For some folks, the idea of a man being bisexual is as illogical and ridiculous as questioning the existence of the Loch Ness monster. The number of people I’ve heard say that they simply don’t believe in male bisexuality is astonishing, and it comes from all sides! In this article I wanted to dive in the question, asking two bisexual young men about their experience. This text will use the label bisexual even though it isn’t the only one that can be used.
While bisexual women can be praised for their sexual fluidity, it isn’t the same for men. Because a girl who can kiss them and this other hot chick can be a very appealing idea for the average cisgender straight dude, but a guy being as equally into their girlfriend and them can be unsettling to say the least. The LGBTQ+ community is far from perfect, and bi-erasure is one of the issues that definitely needs to be talked about. This term refers to the tendency that people have to discredit the sexuality of bisexual folks, and other people who are attracted to more than one gender. According to society, if you sleep with one man in your life, you are either a straight woman or a gay man, no doubt about it, because the spectrum that is sexuality doesn’t truly give place for fluidity, as contradictory as it may seem. Having sexual desire for men as a man destroys any possibility that you could also have desire for anyone else, right? Obviously, this is false. However, our patriarchal and genital-focused society has us believe otherwise. I specify genital-focused because it always asks if the person we are having sex with has a penis, and if that is the case, then you like men, there is no way around it. Don’t believe me? Then why are so many lesbians who use penetrative sex toys invalidated and side-eyed? And mind you, these are not real penises, they are objects! Being bisexual can be confusing for so many reasons, up until you come to terms with the fact that there’s hot people on all the teams!
The first guy I questioned about experiencing attraction beyond gender boundaries is Oli, a 21-year-old trans guy: "I realized and accepted it when I was quite young… when I was 12, as I entered middle-school." Growing up in a family that didn’t push heteronormativity, he couldn’t say which attraction manifested itself first.
For Corey, who is currently in his mid twenties, it was only a few years ago that he noticed he wasn’t only attracted to women: "but it’s normal because our society is heteronormative, and it encourages heterosexuality,’’ he says, referring to his attraction to women manifesting itself first.
Dating as a bisexual person can be tricky because no matter who you date, you will have to come out. When you’re a gay man dating a man, your partner just assumes that you're gay, and when you’re a man dating a woman, she will assume you’re straight. But being bisexual means you will have to come out in both cases, because not everybody is comfortable with this sexual orientation. When I asked my subjects how complex it was to navigate the dating world as bisexual men, they replied it was just that: complex.
For Corey, "crap comes from both sides... dating girls means having them think that you’re a gay man in the closet, and guys think you just want to sleep with everybody," he said.
Now he has come to the point where he hides his bisexuality from people, mostly to heterosexual girls. But with both he feels like he has to prove his sexuality: prove to women he is into women, and prove to men that he is into men. He doesn’t have much experience with men, which makes it hard for him to say which gender gives him a harder time, but women, unfortunately, haven’t been the most open-minded.
For Oli, his non-binary sexual orientation (non-binary because it doesn't fall in the ''straight or gay'' binary) has been an issue when it came to dating people in the past. A guy he dated once told him ‘‘it would be easier if he (Oli) was gay because he wouldn’t be so jealous of his best female friend.’’
Two of his ex cisgender girlfriends asked him if he ‘‘needed to sleep with someone with a dick’’ or if their ‘‘lack of dick was still satisfying’’ for him, because of his bisexuality. Again, the idea that bisexuals will always prefer people with a penis, or that they will always miss men is a common belief. As if men are beautifully glazed donuts and that women, once you date them, are a diet forcing you to eat kale and green peas: Bisexual folk are not on a diet when they date women, they date them because they are attracted to them.
Just like Corey, Oli also expressed the fact that he was pressured into "proving" his sexuality to his partners because they were afraid he would "suddenly swing the other way." Bisexuals shouldn’t have to prove their sexuality to anyone, and mostly not to their partners. Relationships should be based on trust, and if your significant other’s sexual orientation is an issue, then that is something you need to work on, your bisexual partner has nothing to do with your insecurities.
Another point I really wanted to bring up is the concept of masculinity and how bisexual men deal with it.
Corey never saw his sexuality as a definer of his masculinity or vise versa: ‘‘I always feel masculine, no matter what I wear, what I say or who I sleep with,’’ he stated.
For Oli however, it was another situation. When I asked him if his sexuality affected his masculinity, he answered that it did, in a way: ‘‘But I think it is more linked to the fact that I am not cis,’’ he said.
To him, cisgender straight men will never see him as masculine enough, and unfortunately for all of us, this group of people and their opinions are usually the ones that matter the most in the eyes of society. In other words, what cis-straight dudes think of you is what the whole world will think of you.
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He also talked to me about this argument he had with a cis guy who told him that his bisexuality was just a proof that he still had a ‘‘girl part inside him,’’ blaming Oli’s attraction to men on the fact that he wasn’t AMAB (assigned male at birth).
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Being stigmatized because of your sexuality is something that can definitely affect people. The prejudices and stereotypes associated with bisexual folks, and especially bisexual men can be hard to carry on your shoulders on a day to day basis.When I asked Oli what stereotypes he wanted to erase the most from society’s consciousness, he replied that the most common one was the one he’d get rid of: the idea that bisexual men are horny and desperate. Being attracted to more than one gender doesn’t make one attracted to everybody, obviously. How someone identifies or presents themselves is a criterion when it comes to choosing a partner, true, but there are definitely other factors that come into play. Personality, sense of humour, politics, some have a thing for curly hair or for freckles! This idea that bisexual people have no filter or that their sexual orientation is a translation of how sexually desperate they are couldn’t be further from the truth.
As for Corey, the importance of acknowledging sexuality as a whole as a spectrum is crucial: ‘‘Bisexuality isn’t always 50/50... it’s different for everybody; even if I’m bisexual, my attraction to women and men isn’t the same, but it doesn’t stop me from [being able to love] a girl or a guy passionately,’’ he explained. He also wants people to know that he really isn’t gay, as simple as that. Bisexual men exist, and his attraction to men doesn’t erase or invalidate his attraction to women. I totally agree with both points; we need to stop thinking that being sexually involved with men, or with someone who has a penis is a sentence that confirms our sexuality with no possibility of fluidity. I also agree with Corey on the idea that expecting a 50/50 split when it comes to bisexuality is problematic, because it can be damaging for people who are coming to terms with their sexuality.
Nobody experiences sexuality the same way, and there isn’t one way to be bisexual; in fact, there are as many ways to be bi as there are bisexual people in this world. You can be bi with or without a preference for a gender in particular, and of course, you can be bi no matter your gender. Furthermore, we also shouldn’t talk about it using a ‘‘split and portion’’ system, sexuality and romantic attraction aren’t maths! One can find themselves more attracted to one gender or to one type of presentation more often than the others, but it doesn’t mean that if they meet someone they find attractive, but who is different, that they would then be less attracted to that person. Bisexual people can love fully, and they do, every. single. day:Your love is not less valuable or less worthy because you are bisexual.
Another very crucial point I want to bring up is that bisexuality isn’t binary when it comes to gender. You can identify as bisexual, and be attracted to non-binary folks! The prefix ‘‘bi’’ can simply mean that it includes your own gender (no matter what it is), and other genders that aren’t yours. For example, you can be a bisexual man, meaning you are attracted to your gender, men, and other genders, women, everybody in between, and people completely outside the gender spectrum! The bisexual label can be inclusive, you just have to embrace it!
As to conclude, I want everyone to leave this article believing more in sexual fluidity. Human beings are complex and beautiful in their subtleties, and for some, gender is not a barrier when it comes to falling deeply in love with someone else’s soul. Loving is not a feminine thing, and men can do it just as well as other people, we just have to give them the room to do so without judging them.
**The names in this article are fictive in order to keep the anonymity of the subjects.