Bisexual Male Bisexuality
According to Carl Jung, “No man is entirely masculine that he has nothing feminine in him. The fact is that, very masculine men have—carefully guarded and hidden—a very soft emotional life, often incorrectly described as “feminine.” Jung believes that men have a feminine side and women have a masculine side. He coined the term anima to refer to the feminine aspect of the men, and animus to the masculine aspect of the women. Men and women have both masculine and feminine sides.
Many men who sometimes (or frequently) feel curious about male intimacy are most often loathe to admit it because of prevalent bi and gay stereotypes. Some guys can’t even admit it to themselves. They’re not gay.
Male bisexuality doesn’t exist. Or it’s very, very rare. Or it’s really just gay men in denial. Yeah, it’s official: bi guys are freaks and liars as well as non-existent.
Female bisexuality, on the other hand, is almost universal. It’s as natural and as true as it is wonderful and real and… hot!
Or so you would be forgiven for thinking if you had read the effusive reports in the papers about California State University’s recently published sex-research which claims that women are 27 times more likely to become attracted to their own sex than men.
I haven’t yet been able to study the research quoted, but any sex survey that claims to have interviewed 3,500 people and show that 0.3% of men are attracted to the same sex compared to 8% of women (as quoted in the Independent on Sunday 12/2/06) is difficult to take seriously – except as a measure of social attitudes rather than sexuality.
Maybe it’s because some of my best shags are bisexual men, but I’m beginning to get a bit teed off with this drive to make male bisexuality disappear, either into statistics smaller than a micro-penis or obscured behind a flurry of girl-on-girl action. A few months ago the New York Times published an article ‘Straight, gay or lying?’ which seemed to be a press release for the hilariously cranky research of Dr J. Michael Bailey at Northwestern University, which apparently involves wiring up people’s genitals and showing them dirty pictures and then claiming to have ‘proved’ that male bisexuality ‘doesn’t exist’ and that most women are bisexual. Which seems a much more tenuous conclusion to reach, rather than, for instance: most psychologists at Northwestern University are very strange indeed. (Amongst other extraordinary omissions, the article neglected to mention that Dr Bailey has more than one ‘previous’ in his area: he thinks transsexuals are also ‘really’ gay men and, in a coup-de-grace of his tidy-minded thinking, advocates eugenics to solve the problem of homosexuality).
I hate to break it to you guys, but most of the evidence, historical, anthropological and sexological, suggests that if anything, male ‘bisexuality’ – it’s a terrible word, almost as bad as ‘heterosexual’ and ‘homosexual’, but it will have to do for now – is much more common than the female variety. After all, entire civilizations such as Ancient (and according to many accounts, Modern) Greece have been based on it. Not to mention public schools, the Royal Navy and Hollywood….
It’s unquestionable that female bisexuality is today much more socially acceptable than male bisexuality, and in fact frequently positively encouraged, both by many voyeuristic men and an equally voyeuristic pop culture and also, perhaps slightly paradoxically, women’s new-found desire to assert themselves sexually. What’s more, female homosex has never been legally or socially stigmatized to anything like the same degree as male homosex. It’s a fond myth that the Victorians exempted female homosex from legal censure because Queen Victoria couldn’t conceive of it (apart from anything else, the young Victoria was a fan of Sappho). Woman-on-woman love action wasn’t legislated against because, unlike male homosex, it simply wasn’t considered of much consequence. It may be difficult for feminists to grasp, but ‘patriarchy’ was always much more concerned about where men’s penises went than women’s tongues.
Straight women now have something to gain and little to lose by admitting an interest in other women. Rather than exile them to the acrylic mines of Planet Lesbo, it makes them more interesting, more adventurous, more modern… just more. For the most part, however, straight men still have nothing to gain and everything to lose by making a similar admission. It renders them considerably… less. Unlike women, men’s gender is immediately suspect if they express an interest in the same sex. What’s more, any male homosexuality still tends to be seen as an expression of impotence with women. In other words: men’s attraction to men is equivalent to and probably a product of emasculation.
A straight man admitting that he finds masculinity desirable – as so many clearly, thrillingly do – threatens to cost him the very thing he values most: not only his own manhood and his potency, his reputation with the ladies, but his lads-together homosocial intimacy with other men. It’s a nasty, vicious, bitchy trick to play on millions of red-blooded men, but this is what passes for common sense in the modern, anglo-saxon world.
When a male in public life is outed as bisexual – and, with the exception of controversy-courting David Bowie in the 1970s, who now denies he ever was, they almost never come out willingly – he is immediately represented as ‘gay’. For a man, unlike a woman, there is no such thing as ‘half gay’, it’s tantamount to being half pregnant.