Bi-sexual But Hetero-Amorous

Comments

1
I think women tend to be more sex-flexible about their alignment than men, but this just goes to show that there really is no black or white, gay or straight for most people of ALL genders. If people (and this means you inflexible lesbian thinkers) would stop insisting on put everyone is neat tidy categories where they don't often fit, we would all feel better.
2
Oh, okay, "-amorous" is the preferred suffix now? I thought it was "-romantic" (as in "bisexual and heteroromantic"). Same essential meaning, I suppose.
3
"Juicy boner hobbyist" is going down as Occupation on my tax return.
4
I've read somewhere that it might be possible there are also some gays and straights who will feel you up at a party without disclosing that they don't consider you long-term relationship material. Could it be true?
5
This is a well-meaning idea, but we can barely get straight people to be clear on this much less than us queers. Do you just want to hookup, or hookup with the possibility of more later on? What if it's the latter, but we never get there for whatever reason - did you lie, or simply lose interest? Everyone wants to keep their own options open, but wants everyone else to check the appropriate sexual/romantic preference boxes and never deviate from them.
6
If someone knows they will never date a certain gender (though they like fucking that gender from time to time), does it make sense to come out as bi to their family? Seems to me that's TMI, like explaining what kinks you like. If it's just about sex (no dating, no romance), then your mom doesn't need to know.
7
I think this advice could go for every sexual orientation and identity.

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.
8
Hmm, I am the opposite - homosexual, but bi-romantic. I think there are three types of attraction- sexual, emotional, and intellectual. Ideally in a LTR you have all 3, but you can have relationships with 1 or 2. I get emotionally and intellectually attracted to men, but never sexually. I am super clear about this, but even so I think I have broken a few hearts.
9
@8 I was thinking the same thing, although for me I've only ever found myself sexually attracted to cis-men. There have been women I am close to and am comfortable cuddling with and feel some connection to, but I just am not sexually attracted to them. I've been very upfront about this, so it hasn't caused any problems. A touch of sadness that I'm not sexually attracted at times, but no real problems. I expect many people have categories of people where they can have some connection that is more than just typical friendship, but doesn't include sexual attraction for at least one of the involved people. As with any situation where one of those components is just not going to happen, being honest from the get-go is very important.
10
I'm bisexual but homoromantic. I do identify as bisexual, because I use Ochs's definition, and because who knows, there may be 1 man out there in all of the universe that I do find love with someday. But I can't really imagine it. (And I do always disclose this.)

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.
11
While I like Ochs's definition, it's quite wordy and borderline-confusing.

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.
12
Anyone who is just looking for sex has a responsibility to communicate that to the person they’re fucking.

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.

13
Mr O - Bang on almost all the way through. Your penultimate sentence came off rather like the Biggest Privilege We'll Ever Have or perhaps that we'll be expected to treat it that way (and called biphobic if it falls on the personal wrong side of FTWL...?), but understandable. It made me think of Shirley Valentine knowing that Man's Most Important Invention was the wheel, and her anticipation of receiving 43,000 house points, the OBE and a blessing from the Pope thrown in.
14
" there would be less ill will between gay and bi men if more bi men were honest about only being interested in sex with"

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.
15
In the kink community, people of all genders/sexualities do this.

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).
16
Maybe we could come up with signals that people who are possibly interested in romance might use to test the waters with someone they find hot, but don't want to fuck unless there's a chance of romance -- reciting poetry? kissing the other person's hand? cuddling in public?
17
@16 Waiting until after several dates to have sex? That's the traditional way to send the signal that you're only interested in sex if there's a chance of romance.
18
@LMR, yes, but that also tends to send the signal that you don't like sex much, and after the honeymoon is over the sex is going to fade away...
19
Holy crap! To anyone who hasn't read it, I highly recommend the Denizet-Lewis piece. It is engaging, thorough, up to date on the latest studies [even Michael Bailey has studies that support the existence of Bisexuals] and really just awfully swell. I teared up a bit. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/magazi…

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.
20
I'm bi. I've been married three times to women and have had dozens of hookups since high school with men (I'm 55). I never found a man I wanted to be married to--lots of Mr Right-Nows, no Mr Rights. I used to believe I was hetero-romantic, but after lots of experience, I think I just never met the right guy at the right time. I think this might be the case for a lot of guys. Of course, there are a lot more straight women on the market than gay or bi men. So, I don't find it surprising that the majority of us end up with wives instead of husbands.
21
@18 You assume that anyone who waits a few dates to have sex must not really like sex, and similarly, people who don't sleep with first dates often assume that those people who do can't possibly value love or get into a lasting, meaningful relationships. Both are wrong.
22
LMR@21, I don't assume that, but I've spoken to many men who are getting out of sexless marriages and require a certain uninhibited sexual enthusiasm to help them trust that this isn't another bait-and-switch.
23
Mr O - True, one doesn't want a wobbly landing. Note that I have no objection to They Should Be So Lucky when held as a private and personal view expressed in-group; it shows a level of self-esteem that one might reasonably deem admirable. It just doesn't work all that well as a public position. (I suppose that's a bit of a Julius King sort of attitude, but there it is.)
24
Mr Chaucer - There are plenty of reasons from which to choose. Maybe you wanted the wedding in the society page with the nice gifts. Maybe you wanted children (which really tilts the scale).
25
@22 Although I think your friends will get a lot of false positives and false negatives, you're right that these guys will rule out women who are never going to be enthusiastic about sex from start to finish.

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.
26
@10, I'm right there with you.

I use Ochs's definition as well, but I also find it easier to describe myself as a Kinsey 5 to some people.
27
While I am now retired (regretfully), I for one would not have cared if the guy I was with was bi or straight identified. I would like to know however. Bi and looking for casual sex? Great. Straight and wanting NSA fun because you're bored? Brilliant. Obfuscaters and liars not so good. When I was looking for love, I would like to have known so that I would not have wasted my time.
28
Now that I've hit the ripe old age of 40, I describe myself as longitudinally bisexual. From my sexual debut at 13 until I met my now-wife at 18, I felt only heterosexual urges. Then from aged 19 to age 37, I was 100% lesbian (many girl crushes while married to my wife). Then at 37 my orientation switched back to 100% heterosexual. I still have plenty of sexual contact with girls, but I enjoy none of it -that part of me just disappeared again.

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.
29
@12 - very nice exposition.
30
And maybe, possibly, some bisexuals are just a little bit homophobic, and their homophobia manifests itself in their lack of interest in same-sex romantic relationships.
31
Wish all these "journalists" and commentariat types would go take a human sexuality course at a community college, or read wikipedia.

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:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein_Sexua…

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.
32
@1 Ugh those inflexible lesbians. Finally we can unmask the real puppetmasters in this game of sexual oppression: the 2% of women who are lesbians.

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?

33
To delta@31
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.
34
I appreciated reading this, and it really resonated. . .so much so that I posted it on Facebook (I have very mixed friends/acquaintances/past students, so I'm curious to see if I'll receive direct or passive backlash). This post by Dan is spot-on and I would only hope it helps alleviate some who feel stuck with a label to recognize that they don't need the label to function, sexually and/or socially.

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.
35
To Helenka@33: I'm guessing yes.

Met Fritz once, sweet guy!, toast raised to his memory!
36
I first started thinking of sexual and romantic as separate categories after reading about gradations of asexuality, and it cleared things up for me -- while I've always had straight relationships, I occasionally get strong sexual feelings for women. Never have had romantic ones. I'm very unlikely ever to move from 'curious' to 'experimental' but yeah, I would definitely need to be up front with anybody I messed around with.

So it's not just guys.
37
@32, "Why aren't straight people held to the same standard as lesbians and gay 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.
38
There is a reason that Kinsey's scale has seven increments. In between 0 and 6, there are five identifiable grades of bisexuality. Dan has mentioned several times that 1's and even 2's can easily round themselves to 0. The huge reason for them to round down is societal pressure. In the future, this may change. Historically, even people who identify as 6's (after finally coming out and divorcing the spouse) have had long-term opposite-sex relationships. However, as a 6.000 gold star gay guy, I would argue that anyone who is sexually capable with the opposite sex is not a 6.

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.
39
There's a similar phenomenon in the straight world, where men or women only want opposite-sex sex, but only form lasting emotional bonds with people of their own gender. Very frustrating, and I expect they're a lot less aware and open about it with partners than your average bi guy or gal.
40
We might call it: Hetero but exclusively Bro-mantic
41
Ms Oid - It seems close enough to what I've been calling Homosocial for some time now.

Mr O - Well, once you stumble upon the right prevailing narrative, wonders can happen.
42
We need to have a contest for the best definition of "wobbly landing". Obviously, it must follow some kind of a dismount, but what kind? And how does one execute it properly? I am picturing a position resulting in a leg or foot falling asleep followed by a position shift that doesn't require a pause in the action.
43
Kwodell @ 42 - thanks for the laugh!
44
That it is ridiculous!!!!! There are plenty of people that hook up and have no potential for a relationship. Not attractive enough, not rich enough, not the right race or religion or 1000 other lifestyle choices or because they are married and in an open relationship. Dan is being a hypocrite for saying that you need to disclose this. Dan has explicelty stated that you don't need to disclose information that isn't relevant tot he boundaries that have been agreed to by both parties. Additionally, consider for a moment that the heteroamorous line was just another excuse to soften the fact that he just wasn't that into him. It could have been numerous others. When you break up with someone, you have to give a reason and this was probably the kindest one that the dude could come up with. And even if he felt that that was the truth, there is still no way of knowing that he won't find someone who is just the right guy and fall in love and live happily ever after (really if that is how you define success for a relationship - I guess that lofty goal only applies to bisexuals with a questionable ability for love). Gee, I thought Dan was getting on top of this bisexual thing, but I think he still has a way to go.
45
I don't think anyone is talking about one night stands. But if you are going to take someone's time and date them, give them hope that something special might arise from it, and then dump them when you never had any intention of it going beyond the casual then you suck.

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.
46
@4 - I think the point is that those people could possibly become interested. Plenty of people end up in LTRs with people they hooked up with and had no intentions at the time of becoming serious with. It is (arguably) a different thing if that outside chance doesn't exist.
47
@ 44 - Dan didn't say anyone had to disclose anything. He quoted an article that said people doing so would help to diffuse some tension. There is an important distinction between saying you need to disclose something, and that it is the best practice to disclose something. I think everyone agrees it would be best practice to tell anyone you are about to hook up with if they are for some reason excluded from the pool of people you would seriously date--regardless of the reason. That way they can bail if that changes the equation for them. But that doesn't mean you made some huge blunder if you don't disclose that to a drunken one-time hook-up you met at a bar, because, even if the other party is hoping it might lead to more, they don't really have a right to expect that in that particular situation.