Ask a Bi Man…
As a bi man, I often find that there is a lot of confusion from others regarding what bisexuality really is, which naturally leads to a wide variety of questions. As understandable as the confusion might be, in my experience, a lot of these questions born of curiosity are asked in times, places, and ways that are wildly inappropriate.
In those instances, I am not inclined to engage in a conversation. It doesn’t mean that I am unwilling to have these discussions and answer these questions eventually, just that I, like every other person, want to feel comfortable in the setting in which they are being discussed.
During Bi Visibility Month, I wanted to bring some of these questions to light to help understand where some of this confusion comes from and do my part to alleviate some of it as well.
So, I asked folks to ask me their questions. These are questions that I was sent via social media; please understand that these answers are mine alone and solely reflect my experiences and opinions as a bi man. I encourage other bi individuals out there to share your own answers as well!
What spaces do you feel most comfortable in (gay or straight)?
I feel comfortable in both spaces, but it really depends on what I have planned for the evening. For instance, I would not do or say some of the things I would in a gay bar that I would do or say in a straight bar, and vice versa. I do not view this as “putting on an act” in any scenario, but rather understanding the environment and reacting to it in a way that is most comfortable to me. There are issues with acceptance in both types of bar that can be improved upon, but fortunately I feel equally as comfortable in both spaces.
Is it hard to navigate dating seeing as the stigma of bisexuality is prevalent in both communities?
Definitely, particularly when it comes to relationships with gay men. Generally speaking, they seem to have the biggest issue with bi men because they view it as a phase rather than a legitimate sexual orientation. Additionally, there have been those who have voiced concerns to me that a bi individual cannot be faithful in a relationship due to the fact that they are attracted to more than one gender, which can be particularly frustrating because it paints bi people as lacking in moral characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness.
How do you deal with people who say you can’t be bisexual, you can only be heterosexual or homosexual because at the end of the day you’ll end up with one or the other?
I say regardless of who I wind up with (if I wind up with anyone) I will still be the same person I was before; the logic that your partner determines your sexual orientation is inherently flawed in my opinion. Additionally, I would not choose a partner whose mind was so closed off that they think there are only two ways to express sexual orientation.
How/when did you know that you were bi?
To some degree, I knew that I was attracted to both men and women since I was quite young, probably around age eight or nine. However, at that time I did not know what bisexuality was; I genuinely thought that it had to be one or the other which lead to years of confusion for me. I finally learned that bisexuality was a legitimate orientation through the punchline of a joke; not an ideal way to discover it, but it certainly motivated me to begin searching for resources and answers. I’d say it wasn’t until my college years that I fully accepted myself as a bi man.
What stigmas do bisexual men face that homosexual men do not face?
I believe we face a lot of the same stigmas from those outside the LGBTQ+ community, but within it things are quite different. I have found that as a bi man, I am continually berated and told that I am not valid. I have been told I’m a damage to the LGBTQ+ community and a detriment to people who have “really come out.” We are frequently ignored or told we are wrong, which is very disheartening to experience in a community that is supposed to be accepting.
What is the biggest misconception you’ve encountered as a bi man?
I would say that there are three bi misconceptions that I routinely face:
- That bisexuality is not valid and that I am confused or in a phase
- Bi individuals are incapable of being in a committed, monogamous relationship
- There is not a set percentage or number to gauge “how straight or gay” you are
Do some bisexual people only enjoy having sex with one gender?
I do think that some bi people could be physically attracted to one gender, but emotionally attracted to more than one. I believe this would depend on how you view attraction and relationships, but for me personally, I would not have any issue with such a person identifying as bi.
What are some things that people say/ask you that they think are totally ok that actually are not?
I think the most frequent and invasive question I get asked is for me to provide a detailed account of my sexual history in order to prove that I am in fact a bi man. It is also one of the few questions that I do not answer anymore.