Bi and Dating, when the World is Divided into “Gay” and “Straight”

zach

9/26/16

Dating a man is very different than dating a woman, and I believe this has little to do with biology. From the day we’re born, we’ve been socialized to think and behave in ways that coincide with our biological sex. How we dress, which careers we pursue, how much we value family, how often we talk, how aggressive we are, and how nurturing we are — all of these things and so much more are heavily influenced by what is (or is not) hanging between our legs.

The societal scripts we’re taught for “how to date” epitomize the differences between the sexes. Men are told to sleep with as many women as possible, and of course, are a “player” if they do so. The script for women tells them to resist the advances of all men. This script has changed over the past couple of decades, as feminists are slowly smashing the patriarchy. Empowered women believe they can sleep with whomever they want, and there are terms with negative connotations for more promiscuous men, such as manwhore.

However, many women are still taught one thing: all men want is sex. Because of this, they need to be careful and skeptical of what men tell them and the promises they offer. While prudent to not trust someone right off the bat, women have be socialized to not trust men. This creates an antagonistic setup when dating from the get go, which can lead to some awkward tension.

When I date a man, I can throw all the social scripts out the window. There are no societal scripts for how gay/bi men are supposed to act when dating other men. So many times now, gay/bi men meet online, have sex a few times, realize they like one another, and then start dating. Often, we have sex on the first date. There’s no “standard” way to date in the gay community.

This allows for more freedom in how to approach dating.

So the truth is, I hate dating most women. I’m significantly more nervous on a date with a woman, because there’s more tension from the get go. I also think it’s ridiculous that I’m expected to pay the bill. I hate that I can’t discuss what I want openly with woman, because my bluntness is deemed as too abrasive.

I often ask men after a first date (or meeting at a club). “Hey, this was a lot of fun. If you’re up for it, I’d love to head back and have sex.” I’d say 99% of this works. It’s not deemed too aggressive. In fact, the men respect me for my honesty. If I sense any form of hesitation, I say, “Oh my God. I’m sorry, I totally misread that.” I then joke about how embarrassed I am.

While I could say that to a woman, I believe the odds of them being shocked and offended is significantly higher. So too, are the odds of me being rejected.

Before I go further, let me clarify. I know this isn’t all women, and I know this isn’t all men. This is often not the case for poly/queer/kink women, and because of this, the women I date are bisexual/poly/sex-positive. In fact, I haven’t dated a straight women seriously in about three years, and that was before I came out as bisexual.

I also don’t want to sound like the only thing I care about is sex. That’s far from the case. What I care about is being able express myself and my wants openly, without fear of judgement. I don’t want people to unnecessarily have their guard up against me when I’m trying to get to know them, being nothing but honest. I want to feel comfortable with myself when I meet new people. I want the act of dating to be fun, instead of a nerve-wracking chore.

It’s easier for me to date men. That’s not to say I don’t date women. I do, quite often, but I do not pursue women the same way. To be honest, I only date women who are aggressive and upfront from the start. That’s when I feel my most comfortable with someone, when everything is laid out on the table. So I no longer approach women in bars, and I no longer have different-sex dating apps. I only have only Grindr and Surge.

The thing is, the world is divided into gay and straight. There are no bi bars. Just gay and straight bars. It’s assumed everyone is either gay or straight, and there’s no in between. While there are bisexual meetup groups, those groups are few and far between. And if you’re bisexual and only willing to date other bisexuals, you’re dating pool has just decreased by roughly 95%. Of course, that’s completely fine, but if you don’t have a bi/pan/genderqueer community in your area, it’s going to make dating nearly impossible. So you have to pick men or women. And if you’re looking for men, you’re going to have to start attending more gay-focused events. If you’re looking for women, you have the world at your fingertips, but you shouldn’t be attending gay events or using gay dating apps.

So I’ve been asking myself, when the world is divided into gay and straight, where do I put my effort into meeting a partner when I’m neither? Gracefully transitioning between gay and straight culture isn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. It’s not easy going from an gay underground leather party, where everyone is in jockstraps, to going to a straight bar. How you act and behave and speak to people is very different. For one, you can pretty much talk to any guy in a leather bar, and they’ll be open to discussion. That’s just not the case at straight bars when I talk to women.

This is part of the reason so many bisexual men/women identify as gay or straight, when they know they’re attracted to men, women, and genderqueer folk. It’s simply easier to have a community when you’re either gay or straight. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought to myself how much easier it would be if I was just 100% gay.

But no, I’m 100% bisexual and will always be. Still, I’m realizing that being bisexual doesn’t mean I can’t identify with one culture more. For me, that’s gay culture. It doesn’t mean I have to evenly date men and women. It doesn’t mean I have to put equal effort into dating men and women. For me, right now, it’s a lot easier to date men. I feel more comfortable. I feel part of a community, and the communication between me and the men I’ve dated has been significantly stronger and more direct than the women I’ve dated.

So the short answer is, when the world is divided into gay and straight, I’m going to put more of an effort into finding men than I am women. When I first came to this conclusion, my decision brought on an existential sexual identity crises. I asked myself if I can be “truly” bisexual if I primarily want to date and pursue men. But I’ve realized that this doesn’t make me any less bisexual. It just means that right now, I’m more comfortable with myself around men, so I am going to actively pursue men harder. That might change in the future. I know this isn’t the same for all bisexual men, but it’s true for me.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Zachary Zane
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Zachary Zane is a modern day Carrie Bradshaw from Los Angeles. His writing focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, dating, and relationships. He's currently a contributor at Cosmopolitan, Bustle, PRIDE, and Huffington Post Queer Voices. He's working on a novel, which explores the modern relationship between masculinity, vulnerability, and sexuality.




  • Lisa

    I’m a bi woman (married). I hate to say this, but dating women is a nightmare. I think until the final residue of patriarchy and the idea of what a “good girl” fades away we’re going to see more bi women giving up and “going straight” and bi men “going gay”. Lesbians can be (but not always) totally hostile towards us, straight women just want a gay experience (usually with their man), and bi women are so hard to find that it makes the out bi’s want to give up all together.

    When more women declare sexual independence and start owning their sexuality as something that belongs to them we’ll see change. I own my sexual identity and share it with who I would like to share it with. I can change or shift it if I want…..but the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily agree with this.

  • Darrah Jones

    “The thing is, the world is divided into gay and straight. There are no bi bars. Just gay and straight bars. It’s assumed everyone is either gay or straight, and there’s no in between. While there are bisexual meetup groups, those groups are few and far between. And if you’re bisexual and only willing to date other bisexuals, you’re dating pool has just decreased by roughly 95%. Of course, that’s completely fine, but if you don’t have a bi/pan/genderqueer community in your area, it’s going to make dating nearly impossible.”

    Such a great point. I totally agree with what you’re getting at here. However, I think you have some blinders on, regarding the reasons you are feeling uncomfortable dating women. Please stick with me through this comment.

    Dating women is going to be different than dating men, because men have not had to face the constant threat of violence just for being a woman. (Yes, men can face violence, but no, if you’re a cis-man, you can’t say you’ve experienced violence for being a woman) It’s not the same, and yes, you have to think before you speak about whether or not what you say is going to come off as threatening or harmful in any way, but that’s really no comparison to the woman you’re on a date with who has and is actively taking precautions in the even that you intend to sexually assault her. (Letting her friend know where she is, and when she should expect a “home safe” text, pepper spray in her bag, ensuring that she drove there so she doesn’t have to be in a car alone with you in case you ended up being a “creeper” (posing a threat to her well-being in any way), etc.) These are the things women are constantly worrying about, and if we aren’t, and something happens, we are told that it’s our fault for not taking the proper precautions. If we ARE taking them, we are called paranoid. I think that your article is written entirely from your perspective without considering or at least acknowledging the inherent reasons that this dynamic exists. Yeah, women will probably reject an advance at a club for sex, but that may not because they don’t want to have sex. It very well may be because the chances of her ending up being sexually assaulted by you are staggering. If you’re interested in dating women, it may be good to start thinking about the reasons you’re feeling uncomfortable.

    Women may not be as upfront because the stakes that they will encounter violence from you, as a stranger are much higher. Please realize that the issues you are describing with your encounters with women may very well be due to the threat of violence that is always (ALWAYS) up against us, and most likely has nothing to do with whether or not these women are attracted to you, interested in you sexually, romantically, or even as a friend. Please consider this.

    Again, the points you made about the difficulty of being bi in a gay/straight world, I definitely relate with and agree with. Good luck with everything. 🙂

  • Darrah Jones

    Respect.

  • Kristine Sihto

    I share your preference for not dating women. I’m attracted more to women on a physical basis, but on a mental basis I prefer men precisely for the same reasons you’ve laid out here. Obviously as a woman I don’t have other women expecting me to foot the bill, but in general I find that, because I’m a very practical person who refuses to conform to the constant fear state that society pushes onto females, it’s easier to relate to men. I find women to be, in general, vapid and frustrating.
    I figured out a long time ago, after I left a string of female one-night-stands behind, that I was just too lazy to continue pursuing women. I didn’t want to have to sift through the chaff to find a woman that could excite me mentally, so I simply left the gay bars behind and sought out men predominately. Since then, my only relationships with women have been within poly relationships.