Good Bi Love: You Can Still Have Preferences

5/28/2018

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I prefer to date men. This isn’t something that I admit openly often. In fact, it was something I felt guilty about for years, so when people asked me, “Who do you like to date more: men or women?” I would say it’s not about the gender, it’s about the person. It’s about the connection. I felt an obligation to give this response because it felt like the “right” cookie-cutter response that most bi activists would give.

I’ve always hated this question. It excludes transgender and genderqueer individuals, whom I also date. Additionally, I’ve also had gay men ask me this question with a very misogynistic slant, saying things like, “There’s definitely less emotions and drama when dating another guy, right?”

No sir, you are not right. First of all, I’ve dated plenty of emotional men (and being emotional isn’t a bad thing!). And second, seriously? Ya’all think men are all that? Come on, most men are trash!

Nevertheless, the honest to god truth is that I typically prefer to date men. This doesn’t mean I exclusively date men. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to dating women – I’m happily dating a woman right now whom I adore!

Here, however, are a few reasons why I prefer to date men.

There isn’t the preconceived script of what a relationship is supposed to look like between two men. 

There’s no “man” or “woman” in the relationship. I don’t feel restricted by traditional gender roles. Of course, I can have a relationship with a woman that doesn’t have traditional gender roles, and that’s the type of relationships with women that I have, but I find it often takes additional work.

Straight women often won’t date me.

This is a large reason why I don’t actively pursue women – particularly straight women – it’s because they don’t want to date a man who identifies as bi. I’ve had a woman tell me, “I don’t f#ck with guys who suck dick,” to which I said, “Alright. Message received.” I’ve also dated straight women, who claim they are completely fine with my sexuality, only to be broken up with (or worse, ghosted) because they “couldn’t handle” my (bi)sexuality. That feeling is really shitty, and one I would like to avoid completely. In my experience, gay men are more open to dating bi men than straight women. I’ve never had a guy refuse to date me because I identified as bi. (Although God knows I’ve received some flak from guys I’ve dated/hooked up with.)

My lifestyle is very “gay”

I’ve written about this extensively before, so I don’t want to dwell too much on it here, but I have a very gay lifestyle. And by that I mean I go to gay bars, I work (primarily) with gay men, and I attend gay events. I love discussing all things gay culture, including RuPaul’s Drag Race, club kid nightlife, and Gay Twitter. I’m surrounded by gay men all the damn time!

Gay men, as we know, aren’t always the most accepting of women. They often side-eye women simply for walking into a gay bar. My ex-girlfriend, who was bi and genderqueer, ended up leaving one Pride Parade in Boston in tears a few years ago because gay men were drunkenly (and audibly) saying nasty things about her. She overhead a guy say, “Poor girl. She doesn’t even realize her boyfriend is gay.” Pride is supposed to be at time when all queers feel included, but she felt even more ostracized at Pride being with me and other gay men. Needless to say, this is awful. I don’t want to subject the women I’m dating to places where they won’t feel welcomed. But at the same time, I don’t want to give up my gay lifestyle while dating a woman. This is an issue I don’t have to deal with when I date another man.

Lastly, I feel like I lose elements of my queer identity while dating a woman – an identity I’ve worked so hard to be embrace.

I hate being perceived as straight, which is why I still make sure to wear crop tops of Beyoncé when I date women. I inevitably go through a little identity crisis while dating a woman – one that frankly, I’d like to avoid if possible. And of course, I know and believe that I’m not any less queer for dating a woman, but I can’t help but often feel like I am, and I hate that feeling. This is a personal issue I know I have to work on, as I’m currently dating a woman right now, and want to keep dating her. I don’t want this to get in the way of our relationship.

You may have noticed a trend in the reasons behind my preference: none of these reasons have to do with level of attraction, physical bodies, or the act of having sex with women vs. men. I know that those reasons are often what people (especially monosexuals) are expecting to hear when asking me about my dating preferences.

All of the factors that influence my preference are cultural and societal. And if we lived in a world without misogyny, biphobia, homophobia, and restrictive gender norms, I don’t think I would have a preference as to whom I date. But this is the real world we live in, and while I want to do my best to change the world to make it less sexist, biphobic, etc., I don’t need to take a stand in my romantic life. Dating is tough enough as is. I don’t want to take on additional challenges because society is screwed up.

Still, I will never rule out dating someone because they are of a specific gender. As any bi or sexually fluid individual can tell you, the heart wants what the heart wants. And while I may run into additional challenges for dating someone of a certain gender, I will do my best to not let those challenges impede me from dating that person.

Zachary Zane
Zachary Zane a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, speaker, YouTuber, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, relationships, and culture. He's a contributing editor at The Advocate Magazine, a columnist at Bi.org, and currently writes for The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Out Magazine, and PRIDE.