One Man’s Experience with Bisexuality

Come as you are

From www.nerve.com

A personal essayby Neal Medlyn

I think I first figured out that I might be bisexual when I was in college. It’s hard for me to say when or how, as various alternate tales compete in my mind as the “official” truth. The first time I saw gay porn? When I realized my masturbation fantasies involved me switching parts, being the woman, then being the man? My identification with the gay movement? All of them sound equally silly, embarrassing and worse, perhaps just a personality hiccup and not a real “truth” at all. None of them sound like anything that approaches a realization of Identity with a capital I. And that, more or less, is indicative of my entire life as a bisexual: dubious, occasionally embarrassing, obscured.
Being a bisexual guy, as the term exists at the moment, is an exercise in frustration and confusion, and while I stand by that confusion as truthful and great (get me drunk and I’ll say it’s everything from the basis for art that I like to what I’d like America to stand for) I think it’s a basically flawed identity in sore need of some fixing.

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Oh, some details might be called for here. The pertinent facts of my life are these: I am twenty-nine years old and incredibly happily married to a woman. I’ve dated and slept with exactly the same number of boys as girls. My feelings about the two sexes break down somewhat like this: I more easily form emotional attachments with women but because of that have found men mysterious and intriguing the way I’m sure my more hetero counterparts must find women. If I were to put it in those terms, I’d say I’m 70% into girls and 30% into boys. There. Done.

Now, back to what I was saying. Bisexuality is a disappointing, suspect, utterly chaotic identity. It seems to exist in only the foggiest regions of people’s brains, like Pol Pot the geographic location of Myanmar. They’re not sure what it is, but they’re pretty sure it’s lame and/or bad.

Gay men that I’ve dated in the past, the most recent being five years ago, were terribly suspicious. Aside from a few unexpected trysts with fellows, the first guy I officially dated was the president of an LGBT campus organization I decided to join. I should have known at the stunned silence on the first day when, delusioned by the supposed redemptive power of coming out, I offered that I was bi. The president of the group still decided to go out with me, but the majority of our time together consisted of long, accusatory conversations on car hoods. I broke up with him a few weeks later and was tearfully informed that I wasn’t able to love, to let myself really commit to a relationship with him, which I accepted as code for my waffling, noncommittal nature as a bisexual.

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Enlightened New Zealand

On The Road: No clothes needed in New Zealand – just bring a torch

From The Independent

By Darroch Donald

The Homer Tunnel provides the essential link between the dramatic fjord of Milford Sound and the outside world

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I found myself in Milford Sound on the day of the annual Great Naked Tunnel Race. Well, surely it would be rude not to take part?

Begun in 1935 and completed in 1953, The Homer Tunnel is a remarkable feat of engineering and a monument to human endeavour. It provides the essential link between the dramatic fjord of Milford Sound and the outside world. But this is no Channel Tunnel or Sydney Harbour underpass. There are no guidance systems; no tidy tollgates or hamburger stands thoughtfully placed halfway through for your convenience. When you first encounter the entrance to the Homer at the base of what can only be described as a massive face of granite, the word “drain” springs to mind. To travel through it fully clothed and in the comfort of a vehicle evokes enough horror – but running through it in the dark? Naked?

Ol’ Homey has become the venue for perhaps New Zealand’s most unusual annual events – known in these parts as the Great Annual Nude Tunnel Run. The race was originally conceived in 2000 and now attracts over 50 participants (this year including yours truly). Competitors run completely naked from east to west (as distance of 1.2 km) carrying little except a torch.

The fastest male and female runners have their names engraved on the trophy, which for men is “Ken” doll and for women a “Barbie” (naked and in a running position, naturally)!

So did I win? No. I didn’t even try. Too busy having a chat en route with a charming local (let’s call him “Ken”, too), who says of the event: “It’s an invigorating feeling being naked and makes one realise how natural and beautiful it is to have no kit on. Group nudity is definitely non-perverse, a good way to make new friends and influence people and something we should all do more often.”

Absolutely, Ken! Let’s start now – at Auckland airport preferably.

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Modern Day Michelangelo; Ian Rank-Broadley

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“The naked figure, whether in the studio or on the beach, has always fascinated me. It is a subject that everyone can relate and respond to in their own way, often without conceptualizing or intellectualizing. That is the way I prefer to do it. There is a deeper response to the illusive and resonating qualities of the body in art.”

Thinking there is more than what passes as sculpture, Ian set out to develop his own interpretations.  Thus, a recent installation at the Abbey House Gardens in ancient Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England.

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“The choice of the male figure / nude as a dominant motif was made quite early when I realized that the female nude had, to a large extent, been robbed of its power by the commercial world of advertising, whereas the the male nude still retained a power that could excite, grab attention and shock. The reaction of the spectator to the male figure was stronger, whether out of competition, fear or embarrassment. It proved to be a potent image. For me, the sculptor, this fact reinforced the work with a greater resonance and meaning.”

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Married Men With Another Life to Live

This article from the Washington Post reflects insight into the minds of bisexual married men, along with the amazing variety  of ways they deal with their dilemma.

By Jose Antonio Vargas

Washington Post Staff Writer

Listen to Bill, 71, a retired lobbyist in New Mexico:

“I’m probably the oldest of the callers, and I’ve been involved, off and on with men — discounting my Boy Scout and teenage years — since I was in my forties. I am married.”

John N. Craig of Fairfax runs a phone network and support group for closeted men who struggle to balance private yearnings with their public image. (Lucian Perkins — The Washington Post)

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Listen to another Bill, 55, from Boston:

“There’s so many of us out there, it seems like it’s very, very good to communicate and support one another. . . . I feel like a typical male with an extra bonus, perhaps. My wife does not know.”

The Bills (along with Steve from New York, Joe from western Massachusetts, a nonprofit executive from the Washington area who won’t give his first name and a preacher from Toronto who also won’t give his first name) leave three- to five-minute voice messages, once or twice a week, in a “Voice RoundTable” created and facilitated by John N. Craig of Fairfax. Callers also listen to the others’ messages, making this a support group built around an answering machine, where no one interacts live.

That’s not all. Since 1990, Craig has organized dozens of three-day and one-day conferences for more than 200 complex closeted cases, white bisexual and gay men (where, exactly, is the line?) who are predominately in their forties, fifties and sixties. He has advertised for these gatherings — held in California, New York, Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico and Massachusetts — in magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic and Harper’s.

Most participants are married.

Many have grown children.

Most hold high-ranking, leadership jobs.

That this is confidential with a capital C is understandable.

Craig, 52, is openly bisexual and holds a master’s degree in social work. “I’m strongly sexually attracted to men. I’m strongly attracted to women,” he says, sitting at a coffee shop on 14th Street NW yesterday morning. He was still trying to make sense of the spectacular disclosure Thursday by New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey — twice married with two daughters — that he is gay.

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Women Who Read M2M Fiction.

Some of the most interesting and intriguing emails I get come from the women who read my novels.

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I hear from women of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances, and I hear from them for different reasons.  It goes beyond the fact there are strong female characters in all of my novels: the wives in Five Married Men; a sister and a nurse in A Song in the Park; a colleague in The Partisans; a wife and a seductress in The Strange Haunting of Johnny Feelwater; characters women relate to or sympathize for.  But the two main reasons seem to be: women readers are touched by human romance and intimacy, no matter the characters gender or sexual orientation; or they have found themselves in similar circumstances (their husbands, boyfriends or brothers are gay or bisexual).

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Women also want to know what goes in inside a man’s head.  Stories that involve his sexuality are intriguing.  Some women are intrigued by the notion of intimacy between two males; there are some female fans who read one novel after another that involve male relationships.  It’s everything from simple curiosity to the pursuit of a fantasy to full blown fascination with male physical interaction.

Five Married Men inspires most of the e-mail I get from women, often a wife who just found out and is looking to understand and cope with her new dilemma.  She reaches out for a sympathetic listener, a neutral third party that might offer insight on what she might expect to happen next.  Given the fact she has an otherwise happy marriage, I’m honored to be able to offer words of encouragement.

Actually I’m honored to hear from all the women who contact me.  I’m often thinking about them when I write.  Simply put, no matter how attracted to men he might be, women are important factors in every man’s life.

I received the following e-mail just recently:

HI , I WOULD LOVE TO THANK YOU FOR 2 WONDERFUL HELPFUL BOOKS.  FIVE MARRIED MEN AND A SONG IN THE PARK. MY LIFE UNRAVELED 4 YRS AGO WHEN I DISCOVERED MY HUSBAND OF 17 YRS WAS HAVING SEX WITH MEN. HE IS BISEXUAL. IT WAS THE MOST DEVISTATING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. I AM SLOWLY RECOVERING. WE ARE STILL MARRIED. BOTH WORKING ON PUTTING THE PIECES BACK TOGETHER. I AM DOING MOST OF THE WORK BY MYSELF. HE DOES NOT LIKE TO TALK ABOUT HIS BISEXUALITY. HE IS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THAT PART OF HIS LIFE YET. YOUR BOOKS SHOWED ME HOW THE MALE MIND WORKS. THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO LOVE A WIFE AND WANT SEX WITH MEN. HE IS NOT HAVING SEX WITH MEN AT THIS TIME. NOT FOR THE LAST 2 YRS TO MY KNOWLEDGE. TRUST IS NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE. I AM ALWAYS ON GUARD FOR ANY SIGNS. I DISCOVERED HIS BISEXUALITY WHEN HE HAD LEFT HIS EMAIL UP AND I SAW HIS POSTS TO MEN. IT WAS EYE OPENING. MY WORLD WAS FOREVER CHANGED. ONLY A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE KNOW. THIS IS HARD TO DISCUSS WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT LIVED THIS. YOUR WRITING HAS THE ABILITY TO HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. YOU CAN GET DEEP INTO MY FEELINGS AND HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND THEM. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THAT. THANKS FOR THE BOOKS. KEEP WRITING ON THIS SUBJECT. YOU ARE TRUELY A GIFTED AUTHOR. THANKS, (name withheld to protect her privacy)

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Bisexuality 101: How many bisexuals are out there?

I’ve asked this question a thousand times.  This article from examiner.com gives you an idea of how difficult it is to arrive at a consensus.  I personally believe, as far as men are concerned, if we could take the entire male population and strip away a lifetime of indoctrination, if men were allowed to perceive and react to what comes natural to them, the numbers would be astounding.

From examiner.com

By Mike Szymanski

No wonder we bisexuals feel so alone–we don’t even know how many of us exist. Estimates range from zero to tens of millions in the United States alone, depending on which study you believe.

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It’s not easy to find hard numbers on this. To quote scholar and activist Loraine Hutchins:

Newer Kinsey Institute studies found both more evidence of bisexuality, and more denial. A late 80s study, for instance, showed 46 percent of (self-labeled) lesbians, not bisexuals, reporting having sex with men since in the ’80s”

Time Magazine said any statistic is unreliable because people who engage in such behavior don’t consider themselves bisexual.

Here are other reports:

* 0.3% of women and 0.7% of men engaged in sexual activity with both males and females within the previous year-”Sex in America,” University of Chicago, 1992

* 1.5% of women and 0% of men defined as bisexual based on sexual and romantic attraction-National Institutes of Health, 2002

* 5% of women and 10% of men fall solidly into a middle level of the Kinsey scale of sexual preferences. However, when accounting for people’s actions and attractions, as many as 25% of women and 46% of men could be labeled as bisexual.-Dr. Wardell Pomeroy, director of field research for The Institute for Sex Research

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Cristy’s Concern About Her Bisexual Boyfriend

Many bisexual males ultimately opt for traditional marriage, which is usually to a straight bride.  Many of them keep their sexuality secret, in some cases their entire lives.   A growing number are telling their prospective wives about their bisexuality, which is often shrugged off by the woman, only to rear it’s psychologically intrusive head further down the road.  This problem is related to society’s overall attitude toward sexual diversity.

The following is a typical scenario

BY Sasha, From Eye Weekly.com

I thought your take on why so many people believe bisexuals to be less monogamous was thoughtful and interesting. However, as someone who’s been in long-term, monogamous relationship with a bisexual man, I think you missed the real reason for these insecurities. I thought I was completely fine with my boyfriend’s bisexuality but what started to gnaw at me after a while was the fact that by committing to me he would never be able to enjoy that other side of himself. Sure, I could give him all the vag in the world but I could never satisfy his desire for cock. It creates an insecurity that really is twice as dramatic as a heterosexual couple. Where before I only had to worry about women hitting on my man, now I have to be worried about guys as well. Not to mention that the longer one goes without something, the stronger their desire for it becomes. I’m not saying these fears are rational, but it’s where the mind goes sometimes, especially when trust is not a strong part of the relationship.

He can’t just turn off his attraction to men – I mean, can he really ignore those feelings forever or as long as we’re together? I think it’s more about feeling you can never fully satisfy your partner and for many, cheating is the next logical step in that equation. Cristy

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The Reply:

You bring up a salient point about how, when we pursue a traditional relationship model with an atypical partner, we behave as though we are entitled – obliged, in fact – to feel insecure. Andrea Zanin, who conducts workshops internationally about non-monogamy, speaks to this tendency eloquently: “Most of us are raised within and completely immersed in the institution of heterosexuality. By this I don’t mean the sexual orientation per se; I mean the paradigm that has us all believing a certain package deal of sexual and gender-related feelings, identities and behaviours is normal and right. Within that paradigm, the prescribed set of behaviours is more or less as follows: you are appropriately gendered for your sex, feel sexual attraction to people of only one sex/gender (the ‘opposite’ one), engage in monogamous or serial monogamous partnership with such people, marry, reproduce and so forth. Sometimes we encounter people or situations that fall outside that paradigm but as long as we can normalize them, we can sort of incorporate them into the paradigm so that they remain comfortable for us. So for example, if your guy likes other guys, that can be seen as something that makes him unique or unusual, but you can still be ‘fine’ with it as long as it doesn’t disturb the rest of the package deal. The problem is that sometimes those unique or unusual people or circumstances are just a bit too hard to normalize, for whatever reason, and that causes us a great deal of anxiety.”

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Bisexual and not in favor of same sex marriage

Regarding one of the most controversial subjects in America society, same sex marriage, I found this piece to be eloquent, concise and thought-provoking.  Whether you agree with the author or not, this is exactly how each side of the issue should be presented in order to maintain a constructive dialogue.

From AfterEllen.com

By KarenR

I know there have been a lot of topics set up on bisexuality and what bisexuals are into and all that but I believe this point of view has not been represented here before. I believe same sex couples should get the same legal and financial rights as heterosexual couples but I don’t believe LGBT are entitlted to the word “marriage.” I would prefer it if marriage was kept out of state issues and left to the Church, however, till that happens LGBT should be able to accept that compromise of civil unions which offer the same benefits. Maybe it’s because of my religious and cultural upbringing but I don’t see why gay people want the word marriage. As an out bisexual in a opposite sex relationship with a bi guy, but who has been in numerous same sex relationships I think the difference between opposite and same sex relationships couldn’t be greater. A same sex relationship can’t offer all that an opposite sex relationship can and vice versa. So why not have different words? Why the fixation on SSM when there are other issues of greater importance? Personally, I like fitting in, being the majority, and not being an outlier too much to make my primary relationship a same sex one. But that doesn’t mean i don’t like to engage in same sex play on the weekends by hanging out at gay bars. I like having a taste of both worlds but still I think it’s important to differentiate between both relationships.

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To all the biphobic gay people out there your concerns are justified because i don’t know about other bisexuals but I tend to value heterosexual privilege and opposite sex relationships more than same sex ones, especially due to the biphobia in the gay community, and also because apart from personal satisfaction and enjoyment same sex relationships don’t have the same amount of societal value as opposite sex ones. Procreation is an important element of marriage and if two people cannot procreate they cannot offer the same amount back to society that they receive and they should not receive the title of “marriage.” To raise a child deliberately without a father and mother is unfair for a child. Sunday is father’s day in many countries and children without any story involving a father are prone to feel left out. Same with gay male couples having children and mother’s day. I don’t oppose LGBT couples having children but both a mother and father should be identified for the child, rather than replaced with parent 1 and parent 2. A lot of people who would otherwise be supportive of gay rights are not because of the belligerent nature of the gay rights movement that demands but does not compromise and because of changes they believe may affect them. I used to be really into the gay rights movement of same sex marriage but all the bi and hetero bashing made me re-evaluate things.

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I respect LGBT relationships but I believe if same sex couples want the same benefits as opposite sex couples you should seek civil unions and not try to take over an institution because you want “respect and dignity.” I don’t see LGBT in the Eastern world or in developing countries attempting that and with the population growth in Western countries the way it is you’ll be overtaken by those who respect traditional marriage in no time. I think it is a fundamental mistake for us, or t he wider gay community, to take on religious institutions and ask them to change because that will never happen.

LGBT here should follow the steps of those in the UK who are happy with civil unions and not want marriage. Gay superstar Elton John also echoed similar words.

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Eugene Jansson

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Eugène Fredrik Jansson (Stockholm 18 March 1862 – Skara 15 June 1915) was a Swedish painter known for his night-time land- and cityscapes dominated by shades of blue. Towards the end of his life, from about 1904, he mainly painted male nudes. The earlier of these phases has caused him to sometimes be referred to as blåmålaren, “the blue-painter”.

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Jansson enrolled in the Tekniska skolan (now Konstfack) and studied for Edvard Perséus, a painter who ran a private art school in Stockholm. He was accepted into the Antique school of the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in 1881, but did not have the means to follow most of his contemporaries to Paris for further studies. Remaining in Stockholm, which supplied him most of his motifs, his first trip outside the Nordic countries would come in 1900, when he had already become well-established as a painter and his economic situation started to improve.

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