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Author Topic: Unique challenges of bisexuality  (Read 2967 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Unique challenges of bisexuality
« on: June 28, 2010, 06:04:34 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/06/28/bisexual.male.last.closet/index.html?iref=obnetwork

Quote
This may sound like the best of both worlds, but being openly bisexual can be complicated. He frequently battles the stereotypes of bisexuality: That bisexual men are promiscuous. That his relationships with men were just an adolescent phase. That his bisexuality is imaginary. That he's really a gay man trying to camouflage his orientation.

[...]

Ben Pierce, a 22-year-old recent college graduate living in Massachusetts who identifies as bisexual, can understand why bisexuals are hesitant to come forward. He likens being bisexual today to being biracial in the 1960s, a period when racism and discrimination were widespread. A person who was mixed race often couldn't feel comfortable among either racial group, Pierce explained. "You're caught in between these two very different groups of straight people and gay people, and neither one really accepts you," he said.

I really enjoyed reading this article, and it resonated deeply with my feelings on the matter. It really does feel sometimes that those who swing both ways are overlooked, dismissed, and mistrusted among both groups. Both groups seem to think that if you are bisexual, you're really just pretending for a while and soon enough you'll run away with Someone Else. As the article pointed out, it's not that there are not benefits, but that doesn't make it very comfortable when the bad situations come up, also.

Discuss.

(If you would like to discuss gay rights or related topics, please be sure to make another thread. Thanks.)

Offline Jude

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 09:20:54 PM »
Quote
"The world is not black or white to me, but a rich diversity of colors, and it is not either/or, but both/and,"
Comments like this are incredibly insulting to straight people; it's somehow implying that being bisexual makes you a better person because you're more open to experiencing positive things with less discrimination in choosing a partner.  A good portion of pansexuals that I've known have said something like "I love everyone regardless of their gender" in explaining themselves--which is equally as self-aggrandizing as that comment.  Sexual orientation is not about love, love can exist without sexual orientation, it's about what you want to have sex with.  And being open to having sex with more things does not make you a better person:  by that logic, heavily drunken and seriously confused Frat Boys would be the second coming of the Buddha.

You can't argue that people shouldn't be treated differently because of their sexual orientation then in the same breath make a case on how your sexual orientation gives you advantages.  It's a conflict; the entire article seems self-destructive in that fashion, and incredibly bent on making bisexuals seem like victims they are not.  The best examples they could come up with is a soft ball team being stripped of their trophy and controversial research that calls into question bisexuality in men?

The first bit, okay, that shouldn't have happened, but the research thing...  You can't be angry at facts.  Facts do not victimize.  If there was a problem with the research, sure, point it out, especially if it was fabricated or ideologically motivated, but even so, one small issue like that doesn't constitute being especially repressed.  If anything, bisexuals have it far easier than homosexuals; if you're bisexual you have the choice of pursuing a relationship that falls in line with religious and social norms, thus easily skirting any sort of social judgment from other people.  Gays are not so lucky; if they want to have any relationship at all, they have to be with someone of the same sex.

I've heard an incredible amount of preaching against homosexuality, but absolutely none against bisexuality.  If such a tension truly does not exist, I've seen no evidence of it in my personal life, the mountain of articles I read every day, and in regularly being exposed to homosexuals and bisexuals.  In general, I still think being bisexual is far more acceptable socially, and I can give some examples (but nothing solid to prove my case).

Here's one area where it is:  in the Catholic Church it is not considered a sin to be homosexual, but only to have sexual relations out of wedlock.  You can't marry someone of the same sex according to their definition of marriage, so gay sex is always a sin.  However, if you're bisexual, you can in fact still marry, engage in sexual fulfillment, and be bisexual without facing excommunication or technically sinning.

Offline Will

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2010, 10:56:00 PM »
That was an interesting read, Trieste.  Thanks for posting it.  I took a minute to browse the study they mentioned as well... I found it amusing that a majority of advertising for the study was done in publications aimed at the gay community.

Offline Jade

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2010, 03:03:59 AM »
While I sort of agree with Jude, I also think being anything has its complications since gay, bi, and lesbian communities have their fair share of negative stereotypes.

Which is why I dislike putting a tag on sexual preference. I think without social boundaries, a person can fall in love with anyone. I've been attracted to and have dated both sexes. I can see plenty of women and men being physically appealing but I may not be attracted to them, which leads me to believe gender has nothing to do with it.

Offline Brandon

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2010, 04:25:10 AM »
I have to disagree that there is a stereotype that says all bisexual men are promiscious because that stereotype applies to all men period. Like all stereotypes it has basis but doesnt apply to everyone in that group. I've had to deal with it a lot because I go through a lot of short lived relationships (and most of them dont even go to a sexual level). I date a girl for a few weeks, maybe months, something happens and we go our seperate ways (or less likely we dump the other). Then I ask another one out a few days or a week later. Apparantly that makes me promiscious "just like all men" as I've been told


Offline Ket

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 04:25:37 AM »
Jude, I don't see how that comment implied that bisexuals are any better than straights or gays. It was simply one person's observation on their life and sexuality.

I've found that being a woman makes it easier for straight men and gay men to accept my sexuality. When it comes to lesbians however, I often feel a large amount of tension. The tension is still there when it comes to straight women, though not as much. I've seen the exact opposite when it comes to male bisexuals. They seem to garner discrimination from all ends of the spectrum.

I don't see what's so wrong with being diverse. It's not that I'm dipping my toes in and "trying lesbianism". When it comes to having sex with someone (and being in a loving relationship with someone), I could care less what a person has on top or between their legs, and enjoy all the various combinations. I also don't understand why a community that is so hardcore about stopping discrimination against themselves continually discriminate against others.

I have to agree with Jude on one point. A person's sexuality does not make them any better or any worse than any other person. Just because I don't stick to one side of the fence, but like to play on either side doesn't make me any better or any worse than those who are straight or gay. It should be about acceptance of all, not just acceptance of individual groups.


Offline Brandon

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2010, 04:51:07 AM »
As far as the straight/gay thing goes with men, I think (and Im making a generalization here) that the different groups of Striaght and gay have a hard time accepting anyone not on "their side". Its kind of like how Ive pointed out that gay men shout out for tolerance but they are unable (or unwilling?) to tolerate people who dont agree with their positions like the various religious orders out there. Even someone like me who is "on the side" of everyone should be able to touch, kiss, marry, fuck, etc whoever they want are at odds with both groups. It makes me think that its just a guy thing that I dont understand

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2010, 06:10:08 AM »
That was an interesting read, Trieste.  Thanks for posting it.  I took a minute to browse the study they mentioned as well... I found it amusing that a majority of advertising for the study was done in publications aimed at the gay community.

... yeeeah...  ::)

@Brandon: While men in general are treated as if they are just waiting for the next thing to put their penis inside, there does seem to be an added level of hostility when a man is bi. As discussed in another thread, there seems to be this misconception from some other men that if a man is attracted to other men, he will not be able to restrain himself from hitting on everything he possibly can. So you have the added challenge of gay men's rep for promiscuity on top of what you would call a general stereotype.

I've found that being a woman makes it easier for straight men and gay men to accept my sexuality. When it comes to lesbians however, I often feel a large amount of tension. The tension is still there when it comes to straight women, though not as much. I've seen the exact opposite when it comes to male bisexuals. They seem to garner discrimination from all ends of the spectrum.

I don't see what's so wrong with being diverse. It's not that I'm dipping my toes in and "trying lesbianism". When it comes to having sex with someone (and being in a loving relationship with someone), I could care less what a person has on top or between their legs, and enjoy all the various combinations. I also don't understand why a community that is so hardcore about stopping discrimination against themselves continually discriminate against others.

This. There is this old guard of lesbians (that seem to be fading off, thankfully) that seem to think that bisexual women are 'not gay enough' and just sort of passing the time before the right man comes along. I understand being wary of heartache, but it can be a little insulting.

See also the Gay Soccer story in that article for another example of 'not gay enough' difficulty.

Offline Torch

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2010, 09:32:52 AM »
This. There is this old guard of lesbians (that seem to be fading off, thankfully) that seem to think that bisexual women are 'not gay enough' and just sort of passing the time before the right man comes along. I understand being wary of heartache, but it can be a little insulting.

The same can be said for a certain subset of gay men with regards to male bisexuality. I've seen gay men sort of snort and roll their eyes at the mere mention of male bisexuality, and it's clear they are under the impression any bisexual man is simply hanging out at the Bi rest stop before ending his journey to Gay Town. Or that any bisexual man has merely one foot in the closet instead of two.  ::)


Offline Brandon

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2010, 01:53:15 PM »
@Brandon: While men in general are treated as if they are just waiting for the next thing to put their penis inside, there does seem to be an added level of hostility when a man is bi. As discussed in another thread, there seems to be this misconception from some other men that if a man is attracted to other men, he will not be able to restrain himself from hitting on everything he possibly can. So you have the added challenge of gay men's rep for promiscuity on top of what you would call a general stereotype.

Sorry but I just dont agree. If there is a greater amount of hostility toward bisexual men it is only because the number of people that are potentially effected by it is greater. Its the same challenge that all men face and will face as long as the stereotype remains

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2010, 03:21:10 PM »
This. There is this old guard of lesbians (that seem to be fading off, thankfully) that seem to think that bisexual women are 'not gay enough' and just sort of passing the time before the right man comes along. I understand being wary of heartache, but it can be a little insulting.

See also the Gay Soccer story in that article for another example of 'not gay enough' difficulty.
The same can be said for a certain subset of gay men with regards to male bisexuality. I've seen gay men sort of snort and roll their eyes at the mere mention of male bisexuality, and it's clear they are under the impression any bisexual man is simply hanging out at the Bi rest stop before ending his journey to Gay Town. Or that any bisexual man has merely one foot in the closet instead of two.  ::)

This.

These sentiments bug the crap out of me all the time. Especially now that I have been in a long  term relationship. There have been so many conversations where people assume that I no longer find both boys and girls sexy just because I am committed to one particular girl. It's absurd. Especially when some people then get all uncomfortable around me when I correct them >_<

@Jude: You seem to be going out of your way to take offense here. I really don't see any of that sentiment in the bit you quoted or in the larger article.

Offline Aviva

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2010, 03:42:04 PM »
I knew I was bi-curious from my mid teenage years. For a long time I kept it to myself as generally family wise/friend wise was not acceptable.

I have had friends and family judge me for it and hate me for "simply being greedy" despite the fact I have only had a handful of partners and am faithful when I am with someone.

Thankfully now most friends accept it and some of my male friends are happy to be able to look women over with out me getting insulted generally because I will be looking to and I get considered "as one of the lads" at such times.

Though I have heard of others being called "ill" "possessed" and various other reasons for their nature.

It's wrong and I do not agree with it but it happens sadly.

I think it is easier on gay/bi women and I hope I do not cause offense here but "most" men generally have female on female fantasies at some point and I think that makes it  more acceptable compared to the possibility of male on male.


Offline Oniya

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2010, 04:01:29 PM »
I think it is easier on gay/bi women and I hope I do not cause offense here but "most" men generally have female on female fantasies at some point and I think that makes it  more acceptable compared to the possibility of male on male.

Ever counted the number of female yaoi/shounen-ai fanfic writers?  ;)

Offline Torch

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2010, 04:09:25 PM »
Ever counted the number of female yaoi/shounen-ai fanfic writers?  ;)

Oh, no doubt that the overwhelming majority of readers and writers of yaoi/slash/gay romance are women. Straight women. But still a minority when compared to the overall popular culture that perceives female bisexuality to be, for lack of a better term, fashionable.

Just look at mainstream porn, for example. Just about every mainstream adult film marketed to heterosexual audiences has a girl/girl scene. Guy/guy? Nope, couldn't find a scene if you tried.

Offline Will

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2010, 04:11:28 PM »
And just because they write yaoi doesn't mean they would jump for joy if their boyfriend said "Hey baby, I was thinking about this guy I work with, and um... yeah."

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2010, 04:11:55 PM »
I never understood the 'being greedy' ... thing. I mean, if you're at a birthday party and both cake and ice cream are offered... and you like both cake and ice cream, isn't it acceptable to take some of both? Really.

Sorry but I just dont agree. If there is a greater amount of hostility toward bisexual men it is only because the number of people that are potentially effected by it is greater. Its the same challenge that all men face and will face as long as the stereotype remains

That's fine. We can agree to disagree.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2010, 04:19:38 PM »
I never understood the 'being greedy' ... thing. I mean, if you're at a birthday party and both cake and ice cream are offered... and you like both cake and ice cream, isn't it acceptable to take some of both? Really.

Exactly! With the added bonus that sex isn't fattening ^^

Offline Noelle

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2010, 04:20:30 PM »
I think there needs to be more context put to Jude's quote:

Quote
Despite the skepticism from others, some bisexuals acknowledge there are upsides to their sexual orientation, even though they remain in limbo between two worlds. John, 41, a bisexual from California, said his sexual orientation makes him open-minded. For privacy reasons, he declined to give his last name.

"The world is not black or white to me, but a rich diversity of colors, and it is not either/or, but both/and," he wrote in an e-mail.

Having one sexual preference over another does not make a person more "open-minded" and the assumption of such makes it sound as if sexual preference is a choice, a notion that the gay community has been railing against since the beginning of forever :P. Being respectful and open to hearing and accepting that others have different views and beliefs, even if it fundamentally disagrees with you (such as is the case with religion vs homosexuals), is being open-minded. Preferring to have sexual relations with one, or both sexes does not make you more or less open-minded than the other -- there is no scale of "better" or "worse".


What I don't understand is why other people are judging this man at all unless he's purposely telling people about his preferences, in which case, isn't that kind of on him? He's in a monogamous, committed relationship with a woman, so why should I, or his neighbors, or his friends, or whoever is giving him a hard time care one teeny tiny bit if he fantasizes about men in his spare time? Being gay or straight or bisexual or pansexual or asexual or clownsexual or whatever is not what makes a person who they are. It's about as akin to him telling people he likes to be pegged or he prefers frilly lingerie on women or any other preference he has. Why do I need to know this? Why should I care? Why is he going out of his way to tell me this, especially if he's married into a heterosexual relationship?

Ultimately, when you're "middle of the road", as bisexuals are, as it is with politics or anything else people are "split" on, you won't garner the full support of either side. It doesn't make any discrimination more acceptable, but you can't have the benefits without the drawbacks.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2010, 04:27:12 PM »
Exactly! With the added bonus that sex isn't fattening ^^

Precisely. And at the birthday parties I've been to, you're actually ribbed about "missing out" if you say you don't like cake and go only for ice cream.

Also at thanksgiving, when yours truly forgoes pie. >.>

Anyway, I'm not saying that straight or gays should be ostracized, but neither should those who identify as bi. Ribbed, sure, but once the 'greedy' jokes turn into 'ha ha only serious', there's a bit of a problem.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2010, 04:45:43 PM »
And just because they write yaoi doesn't mean they would jump for joy if their boyfriend said "Hey baby, I was thinking about this guy I work with, and um... yeah."

Oh no - it's all about the idealized pairing.  When it comes to reality - I seem to remember a quote from Kazyth about two mangy bears and a bucket of KFC?



Oh, no doubt that the overwhelming majority of readers and writers of yaoi/slash/gay romance are women. Straight women. But still a minority when compared to the overall popular culture that perceives female bisexuality to be, for lack of a better term, fashionable.

Just look at mainstream porn, for example. Just about every mainstream adult film marketed to heterosexual audiences has a girl/girl scene. Guy/guy? Nope, couldn't find a scene if you tried.

Also, mainstream porn (at least the ones I've seen on the shelves at the adult store and in that box of vids Mr. Oniya hides in the closet), markets more towards the male audience than the possibility of a mixed audience.  Let's face it, male porn stars are not chosen for what they look like above the neck, while female porn stars tend to require a certain head-to-toe look.  (Or at least head to knees.)

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2010, 08:06:00 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/06/28/bisexual.male.last.closet/index.html?iref=obnetwork

I really enjoyed reading this article, and it resonated deeply with my feelings on the matter. It really does feel sometimes that those who swing both ways are overlooked, dismissed, and mistrusted among both groups. Both groups seem to think that if you are bisexual, you're really just pretending for a while and soon enough you'll run away with Someone Else. As the article pointed out, it's not that there are not benefits, but that doesn't make it very comfortable when the bad situations come up, also.

Discuss.

(If you would like to discuss gay rights or related topics, please be sure to make another thread. Thanks.)

Thanks for bringing this up Trieste. As I've noted before I volunteer for an organization that trains aging service providers on GLBT elders (we use GLBT here instead of the coastal LGBT). I have to admit, we spend time discussing the unique subcultures of GL and T, but just sort of throw B in there as another group that could associate with either GL or with straight people.

I need to think more on this and appreciate the thread.

I 100% agree with Torch that there is this...what's the word?...questioning of bisexual men by gay men. Almost like a - really? I bet you're just playing to society. I have met a man who considers himself a bisexual, but when asked about it further he admits never having a long-term relationship with a woman. He considers himself a bisexual because he believes a woman is hot. It makes me wonder what exactly does it mean to be bisexual? One definition I see is the willingness to "partner" with either sex. Another part of me sees just the mere attraction to either sex. It makes me think.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2010, 08:16:44 PM »
I 100% agree with Torch that there is this...what's the word?...questioning of bisexual men by gay men. Almost like a - really? I bet you're just playing to society. I have met a man who considers himself a bisexual, but when asked about it further he admits never having a long-term relationship with a woman. He considers himself a bisexual because he believes a woman is hot. It makes me wonder what exactly does it mean to be bisexual? One definition I see is the willingness to "partner" with either sex. Another part of me sees just the mere attraction to either sex. It makes me think.

Well, if you go by the Kinsey scale (which I love; sexuality is fluid and experimentation should not end with college!) then there are only 2 of 5 possible ratings that are actually only attracted to one single sex, whether it's the same sex or the opposite sex. Even if you spread the population out evenly among the 5 sets, you get a majority of the population (3/5) that is not entirely gay or straight. The way it was explained to me, Kinsey actually thought of the population as more shaped like a sine wave, with the lows being at 1, 3, and 5... in his opinion, most of the population was moderately bi. I have a hard time with the concept; it's pretty alien to me to differentiate based on plumbing, but I land pretty solidly at a 3.

I do find myself wondering why bisexuality is based on relationships or open attraction when other sexualities are not. A woman who professes to be straight will be believed with little resistance, even if she is not currently in a heterosexual relationship. Same with a straight man, or a gay man/woman... It's as if people need proof that you're really bi, that you really mean it when you say you're into both. Other sexualities don't seem to be held to the same standard, in my experience.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2010, 09:02:10 PM »
I do find myself wondering why bisexuality is based on relationships or open attraction when other sexualities are not. A woman who professes to be straight will be believed with little resistance, even if she is not currently in a heterosexual relationship. Same with a straight man, or a gay man/woman... It's as if people need proof that you're really bi, that you really mean it when you say you're into both. Other sexualities don't seem to be held to the same standard, in my experience.

Exactly! I need to consider my thoughts/prejudices more in regard to people who are bisexual.  :-[

Offline Serephino

Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2010, 09:31:51 PM »
The more I'm on sites like this, and the more I read, the more I come to understand that human sexuality is a strange thing.  If I remember right, the Kinsey scale puts me at a 4.  I dated people of both genders, but have only had sex with one person; my boyfriend.  I'm a little more awkward around women, and have noticed hetero erotic role plays are starting to feel a little weird to me.

But...  I do enjoy hetero porn, go figure...  I also do find some women attractive.  So I don't know what in the hell I am....  I do think though that people need to stop labeling everything and trying to fit everything in a nice, neat box.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Unique challenges of bisexuality
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2010, 09:36:08 PM »
I think the fact that Kinsey divided things up into discreet groups (1 is different than 2 is different than 3) made things too cut-and-dried.  The scale should (in my opinion) function as a continuous thing - someone could be a 3.7, for example, or a 1.9.