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If the other person has absolutely zero chance of anything other than sex happening you should let them know upfront. Doesn't matter if you are gay, bi, straight or whatever.
That said, my experience mirrors the authors. Biguys who will have a fling with you, but not tell you up front that is all it will ever be because they are only emotionally attracted to women.
That's fine. But that should be put on the table up front.
Honestly, I'll probably end up rounding up to lesbian if/when I end up in a longterm relationship. Because while I AM bisexual, it's really so much easier to round... but then there's the problem of contributing to bisexual erasure... IDK.
I still like the old Kinsey scale:
1 = completely heterosexual
6 = completely homosexual
Everything in between is on a sliding scale of bisexuality, leaning somewhat more to one end or the other. People are rarely perfectly in the middle.
This perfectly covers our juicy bony hobbyist, for example. He's a 2 or 3 on the scale sexually, and a 1 romantically.
This seems easier to digest than Ochs.
Just as Dan makes the distinction that non-monogamy is largely a male thing, not a Gay thing, I’d say the same about decoupling emotional and physical intimacy: a male not Bi thing. Hell I’d say that the greatest transgressors—by sheer number—are Straight men. [Granted, that is largely irrelevant to Gay men, but condolences, ladies.]
Part of the problem [I'm not trying to make excuses for sheer irresponsibility or callousness] is clumsy terminology. Our culture—even queer culture—doesn’t have quite the right words or concepts yet for people who are neither straight nor gay. That space between the poles seems to be a multi-variable spectrum, but we mostly have just the one word: Bisexual.
Two Gay men have a reasonable assumption that sex and love might coincide [in doing so they still risk non-reciprocation], but a Gay man can’t necessarily make the same assumption about a Bi man because unless they talk about it, it is unclear what kind of Bi he is.
The harm of this poverty of terminology is not limited to the fucked-and-left Gay men. It is exactly what Bisexuals are often hurt by. The LW quoted as not knowing if he, “technically classif[ies] as a bisexual," is an example. The speculative point-scoring from Dan’s recent Tom Daley posts is another [no matter if he is Gay or Bi]. Hell, I’ve had to deal with whether I “get” to “legitimately” participate in Pride.
That accusitory attitude, the what is s/he really speculation, is the kind of environment that denies people the right to their own identity and/or the process of figuring out their identity. For many people who are not a Kinsey 0 or 6, coming out is often not so simple [which is not to say easy] as just declaring an unambiguous orientation. When that is met with suspicion, sometimes hostility—even from the queer community—that can shove people back into the closet.
Many Gays and Lesbians know exactly what that denial of orientation is like. Oh, he just hasn’t met the right girl. She just needs a good dicking. Yet some turn right around and do the same to Bis. Additionally, Bisexuals can get that from both sides, and few Homosexuals have to deal with a lover being suspicious of their real orientation.
I fully support the distinction between sexual orientation and amorous orientation, and hope that the future will be a place where that is a commonly understood distinction. While that isn't exclusively a Bi thing, it does most often come into play in Bi [and Asexual] contexts. I’ll even agree that—until we have better vocabulary or social understanding—it especially behooves Bisexuals [and Asexuals] to be clear about what they are available for vis-à-vis love/sex.
However, it is also incumbent upon Gays and Lesbians [as people who should know better] to accept the validity of those who are somewhere in between the poles. Not only because we deserve it, but because we might want to fuck you, and we might fall in love with you.
We’ll tell you who we are, if you’ll believe what we say.
When you get straight men to do this, get back to me. The lack of communication isn't a bi thing, it's an American male thing.
My experience is that assumptions about what flings mean vary by culture (some presume serious unless a talk, some presume serious only if a talk), but it's more likely men who want just flings but don't communicate it in all cultures bc they are worried it will stop the sex.
If A thinks B might offer to fulfill A's kink, it's very rare that A mentions up front, "by the way, I'm not available for a romantic relationship." Even people who would prefer to combine kink & romance usually have much higher standards for dating than for getting their kink on.
I don't see this as a gender division so much as wishful-thinking on both sides. A is hoping B is into the act for its own sake (but doesn't want to risk losing out on the kink by checking), and B is hoping A might be romantically interested (but doesn't want to risk seeming over eager by checking).
Mr. ven @13, thank you for the approbation. And you are right that to avoid unseemly cocksureness, there should have been a parenthetical y'know, if you're into that, but I felt it would have wobbled the landing.
I just thought it was amusing that you were looking for a "secret signal" that you "don't want to fuck unless there's a chance of romance," when there's already an obvious and common signal. I don't mean wait until marriage to have sex, I mean wait a few dates until you know the person well enough to know if there's a chance of romance.
I use Ochs's definition as well, but I also find it easier to describe myself as a Kinsey 5 to some people.
So although I've never had a day where I've *felt* bisexual, I suppose I am - just longitudinally, over time, and never in cross-section.
Fritz Klein, mentioned in the NYT in passing, gave megabucks (more than ten million) to the American Institute of Bisexuality. Yet no one in that article mentioned the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid:
Fritz already sliced and diced sexual orientation for all orientations better than anyone else before or since: there's different bi/gay/straight "dimensions" for romance, sex, fantasy, friendships, past, present, future, ideal, actual, identity, behavior, lifestyle preference (a dated term but something like visible social communities such as today's "gaybro" subculture vs. "traditional" gay culture)...
All the big researchers keep re-inventing the wheel or forgetting major dimensions of sexuality / romance / whatever -- but Fritz nailed it. So to speak.
Many straight women won't date a bisexual man.
So what is with the idea that it's mostly us lesbians (and gay guys) who are really to blame for bi erasure? Certainly there are psychotic, insecure lesbians in the world, just as there are psychotic insecure straight people. And yes, lazy pseudo-intellectuals like Andrew Sullivan make idiotic broad claims about bi men not existing.
But it seems quite convenient (and not productive) to blame the tiny minority group for your problem....
Why aren't straight people held to the same standard as lesbians and gay guys?
I was going to mention the Klein grid last night, but was too tired to comment. Though I'm wondering whether people taking the quiz would respond differently in the "social" category nowadays, considering the shifting nuances where people in same-sex relationships don't necessarily have to reject society's white-picket fence seal of approval.
Thank you, Dan, for writing this so eloquently, concisely and for bringing a perspective to the fore that others would easily not have found otherwise.
Met Fritz once, sweet guy!, toast raised to his memory!
So it's not just guys.
Speaking just for myself, I hold Lesbians and Gays to a higher standard than Straights because, as queer themselves, they should know better.
As an example: I have a Straight housemate who is convinced I am Gay. It doesn't matter how many times I try and make the distinction, he just doesn't understand the difference or thinks that I'm hedging. He has no problems with Gays and Lesbians; he just has zero awareness when it comes to queer issues. The BT part of GLBT just don't really exist for him.
It should be a hundred times easier to convince someone who has walked in queer shoes than to convince my Missouri farm-boy roommate. Yet I have had Gay friends who couldn't/wouldn't understand that I am not straight, who almost literally rolled their eyes at my "pose." That is much harder to take personally, and I think much more deleterious to the GLBT&c. community.
That being said, I feel that Bisexuals themselves have a lot of work to do. A lot of Bis need to lose the boulder on their shoulder. A lot of Bis [especially those who are Bi-amorous] need to be out. The Bs shouldn't be asking anything of the Ls & Gs that they are not doing themselves.
So far I have found the Trans people I know the most accepting. The Bs & Ts are about half of the queer community by population, but Ls & Gs have the majority of the real estate. You guys are best positioned to help us help ourselves.
I'm hoping the next decade will be a kind of building feed-back loop, as with Homosexual awareness: the more people that come out, the more acceptance there is, so more people come out. If Bis [and Trans] do their work, and the Lesbian & Gay communities decide that we are real and deserving of recognition, then the way will be eased to changing straight minds.
I have heard (from their partners) of bi-sexual guys who are capable of forming loving relationships with either sex. They tend to bond mostly monogamously with a person of either sex—because the person is more important than the flavor of sexuality involved.
As the article says, disclosure up front is important.
Mr O - Well, once you stumble upon the right prevailing narrative, wonders can happen.
It's not against the law, but it will be one of those cases where you end a relationship and the other person thinks you are a scumbag, and they will actually be right.
And yes, if you are married but in an open relationship and don't tell the other person you suck too.
And if you are involved with someone but have no intention of it going anywhere because that other person is not attractive enough, not rich enough, not the "right" race, whatever, then YES, you also have a moral obligation to tell them that before you waste their time.
If you don't you are leading them on, and that makes you a dirtbag.