Bisexuality and Dating Men

For the last couple of years, I've dated only men. I've slept with plenty of women, but all the people I've seen consistently or seriously were men. I wouldn't say that I've done this on purpose, but it's been a pretty obvious trend.

I think a lot of the reason for this is simple convenience. There are a lot more straight men scattered around in obvious places than there are queer women. They tend to approach me more often and I end up with them just as a matter of odds. In the past six months or so, I have been on more of a hetero kick, but that's not unusual. I've always gone through cycles of leaning one way or the other every once in a while. I had a lady cycle three years ago, and now I'm going the other way. Woo, fluid sexuality.

This trend of male-dating, however, puts me in a strange and slightly uncomfortable position. I'm a bisexual person who has been very involved in the queer community. In college, most of my female friends were queer. I was part of the leadership of the Gay Straight Alliance. I went to gay bars. Most of my jobs were in specifically queer-friendly or queer-oriented places. I tied a lot of my identity in with queerness.

And yet, most of my relationships were heterosexual. Straight, if you will.

Of course, the fact that my relationships are always open does allow me to sleep with women. That doesn't change the fact, though, that people assume I'm straight when I go out in public with a male sweetheart. It's sort of like the queer part of me is hidden inside myself.

I don't like feeling hidden. I end up questioning myself a lot because there is pressure from both sides to define and present myself as either queer or straight. It's not always an open or spoken pressure, although I've heard my share of "choose already" jokes and not-so-jokes. It's more often a pressure based on the fact that the queer community is so close and clearly-defined. There's a norm there, and there are great rewards of community and support for following it.

I do have a strong desire to be recognized for who I am and to fit in with a group. I'd like to be more independent, but part of my identity is based on how others see me. I suppose that's my own cross to bear, but it makes the bisexuality particularly hard when it keeps me separate from what seems to be such a fun and close-knit group. I'd like to be a part of it.

I'm not letting identity issues stop me from dating whomever I like (or love) or dressing how I want or making friends with whomever I want. It does cause me some angst, though, when I feel excluded not only from the straight world which kind of turns me off anyway, but the queer community that appeals to me.


Alexa said...

I went through a period where I was concerned about how people viewed my sexual orientation, my sexual identity as well.

Now, I just prefer to be known as a sexual being, and don't much care whether anyone else sees me as queer, straight, lez, or whatever. Don't stay too hung up on being concerned about how others see you. Be yourself and enjoy your sexuality the way you want to enjoy it.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Alexa. I like "sexual being" as a way of putting it. That's sort of my goal, to just be comfortable with whoever and however I am. I appreciate the encouragement.

Unknown said...

Oh, god, I connect with this post. It's so hard for me, a queer woman and LGBTQ activist that has dated mostly men, to find women. I can fuck them, sure. But they shy away from wanting to date me. Because it's a phase, I'm not really into girls, I'll eventually leave them for a man, etc.

And it's fucking frustrating as hell. But I don't back away from calling myself queer. Ever. Because it's a huge part of who I am, what I believe in, the people I surround myself with, and the life that I live (in AND out of the bedroom).

Julieta said...

Thanks for the post, I feel like this (and the position of bisexual people in general) never gets talked about in the queer community. I've been wrestling with it a lot lately, and trying to figure out how involved in campus pride stuff I want to be, and some of what I'm struggling with is the idea that acceptance to all of it can feel conditional at times-- if I'm in a monogamous relationship with a man, am I out of the club? I think this post may have inspired me to bring this topic up at Pride come fall.

Anonymous said...

I actually have the opposite problem, where I've been in so many relationships with women that I always get shocked reactions if I mention anything about being bi or being attracted to men. However, I've always just used the word gay as a blanket term (just because I don't like the word bi) and that tends to confuse people even more.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I think it definitely goes both ways. I'm not the first person to write about bisexual invisibility. Clearly a lot of us are experiencing some variation of this. Who knows? Maybe it's time to find a bisexual community.

Aviva DV said...

You make some great points, and it's a shame that the gay community, especially, responds so wonkily (for want of a better term) to bisexuality that not being with a woman for months or even years could make someone feel like they can't say they're queer. Paradoxically, it seems much more acceptable to appear straight (i.e. date mostly guys) and then identify yourself as bi when you're in a mostly heterosexual milieu, while the gay/lesbian community often acts like a bi woman who dates mostly guys better "make up her mind already" or "just admit she's actually straight." Drives me crazy, even though I'm not bi myself.

That said, I have a very good friend who is bisexual and has mostly dated (and been married to) men in the past ten years. But even though it's been years since she's been with a woman, she still corrects people who assume she's straight and still identifies as bisexual. People are going to make assumptions, but if you are able to correct their assumptions--perhaps even expand their horizons a little--then you can still own your sexual identity regardless of whom your dating. Just my two cents...

On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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