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Taking bisexuality seriously

I’m a bi guy in my thirties who has been with my partner for almost five years. Sure it can sometimes be hard to not get to be with women, but I am mostly very content just being with my man. What does bother me, though, is that I feel like the bi part of me is in the shadows and not really recognized by my friends and boyfriend. When I’ve passively acknowledged my bisexuality in the past, my partner makes little jokes or playfully flirts with his “real man.” Similarly, our mostly middle-aged gay friends make occasional jabs at my sexuality. I don’t think they mean any harm, but I’d rather they all understand that this is a very real part of me. This can all make me feel lonely and small. How does a bi guy exist in a same-gender relationship without effacing his bi-ness?

Dennis

Despite the irrefutable pervasiveness and commonality of bisexuality, we seem to be living in a time where so many, straight and gay alike, seem to refuse to acknowledge and accept that we are not all so singularly oriented. Unfortunately, even though gay communities must continually fight for equal treatment and rights, they can still be somewhat unwelcoming (or flat out biphobic) social spheres.

Often, bisexual men are either dismissed as ambivalent gays or fetishized and coveted as “almost straight” guys.

Because of this prejudice, it is vital that you have people around you who are strong and supportive allies. I’m sorry to hear that your other half has been somewhat lacking in his show of support and understanding.

It does seem, however, that you haven’t been especially confident in owning your sexuality. You may need to sit your partner down and be as clear with him as you have been with me in your letter. The greater your self-acceptance and ability to claim your true sexual identity, the more likely your partner and friends will quit their zingers and have to face their own ignorance. You may want to consider asking your man what is behind his unease. For example, does he fear not being enough for you and that you will ultimately reject him? You’ll likely need to reassure him of your affections and commitment to him. There’s no need to be super serious all the time about this topic, but remind your partner that playful humour only works when both of you are laughing.

Often, when we are suffering, it is a sign that we are feeling “separate” from the world in some way.

Ironically, it is your bisexuality that connects you to millions of people all over the planet. So let your bi-ness take centre stage a little: see films or read books with strong bi characters; join or start a meet-up style social group, or invite other bi friends you know to join your gay friends in an effort to integrate this essential part of you. Make a commitment to create a world for yourself where your sexuality is validated and reflected—that will make it easier to ignore the folks who don’t have a clue.

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