AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

AskMiriam About Bisexuality

Question: Do you feel like there is an inherent bias in the poly community against bisexual men? I don’t identify as bi, though I’m aware how fluid everything is and I am occasionally curious. I just feel like there is a very small bi male population, at least that is visible. The ratio of bi females to straight females is nearly the reverse of the ratio for males. Why? Is this indicative of something or just a reflection of our culture at large?

Answer: This issue comes up again and again. With regards to the poly women I have met, most of them tend to identify somewhere on the queer spectrum, which includes bi. I myself identify as someone who’s attracted to the person, not the gender (Check out this book for that sort of label: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674032262). I don’t think we need to restrict ourselves when it comes to who we get involved with and I like having the freedom to be with men, women, and anyone else on the gender spectrum. The poly men I have met tend to be straight. I do believe that part of this is social conditioning; it’s completely acceptable for women to be sexual together, but for men, it’s much more complicated. It’s only been fairly recent that homosexuality of any sort has become socially acceptable. Unfortunately, I think that women are often sexual together because it’s a fantasy of a man they’re with, however there are many of us out there who genuinely want to be with more than one gender. It could also be the fact that women tend to be more attractive in general, so perhaps there’s more reason for a woman to be attracted to women than for a man to be attracted to men.

There’s also something else going on here: Many of us poly women like questioning the status quo; we do it everyday if we are poly. If we question traditional relationship structures, why not question our sexuality? Of course, poly men also question the status quo, but men have much more at stake in the traditional societal structure than women. It is to their disadvantage to question their sexuality because that means questioning a society that has traditionally supported them. Back in the 1950s, Kinsey posited that sexual orientation was on a spectrum and I think human sexuality is much more fluid than most people think; we are sexual beings after all.  I sometimes get into arguments with Ben about this issue because he very much identifies as straight. Of course I trust him, but I wonder what would happen if men were more encouraged to question their sexuality.

As I have written before, I have a unique perspective on all of this because of my gay father. Sometimes I wonder the extent to which he had feelings for my mother before they split up. My mother had no idea he was gay, so I suppose he put on quite the act, but I wonder if any of it is genuine. He also said to me recently, sometimes I think it would be easier just to be with a woman. When he was young, it was very difficult to be gay and I think he felt like he had to hide who he was. I do feel thankful that I was born, but I wish things had been easier for him.

If you have any questions, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca. Eve is currently visiting Ben and I and once she leaves, I will write about the visit.

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2 thoughts on “AskMiriam About Bisexuality

  1. This is a question I have been asking myself. As we journey into polyamory will I fancy other men and will I want to explore this sexually? My first experience came at the weekend when attending a BDSM workshop. A guy joined my wife and I and we took it in turns for two to hit and sooth the other. I found it difficult to hit him and did not enjoy the feel of his skin. I felt especially uncomfortable when he spooned me as aftercare to my being spanked. Although this was a forced situation and there was no connection with the guy it has certainly left me feeling far less bi-curious than I was.

  2. As a bi (and poly) guy, it’s not all that complicated: Men are just not supposed to have sex with other men – period. Of course, this doesn’t change the fact it happens… but even in a day where homosexuality is becoming more acceptable, we still hold onto the notion that men having sex with men is and always will be something to be shunned and it doesn’t matter if the bi guy in question is single, married, a swinger, or even in a poly relationship.

    The thing that continues to amaze me is that we continue to have this bias in the face of the evidence that says otherwise. I know that a lot of men have this fear of the loss of their masculinity and, oddly, in a time where it’s now seen as being damned masculine to have sex with another man.

    I know a lot of guys who have openly questioned their sexuality but there are a lot of other men who question it… but never do so openly because, well, men aren’t supposed to do or say anything that’ll shatter our macho image – and this is so deeply ingrained in us that it’s hard for some men to get past it even if they do need to question their sexuality.

    That and it’s well documented how our culture feels about this and how men who dare to be bi (or gay) are ostracized so men who may question it just aren’t willing to be subjected to this kind of prejudice. But, yeah, by questioning our sexuality, it lends itself to exposing the lie that we’ve all believed since religion invented it and exposes the hypocrisy: If sex is natural for us, then men having sex with men is also as natural as women having sex with women… but if this is true – and it is – then why are you telling us that it isn’t a natural thing? Some men question the double standard – exactly why is it okay for women to be lovers… but men can’t?

    It’s not all that complicated… it just doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore since we know what we’ve been taught isn’t true. We’re only supposed to love and have sex with women… because that’s the way babies are made so anything that doesn’t lend itself to this is wrong and should never be done. In my discussions about bisexuality on my own blog, I’ve opined that the people who created this mandate – and one that was necessary because there weren’t a lot of people in the world at the time – never envisioned that we’d find a way to procreate without sex. In vitro fertilization (and even adoption) took this out of the equation but we still see “Adam” and “Steve” having sex to be unmasculine and just wrong.

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