Well, this is old news, but it’s worth repeating. Gay men are largely not bisexual, but bisexual men largely are bisexual. This shouldn’t be too difficult a thing for people to get their heads around, but apparently it is.
J. Michael Bailey, who was one of the people behind the ‘Bisexual men don’t exist’ study, also believes that trans women cannot be lesbian or bisexual and is a strong supporter of the ‘autogynephilia’ term for any trans woman who isn’t exclusively attracted to men (they are declared to be homosexual transsexuals).
His work on homosexuality also looks suspect.
I know it’s difficult even for researchers sometimes to get past their prejudices and assumptions, but some honest research would go a long way toward ending the belief that bisexuality doesn’t exist. My own inclination has been to take people at their word–I can’t really know how another person feels, so if someone tells me they’re bisexual I have no reason to doubt them.
Then there’s this:
While watching videos of female and male same-sex encounters, the bisexual men doing the study were aroused all around.
I’d call that pretty solid evidence that some people are bisexual.
Wow, I just can’t express how happy I am to confirm that my sexuality(*) exists. After all, I’ve been waiting around for over forty years now just to make sure that I really am attracted to more than one gender.
(* - OK, actually I call myself pansexual because I don’t view gender as binary, but close enough for these purposes, right?)
It does seem that the homosexual people are largely bisexual, though. I wonder why women are weighted so much more strongly for non-exclusive homosexuality than men are.
But how many heterosexual people are bisexual?
1.5% I think?
I wonder why women are weighted so much more strongly for non-exclusive homosexuality than men are.
In my opinion, one reason that’s so is because female bisexuality isn’t perceived as a serious threat to straight male culture and dominance in the ways that lesbians, gay men, and male bisexuals are. Lesbians threaten the assumed place of the necessary male: “Oh no! They don’t need men at all!” Gay males represent threats to masculinity, but are safe in other ways: “He might want to bang me, but he won’t steal mah woman!” So there can be grudging acceptance there. Male bisexuals are a double threat: “Oh no! They might make me an object of desire and compete with me for females!” The female bisexual, however, can be neatly fit into the category of unthreatened male gaze that Paris Hilton co-opted: “That’s hot!”
All of which is the male view, of course, which is only one part of it. Another part of it is that, in my experience, there seems to be a greater level of acceptance for sexual fluidity among women by women than there is for sexual fluidity among men by men, which might have something to do with the way bisexuality brushes up against a kind of solidarity among women that doesn’t exist among men, because it doesn’t have to - men aren’t oppressed in the same way. (As an aside: I await the rise of gay and bisexual solidarity among the current crop of men’s rights activists with bated breath.)
My view of it is that there is combination of factors at work in male and female cultures that creates more space for the acceptance of female bisexuality - both as a personal experiment and as a long-term identity - than for male bisexuality. That in turn leads to a greater willingness to self identify in studies and surveys. The arc of evolving attitudes expressed in surveys of the 20-and-under crowd gives me hope that this will continue to change, but we’ve got a ways to go yet.
Finally…none of this addresses the nasty undertones of bigotry towards male and female bisexuals that can be found among gay men and lesbians, which I think has more to do with the way that sexual identity as a whole has been crafted into a political force in the U.S. over the past 60 years than anything else. But that’s a long-winded comment for some other post.
America is funny. If it’s violent and bloody, show it on TV! Let the kids watch! But if it’s two people having sex, OMG hide your eyes! Protect the children! Just messed up.
Someone once said to me, “Men are bisexual because of libido. Women are bisexual because of ego.”
I was too stunned to say anything, but I’d like to memorize your entire comment to have it handy should the need ever arise. You’ve said everything I would have liked to have said in response, and then some. It was a gay man who made that remark, so I look forward to your future long-winded comment on the bigotry that bisexuals have had to deal with, which, I believe, will address how the oppressed sometimes become oppressors.
How dare you say such a thing? Never happened.
stomp, stomp, stomp
Oddly enough, one of my more sexually adventurous female friends (dated other girls in her youth, had a years-long polyamorous relationship with two guys) once told me that she’d be weirded out by the idea of dating a guy who had slept with other men. At least she acknowledged the hypocrisy.
I look forward to your future long-winded comment on the bigotry that bisexuals have had to deal with, which, I believe, will address how the oppressed sometimes become oppressors.
Funny you should say that…I’ve got an essay titled “The Bisexual Problem” in the oven which, if I was a bit more on the ball, would’ve come out (ha!) on Bi Visibility day, yesterday. It does in fact address exactly that…hopefully it’ll be worth a read (I can’t quite tell at the moment, it’s being ornery).
What exactly is it Americans footstampingly deny? The existence of bisexuality? Or something having to do with gay mags?
Apparently, in the nineteenth century, both heterosexuality and homosexuality were regarded as vile perversions of the general consensus that sex was non enjoyable, but alas, necessary for procreation.
I just want to say, “evidence of bisexuality” is one of the stupidest phrases I’ve ever come across. I mean, I get it as it relates to history, and I understand why the phrase is used there (nothing against the wikipedia article) but what possible “evidence of bisexuality” could we need?
I have a bisexual friend (you’d think I have more, but I really don’t have a lot of friends). He likes to have sex with men and with women. We need evidence of his bisexuality about as much as we need evidence that I like to eat chocolate cake.
Unfortunately, for many people - especially those that don’t want to accept the reality of others’ lives, we do need evidence. I can say “I’m a pansexual person” and possibly even introduce people to my partners across the gender range, but (as we’ve seen) there are plenty of people who will say that I’m just in denial about being gay or that I’m just being trendy (or greedy, or opportunistic, or whatever.) The situation is even worse for monogamous people or others who aren’t actively dating people of more than a single gender. (Oh, so you’re straight now? No, still bi, but I just happen to be with this person right now.)
No one has any real social or political stake in rather or not you like to eat chocolate cake.
To be clear, I understand all of that. I’m not saying that no one should be gathering evidence of bisexuality, I’m saying that no one should be demanding it, and the fact that people are demanding it is completely insane. The cake comparison is because that is how absurd it is. Anyone who argues that there is a lack of evidence to show that bisexuality (or pansexuality or whatever other preference people have) exists should be subjected to having to produce evidence to prove every preference they have in all things. (“Well, I had a piece of chocolate cake last night,” “Yes, but your mother-in-law made that cake, I think you were just eating it to avoid seeming impolite.”)