“So i was wandering about the whole bisexual choice thing.You could have chosen to live a straight life.. have a wife and kids and all. why didn’t you? I mean.. sure – being proud of who we are and all that is really important.. but the truth is that i can’t think of reason to choose the hard path. (when it comes to kids\marriage\rights and all).I’m not bi so i don’t actually have any choice.. but you did.. so.. i dont get it :\”
-“Dennis” from somewhere outside the U.S.
Ah, yes. I knew we would have to address this subject at some point. I just didn’t realize that it would be the first question I’d have to answer. Oh well, I suppose we might as well start this column strong. Buckle up, guys, this first one is going to be long…
First thing’s first. For those of you who haven’t already, I highly recommend taking a look at one of Will’s older videos called “Our Story”. We made it in response to all of the questions regarding the start of our relationship and all of that.
Overall, the classification of “bisexual” is a tricky one. A lot of people have a hard time dealing with the two labels of “straight” and “gay”, much less having this category in the middle that might as well be marked “other”. At best, many people see bisexuality as a kind of third option for people who don’t fit neatly into either category. At worst, they see is as a label that people use when they haven’t made up their mind about what team to play for. Human beings are obsessed with assigning labels to everything, since it’s one of the things we do to try to understand something. The only problem is that you can’t sort people’s sexuality the same way you sort your laundry or your recycling. At best, we can sort people on a continuum. On one side, we have people who are completely and totally straight. On the other, we have people who are totally gay. But in between these two black and white categories are infinite shades of gray in between. In reality, a vast majority of people fall somewhere in between. Men who identify as straight still joke about “man-crushes” and “guys they’d go gay for”. Many straight women don’t think twice about drunkenly making out with one or more friends at a party. Even Will, a self-proclaimed-Kinsey-6 gay man, has a short list of women he’d sleep with given ideal circumstances. This is why, in addition to having labels like “straight” and “gay”, we have a whole laundry list of other labels like “bisexual”, “pansexual”, “omnisexual”, “hetero-flexible”, the list goes on.
People have only even assigned labels to sexuality since around Victorian times. I might just get into the origins of said labels in a later post, but for now you’ll have to just trust me that I’ve done my research. All you need to know is that labels like “heterosexual” or “homosexual” have only existed for a couple hundred years or so. So it really annoys people like me (i.e. people in the middle) how so many people cling to said labels as though they’ve existed since the beginning of time. When I was younger, I identified as straight. This wasn’t because I didn’t think I liked guys. I just didn’t picture my ideal partner as a guy. So it was just easier to assign myself that label rather than deal with people who didn’t understand what I really am. These days, I actually identify as gay most of the time. This isn’t because I’m not attracted to women anymore. It’s because I’m in a gay relationship, and I plan on being in one for the rest of my life. Again, it’s just easier to wear the label that most people are comfortable with, rather than go through the trouble of explaining myself every time someone doesn’t understand. Is it an unfortunate circumstance? Sure. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t even bother with labels at all. Everyone enjoys having orgasms, so what does it matter who you choose to do it with?
Of course, one of the subsequent problems with labels has to do with the first part of your question. It’s a pretty well established fact that being “gay” isn’t a choice, just like being “straight” isn’t a choice. But what happens when your list of possibilities includes both sexes? Many people who find out about my bisexuality, including my own parents, can’t understand why, if I’m sexually attracted to both men and women, why on earth I would choose to get into a serious relationship with a man. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being gay or being in a gay relationship. But given the choice between “gay” and “straight”, going with the so-called majority seems to be the easier of the two options.
I’ve managed to boil down my response into a single sentence: you can choose who you sleep with, but you can’t choose who is right for you. If you’re a straight man, you have the option of choosing from all of the straight women on the planet. However, chances are that the one woman that you do choose has more to offer you than just sex. Chances are the two of you have personalities that connect on a very deep level. The same can be said for a gay man, only he gets to choose from all of the other gay men. For those whose preference lies somewhere in the in-between, all it means is a wider realm of possibilities. Sure, it is true that I used to picture my ideal partner as female. However, when I met Will, I realized that he possessed (virtually) every characteristic that I wanted in an ideal partner—save for one. Lucky for me, the fact that he’s a guy didn’t matter that much to me. I’m interested in personality, not plumbing. I’d love Will just as much and be just as happy if he was a woman. That said, all of my previous relationships with women (of which there were a handful) have failed. Meanwhile, my relationship with Will is thriving, and I have no intention of ending it any time soon. I also plan on doing the same things with Will that I wanted to do with the female partner I used to picture back in the day. I still want to get married and raise a family and all of that. None of that has changed.
If anything, this question shows the pitfalls of clinging to labels, especially in the traditional sense. Exactly what do we gain by trying to place people in labeled bins? Sure, it may seemingly make things easier to comprehend in the short term. But just because you create a model that’s simple doesn’t mean that people are simple. More often than not, you’ll find that people are always more complicated than you originally think. And I’m not just talking about what they choose to do in the bedroom.
Thanks for your question!