I’ve recently been exploring my bi side and experimenting with other men. I’ve come to the point of being perfectly comfortable with my sexuality: I’m attracted to both women and men, but I’m predominantly attracted to women. I hate the idea of having to hide this. I’ve read Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt’s book The Ethical Slut, and have come to the firm conclusion that I don’t want to lie about my sexuality.
My problem is this: if I come out as bi, will 99.9 percent of women be skeezed out, leaving me with only bi or gay men as my sexual partners? That is not what I want! So do I have to choose between being a closeted bi or de facto gay? Some choice!
What do you think? Is there any hope of being male, out, and bisexual-not-gay? How can I meet women who aren’t biphobic? –Seeking to Unburden Deception
Want a woman who isn’t biphobic, STUD? Then find a bisexual woman.
I’ve gotten shitloads of mail from bisexuals over the years. But I’ve never received a letter from a bisexual who counted other bisexuals among his or her potential sex partners. From the bi guys it’s always, “Boo hoo, I’m bi. Gay men won’t date me, and straight women are scared of me.” From the bi girls it’s always, “Boo hoo, I’m bi. Lesbians won’t date me, and straight men just want to watch me make out with their bi-curious girlfriends!” It never seems to occur to bis that they can avoid all this by dating other bis exclusively. And what kind of statement does it make about the general desirability of bisexuals that so many of them can’t even conceive of dating others like them?
Now, while we’re on the subject of bisexuality . . .
The splashy results of a study conducted by psychologists at Northwestern University and Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health made the newspapers last week. Researchers recruited 101 men–38 homos, 33 bi guys, and 30 straight guys–and showed them porn in an attempt to answer that age-old question: are bi guys all liars? The guys’ dicks were wired up, they were shown girl-on-girl porn and boy-on-boy porn, and their arousal levels were measured.
“Three quarters of the bisexual group had arousal patterns identical to those of gay men,” the New York Times reported. “The rest were indistinguishable from heterosexuals.” In English: 75 percent of the bi guys only got aroused watching boys; the other 25 percent of the bi guys only got aroused watching girls. None responded equally to images of men and women.
“We couldn’t find a bisexual arousal pattern,” grad student Gerulf Rieger, the study’s lead author, told me. “The conclusion that I draw is that most of the men who identify as bisexual behave like gay men in their arousal patterns. Does that mean [75 percent of bisexual guys] are truly gay? I can’t say. But it could mean they’re confused about their sexual orientation.”
That some men who ultimately identify as gay claim to be bisexual for a time is a well-established fact, so it’s entirely possible that the 75 percent of the bisexuals whose dicks were wired up in Rieger’s study are on their way to embracing their big gay selves. But what, I wonder, is the deal with the 25 percent of bisexual guys in the study who responded to the girl-on-girl porn but not the boy-on-boy porn?
“They might be straight,” Rieger speculated, “but go in for sex with other guys because it’s so much easier for a male to have quick sex with another male than with a woman. But their true sexual feelings are still for women.”
Needless to say, Rieger’s study has kicked off a shitstorm. The study was coauthored by J. Michael Bailey, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University (and the subject of a 2003 Reader cover story), whose book The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism is felt by many to be deeply homo- and transphobic. John Aravosis has been kicking the tar out of Bailey, and the study, on americablog.org.
Rieger, however, rejects the notion that Bailey hates homos. “I’m his grad student, and I’m gay. He is not homophobic,” Rieger said.
Bailey’s issues aside, I don’t think the study can be dismissed out of hand. At the very least it jibes with, er, field observations I’ve made of male bisexuals. The sad fact is that male bisexuality is rare, much more so than female bisexuality. A lot of guys like STUD–predominantly straight guys who enjoy messing around with other guys–will tell you they’re bi. But these nominally bisexual men are not emotionally available to other men–they may have sex with other guys, but like STUD they only have relationships with women. Which is why dating bi guys isn’t something most gay men are willing to do. Even if the bi guy you’re dating is single, you’re still just his piece on the side.
Am I morally bound to be true to a girl I’ve been in a loving relationship with for three long years if I have a bisexual curiosity? I want to see what it’s like to be with a man. She’d be devastated, so I can’t tell her. But I want to do this! –Gonna Blow It
You’re morally bound not to be a total shit, GBI. If you can’t bring yourself to tell her you want to smoke some pole, at least have the decency to break up with her. Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can go running back to your girlfriend–if she’ll have you, that is.
I’m in my early 30s and straight, never attracted to men, never fantasized about having sex with a guy, never been turned on by looking at a guy–if I had been, I’d tell you. This is anonymous, right? Why would I lie? But undressing in front of a man who clearly wants to see me undress turns me on. What gives? (I also get hard when a woman watches me undress.) I’m in a committed relationship with a woman, but this exhibitionist streak won’t go away. Any thoughts on where it comes from and what to do about it? –Men Ogle and Notice
Where’s it come from? That’s an easy one–so easy that you already nailed it. You’re an exhibitionist, MOAN. You get off on being seen, being desired, and, in the case of gay men, inspiring desires you have no intention of indulging–which makes you a bit of a prick tease, too. What to do about it? Enjoy it, of course.