AskMiriam

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Archive for the tag “bisexuality”

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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Reaching Out and Tuning Out

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m currently in Taiwan and Ben is in Vietnam. Recently, he met someone I will call Eve and they’ve hit it off. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got a message from her on OkCupid and when she added me as a friend on Facebook. When my partner(s) get involved with others, I like to build relationships with them. It’s very rare that others have reached out to me first, so you can imagine this was a bit of shock, especially because Eve has never been involved in a polyamorous relationship before. I think she really understands how it works, though. We’ve started exchanging pleasant messages and I’ve even been informed by Ben that she writes poetry and is interested in exploring an attraction to women. It’s also very rare that I meet a fellow poet, so for me, this is all great. She and Ben are going on a little trip this weekend and will see how things develop. If things go well, she’s interested in visiting us in China, depending on whether she can get a visa or not. Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and China have not been the best recently, so it could be difficult for her. Now, this isn’t to say my feelings about Eve have been entirely positive. Ben told me he hasn’t been attracted to someone as strongly as he is to Eve since he met me, which could be constructed as a threat to our relationship.

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how women are programmed to act in relationships. We are often taught to find a man (forget what your sexual orientation may be…) and hold on to him as tightly as possible. We should be jealous and protective when another woman comes along because she might steal him away from us. If we have children with said man, we have to depend on him and keep him from being attracted to other women. Of course, these are all outdated ideas, but they are still present in our society today. I don’t think Eve would steal Ben away from me for a few reasons: Ben and I are as committed to each other as anyone can be. I don’t think Ben would allow someone to steal him away from me. It would also be against Eve’s interest to do so if she wants to build at least a friendship with me. It does seem like she’s coming into polyamory in the spirit of friendship, so I have no doubt she would betray me in some way. There is also the question of whether she would live close to us. She is interested in doing a Master’s and that could be in Canada, so we shall see where this all goes. In the meantime, I’m putting myself into a mindframe of tuning out from the normal programming I mentioned above. As the old saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. I sometimes have the feeling that Ben and I only met recently and that our relationship is still fragile. I remind myself how much can happen in a little over a year…

Thanks as always for reading! I await your relationship questions, which are always posted anonymously. My email address is miriam@askmiriam.ca

A Streetcar Named Desire

I’m in Japan now and I’ve been staying this week in a city called Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. I lived in Japan from 2008-2010 and never got the chance to travel to Shikoku, so I decided to come now. I also came here because I wanted to meet a certain woman. I had been in contact with her for awhile and she looked really cute and interesting. I will call her Ellen. Ellen and I met on Tuesday for lunch and ended up wandering around a park called Ritsurin. I found out from her that Ritsurin is rated as one of the top 5 gardens in Japan. It is quite beautiful and we had a nice time wandering around it. Ellen is a very relaxed person and is also from Canada. She was in a poly relationship for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. On Tuesday, I didn’t find myself that attracted to Ellen, which disappointed me. It often happens to me that I’m in contact with someone for awhile online and then when we meet in person, I’m not that interested in them. However, that would change on Wednesday when we went to a hot spring together and I got to see Ellen’s body. We continued to have good conversation and I was thinking that I at least wanted to cuddle with her.

We left the hot spring and came back into the centre of Takamatsu. Ellen told me that she knew about some second hand stores, which is really the only kind of shopping I like, so we wanted to go to them. Unfortunately, we found that they were closed. We got a little snack and then tried to decide what to do. I told Ellen she could come with me back to my hotel room and she declined. I had thought that she probably wasn’t that interested in me and I guess her feelings didn’t change when she saw me naked. I haven’t been in the greatest mood this week and of course, this didn’t help. I feel like I shouldn’t complain because I’m getting a free hotel room courtesy of a couchsurfer here whose family owns a hotel, but mainly, I do couchsurfing so I can meet people, not so I can stay in a hotel. The only contact I’ve had with the hosts is in the evening when I go to their home for dinner, eat with them, and then wash and dry dishes in silence in the presence of the woman. I was invited on Monday to have lunch with the man and he didn’t talk to me at the restaurant; there was a TV to our left and he wouldn’t stop watching it. Thankfully, on Wednesday evening, 2 more couchsurfers from Switzerland arrived and I got to hang out with them yesterday. We had a really good time on the island of Naoshima, where there is a lot of interesting art.

One of the reasons why I called this post, A Streetcar Named Desire, is because I told Ben on Wednesday that I haven’t felt desired by a person other than him for quite awhile. It’s nice that in China, we can spend time with Amy and have threesomes, but I don’t feel that she really desires me, nor I her. I have often felt that there are so few women I’m very attracted to and I wish there were more. It’s also difficult when I see Ben being so successful with women and I feel envious. It’s so easy to get a guy; as the old saying goes, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. I just wish that I could find a woman who desired me and who I desire. On this trip, I really wanted to make an effort to meet more women. 2 years ago, I took trains across the US for a month and didn’t have many experiences with women. This time, I wanted that to be different. I will be meeting more – we’ll see how it all goes…

Thank you as always for reading! Next week I go to Kobe and Tokyo and I hope for some sexy adventures there. I will update when something happens. If you have a question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

The Week that Was: A Mega Diary

This blog will cover the period from November 21-28, during which time many things happened. It all started with, of course, a threesome sleepover. The previous weekend, Ben and I met a woman who will be known as Amy. Ben had had contact with her online and after he and I returned from a trip, she invited us over to her place. Hers is a slightly complicated situation because she has a son and she and her husband are in the process of divorcing. However, her son doesn’t know that. With that in mind, imagine Ben and I walking into the apartment she shares with her son and her inviting us into her bedroom. She told me that she has never done anything with a woman, but she was definitely making eyes at me. I also thought she was attractive and Ben was attracted to her as well. She kissed both of us and also watched us make out on her second bed. She didn’t want to do anything further because she was on her period and her son was around.

Fast forward to November 21st when she came over to our place. She had told Ben in advance that she wanted to sleep over and we were all fine with that. She’s a pretty small woman and she fit fine in the bed with us. I was very happy that she was affectionate with both of us and very inclusive of me, despite being more attracted to Ben. She is definitely a very sexual woman and enjoyed riding both Ben and I. At one point very early on the 22nd, she told me that she wanted me to teach her how to please me. She fingered me and it felt good. I went down on her and she really liked that; she comes very easily. Of course, I have mixed feelings about being someone’s teacher. I would rather find a woman who already knows her way around another woman. And speaking of that, on the day that Amy left our place, I went to a lesbian bar with an American woman I met from OkCupid who has become a friend. It was interesting to see a lesbian bar in China. Unfortunately, my Mandarin isn’t great at the moment, so I couldn’t talk to anyone. The woman I was with has been in China for about 2 years and could translate a bit. She told the others that I was bi and I was happy to know that they didn’t think I was some type of fence sitter. She also told a couple about my polyamory and one said she thought that was cool.

The day after that, a Sunday, I ended up having quite the email exchange with a certain influential person in my life who lives in New York City. For those of you who don’t know, he basically led me into poly. I had emailed him a few days before and mentioned that I’m now teaching at a university in China. He then said that he’s coming to China during his winter break. I asked him if he’d want to see me and he said he did, but his preference was for us to meet as more than friends, which surprised me because I ended the romantic part of our relationship last year. The truth is, we have never been less than friends, but I have no desire to have sex with him. When I visited him in New York 2 years ago, I actually told him that I was less than impressed with his sexual skills, which upset him. He then visited me in January last year in Toronto and we had a fairly good time, but then contact dropped off, which upset me. Last April, I told him online I didn’t want to have a romantic relationship with him anymore and he took that harshly. Mainly, I want to see him now because I feel like I need to make amends for doing that; I certainly don’t believe in ending a relationship via chat, especially with a person who has been so important to me. He said recently that he didn’t think I was into being with him, though I confessed to him 2.5 years ago that I had been obsessed with him and that I wanted him to be present when I had the abortion. After I graduated from my Master’s, I looked for jobs all over the world, including in New York so I could be near him. I’ve written poem after poem about him.  Now, I want to tell him that when we saw each other in New York and Toronto, it didn’t really feel real; it’s as if I had dreamt it. I also felt that he didn’t want me to get close to him. Last winter, many important things happened that he never told me about. I also never got a chance to meet his primary partner despite going to the city she lives in and requesting her contact information from him. Truthfully, I have always admired him. His intellectual, artistic prowess, and his worldliness was what attracted me initially and that still holds true today.

Finally, Ben and I had a lot of discussion about our future last week. He received an email from a friend who found gold on Vancouver Island and told Ben that they should explore further, perhaps open a mine. Ben had talked about doing something like that once we returned to Canada, so this is very timely. However, we hadn’t envisioned going back next year and these plans might change that. I personally don’t feel ready to return home – I still want to see more of the world and experience that with Ben. However, I would be open to living in Vancouver and seeing what it’s like to live on the west coast of Canada. It all really comes down to finding a job. Our jobs right now are pretty good, but we’d like to live in a different place and most likely outside of China. We’ll see what happens…

If you have any questions about any sort of relationship, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca  Thanks as always for reading!

Polyamory and Bisexuality

Lately Ben and I have gotten into conversation about gender and sexual orientation. I expressed that there seem to be so many poly bi women, but there are so few poly bi men. I often wonder why this is the case. In our society, I think women tend to question their sexuality more. Ben said, perhaps female hormones lend themselves more to bisexuality. Then there was my gay father who said, there’s something about having a penis that makes you feel really sure about your sexuality. I also think that straight men have a lot of privilege so it’s not really in their interest to question their sexuality. Personally, I don’t like to label myself as bisexual. In 2012, I read a book about the fluiditiy of female sexual desire by Lisa Diamond, a psychology professor in the US. She had many different categories for female sexual identity. One category was, attracted to the person, not the gender – that’s definitely something I identify with.

I don’t like to put myself in a box. Over the years, I have felt myself attracted to women. When I was with my first serious boyfriend, I remember seeing an attractive woman on TV and feeling aroused. I thought to myself, am I lesbian? That boyfriend and I broke up soon after, mainly because I was starting university and I wanted to see what else was out there. In my first year, I didn’t get to have any experiences with women and I regret that. I also had the opportunity to see a therapist and didn’t take it. Then, in my second year, I started dating my ex and we ended up being together for 8.5 years. About a year and a half into dating, I went on a road trip with a female friend. We drove to a conference in Vermont and then ended up staying overnight in Montreal. On the way to Montreal, my friend I talked about not having any experiences with women – my friend was interested in exploring that. I told her I would kiss her. When we arrived in Montreal, I called my ex and asked him if it would be ok. He said he thought it was fine. I did kiss my friend and I enjoyed it.

Since I have become poly, I have only dated 2 women, and they were both for brief periods. I have had sexual experiences with women and had a good time. I find it difficult to meet women who I’m very attracted to. I also find that I can relate, in some ways, more to men. Some people have labelled me as a man with a vagina, whatever that means. I like having both a masculine and a feminine side. I don’t like shopping and I hate the typical way some women behave – it can be very passive/aggressive. I’m usually direct and I talk about sex – those are often classified as masculine behaviours. I also feel that sometimes I need to toe the line between being more masculine or more feminine. For example, I feel that I can’t wear very masculine looking clothes because what comes out of my mouth is masculine enough. I also like wearing things like dresses, especially in the hot summer. I tend to sweat, so wearing sleeved shirts can be uncomfortable. I also like shocking people because I look so normal and then I say weird things.

In any case, I really want to know what it would be like to have a female partner for a longer amount of time. I’m not sure if that’ll happen in Asia, but who knows. Perhaps I would stop debating my identity so much if I was with a woman. I could express different sides of myself. Of course, this is a reason to become polyamorous. Not only do we get to date lots of people, we get to explore how we are as people.

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