many people speak about not feeling “bi enough.” Until recently I never really claimed the word “bisexual.” I never felt like I had “earned it” or that others would judge me as not having had enough experience or being a fake or poser. For the first time in my life I am claiming this part of my identity and feel confident enough to be able to proudly say that I am bisexual. I truly thank my two partners for their encouragement and support in all of this. I feel like I am more myself today than I have ever been before.

  87. Olivia
    Olivia August 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm |

    I mean, it’s really all been said. I’d just like to thank you for opening up this discussion. I’m a bisexual ciswoman in a serious relationship with a cisman and I often feel so isolated and invisible in my sexuality. Everyone that I came out to a few years ago now engages with me like they’ve assumed I changed my mind or something. I cannot possibly express how comforting it is to know other people feel similar, and I am so appreciative that you sparked this conversation so that I could read dozens and dozens of comments by other people who seem to feel remarkably similar to the way I feel.

  88. Claire K.
    Claire K. August 7, 2011 at 9:38 am |

    I’m a feminine lesbian, not bisexual, so I can’t comment on a lot of the issues raised in the comments on this thread, but I do think I can relate to the conundrum of passing privilege/coming out at least a little bit, since no one ever knows I’m gay unless I’m with girlfriend (and even then we’re assumed to be just friends unless we’re holding hands or kissing, despite how obviously butch she is) or I say so outright. One thing I’ve noticed is that although I tell myself I’m not ashamed of my sexuality at all and I’m happy to educate people by demonstrating that lesbians exist, I still find other excuses not to speak up. When I was in high school I was very, very out, but only in a political way. Because I was the only out lesbian in my area, dating wasn’t an option. When I read, online or in gay books, other people’s stories of not being able to talk about their spouses or partners, I felt that I didn’t have as much at stake in hiding or disclosing my sexuality, and started to question my motives for coming out. I worried that since all I would be hiding was a small part of my identity, instead of a whole partner, family and life, my coming out was only attention seeking. On the other hand, once I moved to Big City and started dating and sleeping around and later entered a monogamous relationship, I started to look back on my high school coming out as somehow purer. Back then it was easy for me to refute the charge that I was “shoving sexuality down people’s throats” because I simply wasn’t having any sex, but these days, every time I mention something that marks me as a lesbian, I feel as if I’m saying something dirty. I still worry that I’m only looking for attention, but now I also start accusing myself of bringing up sexual things in inappropriate situations, even though the things I talk about are never explicitly sexual. For example, I recently went to lunch with one of my professors and a few of her other graduate students. There were a couple times I wanted to mention my girlfriend, not for the sake of talking about her but to explain some vaguely school-related things, and each time I found myself doing calculations: “Okay, that other woman mentioned her boyfriend, so if they think it’s weird for me to talk about my girlfriend they’re just being heteronormative, right? But wait, she lives with her boyfriend and I don’t live with my girlfriend, so doesn’t that mean she has more of a need to talk about him? And she only mentioned him once! Can I really talk about my girlfriend twice?” And so on. It was completely illogical, but I found all sorts of reasons –besides the obvious, that non-normative sexualities are stigmatized– to tell myself that when she mentioned her boyfriend it was okay and even dignified but when I talked about my girlfriend it was inappropriately sexual for the context. Looking back on it, the other student had actually said something about how her boyfriend insisted on turning off the a/c when they went to bed, while I would never, never, mention “bed” and “my girlfriend” in the same sentence, for any reason, but I didn’t think about that at the time. Anyway, I hope this doesn’t sound too off-topic. I thought that it might be a similar experience although I am lesbian and not bi.

  89. Sara
    Sara August 7, 2011 at 11:05 am |

    I stopped reading partway through the comment thread because it is very long, but I’ll still provide a synopsis of my personal story:

    I’m also a bisexual woman who has never even kissed another woman. My current partner (a man) and I are monogamous and plan to stay together for life, so I don’t foresee any ladysex in my future, and I also feel kind of like that’s a shame.

    In my case, it’s not so much that I didn’t think of myself as bi when I was young, but rather that I was too hung up on my poor body image to date anyone until relatively recently, and during that brief window of availability it just didn’t happen.

    Interestingly, my partner has said something kind of similar – he might not be completely straight, but has never been with another man.

    In my case, though, I think I’m “more attracted” to men than to women – somewhere between the left and the middle of the Kinsey scale, if you’re into that sort of thing. This might contribute to the fact that I’m usually comfortable with being labeled straight, and I don’t really feel even that the self-label is a lie. It just depends on where you draw the boundary between mostly-straight and bi.

  90. annajcook
    annajcook August 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    Sara: I’m also a bisexual woman who has never even kissed another woman. My current partner (a man) and I are monogamous and plan to stay together for life, so I don’t foresee any ladysex in my future, and I also feel kind of like that’s a shame.

    I wonder if this feeling of “missing out” and wondering is more common for bi women who are partnered heterosexually rather than with another woman? It strikes me that bi women who have other-sex partners might be more likely to not be aware of their bisexual desires until later in life, and feel like they’ve missed out on even imagining that sort of relationship for themselves? I dunno. I’m thinking on the fly here.

    I can obviously only speak from my own experience, but as a bi/fluid woman whose only kissing/sex/partnership experience has been with another woman … I can’t say I spend a lot of time worrying over or feeling sad about the men I won’t have sex with (as opposed to just other people in general whom I won’t have sex with). As part of a monogamous couple with a commitment to try for lifelong partnership, I’m looking at not having a sexual partner outside my relationship — no matter what the bodily configuration of that person. I admit I sometimes wonder how relationship and sexual dynamics are different for men (gay or straight), that abstract “I wonder how this works for people with different bits?” sort of way … but I definitely don’t have the feeling that my bisexuality isn’t really authentic or complete unless I’ve had sex with a man.

    I absolutely worried about this when I knew I had bisexual desires but had not had a sexual relationship with a woman … which leads me back to the homophobia of our culture: we assume people can be straight even without physical experience, but it’s hard for us to imagine someone is legitimately bi- or lesbian or [insert queer noun of choice] unless they’ve actually acted on those desires.

  91. no name
    no name August 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm |


    “I don’t really know what to say here, other than this made me pretty uncomfortable and felt like the old bisexual stereotype of never being fully satisfied with one partner/gender.”

    But some of us aren’t satisfied with one partner or gender. Not everyone, obviously, as some bisexual/queer people can do monogamy just fine. But some of us can’t, or don’t want to, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I’ve been monogamous in the past, but I prefer to be poly, and one of the reasons is that when I’m monogamous, I miss having sex with people who aren’t my partner, and especially people of other genders.

    I’m arriving here late, I guess, and I only skimmed through the thread, but I was happy to find this. I didn’t comment here at first, because I am a bisexual who has a hard time with monogamy, and I’m afraid to admit that because I feel like I’ll be hurting the cause. I only speak for myself, but I would hate to limit my sexuality to one gender.

  92. DexX
    DexX August 8, 2011 at 12:22 am |

    I feel like such a hypocrite at times, because I actually fit a lot of the bisexuality stereotypes that I rail against, at least to a degree. I am the president of a bisexual support and advocacy group, and I always cringe when I say, “No, there are LOTS of monogamous bisexuals… but I’m not one of them…”

    I was apparently straight and married for a year to a woman, then I worked out I was bi at the age of 23 and went off to explore it. Deviating from the stereotype, I was out to my wife and did my exploration with her support and blessing. We celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary in March, and my wonderful boyfriend and I have been together a bit over five years now.

    So I do fit the stereotypes… but I don’t either… Either way I always groan silently when I am participating in some forum or public event as a representative of the bisexual community, and someone innocently asks, “So, are YOU monogamous…?”

  93. J
    J August 8, 2011 at 2:56 am |

    I certainly default to hetro, if only to avoid explaining to people that being bi/pan/queer/a dragon is a legitimate desire and not the usual selfish trope.

    I just friggin’ love people, everyone body and personality is just damn sexy.

  94. Flash Feminism: Part IV | olivia messer

    [...] This is such a moving and honest article on Feministe.com about bisexuality as experienced in real life. [...]

  95. kiturak
    kiturak August 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    I’m happy I found out I monogamy isn’t for me and never was, way before identifying as bi – so much earlier that I have no difficulties at all seeing being poly as something fundamental about myself and my relationships, completely independent from my orientation. I think that would be harder if I’d realized those two things about me the other way round. I’d maybe be asking myself if I was “actually” poly or just in it because I’m looking for another gender, or if I was Reinforcing Stereotypes and should try to by monogamous (wtf?!). It hurts when I read of people being ashamed of being bi and poly Because Of Stereotypes. I know more happily monogamous bi people than poly ones – but I’m happy and proud being poly. There’s absolutely nothing hypocrite about telling people “I’m poly, many other people are, but lots of others are not, and all of us may have different reasons for being who we are, so please don’t generalize, ok?”

  96. Ran
    Ran August 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    > And who I find attractive shouldn’t be a big deal, but somehow it is anyways.

    I totally know what you mean; and I think it says something really bad about culture. Unless we become Catholic priests, we’re expected to turn our sexualities into a big part of our identities — for no apparent reason. You and Mr. Shoshie are in a permanent monogamous relationship, so I think in an ideal world, you would barely even be “pansexual”, because in an ideal world, terms like “straight” and “gay” and “bisexual” would mostly have to do with the romantic partners you were open to, rather than being identities magically conferred on you by who you do and don’t find attractive.

    Of course, that’s easy for me to say, because I don’t risk losing my perceived queerness when I get married; but I’m not saying that a queer cultural identity wouldn’t still exist in an ideal world. Quite possibly it would, and if it did, you would still have that. But your being pansexual is not what makes you culturally queer, your being culturally queer is what makes you culturally queer. The two need not go together; for example, the excellent book Families Like Mine points out that children of gay parents often grow up culturally queer regardless of their own sexual orientations. If you identify as queer, you shouldn’t be forced to turn to your now-logically-mostly-irrelevant pansexuality to justify that identification.

    -Ran (Squid’s Ran)

  97. Jennifer
    Jennifer August 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm |

    I’m a little late to this party and admittedly didn’t read all the comments; I’m sure this the 96th one saying about the same thing. But, THANK YOU for putting words to my scattered thoughts! I starting dating my husband when we were both 16, a few months before I realized that I was bisexual. He knows, my family knows, most of my friends from high school know, many from college, and a very select few from nursing school. The further removed I was from adolescence and the more serious our relationship became, the less people I came out to. I had a brief fling with a close girl friend in high school that I still fantasize about today, but which nearly destroyed my relationship and hers (ironically, we are both still friends and married to our then boyfriends).
    So now I’m married and NONE of my current friends know I’m bisexual. A part of me feels guilty, because I could be that one person everyone is supposed to know so they’re less judgmental about LGBTQs and whatnot. I ask myself regularly if that is truly my responsibility, just because I happen to be in a monogamous heterosexual relationship but am not, in fact, heterosexual. I don’t have any answer. I am also well aware of lingering lust for a romantic relationship with a woman, despite loving my husband deeply and having no desire to leave him.
    I suppose this comment is not helpful in the least, other than to say “No, it’s not just you!”

  98. Acting Queer: Dis-jointed Thoughts on “Playing Gay” - The Pursuit of Harpyness

    [...] I bring you a second post — this one by Shoshie at Feministe, who is writing about her experience of pansexual desires in the context of a committed other-sex partnership: I feel like my sexuality is this weird, [...]

  99. Tanya
    Tanya August 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm |

    Thank you. All of you.

  100. Lizzy
    Lizzy August 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    I came out as bisexual a year ago, after mulling it over in my head for about year. This whole time, while discovering my attraction to other women, I’ve had a crush on my best (male) friend. We are perfect for each other in terms of our personalities and I know I really badly want him as my boyfriend. But I’m also really desperate to experiment; I haven’t had a lot of dating or sexual experience, and I’m particularly desperate to know what it’s like to be with another woman. It’s very frustrating, as I feel that my heart and my libido are pulling me in different directions.

  101. bkhp
    bkhp September 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    annajcook: I absolutely worried about this when I knew I had bisexual desires but had not had a sexual relationship with a woman … which leads me back to the homophobia of our culture: we assume people can be straight even without physical experience, but it’s hard for us to imagine someone is legitimately bi- or lesbian or [insert queer noun of choice] unless they’ve actually acted on those desires.

    This is where I am right now, I think. I’ve only dated guys and identified as straight my whole life, even tho I’ve probably had a quiet lifelong sense that I’m attracted to more than just men. These days I’m dating the most amazing man, who I’m in love with and can’t get enough of, but only recently (as in the last few months) has the slow realization that I’m attracted to women really crystallized as reality for me. We’ve talked about it a bunch and he’s supportive and loving and wonderfully understanding, and open to discussing whatever different relationship configuration I might want if I’m interested in exploring this more. For me though, exploring this while staying with him seems tough. I’ve never really considered anything besides total monogamy when I’m in a committed relationship.

    I would date women, am interested in what sex is like with a woman and am worried about what I might miss out on in the (otherwise extremely fortunate) possibility that I end up with the guy I’m dating. I have a pretty urgent feeling like I need to explore this, and I am not trying to deny that curiosity, but I’m also so very very in love with the guy I’m with. There is a part of all this that feels like in order to actually, fully, accept my sexuality, in order for it to be “real,” I need to act on it.

    I guess the big difference between me and lots of other people who’ve left comments so far is that I’m nowhere near the same level of self-acceptance about things. It all feels really new and sometimes scary! But reading everyone’s responses is incredibly helpful and soothing.

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