A male reader quotes another:
“(What I haven’t ever encountered was a guy claiming to be bi, but apparently exclusively interested in men.)” Actually, “bi” was often shorthand for something else in the old “men seeking men” section of the Village Voice personals. Guys used “bi” and/or “masc” to differentiate from “fem” men (which had its own large following). “Bi” implied they pass for straight and/or were turned off by femininity in other men and themselves. It was a physical description that didn’t pertain to sexual practices because this personals section was exclusively about dude-on-dude action.
Personally, I liked the idea of dating bi men even if he really wasn’t, and I liked dating married men even if they were a little fem. They just had to be a bear.
Another has a long and dramatic story:
One of your readers in response to the original letter wrote that he has never met a bisexual man who only plays around with men. I am as close to that as I think anybody is going to find. Growing up, my animal attraction was definitely more directed at other males, but I developed deep crushes on girls and women as well. At 17, I had my first girlfriend and we were together until I was 21. Our sex life was satisfying (to me anyway, she had problems achieving orgasm from intercourse out of fear of pregnancy). However, I also had many male obsessions, any one of which I would have acted on if the situation arose – or more accurately, if the other guy had been extremely aggressive.
To that point, my only sexual encounter had been as a 16-year old at a choral convention of which my high school was one of only two invited. The rest of the groups were from colleges across the country. I relentlessly stared at this guy, not because I thought he was so attractive (there were others way more attractive) but because he was obviously gay. We eventually struck up a conversation and he asked me if I wanted to go to his room “to talk.” When there, he made a big move, which surprisingly, shocked me. But we messed around and then I went out to dinner and a show with my class, embarrassed and humiliated.
I continued dating women but developed a crush on a co-worker who prided himself on being the “first” for a lot of straight guys. I still identified as straight and aside from saying things like “I wouldn’t push Sting out of bed”, I never let on. We wound up in an extremely unhealthy relationship that lasted for two years on and off.
After it was over and I had recovered my sanity and self-esteem, I embarked on a period of dating women and sleeping around with men.
I told myself I was attracted to men but emotionally I was better off with a woman and I suspected I would never be happy with either completely. Surprisingly, I subsequently met a woman at the gym with whom I fell deeply in love. In two months we were married and in two years we had two children. I was 99% faithful as she seemed to help me put it all together. She was beautiful and wild and fun and raunchy and more importantly when I told her about my attraction to men and about my ex-boyfriend, her response was, “Cool!” Maybe twice in the first six years I had a little dalliance with a guy when she was out of town but it was nothing she probably wouldn’t have forgiven.
Seven years into my marriage, my wife was diagnosed as clinically depressed (she wasn’t, she was bipolar) and she was put on medication which made her worse and which also amplified the effects of alcohol (up to that point alcohol had no effect on her in any way, she could drink 20 shots and remain as sober as the moment she started) and she started to get drunk regularly. Our marriage started to fall apart and I started to sleep with men any chance I could get. The more unhappy we were, the gayer I became. We resembled a miserable married couple except for my secret. I still believed however, that emotionally I was meant for women and truthfully, I still loved my wife very much.
At eleven years of marriage, I met a man online and fell madly in love. Three weeks later I left my wife and he left his boyfriend of 14 years. A messy divorce followed. This man and I are still together 13 years later and we have been married for ten (in Ottawa in 2003). We regularly play outside the relationship together (although much less lately) and it’s always been with other men. We’ve joked about certain women we could have fun with (he has had his moments with women through the years), but it’s talk and nothing more. I’m very happy and I’m not tempted by women. However, I still do find certain women extremely sexually attractive and I would have no problem following through if the situation arose.
If I’m honest with myself I never really stopped being in love with my wife. I don’t have much to do with her anymore except when it comes to our beautiful children, but she really was and is someone very special to me. But for a number of reasons it wasn’t right.
I identified as bisexual for years after I left her but the truth is despite my obvious ability to have relationships and sex with men and women, I am gay. And while I’m sure you didn’t realize or expected this to go here, I really don’t believe there are bisexual men (as previously discussed, the fluidity of most women’s sexuality is way more complicated); men who can live life like a blank slate and where ever they wind up is fine with them. There is a correct choice for each person regardless of what titillates them or what they can do in the moment.
Your initial reader isn’t bisexual if his letter is honest. He’s a straight man who’s turned on by “dirty”. Despite 11 years of a mostly happy marriage in which my wife and I had a fulfilling sexual relationship until the day I left her, I could not completely be who I am with her. With my husband, I can. While many may disagree with me and that’s fine, I don’t find bisexuals threatening because I don’t believe in them. However, I’m as close to a bisexual man who only fools around with men as you are likely to find.
I feel vindicated by my earlier email to you by that fact that every letter you have posted is from a “bisexual” woman. You won’t find any truly bisexual men. Your initial reader is either titillated by the taboo of it all or he is a closeted gay man who is in denial. I know from personal experience, and so does every other gay man who finds women attractive in some way. It isn’t surprising to me that you appear to have very few men who would openly discuss their bisexuality.
Read the whole Dish thread on bisexuality here.