Straddling the sexual divide

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One of my guy friends has recently entered into a heterosexual relationship with a girl. All well and good, right? No big deal? Wrong. This friend of mine has slept with men for as long as I’ve known him. He’s had long term relationships, hookups, whatever — all with other dudes. And now he tells me he’s in love with a girl! To quote Wallace Shawn from “The Princess Bride,” inconceivable! How can someone previously interested only in sleeping with guys all of a sudden switch sides? I asked my friend just what exactly was going on. His response? He’s bi.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like bisexuality certainly comes with a stigma, and plenty of people identifying as bi receive varying degrees of backlash. They’re told they are deluded, lying to themselves, totally wrong about how they feel. I’ve had disbelieving friends that think proclaiming yourself bi is just a way to slut it up, to sleep with whoever you want. They see bisexuals as indiscriminate, as casting too wide of a net, as getting both sides of their muffin buttered when they really only deserve, like, half of a buttered muffin.

Clearly we can agree that this mindset isn’t helpful. These friends of mine who think bisexuals are living in a fantasy world and haven’t “chosen” whether they want to be gay or straight yet are definitely a little wrong-headed. A person’s sexuality is about way, way more than just who they’re doing it with. The physical act of sex is just a small part of whether you’re gay, straight, somewhere in between or somewhere outside this framework.

So I got to thinking. When it comes to sex, do we prefer things in apples-or-oranges opposition, or can there be shades of gray? I’ll certainly admit that some small part of me felt a bit betrayed when that friend of mine told me he was switching from guys to girls. I wanted to shout, are you kidding? After realizing you like guys and coming out to your friends and telling your parents — after all that you want to tell me, psych, you’re flipping from dick to vag? Of course, his response (that he’s bi) proves it’s more complicated than that — but I still wanted him to settle down and choose a team.

But when I put on my sex-blog cap and think about the good stuff, I can begin to see that bisexuality might actually be a pretty comfortable place to be. I’m starting to see those criticisms my friends expressed as kind of awesome. Sleeping with someone who’s sexually experienced and has had all different kinds of sex partners — both guys and girls — might know a thing or two about what feels good in the sack. If bisexuals are open-minded enough to straddle that tricky category that’s somewhere between gay and straight, good for them.

Right now you’re probably saying, “Whoa, Greg, let’s not go too far.” Okay, let me calm down. Let’s not paint bisexuals as some weird breed of sex masters just because they like guys and girls. I’m just asking you to think twice about bisexuality — think of it not as a pit stop on the way to someone’s real choice about their sexuality, but as their true sexuality. They’ve decided. It may not be black or white, but it’s who they are.


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