Is being Bi just a phase?

Hey friends: time for the second question in my series. This week:

Do men call themselves bi when they can’t (yet) admit they’re gay?

First, I think the fact that the question was posed specifically in the male gender is interesting. I wonder questioner, why not people? What is it about the penis and about men in general that it makes it more difficult to imagine (and believe) that he can engage sexually with another man and still identify as bisexual, or even straight? Why don’t we automatically wonder the same thing about women? I think this question is tied up in taboo and misinformation about how it all works, sexually. I also think that men exploring sexually as well as their sexuality—is far more restricting than it is for women. I think it is a recipe for closets, shame, lies and disaster.

Can men call themselves bi when they can’t (yet) admit they’re gay? Yes. Women too. But—I think that identifying as bisexual sometimes takes a while to settle in to. Most people (present writer included) have had or do have a desire to move you into binary expressions of sexuality or gender. Its easier really, more cut and dry, black and white, not quite so messy and unclear. I believe it takes a strong person to reject this push (if it doesn’t fit for them) and live, actually live and love and have your entire being, in the gray.

When I was first coming out, as my friend Tina can attest, it was almost every other week that I would make a bold new proclamation: I am bisexual! (next week) I am for sure a lesbian. (a few weeks later) uhhhh, I am a bisexual, I think. (another month or so) Lesbian. I love women and will never love a man again. (*sigh* met said man, and…) well you get the picture. She used to tease me relentlessly. Shit—I would have teased me too. Good grief, what an emotional workout. And with each new proclamation came a change of wardrobe (think levis, flannel and white tshirts and a wallet, then suddenly back to purses, lipstick, and hair goo). Back and forth, forth and back until I finally seemed to settle in to the messy, gray, fullness of being bi. If you were my friend during these years—I love you. Thank you for watching me bumble and stumble my way into what fit, and not ditching my crazy ass. I love you for it.

Questioner, what I also hear in your question is a fear—of falling in love with someone who might flip flop on you?

People fall out of love. In every equation of relationship. Men leave men for women, women leave women for men. Men leave women, women leave men. It all hurts, it all sucks, and it all happens. But—questioner and friends—we know this isn’t the whole story either. People do fall in love. People do stay together. All kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons.

My two cents: ease up on the young or newly bi folks, ask questions, listen to the answers, love love love people for exactly who they are telling you they are, unconditionally, and let the rest work itself out. It always does, whether we are a part of it or not.

See you next week!


3 thoughts on “Is being Bi just a phase?

  1. Men do not generally identify as bisexual, and almost never as a waystation on the road to gay. Why? Because gay men have it easier than bi men. We face all manner of bigotry unique to us. We are insatiable, fence sitters, want to have our cake and eat it too, et cetera…

    The sad fact is that most men who are unsure how to identify live in the closet and have dangerous, anonymous sex with other men. It is a risky and self-loathing state of affairs.

  2. Wow Rachel, are you looking in my wardrobe? Can you see the Levis next to the pink cardigan?? I decided in the end to dress how I like, but it’s sometimes difficult. And there is a serious point about both being bi and dressing femme, which is that some lesbians are still a bit right-on about both, which can be as restrictive as straight expectations.

  3. Well said! It’s often ignored that many of us, both male and female, actually do identify for a time as gay before settling on the bisexual identity. This makes the argument that we’re just not willing to be fully out somewhat ridiculous. Sexuality is not a one way track, so bisexuality can’t always be just be a stop on the way.

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