A reader resurrects the thread once again:
I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but never really felt compelled to write. I’m doing so now to thank you for the ongoing series on bisexuality. Recently our teenage son told us he is bisexual. It was a complete surprise to my husband and me. I knew he was interested in girls, so I just put him in the hetero category and never thought twice about it. We have lots of gay friends, several of whom are like extended family. There has never been any question in our house that a person’s sexuality is no big deal. And it’s not.
But even so, this knowledge rocked my world in ways I didn’t expect, including confronting my own ideas about bisexuality. And I gotta tell ya that my close gay friends were NO HELP when I tried to talk to them about it. Every single one of them has responded to some degree with the same comment: Oh, he’s too young to know what he is yet. My reaction: WTF? That does not jive with the “born this way” message I’ve been hearing like a steady drumbeat.
So, that’s where The Dish has helped tremendously. It’s the only place I’ve been able to hear directly from people who identify as bisexual about their journeys, frustrations and needs. I have read every single post in the series, and I hope you keep it going.
Another keeps it going:
I’m one of those bisexuals you have identified as bisexual and heteroamorous. But I’ve come to believe that my truncated sexual attraction to men, i.e., lacking the emotional dimension, is a result of my internalized homophobia.
I was an intellectually and emotionally precocious child, and at the age of 11, had my first huge crush on a girl in my school. In the next year, I was sent to an all boys’ boarding school, where I promptly developed a huge crush on a boy a couple of years older than me. Sadly, the crush was discovered by a classmate, who suggested that I was a “fairy”. In terror, I ruthlessly repressed my homosexual desires into adulthood.
Only in my twenties, did I begin to confront my attraction to men, and even that was for years a deeply confused attraction. As I told a therapist, I’m bi, but I don’t even like the smell of men. As for my heterosexuality, I allowed myself the full experience of it, and I am unquestionably both heterosexual and heteroamorous – I’m very happily married to a woman.
But over the years, I’ve worked to overcome my homophobic resistance to my attraction to men, and have reasonably succeeded – I even like the smell of men now, and can engage in homosexual sex without the tyrannizing Masters and Johnson-named observer on the shoulder who destroys all passionate sexual activity. But I strongly suspect that emotional attachment is the remaining prohibition imposed by my internalized homophobia. I often wondered who I would have grown up to be, had I not learned a terror of my homosexual attractions at an early age – I might even have grown up to be someone deeply attracted, both sexually and emotionally, to both sexes. I am saddened that the world allows so little room for that.
Update from a reader, who responds to the mother’s email:
If a gay tells her it’s too soon for your son to know his entire sexual mind, it’s not necessarily insensitive or against the “born this way” message. Many of her close friends may have taken years or decades to fully know themselves. I am gay, so I am going by what I’ve read, and bisexuality can be as you have noted – sexual or amorous – but can also be simultaneous or consecutive, meaning the attraction for both sexes is both at the same time or takes turns. I doubt a young man can know so much about what the rest of his life will be, and surely a woman’s more fluid sexuality should inform her that one’s first self-realizations aren’t forever. It also sounds like the mother will only accept from gays what she wants to hear.