Bisexuality is not a point on a spectrum that has heterosexuality on one end and homosexuality at the other. It’s more like the flip-side of a coin with monosexuality, which includes both of those other sexual orientations that in truth have more in common with each other than either alone do with bisexuality, on its reverse. Yes, heterosexuals who only have sexual attraction toward the individuals of the opposite sex and homosexuals who only have sexual attraction toward individuals of the same sex share many characteristics, but less so in both cases with bisexuals.
Although sexual attraction may be slightly influenced by culture, society, and advertising, sexual attraction itself occurs due to biochemical physiology that is beyond the control of the individual caught in its throws. This is true whether you’re straight, gay, or bi. For bisexuals either predominantly gynephiliac or androphiliac, an intense attraction toward someone of the other gender often comes by surprise and sometimes at the most inconvenient of times.
I’ve known I’m bisexual at least since I was fifteen years old. My attraction to females is so strong, however, that it makes that easy to forget frequently. believe it or not. Of course, that’s aided by the fact that bisexuality is misunderstood and often ridiculed not only among straights but among gays (male and female) as well.
Many straights thinks of us as crypto-gays and many gays think of us as cowards passing as wannabe-straights the way many light-skinned blacks once often passed as white to avoid legal or extralegal discrimination, and as some still do. If it were a choice, I would choose to be monosexual of either variety, straight or gay. But it’s not.
As I said, I first became aware of my occasional sexual attraction toward males when I was fifteen, and I was really confused because, like most adolescents (and adults), I was caught up in the dichotomy of straight versus gay and had not ceased being intensely attracted to girls and women (still haven’t, in case you’re wondering), so I was just confused and decided to put off dealing with it till later. As if normal teenage angst weren’t enough to worry about.
Fortunately at the time, I was just getting involved in the youth activities of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Tennessee. We had a very active chapter at our parish and I got very involved at the diocesan level also. The atmosphere was very open and egalitarian and non-judgmental. Boys and girls were equal, no one was bullied, outsiders were accepted as they came, and if they chose to remain the same, still accepted. Outside of official activities, we smoked, drank, toked, and had sex like any other teenage group.
Then came university, where I joined a fraternity. The culture of the Greek system was radically different, more traditional, with rigidly defined roles. The second-class status to which women were relegated within the system overall disturbed me. I felt like there was something wrong with me because I actually liked women. Saw them as something other than to fuck or help out with bake sales. To be fair, not all frat guys are like that, but, at least at the time, that view dominated. And nearly all the Greek women, sorority girls and fraternity little sisters, accepted their role as second-class members of Greek society.
NOTE: I’m talking about “Greek” as in the collegiate fraternities and sororities in the United States that identify themselves with Greek letters. Like DTX in “Animal House”, only with better grades (usually) and not as much fun (usually). No relation to the country of Greece.
To add to my sense of psychological dislocation, those drives I’d first experienced in adolescence burst forth shouting to be heard. They weren’t in response to any one person in particular, and may have risen because of the repressive nature of the Greek subculture. The fact that I also became even more attracted towards women made it even worse.
Things reached a crisis point spring semester that year, after the expectation of being an associate member had ended and initiation finished. I underwent severe emotional turmoil and would have killed myself were it not for my best friend in the fraternity. Even though I was still attracted to women, those other feelings made me afraid I was gay. I almost killed myself because if I were gay I couldn’t go out with women anymore.
Yes, I know how stupid that sounds. When I told that to my friend at the time, he laughed his ass off, and after being offended for a moment, I started laughing too.
I made it through university in four years, though I ceased being active in the fraternity after my sophomore years. Six months after graduating, I enlisted in the Navy the very day the USS Challenger blew up shortly after take-off.
It wasn’t until I got to my duty-station in the Philippines and began having lots of casual sex with lots of women with whom I had little emotional connection that those urges appeared again. I never followed through on them, but the more random fucking I did, the stronger they got. It reminded of a couple of times during university when I’d been the only (outwardly) straight person in a group and felt an equally intense urge to be with a woman.
I should add here that had it not been for AIDS, I probably would have been just as promiscuous when I was at UTC. But I had a sense of foreboding as soon as I read the article about the cluster of Karposi’s sarcoma cases that appeared in June 1981 and followed the explosion of the epidemic closely. I figured out long before the CDC admitted it that sex was a primary vector of infection and that it didn’t matter one fucking bit about your orientation. Had AIDS arrived a couple of years earlier, before the Great Herpes Crisis that killed swinging at the end of the 1970’s, AIDS might have come to be known as the Straight Disease rather than stigmatizing further the already stigmatized.
During the NIS investigation of me on suspicion of espionage, one of the issues was whether or not I was homosexual or had any sexual experiences with other males. Lengthy sessions with the base psychologist and a battery of psychological tests showed I wasn’t, and the polygraph didn’t even blink when the question came up. Both the extremely thorough investigation and the polygraph cleared me of espionage, incidentally, otherwise I’d be communicating from Leavenworth instead of my apartment in Chattanooga.
By that time, I was dating the woman who would become my second fiancée, whom I later married. I never got those other urges with either her or my previous fiancée. Nor, I should add, during my relationship with my girlfriend in Paris.
My ex-wife and divorced six years later, and after lots more random fucking, sometimes even with married women, I quit having sex. About a year later, in my late 30’s, I finally tried sex with men, a few times anyway. Maybe it was because the sex was casual, but emotionally I felt nothing. That doesn’t mean I got no physical pleasure from it; I did. But I knew that continuing to have sex with other guys knowing that I could never have the kind of emotional connection that I could achieve with a woman was not good for me and unfair to them.
So, I’m bisexual. But I’m also monogamous. I will not get involved sexually with anyone with whom I do not have a solid connection emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually as well as physically. If that were to happen with a man, it would be by accident over a long period of time, but then that would probably be the same case with a woman (isn’t falling in love always an accident?). This is the case, I believe, with most bisexuals, at least after they have adjusted to what they have either discovered or can no longer deny about themselves.
In truth, labels such as “heterosexual”, “homosexual”, “bisexual”, “androphiliac”, “gynephiliac”, etc., should be stricken from our language. Labels are not about accuracy, they’re about definition, and definition in this case is about limitations and control, or rather hate, just as much as it is in the case of defining God, where the first step in trying to dominate God is belief.
If someone is anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-bi, anti-trans, even anti-straight, what you are really is anti-human, As a human, I object to that. No matter how human your anti-human feeling is. If someone has found another human to share their life with, ideally for a lifetime but in the absence of the ideal at least for a long time, who the hell is anyone outside of that relationship to do anything but be happy for and envy them? Certainly not I.