What’s A Bisexual Anyway? Ctd

In our latest Ask Anything video from Dan Savage, he defends himself against charges of biphobia:

Another reader adds to the ongoing discussion thread:

I’m a bisexual woman, so I guess I should speak up. There aren’t enough bisexuals who do, IMO, and we don’t get enough role models, fictional or otherwise. And we are often derided by both sides – from the gays for “being in the closet”, and by the straights, for whom we aren’t straight enough. The irony is, bisexuals are the ones who are confused by all this angst over sexuality. Both totally-gay and totally-straight people get “disgusted” by the idea of physical love with (whichever they’re not). But we don’t know what the fuss is all about, since we’re not “disgusted” by any of it.

Here’s what I wanted to write about, though: for circumstances having nothing to do with my sexuality, I’ve been celibate for several years. And it’s been interesting to note that on my own, with no outside influence of whom I’m dating at the time, my desires will flip back and forth between men and women. For a few weeks or months at a time, I primarily desire men, and then for another few weeks or months, women. It’s enough that I’ll think, “You know what? I’m really straight,” or “I’m really a lesbian.” After a few years of this, I’ve decided that yes, I’m definitely bi, because the other side of me always comes back. It’s been very curious to witness this in myself, and I wouldn’t have discovered it without celibacy. Curious.


Like the original reader, I am male and have had occasional sexual experiences with other men. My wife of 15 years is aware of these experiences and more often than not has been involved in them. Similarly she has had sexual experiences with women. I suppose we are what Dan Savage calls “monogamish.”

Here’s the thing though:

while technically I guess I am bisexual, I do not identify that way, or see it as integral to who I am. You’ve said in the past that homosexuality is an emotional identity. I accept that this is true, but perhaps bisexuality is not.

Or, more likely, perhaps Kinsey was right and there is a fluid scale to human sexuality and some people are emotionally bisexual (and would be comfortable in a relationship with both men and women) and some people are “predominantly heterosexual, with only incidental homosexual contact.” Incidentally, most of the guys we have encountered that engage in sexual activity with other men consider themselves straight. A few of the younger guys have started using labels like “heteroflexible” to identify themselves. Chris Ryan, whom you previously profiled on your site with a series of “Ask Anything” questions, has a new relationship site, Kotango, where in addition to straight, gay and bi, users can identify as heteroflexible, homoflexible, queer or pansexual.

I agree that for some bisexuals, blending in with the straight community is easier than identifying as a often victimized sexual minority, essentially hiding in plain site. On the other hand, for me and my wife, this is just something we like to do behind closed doors, but that doesn’t really define us emotionally. Most people aren’t out about their sexual proclivities. Their parents and friends don’t know about their open marriages, foot-fetishism, interest in BSDM, cosplay or that they’re secretly furries. I’d argue this is the case for some bisexual, or heteroflexibles as well. It’s not anyone’s business what we do, and we don’t believe it’s defining to who we are, so why talk about it?

As always, thank you for initiating a frank and provoking discussion I’m quite certain would be impossible to find anywhere else on the web.

Read the whole discussion here. My recent conversation with Dan about sex and marriage at the New York Public Library is here. His previous Ask Anything answers are here. Our full AA archive is here.