Its great to see so many people – men and women – feeling comfortable being open about their bisexuality. Studies have shown that up to 70% of women and 30% of men show signs of same sex sexual arousal (ie. they get turned on when they look at same sex porn), yet very few of them would have considered themselves bisexual).
The reasons are likely pretty clear – society is not always accepting of ‘different’ sexual orientations; and unlike being gay, bisexuality can be very nuanced.
And this is my key point in this post. The nuances of bisexuality and the overwhelming evidence that bisexuality exists on a spectrum… even along multiple spectrums.
So, aside from the fact that many people are bisexual in one form or another, here is what Science seems to be learning of bisexuality:
- Some who like it like it a lot; others not so much… but they still like it occasionally. There is a new term I am seeing more and more of – mostly hetero. These are men and women who enjoy occasionally being with someone of the same sex but there general preference is for opposite sex partners. I know a number of people like this. They love – truly love – being with someone of the same sex. But it is an occasional indulgence. And the people I know who I would call ‘mostly hetero’ – their desire to indulge only occasionally is not repressive of wanting something more. Their ‘restraint’ has nothing to do with feeling guilty about their attraction to people of the same sex or any sort of religiosity-misguided sense that they are sinning and, therefore, needing to control that desire. They sincerely feel awesome about being with same sex partners, but they only want it every once in a while. Its kind of like me and bread pudding… love it every once in a while.
- Elsewhere on the spectrum of desire. When I comes to sexual attraction (as opposed to romantic attraction… we’ll get to that), the ‘mostly straights’, are at one end, but there is an entire spectrum of sexual desire that runs from how much you enjoy sexual experience with same sex to how much you enjoy it with opposite sex. And bisexuals run the length of this spectrum. I know many women who really like being with other women, but they like being with men more (either a lot more or just a tiny bit more). I also know a guy who identifies as homosexual but he still finds women a little attractive and if his relationship allowed it, he would definitely be with a woman every once in a while.
- Relationship-straight; sexually bi – this is my wife. She knows she would not ‘fall in love’ with a women and be in a romantic relationship. But she finds women very sexy, sexual and sensual. And she loves having sex with them. Her ideal sex life has a pretty even mix of men and women as sexual partners. And its more than just sexual urge… she feels erotically close to some women.. but it’s not relationship-level attraction. It’s what Dan Savage calls bi in the brain but not in the heart.
Does any of this matter? Yes. Part of embracing and demystifying sexuality is better understanding the complexity of our sexuality. And this requires us to understand and be happy with the different things that turn us on.. in our hearts … and below.