The above screenshot from our unscientific poll shows that 12 percent of male respondents identify as bisexual while 26 percent of female respondents are bi. Of all the straight-identified respondents, 21 percent say they have had a pleasurable sexual experience with someone of the same gender. And 26 percent of respondents do not believe that bisexuality is a sexual identity of its own. Read all of the results here. Below are more stories and observations from bisexual men who bristled at the previous readers who doubted their existence:
When I was about 13 or 14, I realized I was attracted to men. I had many deep crushes on girls as children, and no real attraction to men until I hit puberty. I liked fantasizing about both, and I had two significant relationships in that period of bisexuality, one with a boy and another with a girl. They were both pretty good. Throughout this time, it was drilled into me by coming out stories and adults both gay and straight that bisexuality was a stopping point on the way to being gay. I still had crushes on girls, but my awkwardness and general unattractiveness mostly kept them from becoming relationships. I also had crushes on (mostly straight) boys.
At 16, as one of the few juniors at a debate camp full of seniors, there was a group of friends I really wanted to be part of – a clique led by a smart, good-looking girl with a gaggle of male followers. At first she thought I was hitting on her; that’s when I made my move and came out as gay. If I’m looking back and being totally honest, I think my shift from bisexual to gay at 16 was actually based on my attraction to a woman. This is a pattern that would hold for the next four years or so: I would develop close friendships with females I was actually attracted to while having sexual and romantic relationships exclusively with men. There was one exception: one of my female idols and I got so drunk and a hotel room that we attempted to have sex, but booze and marijuana and sexual confusion are not kind to the erection of any man.
At 20, I met the woman I would eventually marry. She is amazing, beautiful, smart, and we are infinitely compatible. During the early phase of our relationship, I spent a lot of time thinking about what it meant that I now had the most significant relationship of my life so far with a woman. Mostly it was just awkward. Coming out as gay to everyone you know was hard, and occasionally painful. Coming out to everyone you know again as bi just confuses them. I still am attracted to men, but I absolutely love my wife.
What I’ve concluded from all of this is that a lot of people’s confusion is based in two assumptions about bisexuality: for men it’s a phase before gay and for women it’s a phase before straight. I think this is often true, but man is it irritating to have all of those cases used against your identity.
Or as another reader puts it:
In most of these cases, a bisexual woman is perceived as a straight woman faking it to be edgy – a poser trying to attract men with a hot fantasy – and a bisexual man is perceived as a gay man in denial. In both these instances, society seems to be saying that if you’re going to deviate from the sexual norm, the only valid choice is the cock.
In my early teen years, I periodically developed powerful crushes on other boys in my classes. I’d worry that I was gay (I’m the son of a devoutly Catholic mother and was devout at that age as well), but then I’d think “but I also have a crush on all these girls.” In fact, I’d had crushes on girls from an early age. Since I’d never heard of bisexuality and figured a person was either one or the other, I figured “well, if I like girls, I must be straight, regardless of what I feel for these other boys.” Even then, when one of those boys dropped me in favor of “cooler” friends, I moped for a whole school year.
The lightning bolt didn’t really hit until a few months later when I was out hiking with my best friend and one of our old high-school buddies.
My friend had joined the rowing team at his college and had become extraordinarily fit in just a couple of months. We were hiking back to the car and my two friends challenged each other to a race. As they ran off, I caught myself admiring my friend’s ass. And not just in a “hey, he looks good” kind of way. The things I wanted to do with that ass would have shocked him. I was so surprised that I had to sit down. Soon after, I told my other best friend from high school (an ex-girlfriend) that “I think I might be bisexual.”
Her response? ”Duh.”
She told me that the way I’d been around certain men had aroused her suspicions years previously. She rattled off a list of names and at each one I felt a flutter. A litany of handsome, gorgeous, or just cute young men, any one of whom I’d have eagerly …
This was all about 25 years ago. In the intervening years, I’ve dated more women than men and I have no trouble admitting that I’m more often attracted to women. My taste in men frequently surprises me; I don’t have a single type; I’m not usually attracted to tremendously masculine men or to particularly effeminate men (for that matter, my taste in women is similarly androgynous). And in the last few years my social circumstances have moved me away from “traditional” gay culture. However, the two real passions I’ve had in my life were for a simply beautiful man and a gorgeous woman. And in neither case was it because I was “turned on by ‘dirty’”, as your reader put it. I was madly in love with both of them and was crushed when those relationships ended.
So, do we exist? Yes. Are there more of us than anyone else? Well, it’s true that we have that choice and in the prevailing social climate in this country, is it any surprise that most men who are occasionally attracted to other men chose to simply “be straight”? Some of us don’t, however, and telling us that we don’t exist is, honestly, deeply insulting.
I’m just catching up on this thread and feel the need to weigh in, particularly to your reader’s comment, “What I haven’t ever encountered was a guy claiming to be bi, but apparently exclusively interested in men.” I could be the guy your reader is looking for. I openly self-identify as a gay man primarily for the sake of simplicity, and I have only had long-term relationships with other men. My friends and family all know. However, I have had sex with women, I enjoy it, and I actively seek it out on occasion. I had several legitimate “crushes” on women in my high school/college days, though nothing became of them. My romantic interest in women largely ended when I started dating guys in college (I’m 28 now). At the same time, I don’t think many women would enter a relationship with a guy who was openly bisexual, for whatever reason – fear of being his showpiece to appear straight or to satisfy his parents, or she may find it unmasculine, etc.
Starting in college, however, I’ve had a string of female partner’s I’ve hooked up with regularly, as well as a few one-off hookups. I guess that makes me the reverse of the stereotypical bisexual guy, who will have relationships with a woman and only dabble in sex with other men.
As I said before, I quite openly self-identify as gay because it’s easy, and it’s mostly true – I am more inclined toward sex with men, and I think I’m probably more compatible with men for relationships. I could probably give up sex with women if I had to. However, if I’m with gay friends and the topic of sex with women arises, I don’t mind sharing my experience. The usual response is, “Wait, you’re bi?” as if a guy who can swing both ways is a mythical creature. I just reply, “Yeah, sort of.” Then come the follow-up questions, and all I can really say is that I occasionally like sex with women. Apparently bisexuality confuses people, and initially telling someone that I’m gay just allows me to skip having to explain myself.
I am the reader who posted that I “don’t believe” in bisexuals. Of course I posted that to be inflammatory (like almost everything else I do). However, the responses don’t take into consideration my experiences. I was married to a woman for over ten years and I have two children. I had an incredibly fulfilling sex life. I had been flipping back and forth between men and women my whole life and I’ve had four long-term relationships; two men and two women. I loved my wife more than words can express and I still do.
My point only was that over time EVERYONE will find that they are better off with one or the other, whether or not they are sexually attracted, emotionally attracted, etc. to varying degrees. Unfortunately for my wife and children I didn’t realize this until it was too late to avoid causing a great deal of pain. So yes, I don’t deny that some of your male readers might be capable of relationships with both genders and that they might be fulfilling in both directions but I truly believe that for each person there will be one that will make them whole in the way the other cannot. I don’t think many of your readers who responded to me have reached this point in their lives yet. I was almost 40 when I figured it out. I wish them luck. It’s not an easy road.