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On (Not) Being Bi For Your Entertainment

August 11, 2011

Ever since I first came out as bisexual over a decade ago, I have consistently been presented with a response from the male species that is predictable, annoying, adorable and presumptuous all rolled into one.

“Can I watch?”

While the actual delivery will vary from anything that includes but is not limited to watching, taking pictures/video or participating, the thought process remains the same. The brilliantly shiny fantasy that seems to be permanently lodged in the back of the hetero male psyche of two females passionately making love to each other while one lucky man gets to either watch and/or participate is persistent and can be particularly frustrating to deal with as a female with any alternative sexual tendencies.

So what do we do about it? The very popular response from the alternative sexuality culture is something along the lines of “bi-poly-pagan-gamer-geek-and-still-not-sleeping-with-you”, with appropriate subculture substitutions made. Essentially “I’m not here for your entertainment”. But how am I or any other queerly-oriented member of the female species expected to respond politely to these propositions when even the mere mention of having any sort of intimate relationship with another woman automatically triggers that glazed-over expression of male fantasy?

My first husband was always extremely encouraging of my being open with my sexuality, something I had mostly been very private about because my family is strict enough Christian to disapprove of the idea. The downfall of his “encouragement” was that it came in the form of introducing me to women that “he thought I would like”. It took several months and the exposure of his multiple extramarital affairs for it to truly hit home that these were women that -he- was interested in and was hoping that I would also find appealing for our combined sexual pleasure. He had gone so far as to post ads on Adult Friend Finder, without my knowledge or consent, seeking “girlfriends” for “me”. It was objectifying and nauseating, but unfortunately it wasn’t the worst encounter with this mentality.

Several months after I had filed for divorce, I quietly came out to a handful of friends that I was bisexual. As a whole they were very accepting and it was validating to be around people who didn’t seem to want any personal involvement in my orientation. One of these friends mentioned that his girlfriend was also bi, introduced us and she and I hit it off immediately. In hindsight, I should have noticed the little warning signs. My friend kept insisting that we would like each other, encouraging us to talk and hang out, joking that I was going to try to make off with his woman. I laughed at the notion at the time. For my birthday that year, she and another bi female and I all hooked up at a party at my house. The males present gathered in a semi-circle around us and watched, they even made popcorn. The whole event was light-hearted and filled with laughter. A few days later, my friend started making mild sexual advances toward me and asking when I was going to come over because “she misses you”. I dismissed the advances but agreed that I wanted to hang out with his girlfriend again. His sexual advances increased to include telling me things about himself, putting hands on me and pulling me into his lap at work and telling me that I should leave my current relationship to move in with him and his girlfriend and be their third. I was exceptionally uncomfortable but because I was known to be very frank in conversation and had the perception of being flirtatious at times where I was only being friendly, I tried to brush it off politely.

One evening after work, I went over to the couple’s house with the intention of just hanging out. The boyfriend started encouraging myself and his girlfriend to kiss from the moment I walked in the door. We did eventually humor him, although it was because we wanted to, not because of his pressuring us. We were lying on a blanket on the floor kissing for a few minutes, then I felt a second set of hands start touching my back from behind. His. I stopped everything and immediately stated that he was not welcome to touch me. His girlfriend agreed with me and told him not to do it again. He apologized and moved away from us and we bagan to kiss again. A few moments later he tried again and I told him again not to touch me and moved away from both of them. He began to kiss passionately her and tried several times to lure me back over, ignoring both her and my repeated demands that he stop. I was very upset by this point and insisted that he drive me home. When I was calmed down, I took the next available opportunity to tell the girlfriend about his previous advances on me and found out that she had been unaware of any offers for me to move in with them. She talked to a few of her other friends and found out that he had made to offer to several of them as well. That, combined with other egregious behavior on his part led to her breaking up with him shortly afterward.

The breakup was blamed on me and a few days later I discovered that he was telling everyone who would listen that I was “a lesbian and stole his girlfriend”. Thankfully most people laughed the statement off, but for me it was a personal hell because at the time I was living in a military culture that was kicking people out for that insinuation. She and I were both stalked, harassed and threatened by him repeatedly, although my relationship with her was strictly platonic friendship after that fateful night. I ended up requesting a military protective order and she ended up dating him on and off for some period of time after that. Needless to say, I am no longer in any form of contact with either of them. The experience, combined with what my ex-husband had done, rocked me to the core and I repressed my sexuality as deep as I could manage for several years. It was not worth the risk to be out in the open if the results were going to be like this.

Denying a core part of yourself is very damaging to the psyche. When you live one part of your life as a lie, it becomes much easier for other pervasive lies to slowly take over and bury the real person underneath them. The military has asked for too long that its non-hetero members lie about an integral part of their persons, then preach things like honesty and integrity. Where exactly is the integrity in telling someone that because they were not born heterosexual that they are somehow lesser as a person and ineligible for the same rights that traditional couples have?

The reversal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” came with much cheering both inside and outside the military. We always have made statements that we know who the people are in our ranks who have alternative sexual preferences, but the fact of the matter is that many of us hid our secrets very well. Did we hurt unit cohesion? No. Did the people who knew have problems working with us? Generally, no. There are of course some exceptions, but that is hardly a military-exclusive issue. Did it mean that people were getting hit on by the non-hetero person in their living quarters? Really? Is this still a question? Just because I like girls doesn’t mean I’m into you. Get the hell over yourself. How does this affect work? Mutual respect for each other means I don’t want to hear about your sex life at work if you’re gay, straight or like sheep. Period, end of discussion.

I finally started telling people that I am bisexual again when I got involved with the insanely gorgeous woman who I’m proud to call my girlfriend. What started as two friends making out (for hours) at a party turned into something amazing. Our community of friends has been nothing but incredibly supportive and the tech support team and outpouring of love has made it possible for me to tell a increasing number of people without shame or reservation. The reactions have varied from stunned silence to “that’s hot” to the typical reaction I mentioned above, but in the end have gone miles to wash away the sting of my previous bad encounters. I plan on celebrating the death of DADT with style.

What does it mean to be a bisexual woman these days? Well, I’ll be frank, I love to look at and flirt with beautiful women, just as I like to spend time with attractive men. Many of my male friends find it to be the coolest thing ever that I will engage in dialogue with them about women, go to strip clubs, pick ups girls and in general act as one of the guys. I still will get the occasional comment or heckling about them thinking it’s hot if I do something with another woman, but I’ve been greatly humbled by the number who are respectful and content with having a female opinion in the mix.

Am I bi for your entertainment? No, I’m bi because I find both men and women attractive. Can you watch? If I’m in public, sure. Can you touch? Not unless she and I invite you. Can we have a threesome? If I should happen to find two other people with whom there was mutual attraction and desire for all three of us to get involved, I can’t say I wouldn’t consider the idea. I will not participate in any arrangement where I’m out fishing for another girl to use as a living sex toy simply because some guy I’m seeing desires it. Am I going to show off a beautiful woman in my life or my ability to pick one up? Maybe. We all like to be envied sometimes. Do I think it’s cute when you proposition me? Sometimes, it depends on the intent behind it. Would I choose dating a man over dating a woman? The whole mentality of “I’m not worried about anything you do with a woman, you’ll never leave me for one” is ridiculous. Any action taken outside a relationship without permission is cheating. Gender is not going to give me superior feelings or desire for one person over another. Do I have a preference? Maybe. Is it any of your business? Nope. Would I date a man and a woman at the same time if I were married again? That’s between me and my partner(s).

Until Next Time,

  1. It’s nice to see somebody standing up for the truth about (real) bisexuals. You understand your sexuality and your attractions and emotions. It’s a tough fight to be taken seriously. I’m not even taken seriously, and i’m a lesbian.

    Some men are too ignorant to separate fantasy with reality. They’re in love their downstairs a little too much. I’m surprised most of them don’t have gay tendencies themselves as they can’t seem to understand why a woman wouldn’t desire his you-know-what. He must desire it too then, wouldn’t you think? It’s interesting how men can acknowledge a gay man. Although when it involves a woman they seem to view her as inferior and incapable to form a sustainable relationship with another woman. Or have sex without them.

    I have come to discover that most men honestly believe that every woman secretly wants a man. I have no idea why they think so. It might be the fact bisexuals sleep with them. Or that straight women experiment to please them, on top of all the pornography they watch. Whatever it may be, they tend to approach women and sex in an aggressive, obnoxious manner when it comes to sexuality.

    I enjoyed reading your post. On another note, i don’t think bisexuals aren’t taken very seriously in general. This is probably due to the fact most tend to favor one gender over the other. When somebody sways one way more they’re seen as either a homosexual in denial, or bi-curious.

    I can say from my experiences that i wouldn’t be quick to trust a bisexual woman. It sounds harsh, but i stand by experiences of the women i’ve met who claim to be bisexual, prefer men. Most lesbians i know wouldn’t date a girl who prefers men. Other than that, I suppose there is doubt that they will have to worry about two genders, rather than just one. Or perhaps that the person is lying and is only bi-curious, and not serious about their feelings for you.

    Being honest with yourself and others and being proud to be a bisexual is something i don’t often see. It was a very interesting read. Your sexuality is your business, no one should make you feel uncomfortable about it. You tell em.

  2. Fantastic post. I recently went home with a straight couple and felt like a sex toy. I was not into the dude at all. I had never been the third, in my early twenties before I was introduced to alt dyke culture and then queer culture I was always “hunting for unicorns” with my mostly straight boyfriend. I quickly realized that I didn’t want some guy watching me be intimate with another woman. I did want to feel like I was performing. When I went home with that couple I had the distinctive feeling that she was performing & I went away feeling I didn’t want to be in on the act.

  3. Correction, I meant to say

    “I did not want to feel like I was performing” as in I felt like by having a male “observer” that I was putting on some kind of sex show when what I wanted was simply sexual and emotional intimacy with another woman sans audience.

    • I agree with Mommy Fiercest’s “”I did not want to feel like I was performing”…putting on some kind of sex show” but, for myself, add the disclaimer “unless that someone is paying me for the privilege of watching.”

      Even when I’m having sex with a woman at a pansexual play party, it is not acceptable for males to watch close up, adjusting their angle so they can see the penetration up close, distracting me from the hot sex (Yes, that happened, and when I asked him to back off, he got pissed off at me, saying that I shouldn’t have sex in public if I didn’t want people to watch! And I couldn’t get the hostess to kick him out!). Want a close up view where we adjust positions for your viewing pleasure? Pay me for my time.

  4. This is brilliant! Thank you for such an honest and inspiring and REAL first person account. I am super appreciative.

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