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Breaking news: not all bisexuals are lying sluts.
January 17, 2008 2:59 PM   Subscribe

Hey, bisexuals! Is your sweetheart terrified that you’ll have second thoughts after graduation? Are you trying to figure out how to tell your parents? Are presidential primary frontrunners lumping your orientation together with pedophilia and bestiality? Well, for the first two, at least, you can reassure them that bisexuality is not a phase ... by quoting SCIENCE! (pdf) (Side effects may include cheering at increasing cultural acceptance or eye-rolling at need to continue to demonstrate the obvious. Effects have been demonstrated in women only. Presidential primary frontrunners may be immune to science.)
posted by kyrademon (184 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The problem with bisexuals is not that they cannot make up their minds. It's that for the most part they are promiscuous and tend to behave like little attention whores who need to be the center of everyones sexual attention.

There are some, who, through lots of learning from mistakes, have shown that they can learn to be rational and considerate adults who don't need to show off how sexually active they are in public. Though most of those are taken and not accepting new partners right now.

Oh, and that show on VH1 with the myspace whore is a prime example of "how to make yourself look dumb by saying you are bisexual."

/Proudly part of a bisexual partnership.
//Dated more lesbians than straight girls.
///Not bisexual.
posted by daq at 3:05 PM on January 17, 2008


How do people "graduate" from MySpace?
posted by meehawl at 3:06 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had just glanced at a spot, a blog by some guy who shares his wife with other guys and gets his kicks from this. He says he is bi-sexual etc., and though I know nothing about what all this means I had been led to believe that claiming to be bi was simply away to stay halfway in the closet.
here is the site, if you are curious:

http://deesjoe.blogspot.com/
posted by Postroad at 3:09 PM on January 17, 2008


I could never be bisexual. I couldn't stand doubling the number of people who reject me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:09 PM on January 17, 2008 [39 favorites]


The problem with bisexuals is not that they cannot make up their minds. It's that for the most part they are promiscuous and tend to behave like little attention whores who need to be the center of everyones sexual attention.

Funny, you hear the same shit spewed about gay people, too.
posted by item at 3:17 PM on January 17, 2008 [24 favorites]


bisexuality is not a phase

Perhaps not, but I think many men may be willing to try if this picture is indicative of the potential results.
posted by Adam_S at 3:18 PM on January 17, 2008


So, in the first three responses, we had two references to Tila Tequila, one assertion that bisexuals are "for the most past ... promiscuous attention whores", a link to a site about a guy into wife sharing, and a belief that bisexuality is a way to stay "halfway in the closet".

I have just mentally reassessed how very very needed the study in the post really is.
posted by kyrademon at 3:19 PM on January 17, 2008 [39 favorites]


It's that for the most part they are promiscuous and tend to behave like little attention whores who need to be the center of everyones sexual attention.

Which can describe innumerable immature hetero- or homosexual women or men.

Though most of those are taken and not accepting new partners right now.

Or single because the hetero- or homosexual people they try to have serious relationships with are freaked out by bisexuality because they believe the above stuff.

/Proudly part of a bisexual partnership.
//Dated more lesbians than straight girls.


Which doesn't make you immune from saying stupid shit.

///Not bisexual.

Obviously.
posted by CKmtl at 3:22 PM on January 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


Some of my best friends are bisexuals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:24 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow. This thread is already full of crap. I hope that tomorrow when I check it that it will be filled with more substantial comments.
posted by agregoli at 3:26 PM on January 17, 2008


daq, there's no way you could have read the links in the six minutes between the FPP and your comment, so were you just looking for an excuse to spout off ignorant bullshit? I bet some of your best friends are bi, amirite?
posted by desjardins at 3:27 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


well, he is part of a 'bisexual partnership', which I take to mean that he thinks it's really fucking hot when his ladyfriend makes out with another girl, but HEY DUDE YOU ALMOST TOUCHED MY ASS THERE - WATCH IT, MOTHERFUCKER!!!
posted by item at 3:31 PM on January 17, 2008 [13 favorites]


My best friend is bi. No, wait, that’s not exactly true. My dog is more of a legsexual. Doesn’t really matter what kind of leg, male, female, chair, couch, etc.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:33 PM on January 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


Hey, bisexuals! Is Are your sweetheart sweethearts terrified that you’ll have second thoughts after graduation?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:34 PM on January 17, 2008


My modest sexual history notwithstanding, I have never been with a woman who did not admit to at least one (and often quite a bit more) satisfactory sexual encounter(s) with another woman, and none of them ever referred to themselves as bisexual. "It was just a fun thing to do."

Given my training as an anthropologist, it's hard for me to look at this as other than a mostly cultural phenomenon. I have nothing but my own observation to back this up, of course, but quite honestly, I think its just plain different for women. Without a doubt there are biological origins to homosexuality, but culture plays a part in that, too. Sexual gratification has ceased to be entirely about biology and more about opportunity. I would suggest that societal mores make it easier for women to take advantage of that than for men. I'm more in the camp that "bisexuality" doesnt really exist, at least not biologically, and is entirely a reflection of culture.
posted by elendil71 at 3:36 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Was Kurt Cobain Bisexual? /sorta-self!
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:36 PM on January 17, 2008


Jesus christ what's up with you people?
posted by sveskemus at 3:36 PM on January 17, 2008 [12 favorites]


wow, it feels like 1973 in here.
posted by hojoki at 3:37 PM on January 17, 2008 [13 favorites]


I believe in the copenhagen interpretation. Whether bisexuality is a phase or an orientation depends on how you measure it.
posted by srboisvert at 3:37 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Your sexuality does not define you. Sorry to break it to you.

I'm sorry. I work at gay/bi/alternative clubs. The majority of the patrons who I hate are the ones who feel the necessity to be as openly sexual and flaunt how open and fucking boringly sexual they are. There is such a thing as a cumdumpster, and almost all identify as bisexual.

I also know of this study from previous articles linked to it last week. Not to mention living with one (and dating 4). And for the most part it is a secondary character trait, not a primary defining trait. You know, people first, sex organs second.

That's another thing I will rail on with "ignorant bullshit" about as well, just to make you love me more. Your sexuality does not mean you have a right to treat others as inferior. The amount of bullshit attitude I get from "lesbians" who feel threatened because I have a cock. The number of times I've had to tell a guy "sorry, don't swing that way" and been told I'm some kind of "tease." Fuck you. I'm working. You want a slut, here's the bisexual crowd, have fun.

And yes, there are people who "decide" to be bisexual only to find that they aren't later. It happens. It's called experimenting and goes along with growing up. I experimented and decided that stubble wasn't my thing. My girlfriend experimented and found that she likes both in their own way, and that they both have a place in her life. GOOD. Means I don't have to worry about her rejecting me because I'm not a girl. It also means that most guys who hit on her don't know what they are in for.

Fucking monkeys.
posted by daq at 3:39 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


daq: "The problem with bisexuals..."

Oh for goodness' sake. Flagged.
posted by Drexen at 3:43 PM on January 17, 2008


Please let's get over the naturalistic fallacy all ready. Science != Morality or Ethics.
People have the right to fuck whoever they want because they're human beings, not because some study says so.
People who disparage other people because of their sexual orientation are ignorant morons because they don't respect other people's freedom, not because some study says so.
This kind of argument just hurts the cause of tolerance. A million studies won't make homo- or b-i sexuality wrong or right. Freedom of sexual orientation is a basic human right.
People have the right to fuck whoever they want1. And who they choose to fuck is none of your business, ok?
1 assuming consent, adults, etc.
posted by signal at 3:44 PM on January 17, 2008 [35 favorites]


To understand a type of sexuality better, I'd say you probably have to get to know a range of people who identify with that sexuality and discuss it with them.

If I was bisexual, and heard some of the commenters in this thread talking about the subject, I'm pretty sure I'd keep my sexual preferences to myself.
posted by creeky at 3:46 PM on January 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


Your sexuality does not define you. Sorry to break it to you.

Well, I guess that's it. Thread over.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:47 PM on January 17, 2008


There is such a thing as a cumdumpster, and almost all identify as bisexual.

What. The. Fuck. daq?
posted by item at 3:49 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


For some people, the need to decide -- to choose and be done with wondering -- is paramount. But it's neurotic, and they shouldn't bother other people about it. It is illuminating that this sort of nervous nelly semi-quasi-condemnation always rears its head most clearly when the matter is of sexual orientation.

If a girl is into white guys AND black guys, do we bother her about it? Do we say, "What's the deal with you being attracted to two different shades of skin? Can't you make up your mind?" Nope. We say, "Diversity is the spice of jungle-fever!"

If I guy might roll with a fat chick or a twig depending on his mood or who he connects with that night, do we imagine he's a slutty show-off compared to the guy who exclusively chases heavy skirt? Nope. We couldn't care less, generally speaking.

It seems like people are cool to be indecisive (or open-minded, or whatever) in just about any sexual context EXCEPT which set of danglies they prefer. In that, you're supposed to be either IN or OUT. You're either on OUR TEAM or THE OTHER TEAM. Any waffling is obviously evidence is a malformed character, or evolving psychological issues.

Some days I like bananas, some days I prefer strawberries. Who's to quibble?
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 3:51 PM on January 17, 2008 [17 favorites]


And sorry, daq, come on:

The problem with bisexuals is not that they cannot make up their minds. It's that for the most part they are promiscuous and tend to behave like little attention whores who need to be the center of everyones sexual attention.

or

Your sexuality does not define you. Sorry to break it to you.

Er - which is it going to be?
posted by creeky at 3:51 PM on January 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


"I'm sorry. I work at hiphop clubs. The majority of the patrons who I hate are the ones who feel the necessity to be as openly thuggy and flaunt how open and fucking boringly violent they are. There is such a thing as a soulless violent animal, and almost all are black.

I also know of this study from previous articles linked to it last week. Not to mention living with one (and dating 4). And for the most part it is a secondary character trait, not a primary defining trait. You know, people first, skin colour and ancestry second.

That's another thing I will rail on with "ignorant bullshit" about as well, just to make you love me more. Your skin colour does not mean you have a right to treat others as inferior. The amount of bullshit attitude I get from "sistas" who feel threatened because I have less melanin. The number of times I've had to tell a guy "sorry, not a spearchucker" and been told I'm some kind of "wigger fake with an afro." Fuck you. I'm working. You want a second gunman, here's the black crowd, have fun."

It's fucking like MadLibs, y'all.
posted by CKmtl at 3:51 PM on January 17, 2008 [29 favorites]


"There is such a thing as a cumdumpster..."

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:53 PM on January 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


... twice. Daq, you're speaking offensive dross, just the same kind that's been applied to gays in the past before bisexuals were lined up as the next target. Regardless of your experiences, it's a fact that any sexual category as broad as bisexuality contains its share of people from shallow sluts to intellectual, buttoned-down virgins and everything in between, as well as everything from drunken one-time experiments to core-deep, lifelong commitments. If you feel people are speaking down to you its because your opinion's of low worth: your broad generalisations bespeak a narrow mind.
posted by Drexen at 3:55 PM on January 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


CKmtl, you win at the internets.
posted by imperium at 3:56 PM on January 17, 2008


daq.: /Proudly part of a bisexual partnership.
//Dated more lesbians than straight girls.
///Not bisexual.


Urm. Ahh... so, when I first read that, I didn't see that last line, so I thought, "hmm, a bisexual is critical of his community. Fine."

Now, aside from the fact that I think you just haven't met that many bisexuals outside of TV, I'm left sitting here wondering HOW CAN YOU BE PART OF A BISEXUAL PARTNERSHIP WHEN YOU'RE NOT BISEXUAL? Seriously, the only thing I can think is that you're dating somebody who's bisexual, and no, that's not "a bisexual partnership." My wife is a female, but our relationship is not a "female relationship." If a homosexual man and a homosexual woman who are horribly confused get married, it is not a "homosexual relationship." If you're just dating a bisexual girl, the only sense in which your relationship is "bisexual" is the sense in which there are two sexes there, in which case, woohoo.

Also, you've dated lesbians? On purpose? How does that work-- are there just a lot of confused lesbians?
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


2/3 of women changed the identity labels they had claimed at the beginning of the study,
and 1/3 changed labels 2 or more times.


Bisexuality's obviously a very different animal in females than males. I can't imagine that many self-identified gay males ever start dating women.

Also, everyone knows that nightclubs are full of promiscuous straight people, promiscuous gay people, and all shades in between. You might as well draw conclusions from looking at Craigslist personals.
posted by Bletch at 4:05 PM on January 17, 2008


daq.: I work at gay/bi/alternative clubs.

Okay. Now it makes sense.

What you're saying is that your sample includes very, very few real-world bisexuals.

In which case, you're perfectly correct. Clubhoppers are often like that. I think that's what you mean.
posted by koeselitz at 4:06 PM on January 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


Well, CheeseburgerBrown, there is sometimes a lot of flak given to men who date plus-sized or larger women. And a lot of bias in general about larger women and beauty standards. But that's a different subject for a totally different topic.

CKmtl just made post of the day.
posted by cmgonzalez at 4:07 PM on January 17, 2008


I dated a lesbian once. She did it just to get me on her softball team. I felt so used, but, to be fair, I am a hell of a second baseman.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:09 PM on January 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


wait, there are promiscuous people AT A NIGHTCLUB?

NO WAY, DUDE!!!!

Observation bias anyone?
posted by desjardins at 4:11 PM on January 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Funny, you hear the same shit spewed about gay people, too.

As it turns out, being gay doesn't mean you're not a fucking asshole.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:13 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


As it turns out, being gay doesn't mean you're not a fucking asshole.

Some of my best gay friends are fucking assholes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 PM on January 17, 2008 [52 favorites]


oh, and fine, I'll out myself just so we have a non-clubhopper data point. I'm bi, female, and I've been with the same person for 3 years, monogamously.
posted by desjardins at 4:17 PM on January 17, 2008


They're just being greedy.
posted by joelf at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2008


Pope Guilty: As it turns out, being gay doesn't mean you're not a fucking asshole.

No, it just means you're fucking an...

Oh, forget it. It's too easy.
posted by koeselitz at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


koeselitz and everyone else,
I'm defending a lifestyle choice that does not fit with most peoples accepted view of human relationships.

A relationship does not always involve sex. And when I say I am not bisexual, I do not identify myself as being sexually attracted to both men and women. I am sexually attracted to women, however, I also value relationships with men that do not fit into the English definition of "love" or whatever. I am attracted to people, though my attraction is not entirely from my groin area, capice?

Thus, you can "date" people and have emotional relationships beyond the typical sexual/procreation partnerships that is accepted as normal in society, and both parties can call each other significant others/boyfriend/girlfriend/lovemonkey and not be defined by societal norms.

Push the boundaries of defining yourself as your genitalia and you will find that all people, male or female, share common emotional bonds that can be explored beyond having to behave within the parameters of husband/wife nuclear family associations. If you must define it so narrowly and wish to be satisfied with such a banal existence, good luck to you.

Fuck, these drugs, they are not working with me today.

And the jokes about "oh, it's hot when my girlfriend makes out with another girl, DON'T TOUCH MY ASS" are pretty fucking lame, kids. Are you really so fucking uptight that you have to be cool by denigrating someone's acceptance of homosexuality/bisexuality that regards anyone who is truly bisexual as "strange"?

Yes, I take on the stereotype of the media "bisexual". Because that is the kind of bisexual this study is attempting to dismiss. I comment on how the societal view of a bisexual is "attention whore" which it is. "You'll grow out of it." Meaning "you will grow up and stop being an attention seeking slut."

And look, I stated I'm dating a woman who is bisexual, and I accept that she has attraction to women and men. I don't feel threatened by said attraction, and she is free to pursue those relationships. I am not bisexual, since I do not seek out relationships on that level with men. Do these definitions not mean something? I'm the freak because I get it and accept people who actually have relationships, not just sex?

The "bisexuals" that annoy me are the ones that act as promiscuous and sexually "with it" in public, but in personal relationships have no interest beyond showing off how they are "not uptight." Like a lot of fucking people here apparently.
posted by daq at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know who bugs me? The Jews. What's their deal?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:20 PM on January 17, 2008 [10 favorites]


Maybe sexual orientation should join circumcision and pet neutering in the list of subjects which one would be wise to not bring up on MeFi...
posted by clevershark at 4:21 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know who bugs me? The Jews. What's their deal?

We're all circumcised Shylocks.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 4:22 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


What was the subject of this thread again?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:24 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Nightclubs.
posted by item at 4:25 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Man. I love those. Nothing but drugs and bisexual sex.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:26 PM on January 17, 2008 [11 favorites]


Hello. Welcome to Sexuality. It's a little confusing in here at first, but you'll get used to it. I know it's a little hard to tell what "team" everyone is on, since they just seem to be wandering from one corner of the room to the other. You see, when we redesigned Sexuality, we took out the walls, rooms, and all that so there could just be this big open fucking ballroom. We did it because when people felt more comfortable with themselves, they eventually got complacent and bored being stuck in just one room, and wanted to get out and stretch their legs, or whatever else was their pleasure. When everyone was exposed, so to speak, a lot less energy went into hiding and pretending to like the room you got stuck in, and a lot more went into validating themselves and each other. It's seemed to work well so far.

If you don't like it, you can always leave and hang out at Denial. Lots of rooms there... they keep it dark and you can't see nothin'.*
posted by moonbird at 4:26 PM on January 17, 2008 [18 favorites]


Daq, maybe they act that way because, in most areas of society, they are forbidden to. So it's a problem for you to let them be who they want to be when in a safe place?

And wtf with working at such clubs but yet denegrating those who attend? You forgetting where your paycheck comes from?

Wow. it takes alot for a MeFi thread to disgust me. Such blatant sexism (bi-phobia?) is revolting.
posted by Dantien at 4:27 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Like a lot of fucking people here apparently.

Better to be fucking than to be jerking off.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:28 PM on January 17, 2008


The "bisexuals" that annoy me are the ones that act as promiscuous and sexually "with it" in public, but in personal relationships have no interest beyond showing off how they are "not uptight."

So you're saying that some bi girl wouldn't participate in a threesome with you.
posted by signal at 4:29 PM on January 17, 2008 [13 favorites]


Wow. Signal cuts through noise.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:30 PM on January 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


I could never be bisexual. I couldn't stand doubling the number of people who reject me.

Yes, but it doubles your chances of getting a date on Saturday night (but you knew that as your comment was a brilliant take on that old Woody Allen joke, and if not even more brilliant)
posted by caddis at 4:33 PM on January 17, 2008


DAQ, what defense? You attacked bisexuals as all being shallow sluts, then defended that opinion with a bunch of ignorance. The uptight person in this room is you, upset that some people are sluts. How dare they be any more shallow than you.
posted by nomisxid at 4:33 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fucking great. I'm bi, a Jew, an introvert and I dig big women.
But, as my best friend told me recently, "the reason you are single has nothing to do with any of that. You're single because you're really fucking weird."
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:33 PM on January 17, 2008 [22 favorites]


Some of my best friends fuck assholes.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:35 PM on January 17, 2008


I'm more in the camp that "bisexuality" doesnt really exist, at least not biologically, and is entirely a reflection of culture.

I think you then have to be in a camp where "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality" also don't really exist. If not, arguing from biology, there's plenty of animals that have sex with both males and females.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:36 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


"There is such a thing as a cumdumpster..."

I prefer "cumspitoon"
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:36 PM on January 17, 2008


i prefer "sperm whale"
posted by bruce at 4:37 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm a straight male. I'm attracted to women with large breasts, small waists, and hot asses.




...nobody wants to tell me what's wrong with me? Ok, cool then.

Ladies, memail me.
posted by saysthis at 4:37 PM on January 17, 2008


I prefer "semenic cuspidor."
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 4:38 PM on January 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Because Dumpster is a brand name, I prefer "large semen waste receptacles."
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:41 PM on January 17, 2008


From the ABC News story:

It will hopefully deal a fatal blow to the persistent stereotype that bisexuality 'doesn't really exist,' and that it is simply a phase that women pass through on their way to a lesbian identity," she says.

First, nobody ever said that women lay claim to "bisexuality" en route to a "lesbian identity." The whole premise of "gay (or bi) until graduation" is that college (usually) women who claim to be "bi" are really straight and using "bi" as a political statement, as a sort of cliched, college-age experimental sampling of a social identity (like "vegetarian"), as, yes, a way to get guys or for some other purpose. The idea that bisexual college women still identified as "bi" 10 years (or whatever) after graduation is a notable finding, but how the investigator can have such a misunderstanding of how most people see it is pretty surprising.

Second, the whole "saying you're 'bi' before coming out whole-hog as 'gay'" pattern is a MAN'S pattern, not a woman's. I've been out for more than 25 years and I cannot count the number of gay men who came out initially in college as "bi." But this study doesn't concern men at all, which is unfortunate.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:42 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


If anyone wants to discuss the, you know, study, it's actually kind of interesting.

Although there was a fair amount of shifting in how the study participants labeled themselves, it almost always was a back-and-forth between "bisexual" and "unlabeled", and actual sexual attraction and activity w/r/t both sexes seemed to stay relatively constant at all phases of the study; while it doesn't disprove that for some bisexuality may be a transitional label on the way to "coming out", that definitely seemed to be the exception rather than the rule.

In fact, study participants who shifted from self-describing as bisexual to lesbian were actually still fairly likely to have sexual encounters with men, implying more of a change in self-perception and situation than an actual change in orientation - or at least, some degree of fluidity between the two. Bisexuals who shifted to self-describing as heterosexual were somewhat less likely to have same-sex sexual encounters (but I personally suspect this may be in part a cultural effect.)

Also, those who continued to self-identify as bisexual were actually *more* likely to be in monogamous relationships of more than five years, which I thought was interesting. So the study takes on the "bisexuals flit from partner to partner" stereotype, too ...

Incidentally, I'm a bisexual who has been in a relationship for more than six years, with another bisexual. Although we do sometimes go to clubs, astoundingly enough.

And I am amazed that this thread has gotten way more trolling and reactionary bullshit than previous threads I have posted about female-to-male transsexuals and consensual incest.
posted by kyrademon at 4:42 PM on January 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


“You know who bugs me? The Jews. What's their deal?”
Wholesale. What? You’re still paying retail? Stop over, I know a guy.

“’Your sexuality does not define you. Sorry to break it to you.’’ ‘Well, I guess that's it. Thread over.’”
Yeah. We better pack up our shit.

“The "bisexuals" that annoy me are the ones that act as promiscuous and sexually "with it" in public,”
Hey, I’m into fucking dolphins. They’re all about that.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:46 PM on January 17, 2008


Ethnomethodologist, good point, although the study actually does cover that, too. Shifting from "bisexual" to "heterosexual" identification was very small, although those who did were less likely to have "out of their ID" sexual encounters than the equally small number who shifted to identifying as lesbians.

I, too, wish men had been covered, although I don't mind that this particular researcher focused on women (and, in all likelihood, didn't have enough funding to cover both anyway) ... I mind that culturally, male bisexuals tend to be more invisible/less acknowledged and that therefore a study of them is much less likely.
posted by kyrademon at 4:50 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've changed labels quite a few times, finally settling on bisexual about 15 years ago. For the past 12 years I've been monogamously involved with the man who has now been my husband for 8 years. I have do doubt we would be just as committed if he was a woman. (and legally married too, since we live in MA) I'm just really, really into monogamy, which is one of the reasons that I identified as a lesbian for a while. I too thought bisexuals were semi-closeted, slutty attention whores, until I broke up with my girlfriend and fell for a guy.

And the truth is, I'm so busy living my life that my sexuality really isn't something I think about. I'm aware of the "heterosexual privledge" I have, though, so I'm an ardent supporter of LBGT rights.
posted by Biblio at 4:51 PM on January 17, 2008 [10 favorites]


Everytime a story about bisexuality comes out in the news, it's only about chicks. I don't come out to anyone because I'm a private person. It's not necessary for me to wear my sexuality on my sleeve. I just wish I could read a positive story about bi dudes every once in a while. I know that everyone around me would be incredibly uncomfortable if I came out. I don't see that changing anytime soon. Most guys are creeped out, and most girls think you're nasty(in a bad way). It's been pretty frustrating for me over the years.
posted by apiaryist at 4:57 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


I mind that culturally, male bisexuals tend to be more invisible/less acknowledged and that therefore a study of them is much less likely.

I'd suspect male sexuality is too polarized to make a study successful. Self-identifying as bisexual marks men as gay in the minds of nearly everyone around them, as if any non-heteronormative behavior is a "death sentence" of sorts, with respect to identity. Sleeping with a man once is enough to permanently earn a society's pejoratively-minded judgement of Homosexual.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:57 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Shifting from "bisexual" to "heterosexual" identification was very small

Identification or behaviour, I wonder? Because I could imagine a tendency in some people to identify as bisexual simply because that's what they were once, back at college.

Depending on how you approach the question, for people who were bi-until-graduation, "bisexual" could remain a better fit than exclusively heterosexual or homosexual. Just sayin'.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 PM on January 17, 2008


MeTa.
posted by boo_radley at 4:59 PM on January 17, 2008


Your sexuality does not define you. Sorry to break it to you.

Well, not completely, no. But neither does race, age, gender or how often you cut your toenails, but they're all part of the definition of 'you.'

Me, I think everybody's bisexual to one degree or another. and I think that the argument that it's an excuse for promiscuity is ridiculous. There's promiscuous straight people, there's promiscuous gay people, so naturally there's going to be some promiscuous bi people, too. That's just the law of averages.

As for "attention whoring," that's off the mark, too. However, someone of any gender finding you attractive or interesting is amjor league turn on, and if you're a certain kind of person, you might just follow that turn-on in a what-the-hell kind of way.

/straight guy, has dabbled in the past
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas, the study tried to gauge both attraction and behavior through shifting self-identification, although of course that presents some difficulties.

What it seemed to find is that attraction to both sexes remained pretty constant, but behavior eventually mostly shifted into a fairly even bimodal pattern (i.e., either with one sex or the other) because by the end of the ten-year study most people had paired off into a monogamous relationship of one sort or the other.

The fact that the split in the different types of relationships was fairly even, and that attraction to both sexes remained fairly constant, would seem to indicate that bisexuality is a good definer of current orientation rather than simply past behavior.
posted by kyrademon at 5:04 PM on January 17, 2008


The study is impactful and makes for a great FPP. I think it takes a great deal of strength to be openly bi, what with all the judgment that seems to fly at bis from all the sides of the proverbial fence. I'm not that big into Freud, but the assertion that we are all latently bi makes a hell of a lot of sense given that, as our societies evolve (slowly), people are more willing to accept sexual expression on a gradient of happenstance instead of confined to a specific and limited milieu of "choice." My best friend and former partner is bi and married faithfully to a straight woman, and he isn't slutting all over the place. He's content with where he landed on the gradient, and I hate that he has gotten flack for that.
I can't wait for the day when we've finally grown up enough to eschew all of the effort that goes into maintaining ourselves as walking labels and place real value in getting to know the experience of being distinct humans. While that may be an oversimplified fairy tale, it's something goofy to me to work for.
posted by moonbird at 5:05 PM on January 17, 2008


wait, there are promiscuous people AT A NIGHTCLUB?

And gay clubs are full of it? I thought they were just full of dancing lesbians!

DAMN YOU JONATHAN RICHMAN!!! TRYING TO TEMPT THE YOUTH OF AMERICA INTO HOMOSEXUAL DEPRAVITY WITH YOUR TEMPTATIONS OF SHAKING HIPS!!!
posted by dw at 5:07 PM on January 17, 2008


Oh, and that first link was a really self-centered article with an political moral slammed on the end to excuse the whole "I had the gay sex once and it was SO HOT" vibe.

It was like The Nation took over Letters To Penthouse.
posted by dw at 5:11 PM on January 17, 2008


What it seemed to find is that attraction to both sexes remained pretty constant, but behavior eventually mostly shifted into a fairly even bimodal pattern (i.e., either with one sex or the other) because by the end of the ten-year study most people had paired off into a monogamous relationship of one sort or the other.

In that case, I could just as well define myself as bisexual. Like jonmc, I identify as straight, but have messed around with guys a bit in the past. My behaviour now is exclusively heterosexual, but that doesn't prevent me from having "attractions" to other men on occasion. It's just that I have no interest in following up on those attractions, because cocks, body hair & stubble don't do much for me. That doesn't exclude the reality of the attraction, though.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 PM on January 17, 2008


Well ... sure. Orientation is generally defined as attraction, not behavior. That's why people who aren't having sex but still feel attraction to people are called "celibate" (or, I guess, "lonely") rathen than "asexual".
posted by kyrademon at 5:20 PM on January 17, 2008


I'm a closeted bisexual woman masquerading as a lesbian. I've been in a relationship for over eight years, and tell people that I'm gay rather than bi for exactly the reason illustrated here. Once people hear I'm bi, I either get "bisexuals are promiscuous and tend to behave like little attention whores who need to be the center of everyones sexual attention," or "since you like cock, do you want to fuck me? Your wife can watch."
posted by arcticwoman at 5:21 PM on January 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


I've been wrestling with my thoughts on the term "bisexual" for a while, trying to make some sensible comments and am coming up mostly short. Most of my friends who bang folks with different genitalia identify as queer; "bisexual" feels ... off.

I think mostly because "bisexuality" answers the question, "Are you or aren't you?" with, "Both!" whereas "queer" rejects the premise and walks away. And rejecting the premise feels much more liberating than trying to play both sides.

If sexuality is a room, "bisexual" positions you in the middle of a hallway. "Queer" puts you in the open plan, no walls, lots of lube, room that moonbird referenced (with much love to Shortbus!).
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:23 PM on January 17, 2008 [10 favorites]


Well ... sure. Orientation is generally defined as attraction, not behavior.

Well, I'm glad my labelling is sorted out. Now I can get on with continuing to do whatever it is that I do. Judging by my activity at this place, it's probably best described as attention whoring.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:28 PM on January 17, 2008


*checks favourites*
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:28 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's just that I have no interest in following up on those attractions, because cocks, body hair & stubble don't do much for me. That doesn't exclude the reality of the attraction, though.

I don't know if it's so much that (putting aside that I'm happily faithfully married) as the reality that all things being equal, if given a choice between sex with a sexy woman or a sexy man, I'd choose the woman. But I can still find the man sexy.
posted by jonmc at 5:29 PM on January 17, 2008


"Queer" puts you in the open plan, no walls, lots of lube, room

the janitors gonna be pissed, man.
posted by jonmc at 5:30 PM on January 17, 2008


A lot of people I know agree with you, wemayfreeze. The most hated description, however, seems to be "pansexual". You'd think it would have similar implications to "queer", but for some reason it seems to conjure up images of skeevy guys with shirts opened way too low, gold medallions, and carefully cultivated facial hair for many people.

I've always been fond of "polymorphously perverse." But I tend to identify as bisexual because, well, it's a handy shorthand most people understand.
posted by kyrademon at 5:30 PM on January 17, 2008


In the first place, the recognizing of some human people as being bisexual is near-sighted.

All humans are functionally bisexual. Some of us may be hard-coded one way or another, but that's far more noteworthy (and interesting) to me than Newsflash! Humans can be lifetime (ie born) bi-sexuals!

Humans are born bisexual? Get out of here! Next thing you're going to tell me is some of us are born naturally intelligent.
posted by humannaire at 5:31 PM on January 17, 2008


jonmc someone of any gender finding you attractive or interesting is major league turn on

I think that's not necessarily the case; firstly, being looked at sexually by someone you find unattractive can be distinctly uncomfortable (the classic "male gaze" phenomenon). It depends on the person. IMO "display urge"/"hide urge" (or exhibitionism/privacy, or degrees of embarrassment or pleasure under scrutiny, or whatever you want to call it) is another axis of sexual variation in its own right.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:35 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


If both the man and the woman were equally as attractive to me, I'd have a hard time choosing. Being a dude, I'd want to choose both, but If I had to make a decision, I'd probably flip a coin. It's taken a long time for me to feel comfortable with that thought. Society, and in particular Religion, have screwed with my sensibilities to a terrible degree. I really don't want to see other guys have to go through what I did.
Another observation I've made is that both straight and queer people I meet are put off by a bisexual guy. I don't have any trouble finding dates, but just hanging out with straight and gay people is pretty awkward when everyone in the room knows you're bi. Although it's been my personal experience that lesbians are far more accepting than gay guys.
posted by apiaryist at 5:38 PM on January 17, 2008


All humans are functionally bisexual.

I wouldn't take it that far, but I do believe some people are.
posted by cmgonzalez at 5:39 PM on January 17, 2008


I also think that a similar study tracing bisexual men would be quite interesting. There's a definite bias that goes beyond journalism and studies into culture.
posted by cmgonzalez at 5:41 PM on January 17, 2008


"queer" rejects the premise and walks away.

Heh. Just the other night, I was turned away from my local queer club for looking too straight. This, in spite of the fact that I was in the company of my obviously lesbian housemates & that Kingky Kingdom had been my more-or-less regular wednesday night haunt for about a year. That's what happens when they employ a new bouncer when you're on holidays, I guess.

Anyway, this got us to talking about queerdom later, and the conclusion was that it's a lot more than just who you fuck. In fact, you can be heterosexually queer, for example, and if anything, I'd define myself as queer above all else. To me, it implies openness & acceptance for all forms of sexual expression, and aims to be playfully inclusive of diversity, to the point at which distinctions between straight, gay, bi, trans, s&m, etc etc etc just fall away. Like wemayfreeze said, queerdom breaks down all those distinctions, or at least it should, and lets people just be whoever they want to be.

So, finding the club to have become incredibly narrow-minded in its interpretation of queerdom (especially considering that maybe at least half the people I meet seem to assume I'm gay), I rejected the premise of their interpretation of "queer" and walked away.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:47 PM on January 17, 2008


"pansexual" made me think of satyrs.
posted by bruce at 5:49 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


"I was turned away from my local queer club for looking too straight" - the official reason (because of anti-discrimination law) was failure to comply with the dress code. Very fucking funny, because I was wearing my bulldyke outfit: workboots, jungle greens & a wifebeater. I knew from experience that about 80% of the clientele would have been wearing *exactly* the same outfit, because it's a bulldyke haunt more than anything else. I just looked at the bouncer & thought "what, do you think I'm that fucking stupid?!?" (just thought I'd share that)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:55 PM on January 17, 2008


“Me, I think everybody's bisexual to one degree or another”

I’m zero bisexual. Zero is a degree.
But y’know, that’s the other thing, in terms of degrees - why does promiscuity get all the flak? Celibacy is some sort of virtue?

There’s a scene in the film Barfly where Henry sleeps with this airy artsy woman who bemones the fact that she’s been used before and so forth and Henry says “Hey, Tully, I didn’t mean to do anything ugly.”

Obsessive sex sure, is bad. But that obsession can run both ways. And how can you discern what someone is saying is unhealthy from grasping jealousy?

Oh, not that my wife and I are in an open relationship. I’m pretty much a dinosaur when it comes to someone coming near my wife. But it’s not unhealthy, she get pecks on the cheek and so forth from friends (as do I). Doesn’t bother me. We’re just both very monogamous. But we have lots of sex.
So if someone isn’t in a committed relationship (and granting they’re careful about having safe sex and so forth) - so what if they have sex with a lot of people?
Is there something inherently unhealthy in that versus having lots of sex with one person?

(Lesbians btw - tend to hate me. Esp. the masculine types I used to suspect it was because we wore the same kind of clothes when we're off work, timberlands, flannel, etc. But I do radiate 'macho' so I suspect most folks don't want to take time to get to know someone who seems one of a series. Meh. Anecdotal. Can't be all of 'em.)
posted by Smedleyman at 6:00 PM on January 17, 2008


There is so much noise in this thread that rational, productive, or even interesting discussion is highly unlikely.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:03 PM on January 17, 2008


Fuck a bee.
posted by EarBucket at 6:03 PM on January 17, 2008


I find the sort of thing Moonbird and wemayfreeze describe a bit conceptually appealing, but there's an aspect to it that chafes a bit. Maybe it's just from having the same sort of approach to sexuality "evangelized" to me by QueersTM who were slightly too aggressive about it.

It (shorthand for "the version of it that was given by the people described above") seems to cast people who harmlessly self-identify as hetero- or homosexual in a dim light. As if they're actually 'hiding in' and 'pretending to like' their little corners of the room, when they just very much like that corner. While there may be people out there who are of the mindset "I'm not going to have sex with [gender], because I'm [sexuality]", there's also a lot of people in the "I'm [sexuality] because I have no particular inclination to have sex with [gender]".

It's the same sort of brain-chafing I get from the 'bisexuality is a myth' crowd (which has its delegates in the gay/lesbian crowd, too). But instead of passively or actively browbeating the bisexuals into picking a side of the fence, it's passively or actively browbeating the gays/lesbians/straights for not being bisexual.

I'm much more comfortable with a sliding scale model.
posted by CKmtl at 6:03 PM on January 17, 2008


I think that's not necessarily the case; firstly, being looked at sexually by someone you find unattractive can be distinctly uncomfortable (the classic "male gaze" phenomenon).

Unfortunately, it's probably inevitable. People we're not attracted to are going to be attracted to us and I don't think they should be stigmatized unless it goes beyond fantasy.

It depends on the person. IMO "display urge"/"hide urge" (or exhibitionism/privacy, or degrees of embarrassment or pleasure under scrutiny, or whatever you want to call it) is another axis of sexual variation in its own right.

That sounds on target. I've been in a gay bar or two, and there's a definite ...frankness about the sexual appraisal and pursuit going on that you generally don't see from straight women in a regular bar. Guys were pretty openly checking me out and flirting with me, and I'll admit I got a big charge out of it. I also work in a neighborhood with a pretty significant gay population and I'll sometimes get a little flirtation there, too, and mostly it's flattering although occasionally ther've been dudes who were creepy about it, but it wasn't due to how they looked, more their attitude and way of going about it.
posted by jonmc at 6:05 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


"pansexual" made me think of satyrs.

made me think of skillets. I must be hungry.
posted by jonmc at 6:07 PM on January 17, 2008


There was an interesting point earlier made that got lost in the snarkfest. How often do self-identified gay men have sex with women, and then what usually happens? Does he think to himself "apparently I'm bi after all"? Does he think "I actually could swap sides, get conventionally married to a woman, have kids, have the mainstream social acceptance of the straight man"? Does he think "I could lose my identity and all of my friends"?

Now both of these men, from a certain perspective, are "bisexual". Or at any rate, have found at least one person outside their usual sex of preference to be attractive, but the consequences for pursuing that relationship are going to be different.

A self-identified openly straight man who has one gay affair has the option, in his mind, to change his identity to become a gay man. He can join a minority who, even in enlightened Western nations, are still more subject to more discrimination and innuendo than he otherwise would be. He could now, knowing that he can be attracted to men, take up an openly gay lifestyle, and be accepted. Most of his friends, male and female, can be expected not to change their relationships with him all that much. Except for perhaps women he was dating, his friends are likely to be less hostile to his new male partner about it than they are to our fence-jumping man himself.

Conversely, a self-identified openly gay man who has one straight affair now has the option, in his mind, to change his identity to become a straight man. This will be harder to do; for one thing, if he's camp and effete in his manner, he will find acceptance as a straight man a great deal less forthcoming than the previous guy would find acceptance as a non-camp, non-effeminate gay man. For another, in order to come out as gay, he faced up to discrimination, he faced up to social consequences, likely family disapproval, and so on. If he changes, the social consequences to his relationships with his friends could be a great deal greater. Gay friends may assume he has taken up a bigoted religion, that he has lost courage to face up to discrimination, and so on. Some of his gay and straight friends won't take his new relationship seriously. Some may be hostile to his new female partner. Even the very most enlightened of his gay friends will feel to some extent that they have lost a fellow victim of discrimination.

What do you think (especially gay and bisexual men)? Are the stakes so different?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:09 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


People we're not attracted to are going to be attracted to us and I don't think they should be stigmatized unless it goes beyond fantasy.

Personally I completely agree, but the "Sexual Harassment Law" can of worms now stands before us and we have the can openers in our hands. :)

I am hungry. Lunch, brb.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:10 PM on January 17, 2008


Bisexuality's obviously a very different animal in females than males.

Some say male bisexuality doesn't exist at all.

I can't imagine that many self-identified gay males ever start dating women.

No, there aren't that many. But they do exist -- I'm one. Actually, I first came out as bi, but that seemed to be synonymous with gay in most peoples' minds. So I just went with "gay" because it was easier. I even believed the label myself for quite a long time.

See also, Tom Robinson.
posted by treepour at 6:11 PM on January 17, 2008


In this specific case, Smedleyman, it may simply be that no one likes to be stereotyped. Bisexuals don't like it when people assume they're easy. Lesbians, from what I have seen, don't like it when it's assumed they never have sex with their partners and gay men don't like it when it's assumed that they can't stay in a stable relationship and straight men don't like it when it's assumed they're macho jerks and straight women don't like it when it's assumed they're obsessed with their looks etc. etc.

But that's about how people would prefer themselves to be seen ... in terms of how others see them, you are right, there's definitely a big tendency to value monogamy or even celibacy over promiscuity, especially for women (e.g. the use of the word "cumdumpster" in this thread.)
posted by kyrademon at 6:11 PM on January 17, 2008


I've been in a gay bar or two, and there's a definite ...frankness about the sexual appraisal and pursuit going on that you generally don't see from straight women in a regular bar.

Yep. Guys, anytime you're feeling a bit down & lacking confidence in the romance stakes, there's nothing better you can do to pick yourself up again than go to a gay bar. Spend an hour or two there & think "OK, if this many people are openly checking me out & propositioning me, it's not unlikely that in a straight context, at least some of the women must surely be doing likewise, only they're just being much more subtle about it"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:20 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Though if you really push a bi guy won't he choose a guy over a gal?
posted by GoodJob! at 6:21 PM on January 17, 2008


GoodJob!: depends on which way he tilts on the whole sliding scale.
posted by jonmc at 6:23 PM on January 17, 2008


A lot of this discussion about whether people are 'really' bi- (or hetero- or homo-) sexual is based on the assumption that people 'are' anything other than what they do.
It's simple: sleep with people of the opposite sex - you're hetero. Same sex - homo. Both - bi.
What you self-identify as is another issue, and not really of relevance to anybody but yourself.
posted by signal at 6:25 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was turned away from the local workers club, simply because my shoes had tassels, and I smelt of win.

End the discrimination!
posted by oxford blue at 6:27 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


CKmtl, well said, but I just want to clarify that I was trying to make a passive argument for the gradient/sliding scale approach... in that we can, if we choose, move about the "room" without having to think so much about it. But certainly, there's nothing wrong with holing yourself up (heh) in a corner and staying there. There's nothing wrong with any of it. If I were forced at watergun-point to label myself, I'd have to say gay but a few years ago I had sex with a woman and it destabilize any aspect of my identity. I am generally content in my corner (sorry for stretching the metaphor), but I like to observe and dabble in the fluidity that being a sexual creature provides... even if I'm not particularly flexible in my proclivities.

I think there's a good cultural reference for this... I love the work that Jonathan Cameron Mitchell has done in Hedwig and Shortbus, because both of these stories seem to be trying to sell the idea that we don't have to be bound to the narrow bounds of any kind of identity. While we may be born this way or that, or latently predisposed to a whole range of behaviors, consciously affiliating with our sexual nature is just one little aspect of self. I think.

Time to drink!
posted by moonbird at 6:30 PM on January 17, 2008


why does promiscuity get all the flak?

It's only promiscuity when someone else is doing it.
posted by clevershark at 6:31 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Time to drink!

Cansexual!
posted by jonmc at 6:31 PM on January 17, 2008


edit: and it didn't destabilize any aspect of my identity
posted by moonbird at 6:32 PM on January 17, 2008


I like big butts, and I cannot lie ...
posted by kcds at 6:33 PM on January 17, 2008


GoodJob! -- why on earth would that be the case?
posted by kyrademon at 6:35 PM on January 17, 2008


It's simple: sleep with people of the opposite sex - you're hetero. Same sex - homo. Both - bi.

What of all manners of internal stuff - Fantasies (both sexual and romantic), lust and chemistry in social situations?

I mean, if none of those count for anything, what about virgins?
posted by CKmtl at 6:36 PM on January 17, 2008


MetaTalk seems to have dismissed this, but I can't remember reading an FFP with so many venomous comments. Yes, some comments are questioning or insightful, but wow. As FunkyHelix said, too much noise. So much noise. Just take a number on the sliding scale and lay off everybody else.

Categories do not define people. All X people don't behave in Y way.
posted by rainbaby at 6:37 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


So rainbaby, you use no sort of heuristics in your life?
posted by oxford blue at 6:42 PM on January 17, 2008


I don't care what you think your orientation is, just as long as you'll agree to do it with me. (Or so I've been told.)
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:46 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The earth used to be flat. The atom used to be the smallest form of matter. Absolute black and absolute white are little more than figments of our imagination, but there are infinite shades of gray to be seen everywhere.

Straight, gay, bi, pan... they're all just words we use to describe a place where we see ourselves and see others. Within the bounds of human emotion, we could have a thousand more, and surely will as science, society and language march forward.

I'll love with an open heart for long as I'm alive and will never doubt where others' hearts take them. No word is strong enough to define any of us and no story is long enough to describe all that we are.

For every study that's been done and for the studies that will be done on the next generation of words, the answer to the underlying question is to love others for who they are and to teach them to be themselves rather than trying to squeeze themselves into a definition for the comfort of others.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:49 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


MetaTalk seems to have dismissed this, but I can't remember reading an FFP with so many venomous comments.

Yeh, but they were all by daq.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:55 PM on January 17, 2008


Categories do not define people. All X people don't behave in Y way.

Exactly. Unfortunately, so many people engage in stereotyping and trying to fit others into tiny, simplified boxes.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:59 PM on January 17, 2008


You know, I wonder sometimes whether the fascination that some women have with female celebrities is a somewhat closeted form of female bisexuality.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:01 PM on January 17, 2008


oxford blue, of course I do. Just as I accept people's experience of gay-dar, I also accept bi-dar. If that's how you intended the use of the nebulous term heuristics in this context. If I misunderstand you, please clarify and I'll be happy to answer.
posted by rainbaby at 7:04 PM on January 17, 2008


You know, I wonder sometimes whether the fascination that some women have with female celebrities is a somewhat closeted form of female bisexuality.

You could say the same thing about male sports fandom. Actually, I've often wondered how gay guys manage to differentiate 'hero worship' type admiration and 'attraction' type admiration to themselves, especially when they're young. Forgive me if that's a stupid question.
posted by jonmc at 7:05 PM on January 17, 2008


You know, I wonder sometimes whether the fascination that some women have with female celebrities is a somewhat closeted form of female bisexuality.

Personally, I'd say no. I admire some celebrities' fashion sense, or hair style, or am a fan of their work, but I'm not attracted to them. I've never been attracted to a woman, nor done anything sexual with a woman. I do find some women beautiful, but that's not sexual attraction.

This whole bisexual conversation reminds me that some people just take for granted that not all women have encounters with other women or want to.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:15 PM on January 17, 2008


The stereotype, I mean, obviously. I hear so many people who claim every woman they know has such experiences.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:16 PM on January 17, 2008


You know, I wonder sometimes whether the fascination that some women have with female celebrities is a somewhat closeted form of female bisexuality.

You could be putting the cart before the horse there. I'd guess that our culture's obsession with female beauty, which is exponentially higher than any similar tendency to idolise male looks, opens the door somewhat for women to express attraction towards other women. Mens' magazines are full of pictures of attractive women. So are womens' magazines. There has to be something in that. Self-identification or projection of some sort, perhaps? There are theories floating about that women are constantly evaluating themselves as objects of the gaze - maybe it's not such a difficult jump from self-evaluation as a desirable object of the gaze, combined with evaluation other women (rivals, or models) as similarly sexual objects, to actually objectifying other women? Or am I overthinking the mental state of lesbians?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:25 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


cmgonzalez: every woman I know (well enough for her to confide in me about such matters) has had such experiences, or is open to having such experiences. Maybe that's just a reflection of where I live, though. It's quite a bohemian part of town, with a strong gay & lesbian presence.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:28 PM on January 17, 2008


I still don't get the argument that bisexuality doesn't exist. I just don't see the logic behind it.

Personally, I kind of lump bisexuals into two groups. There's the regular ones, people who happen to fall somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale, or don't include genitalia type on the criteria list of who they fall in love with. The other group are "bisexuals by default", people who are so sex crazed they'll sex anything that won't run away. I've only known a couple people like this, all men, but I'm sure there are women out there too. I think this kind of sums up what I'm talking about, and maybe where people get some of their prejudices from. Maybe daq has this misfortune of somehow only being exposed to this subset?
posted by fermezporte at 7:31 PM on January 17, 2008


The room metaphor is a good one, especially for the way people tend to behave in rooms: we cluster in groups, and we beckon the interesting-looking strangers over to us.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:32 PM on January 17, 2008


The only conclusion I've got about sexual orientation is that nearly everyone seems to overgeneralize from their own experience.

The bisexuals think everyone is basically bisexual. The devoutly straight or gay folks think everyone has a fixed orientation. The ones who try too hard to be straight think that homosexuality is a temptation that anyone could succumb to. The polyamorists think everyone's poly at heart; the monogamists think nobody is. The flexible think everyone's flexible. The desperate think everyone's desperate.

I'm sure not immune. I'm bi, and the assumption that everyone else is too seems like the most natural thing in the world to me. You can remind me all you want that straight and gay people exist, that their experience is valid too — I'll listen, and I'll agree, but on some level I never do seem to believe it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:06 PM on January 17, 2008 [15 favorites]


The only conclusion I've got about sexual orientation is that nearly everyone seems to overgeneralize from their own experience.

as a wise man once said:

I'm trying hard to be just how I am/but everybody wants youto be just like them...
posted by jonmc at 8:09 PM on January 17, 2008


Wow, what a terrible study. It begins with, "We recruited that will give us a skewed sample, but, er, HEY! LOOK OVER THERE!" They picked the group dominated by those whose sexuality would have the smallest possible effect on their daily lives: educated white women who belong the the minority of nonheterosexuals who believe it's politically necessary to declare a nonheterosexual identity and who receive social reward for doing so. I don't disagree with these positions, but it leads to a sample so utterly divorced from the global majority it's effectively useless.

To understand why the study is so awful, imagine it being a study about male heterosexuality that focuses on a bible study group composed of, say, every outed Republican and fundamentalist you can think of. Under the rigor used by this study, those guys are all straight (and thanks to the idiocy of informant defined socioeconomic status, they're probably all "middle class" or "working class" too). They fuck men, but tick off "straight as an arrow" for the greater good. I'm not saying the respondents in the bisexuality study are lying, but the fact that we can easily construct and totally inaccurate study using the same general methodology is telling.

Me, I think sexual identity is fixed for some, fluid for others and for still others, an "acquired taste" in one form or another. We know that some people engage in sexual behaviour that doesn't fit their declared identity, and vice versa. As far as consensual sex goes, none of these modes hurt anybody. Instead of falling victim to the idea that biological innateness is the only thing that can validate nonherterosexuality, maybe we should start arguing that choice or not, it's a right.
posted by mobunited at 8:13 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


nebulawindphone: heh, i am a bi woman, and i have that kind of "some level I never do seem to believe it" about women who have no attraction to other women. I know they exist -- some of my best friends and all that, but ... i just don't get it.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:14 PM on January 17, 2008


I know this one is a little late but I just have to...

Metafilter: HEY DUDE YOU ALMOST TOUCHED MY ASS THERE - WATCH IT, MOTHERFUCKER!!!
posted by C17H19NO3 at 8:16 PM on January 17, 2008


UbuRoivas: I'm from NYC.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:18 PM on January 17, 2008


I'm bisexual AND promiscuous, so fuck all of ya'! Seriously - I will fuck all of ya'.
posted by Evangeline at 8:28 PM on January 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


i have that kind of "some level I never do seem to believe it" about women who have no attraction to other women. I know they exist -- some of my best friends and all that, but ... i just don't get it.

So why not think the same regarding men? I mean, why is it harder to doubt women's lack of attraction to other women than men's lack of attraction to other men? Culture? It's definitely more socially acceptable for women to be bi, and it's come to be somewhat expected from women such that if you're like me and women do absolutely nothing for you attractionwise, you sort of get a *wink wink* 'sure' type of response. (Genuine question).

I don't think personally that orientation is necessarily fixed, by the way, and I've always been open to the possibility of falling for either gender, but it seems I'm just very wired to like men.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:34 PM on January 17, 2008


Re: Male Bisexuality
See: Greeks, Romans, and the long history of man-young male love (in conjunction with the older male having a wife) across many, many cultures, including Middle East and Japan.

I've said this before, but I think the current dearth of male bisexuals and excess of female bisexuals is more due to our culture than anything else. Sex and sexual attractiveness is defined by female beauty in our culture. Sexy females are used to sell products to men and women. Girls grow up associating the female body with sex. It's natural that women are going to be more likely to try experimenting with other females. This is bolstered by the celebration of Hawt Lezbean Action! in our culture and the denigration of male-male relations.

I think bisexuality exists. However, I pretty much don't trust anyone under the age of, say, 24 or 25 who calls themselves bisexual. Especially if the person's female. It is a bias, yes, but combining the social pressure for College Girls Gittin' It Awn, the heady sexual power created by uniting "college," "female," and "bisexual," and the excess of alcohol and identity confusion in college makes me skeptical of any chicks claiming the title. Maybe you didn't mean it this way, kyrademon, but that AlterNet article is exactly why a lesbian would not want to date a bisexual chick. The author is basically complaining that people get pissed at her when she uses them for sex without setting clear boundaries beforehand. Nothing wrong with experimentation--as long as you make it clear that's what you're doing.

Another problem is that bisexuality implies a 50-50 split to the vast majority of the population, and it's my understanding that for many bisexuals that's not the case. That's where people start throwing in the terms "queer" and shit.
posted by schroedinger at 8:45 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think a large part of the controversy lies with the concept of "bisexuality." We are so used to thinking of sexuality (among other things) in polarizing terms. For example, "Are you gay or straight?" Well, what if it's neither? And the term "bisexual" is itself rather limiting. Some people are attracted to both sexes, but their preference leans more to one side of the gender fence than another.

I think people make too much of a distinction here. Sexuality is not a discrete phenomenon that can be accurately described in binary terms. It's not as simple as "am this, therefore not that." Sexuality is more of a continuum. Everybody's is different and nobody's place in it is fixed.

Love is a wonderful beautiful thing and the world could use a lot more of it, so I don't condemn anybody for loving. I don't care whether you're a man or woman or whether you love men or women; loving is a good thing.
posted by krash2fast at 8:50 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I believe that bisexuals exist, but I won't go out with a guy who identifies as bisexual. It's a prejudice based on insecurity; if he's gay, I just have to compete with all the other guys in the world. If he's bi, though, I have to compete not only with guys, but with women, and the women come with advantages like social acceptability, childbearing, and legal rights that I don't feel I can compete with.

I think that might be the source of some of the resentment towards bisexuals from the gay community, the idea that bi guys have a ticket to societal legitimacy whenever they want it badly enough.
posted by MrVisible at 8:55 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas: I'm from NYC.

Hey, cool - the girls where I live are less inhibited than those in NYC! Seriously, though - that's gotta be a pretty big city, right? With people from all places & walks of life? I can see how there'd be fewer bi-curious women there than in a studenty / boho / gay corner of Sydney, so your observations make some sense.

I'm bisexual AND promiscuous, so fuck all of ya'! Seriously - I will fuck all of ya'.

How does Grumblebee feel about this? Have you told him?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:56 PM on January 17, 2008


I wish, 100+ comments and one not to terribly enlightening FPP article into this, that I could make sense of this. The only real data points I have is two self-ID'd bi men I've known who lived in milieux and eras when it simply wasn't OK, but they both grew to feel fairly secure with their identity. And yet I'm hearing all this bickering about whether that identity they and their partners felt pretty comfortable with is mythical...I'm having a terrible time, among all the snark, getting my head wrapped around the sides of the argument.
posted by pax digita at 9:01 PM on January 17, 2008


i have no doubt bisexuality exists.

several years ago i had eight geese, but the girls all got eaten by predators and the longhaul survivors consist of two chinese ganders (vicious birds, nsf kids) and a pilgrim gander. the two asian geese routinely have their way with the pilgrim. the one anomaly in their relationship occurred last spring, when one of the chinese was waddling down a truck rut. the pilgrim got the drop on it from higher ground and merrily buggered it for five minutes. between the pilgrim's triumphant honking and the unearthly shrieks coming from the chinese, it was the loudest noise i've heard here since i moved in, 2001.
posted by bruce at 9:10 PM on January 17, 2008


Actually, I've often wondered how gay guys manage to differentiate 'hero worship' type admiration and 'attraction' type admiration to themselves, especially when they're young.

Interesting question, and its one that at least one other straight friend of mine (with so-called "guy crushes" on certain heroes) has brought up.

The two have always constituted quite different categories for me. Prince (and I know he's a terrible example for obvious reasons) was one of my heroes in early adolescence, but I never once had an overtly sexual thought about him. I still don't, even though his hero status is still more or less intact. Neither Sean Connery nor Harrison Ford are heroes of mine, but I think they're both incredibly sexy. Generally, though, I go for guys that are a bit less "masculine" than I am -- and these are definitely not guys that put in the "hero" category.

But there are overlaps. Both Perry Ferrell and Dave Navarro, in their Jane's Addiction phase, fell into both categories. I suppose John Cameron Mitchell falls into both categories for me now.

For whatever it's worth, these areas of overlap feel more "bi" to me than my non-hero-related attractions.
posted by treepour at 10:21 PM on January 17, 2008


everyone is bisexual.

get over it.
posted by flyinghamster at 10:38 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Amongst gay kind, it has been, in the past (in some ways, still is, just not politically correct) the tendency to be untrusting of men calling themselves 'bisexual'. It was all too often the case that such men were unstable, inclined to try to 'go straight', for moral/social reasons.

When I was 16, I labeled myself bi, because I had nothing against women, and considered sex with a female a possibility. I took some serious shit over that. I still accepted my own ideas (I'm like that). Later, I decided it didn't matter, as sex with guys was what I knew, and loved.

I do rarely find a female attractive, but it has happened a few times. Nothing ever so strong as my attraction to guys though, thank god (I'd make a fool of myself, having never even dated females, I don't comprehend that set of social rules).

I have no problem accepting the idea that some guys are bisexual. In truth, my experience has been that such men are more likely to gravitate towards straight. But these were more opportunistic bisexuals, where I was the opportunity. Mostly, I have to say, men used to women did a better job of pleasing me (mind, that was in context of who I was at a much younger age). Saying that, however, would probably be socially suicidal, in a gay social circle.

It certainly is the case that the issue of masculinity interferes strongly with issues of sexual preference. But even that has changed in more recent times. I have no idea how or how much, I've been living outside of culture to an amazing extent for the past 20+ years (a combination of age, serial monogamy, geography, and lifestyle choice).

Add to all this one fact that is all too often totally ignored: Some people will choose a heterosexual lifestyle out of the desire to have kids and raise a family, regardless of their relative attraction to the either gender. In my experience, this is a choice much maligned in the gay community, and I have always felt that was wrong. A person can make that choice in a very sincere way, and it has nothing to do with any issues about hiding in the closet, no matter what a bunch of politically gay folks say.

And that leads to this little observation, out of date though it might be: Homosexual and bisexual are sexual orientations. Gay is a social/political orientation.
posted by Goofyy at 11:34 PM on January 17, 2008


A MeFite sent the following message to my MeFi Mail and asked me to post it here anonymously:

-- I am a male bisexual. That means I am sexually attracted to both men and women.
-- I am not promiscuous. I did not lose my virginity until this year at the age of 28. I have had a total of one sexual partner, and I am currently in a committed relationship with her.
-- I have male friends - some gay, some straight - who I clearly find sexually attractive. I look, I don't touch.
-- Some people who eventually identify as gay find it more comfortable to convince friends, family, and most importantly, themselves, that they're bisexual first.
-- I do not think that is the case with me.
-- I have found that in my case, I end up jumping all around the Kinsey scale. Some days I'm only interested in men sexually, some days I'm only interested in women sexually, most days I slightly prefer one or the other. It's very random.
-- Regardless, I love my girlfriend romantically, and I don't cheat on her on those days when I'm feeling gay. I just don't have sex with her those days. We hang out and watch movies, usually.
-- If I were to break up with my girlfriend, I would be open to dating a guy. That has no bearing on the fact that I am committed to my girlfriend. If I was straight, I wouldn't be cheating on my girlfriend with another woman either.
-- Even if it turns out that I "stabilize" and eventually lose the sexual desire for one or the other sex, that doesn't mean I'm not bisexual now, and if I do turn out to eventually be completely gay, that doesn't mean that I would sleep around behind my girlfriend's back, nor does it mean that I don't love my girlfriend in a romantic context - just not a sexual one.

So all of you talking about what it's like to be bisexual, you can just go and take a flying leap back to 1968.

posted by creeky at 1:27 AM on January 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Apropos of very little, my favourite ever .sig quote was a friend of mine who signed off:

-bi new zealand maid
posted by Sparx at 3:36 AM on January 18, 2008


This thread needs some Living Colour!
posted by goo at 4:55 AM on January 18, 2008


Some of the discomfort around the word "bisexual" also comes from the existence of genderqueer people who don't identify as men or women.

But certainly I think that some of the issues around bisexuality for men is quite a bit different. One of the better parts of Baumgardener's Look Both Ways was the historic examination of how feminist sexual liberation made it more acceptable for women to enage in sexual and emotional relationships with both men and women. And this was not just a flash in the pan of the second and third wave feminism, but is also a part of the biographies of first-wave feminists in the early 20th century.

Currently I think the stereotype of bisexuality among men in the media is either married men "on the down low" or gay men making the exception for sport sex.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:03 AM on January 18, 2008


And as with most science stories, I think the conclusion that many women who identify as bisexual tend to have relatively stable identities is much less important than the fact that we finally have some rigorous peer-reviewed longitudinal research about it.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:14 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


How does Grumblebee feel about this? Have you told him?

Oh, the Bee knows. The Bee likes.
posted by Evangeline at 7:00 AM on January 18, 2008


"DUH" studies are pretty important for a few reasons.

First of all, common sense and experience is rarely but sometimes significantly wrong. This was the case when Kinsey did his studies on human sexuality and found that a lot more people were having sex with MOTSS but only talking about it in the strictest confidentiality in the belief that everyone else was straight as an arrow.

Secondly, there is a catch 22 in academic research which is that you can't get published/funding without citing prior research, but for understudied populations that peer-reviewed prior research may be lacking. No one is going to publish me if all I have to justify my research is my 30-odd bisexual friends and a handful of clippings from the popular press. So this study potentially opens many doors for other people to do studies for bisexual women, and can be used by community centers and organizations to get grant funding for services.

And third, and this is something I just picked up from Dr. Pamela Gay on Astronomy Cast, trivial results are still worth publishing, because they prevent other people from wasting their time using the same methods on the same question.

Now this is not a trivial study by any means. It has some important things to say about sexuality and identity. But it's rather frustrating to see studies dismissed out of hand.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:06 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


My wife is a sex researcher, and while her area of study is the role of consent in male sexual arousal, others in her lab study bisexuality. From talking to them, the academic consensus (in the somewhat maligned, but still useful field of evolutionary psychology) is this:

Men's sexual arousal is like a lightbulb, they are "on" or "off." Most men who identify as bisexual only actually experience physical arousal to one set of stimuli - men or women, not both. In terms of arousal, rather than identification then, male bisexuality doesn't exist. Men are "category specific." Men who claim to be bi are, at best, confused. This isn't my assertion, please don't blame me for it.

Women's sexual arousal is more fluid. In fact, women can get physiologically aroused to anything sexual, even the sight of non-human animals getting it on. They might remain completely emotionally not turned-on, but their vaginas will start lubricating, and other physiological responses might happen. If you read the Clan of the Cave Bear series (yeah, yeah, I know) this happens to Ayla when she sees some mammoths humping. The evolutionary explanation for this is that in the past (like, since the beginning of human-kind), if there was sex going on, and a woman was in the vicinity, chances are she would be involved in the sex whether she wanted to be or not. If she was going to be involved in sex, especially against her will, it would be better for her body to be ready, and thus she could avoid the ripping and tearing that might otherwise occur. Women who have been raped will often talk about being "betrayed" by their bodies. They might have lubricated, they might even have orgasmed. What was better for the body all through evolution is obviously not always good for the modern conception of self. Back to the topic, women's sexuality is termed "fluid," which somewhat accounts for the prevalence of bisexuality.

In this view, all women are bisexual, no men are. Obviously, this doesn't explain the men who are bisexual or the women who aren't, but it gives a bit of an idea why there might be a disparity between the number of bi women and men.

Just as a bit of a counter note, it has recently been pointed out that some of the primary researchers in this field are holding something of a double standard. When they see physiological bisexuality in women who self-identify as hetero or homo, they discredit it as bisexuality, but when they see hetero or homo physiological arousal in self-identified bisexual men, they also discredit that. This area is pretty hotly debated right now, and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:17 AM on January 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


arcticwoman: Yeah. There is a pretty clear double-standard there in that when genetal arousal is ambiguous for women, the argument is that women's sexual orientation is behavioral and social. And yet, (Riger, Chivers and Bailey 2005) report a conflict between subjective arousal and genital arousal and conclude that subjective arousal and sexual behavior just doesn't matter.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:44 AM on January 18, 2008


Another anecdotal statement: I get aroused by any sexual activity I see. Physically and obviously aroused. I am not confused. The paragraph above that details a woman's sexual arousal describes what happens to me, a dude. I have been getting turned on like that since I was old enough to remember what being turned on means. My personal experience tells me that those researchers are blind and willfully ignorant. By ignoring or omitting the actual causes and effects of desire and arousal, these scientists are undermining the foundation of their research. Their work will no doubt be used to discredit bisexual men's emotional and physical needs. It's unfortunate that these are the people who are at the top of the research field, if that is indeed true.
posted by apiaryist at 9:03 AM on January 18, 2008


Men's sexual arousal is like a lightbulb, they are "on" or "off." Most men who identify as bisexual only actually experience physical arousal to one set of stimuli - men or women, not both. In terms of arousal, rather than identification then, male bisexuality doesn't exist. Men are "category specific." Men who claim to be bi are, at best, confused. This isn't my assertion, please don't blame me for it.

That's one of the stranger assertions I've seen in a thread full of strange assertions about bisexuals. I don't quite get why this is such a confusing topic. There are a number of men in the world who identify as bisexual; or who have, over their lifetime, had sex or been attracted to both men and women; or both. They are bisexual men. They are physically aroused by both men and women. To say that they are, at best, "confused" is just absurd. Do I really need to drag out some sort of "some of my best friends..." anecdotal report to disprove that assertion? As a bi woman who has been involved with bi men on occasion, yeah, male bisexuality exists, even when defined narrowly as "physical arousal from more than one set of stimuli."

I'm glad to hear there's some debate about researcher bias going on, because I'm not sure what methodology they could possibly be using that comes up with such a bizarre conclusion.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:05 AM on January 18, 2008


Re: Arcticwoman's researchers.

I actually think male bisexuality is like Arcticwoman describes - male sexuality is either on or off. But I wonder how often the same bisexually identified male is tested in these tests. Perhaps they're aroused by women one day and by men the next. But if only tested once, bisexuals will show only that binary, on-off proposition.
posted by BrianBoyko at 10:09 AM on January 18, 2008


“What you self-identify as is another issue, and not really of relevance to anybody but yourself.”

Yeah, but I agree with what’s been posited above, seems a bit easier (culturally) for a swishy guy to ID as gay than as straight. And, really, I’ve talked to some effeminate guys who were pretty seriously straight. (Of course to me everyone shy of Chuck Conners is flaming, so, grain of salk).

“Actually, I've often wondered how gay guys manage to differentiate 'hero worship' type admiration and 'attraction' type admiration to themselves...”

I suspect it’s a function like familial relations. You might be attracted to young sexy thangs, but not your daughter/son/sister/brother, etc. Which is sort of where I’m at with the folks I have as heroes, members of my karass (as Vonnegut puts it). Even with girls that can come into play. We used to practice with a girls rugby team a ways back. And got close to one of them, helping training and so forth, almost a coach/player relationship and we were at a party one night and feeling pretty good, wound up alone in a bedroom together, started getting even more friendly and just - stopped. Just ran out of sexual desire. We both sort of said ‘this feels too weird.’ And she was gorgeous too, in excellent shape, but it would have been like having sex with my sister.
So hero-wise, I couldn’t imagine fucking Ghandi.

“I'm bi, and the assumption that everyone else is too seems like the most natural thing in the world to me.”

As one of the monopoles there (no pun int’) I don’t think everyone is fixed, I actually like the fact people are different.
In fact, there are some experiances I know I’ll never have and I enjoy there’s some folks out there doing them. Broadens the range and scope of thought. Kinda like The Dude. I’m not a ‘take-’er-easy’ kind of guy, but I’m glad there are guys like that out there.

“Love is a wonderful beautiful thing and the world could use a lot more of it...”

Absolutely.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:06 AM on January 18, 2008


One would think given the evidence for men and women that electronic measurements of genital arousal don't always map well to sexual histories or identities that it might have a bit of a problem with construct validity there.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:32 AM on January 18, 2008


"Men who claim to be bi are, at best, confused."

I understand that this is not your assertion, but ... seriously, what?

That's utterly ridiculous. For goodness sake, there have been entire world cultures where male bisexuality was the standard model.

There is a ton of direct evidence of many men engaging in bisexual behavior. Of course, they are often dismissed as being closeted gays, experimenting, only situationally bisexual (only?), etc.

I am reminded of the long period when scientists pretended to themselves that homosexual behavior among nonhuman animals did not exist, writing off obvious homosexual encounters as, for example, "a greeting behavior" (which led one zoologist frustrated with this practice to start referring to lesbian sex among lions as "The Big Hello".) It went unacknowledged and actively denied. This changed only relatively recently, and because of it, many people today *still* believe that humans are the only animals that engage in homosexual activiy - I have heard that said quite frequently by people who should know better - despite the fact that this idea is, quite simply, dead wrong.

When scientific studies confirm cultural biases in a way that contradicts or dismisses a common life experience, I tend to be very, very suspicious of them. Honestly, it would probably be wise to apply that filter to the study in the FPP, even though I happen to think it is most likely right. It's a nice start, but I think it needs to be conducted a lot more rigorously with a lot more people before we can really conclude that Bisexuals Until Graduation are the exception rather than the rule ... and it may yet still be found, to my dismay, that I am wrong about that.

And incidentally, I have read at least one of the "bisexual male arousal response to porn" studies - I made an FPP about it a while back - and was thoroughly unimpressed.
posted by kyrademon at 11:49 AM on January 18, 2008


I'm willing to entertain the notion of a gestalt sexual attraction in some people, but in all experiences I've had with other humans that's not the case and therefore the labels hetero- homo- and bi- sexual are all incorrect.

For instance, I hear people say "wow she has a fine ass" "those lips are beautiful" "he smells wonderful" "I love her voice" "his vans deferens shoots like a champ". These are specific items, or characteristics of the person that one is attracted to. Place these same items in a portrait of the opposite gender and there's no reason someone wouldn't be attracted to them. This is part of the self-identified hetero male fear of trannies, that they in fact WOULD be attracted to the man dressed to appear as a woman and would catch teh gay. Further, remove those characteristics we like from someone of the gender(s) we claim to like and we no longer find them attractive (yet we don't consider this a negation of who we find attractive).

I believe that pheromones (not a physiologist) are more evened out as in men generally emit certain types, women the other, with less variance than appearances, and this regulates the sexual attractions and we pick up our personal feature cues after the smells come in. Thus it can make it appear as if we're of specific orientation...but as an experiment (I've tried a few times with the expected results) wear perfume/cologne typically associated with the opposite gender when going out and see who responds to you as a result.
posted by kigpig at 12:16 PM on January 18, 2008


So all of you talking about what it's like to be bisexual, you can just go and take a flying leap back to 1968.

To the start of the Summer of Love? What on earth are you talking about?

And why should anybody take as authoritative the personal opinion of somebody who could only be described as extremely sexually inexperienced? You've had one hetero partner, no homo partners, and have been sexually active for less than a year, at age 28.

No offence, but shouldn't you at least sleep with a guy once before claiming to know the deep inner truths of bisexuality that the rest of us are denied?

(the rest of your comment was ok, but that aggressive, know-it-all final line just irked me)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:01 PM on January 18, 2008


wear perfume/cologne typically associated with the opposite gender when going out and see who responds to you as a result.

kigpig, pheromones != colognes. the former have no scent, as far as I know.

But yeh, if I go out wearing a female fragrance, I get different reactions. That's probably because I'm wearing a woman's fragrance, so people make assumptions about me based on that fact.

Some of the discomfort around the word "bisexual" also comes from the existence of genderqueer people who don't identify as men or women.


I see that as an integral part of queerdom, but I'm glad that it was specifically mentioned.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:09 PM on January 18, 2008


kyrademon: It's a nice start, but I think it needs to be conducted a lot more rigorously with a lot more people before we can really conclude that Bisexuals Until Graduation are the exception rather than the rule ... and it may yet still be found, to my dismay, that I am wrong about that.

Looking over the study, the sample size seems a bit beefy for a 10 year longitudinal, and the methods appear to be reasonably rigorous. In addition, Developmental Psychology isn't exactly a puff venue for something like this, and is loaded with reviewers who make their bread and butter on the longitudinal. So I'd call this pretty sound.

An in particular, this was submitted 2003, which means that we are talking about young adults who were out of the closet in 1992-1993, during that time in which all the noise about "bisexual-chic" was hottest.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:23 PM on January 18, 2008


UbuRovas: I see that as an integral part of queerdom, but I'm glad that it was specifically mentioned.

Yeah. I was a part of the First International Conference Celebrating Bisexuality and soc.bi back when the label war was a huge fucking deal. The unhappy consensus was that "bisexual" was a really loaded and problematic term but the best one in the running.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:28 PM on January 18, 2008


First International Conference Celebrating Bisexuality? That makes for a woefully unpronounceable acronym.

I'd name it something like the First International Symposium Theoretically Investigating Notions (of) Gendered Identification & Sexuality For (the) United Nations.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:51 PM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a bisexual, maybe all of you who do not claim to be bisexual should stop talking? I dont mean to be rude, but its amazing what passes for knowledge in this thread. Anecdotes, "studies", labeling, etc. It's like my father saying I cannot be a vegetarian anymore because I accidentally ate a piece of shrimp. I mean, are we so meager-minded that we have to fit into a label and stay there? Must we all choose to love one gender at a time? For heaven's sake, you make choices each and every second. These choices may not fit into a definable pattern. They may change permanently or temporarily. You are what you choose to define yourself as at that moment. No one else can define you. Give up the incessant labeling and ostracization of those who defy your simple categories. Where did all the adults go?

Let me assure all of you who aren't self-defined as bisexual, men can be bisexual. Period. You think otherwise, I can assure you, you are wrong. Completely. And I am certainly not "confused" or "promiscuous". Human sexuality is far too varied and interesting than your little picture of your universe will allow. Go back to school...you are clearly truant.

Makes me so fraking angry. To quote the wonderful CrazyJub, from MeFi, "Labels are for people who don't have their OWN stances on the issues."
posted by Dantien at 3:03 PM on January 18, 2008


Whoa, Dantien. There have been a few ignorant comments in the thread but as someone who posted about "studies" and also as a self-identified bisexual, I think that for the most part the comments have been pretty supportive. You are right, labels imply fixed orientation when fluidity is more the rule. As such labels need to be applied with extreme care (if applied at all). Still, science is pretty important, and if the studies are questionable, questioning them is a pretty important practice.

kyrademon: Oh, believe me, I understand how ridiculous those assertions are. Like I said, it's my partner who is an evolutionary psychologist. I'm a sociologist. :) We get into some pretty fine rows about this stuff, and I tend to come down on the side you seem to be on.
posted by arcticwoman at 3:34 PM on January 18, 2008


Speaking as a bisexual, maybe all of you who do not claim to be bisexual should stop talking?

Oh. I guess that - being a gay male who's seen straight porn and had a couple experiences with females, doesn't see what all the breasts-and-vagina fuss is about, and much prefers the company of penises - I should retract my earlier anti-anti-bisexual comments?

Seriously, it doesn't necessarily take being a member of a certain group to have understanding or even insight about that group. "Outsiders" can too, if they take the time to listen and put themselves in the other group's shoes; it takes a little work, but it's not terribly hard. Some "outsiders" might not make that effort, but that doesn't mean all of them do or are incapable of it. All of this "you can't possibly know or understand what it's like for [insert group here] because you're not one of us!" stuff just furthers divisions. Women vs. Men, Blacks/Asians/Latinos vs. Whites, Immigrants vs. Born Citizens...

I meh (yes, it's a verb now) at that attitude throughout.

labels imply fixed orientation when fluidity is more the rule.

Personally, I'd always thought of the labels not as boxes or cubbyholes, but more as defining segments of the sliding scale. Like... uh... say the blue (cold!), neutral (tepid!), and red (hot!) arcs over some thermostat or taps or car climate control knobs. Then, I guess, the bickering would be about where the transition between gay-blue, bi-neutral, and straight-red would be.
posted by CKmtl at 4:32 PM on January 18, 2008


Speaking as a bisexual

[...]

are we so meager-minded that we have to fit into a label and stay there?


I can see that you certainly like to have it both ways.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:34 PM on January 18, 2008


Gay is blue? I thought I we had all agreed on spangly-purple for the gents and plaid flannel for the ladies.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:37 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're obviously not an industrial designer, are you?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:40 PM on January 18, 2008


KJS, it is possible that my idea of sample size is skewed because I am used to medical epidemiology studies (i.e., "a 30-year study of 30,000 women showed that ...") Admittedly this is not the norm for many sciences, which I should know from dating an astronomer ("The three photons we managed to observe from this event indicate that ...")

However, the study is based pretty much entirely on self-reporting, looks at a fairly narrow population subset, and, of necessity because the tendency towards monogamous pairing, is in large part attempting to quanitify the very fluid concepts of self-definition and attraction, as opposed to behavior.

Don't get me wrong - I think this is an interesting, valuable study, well-designed on a limited budget, with solid conclusions. I just don't think it's the Final Word.
posted by kyrademon at 4:46 PM on January 18, 2008


plaid flannel for the ladies.

Huh?

(well, if I have to be a lady, I want me some big boobs.)
posted by jonmc at 4:50 PM on January 18, 2008


ok, jonmc - you can wear the uniform & i can play along.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:54 PM on January 18, 2008


pics pls.
posted by desjardins at 4:58 PM on January 18, 2008


kyrademon: I don't know how you can do a study on sexual identity that doesn't involve self-reporting to some degree.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:35 AM on January 19, 2008


Gay is blue? I thought I we had all agreed on spangly-purple for the gents and plaid flannel for the ladies.

AskMe
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:44 PM on January 19, 2008


Spangly purple plaid, and pink, vanilla and blue stripes? On a thermostat? What's wrong with blue on one end and red on the other?

See?!

Also, flagged as silliness.
posted by CKmtl at 4:53 PM on January 19, 2008


This post was deleted for the following reason: please don't use AskMe to continue your weird jokes from other parts of the site. Thank you. -- jessamyn

Hey, that was a perfectly cromulent question. I was planning to use a novelty oversized thermostat as a prop in my drag king show, lip synching to "It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes"
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:28 PM on January 20, 2008


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