Bi-Curious: A Queer Confession

I’ll say it: I’m bi-curious.

The idea is problematic. I have announced myself as a gay man for a few years now. But as a wise friend once told me, labels are tools, not cages.

I don’t know if I’ll announce myself any differently. I don’t know what to announce, or if bi-curiosity merits an announcement. Sexuality is fluid — most of us are bisexual on some level. Yes, I’m thinking about women lately. So what?

The label you use — “gay,” “bi,” “genderqueer” — is a dating tool, an easily-digested tag to make hookups more systematic and simple, an identifier to give people some idea who you are, what your gender identity is, and how you see yourself. As important as it may see at the time, it is not a box you have to fit in. You may find your current label ill-fitting in a few years — that’s OK. I don’t think every person has a “right” label they’re meant to discover. You use one for as long as it is useful. When it stops being useful, get rid of it. Try on a new one.

In the journey to self-understanding, queer people often try on many labels. This is healthy and normal. At some point, you may feel content with the word you are currently using. That’s where I am with “gay.” I’m not quite ready to change labels yet.

I like gay men. I have sex with gay men. I date gay and bi men. But take away the label — take away all labels — and I’m just another person seeking sex with people. That hunger, that need to combat loneliness with the company of others, is human and universal. It should ring true to everyone. That’s why I’ve never understood the hatred that fuels the anti-LGBT front. I have never and will never understand how our sexual pursuits and relationships appear that different from theirs, or why they can’t see a striking commonality between us. On some core level, we’re all searching for similar things — togetherness, connection, family. That hardly seems baffling. That seems like a very basic observation that anyone standing outside this global war between the Religious Right and LGBTQ people should see clearly and immediately.

Back to my label. I will give a healthy five percent to the possibility that I will at some point have sex with a woman. So if we’re going with percentages, I’m 95% gay.

The people you’re likely to fuck are not necessarily the people you’re likely to date. I don’t know if I’ll ever date a woman, but I’m not completely closed off to the idea. Someday, maybe, but right now it would feel dishonest, a retreat back into the closet, a time when I pretended to date women in order to keep up straight appearances.

In my freshman year of college, a lesbian couple explained to me what a clitoris was at IHOP one night. One of them drew an illustration on a white paper napkin. I had never seen a clitoris before, in porn or otherwise, and didn’t know anything about its significance until they explained.

What does one do with bi-curiosity? Do I approach women I’m interested in and tell them what I’m thinking about? Do I ask for help? How does anyone explore something different? How did I?

I explored my desire for men out of simple, aching need. I remember walking through the woods with my father in high school, and when he was trying to teach me something about the trees I was completely distracted and not paying attention. I was thinking about a guy named Johnson who I thought was about to kiss me last time we were together. It was all conjecture and desire and missed opportunities, and even with so little to go on — I still had no gay experience at the time — it was everything to me. The truth was burning in my stomach the way a terrible secret does and following me around like a ghost.

Why do you use the label you use? Do you see it as a line you cannot cross or a social tool you employ? How vital do you consider your label to your overall identity? Can you take it or leave it? I’d like to know.

— Beastly

8 Comments

  1. Brilliantly and beautifully written, as per usual. I appreciate the insight into men, as I feel totally the same but opposite – I understand my fellow women but completely don’t get men, yet as a straight woman I’m totally fascinated with them. The problem with heterosexual sex is that we simply don’t know what we’re doing to each other, and that frustration is part of the excitement. You should try it. 😉

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  2. Hate to break it you young gayling but you are not so much “bi-curious” as pining for the heterosexual life you will never have and managing to dehumanize women along the way. Through in some bad, warmed over gender essentialist BS – women aren’t some alien species that men are doomed to never understand and their sexuality ins’t some prize to be conquered by hyper-masculine men, straight or gay, and magic dicks. Maybe you should spend less time dreaming that you will find this fictional woman who meets all these superficial aesthetic masculine requirements and by some miracle trick your dick into staying hard just long enough for penetration. Then you can finally be free from the gay world you are still so uncomfortable with and maybe bring home some butch girl to make your parents and their god happy that you aren’t like the rest of those poor fags who don’t have the same fortitude that you do to cultivate that tiny sliver of supposed heterosexuality that you are so pleased about. Here is an alternate theory – like a large chunk of gay men, you are hoping that by coming out again as “bi-curious” you are holding out hopes for you and your parents that with enough work, you can live that prized heterosexual life that you still want deep down inside…It will probably take you another few years to finally slay that remaining dragon and embrace your gay identity not out of some fatalistic “I can’t help it” view of gayness but out of an affirmative embrace for all the great things that come from loving another man.

    PS – Do you really think these women fantasy about the great sex they could be having with limp dicked, gay men who hope that they can “break themselves in” by experimenting with her anatomy – nothing more than a human sex toy to hopefully retrain your homoness for that sweet heterosexual coitus?

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    1. ^ Ladies and gentleman, I present bi-phobia at its ugliest. This commenter is laboring under the delusion that bisexuality isn’t real, that sexuality isn’t fluid, and that a self-identified gay man cannot physically desire and fantasize about women. I believe that desires are a composite of fantasy and sincerity, stereotyping and idealizing, confusion and clarity. Desires are messy, and do not fit into these hard labels we have created to quantify them. I am, actually, sincerely, bi-curious, and I am not trying to “shy away” or apologize for my homo attractions by admitting this truth. This bi-curiosity is sexual and physical and certainly objectifying — but no more objectifying than the way I envision the men I would love to fuck. A cursory glimpse of my blog should be enough to convince anyone that I am not “pining” for a heterosexual life, but in case there’s any confusion: I’m queer, which means I resist hard labels and clear definition, although I will say that the majority of my attractions are for gay men. Does this make me gay? For the sake of convenience and a more succinct Scruff profile, yes.

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      1. As I only recently ran across your blog after reading one of your advocate columns about your bisexual boyfriend, what actually surprised me about this post was the striking difference, both factually and theoretically, between the two. The sudden zeal to find your inner bisexual and the seemingly desperate, obsessive logical parsing of yourself to find some glimmer of potential heterosexual desire, was completely absent from the Advocate article, which came across as more sincere and authentic defense of bisexuality. In the Advocate article, the contrasting sexualities of gay and bisexual men came across as sincere, heartfelt, and thus helpful in making the case for gay men to recognize that most bisexual men are not self-loathing gay men still stuck in a partial closet still suffering from the envy of the powerful privileges that society uses to enforce heterosexuality on us. Why no mention of this newfound “bicuriosity” that you are keen to promote on your blog in the Advocate article? Did you strategically exclude this tidbit fearing that that the very gay men you were hoping to persuade may find you less credible? Or is this a reaction to what you yourself noted as your own inability to refrain from cheating? Have you know idealized your former boyfriend’s bisexuality and now want to claim apart of it for yourself? Much of the resistance gay men have had to bisexuality is grounded in the justifiable fear that so long as homophobia and heterosexism are so ingrained in our society, bisexuality can reinforce in gay men many of the evils that still haunt us – the fetishing of hyper-masculinity, the toxic combination of homophobia and misogyny that imposes a hierarchy of beauty and desire with the “masculine” at the top and the “feminine” at the bottom, and finally both overt and subtle association of heterosexuality with masculinity and homosexuality with femininity, both by the heterosexual majority and tragically even among many of the homosexual minority. No discussion of bisxuality, especially among men, can ignore these larger, structural forces when evaluating both the action of individuals and collective norms that can arise in minority communities.
        I have to admit that I left the original blog comment out of anger as I was very impressed and moved by the Advocate article and so I googled you to find your blog hoping to find similar commentary. When I found this blog post praising your own cultivation of something vaguely approaching “bi-curiosity” and the implication that gay men, whom by definition aren’t attracted to women, are somehow less evolved or even biphobic if suspect that there is nothing new here. Most gay men have spouted the same line when they struggle with accepting their own homosexuality and many claim a transitory bisexual identity as they transition to being openly gay.
        Ultimately, no one should really take seriously what anyone says on sex blog as such blogs are really just another form of soft core porn – can be entertaining, even get you off but not dependale in the long run…

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      2. Oh boy. There’s a lot of unpack there, but I’ll attempt to address your points in order. 1. I didn’t mention my own bisexual curiosity in the Advocate article because I had a word limit. 2. You seem to be looking for underlying reasons as to why I may be bi-curious, when I don’t think there need to be any. I just am, and I’m not sure why that needs defending or explaining. 3. You’re inserting a discussion about cultural norms regarding masculinity and femininity that on its own is a sincere and good discussion to be had that certainly has far-reaching implications in gay male culture, but is not mentioned in my blog post, in my article, or anywhere I’ve written about bisexuality. 4. I don’t see bisexuality as a transitional “phase” between heterosexuality and homosexuality, and I don’t think it’s illegitimate or even unrealistic to be bi-curious. Granted, many gay men and women have used the label of bisexuality to this end, which does nothing but hurt bi visibility. I’m not doing that. I’m simply discussing my own bi-curiosity. Is that so absurd? 5. Your final comment makes me completely disregard everything else you’ve said. You’re eloquent and passionate, but that final, prudish, sex-negative dig shows that you’re really not here for a real debate. You’re here to pick a fight. Kid, I enjoy a good text battle, but only with someone worthy of the time. A sex blog, in my humble opinion, can and should be taken seriously, and can be very dependable. What’s wrong with soft core porn? I’d hardly consider my blog that outlandish, but I appreciate the descriptor. Au revoir.

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      3. How butch of you to let us know that you are such a viral man, dare I say “straight acting”? What is more “straight acting” than having sex with a woman? Maybe that is what is really motivating you…

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      4. Where, in the article or in these comments, have I mentioned “straight-acting”? That’s truly an offensive and silly turn of phrase. What is so implausible about the idea that I may actually want to have sex with people of both genders?

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