Bisexuality

This section tries to deal with new age issues i.e. issues that we as a society have not come to terms with or are not ready to accept them. We have become moral guardians of the society little realizing that it is the "free will" which is the essence of human spirit. Let us try to explore these issues and try to understand the questions which are still unacceptable to most of us. We will deal with issues such as : Bisexuality, Homosexuality, Anal Sex, and Use of sex toys.

What is bisexuality?

Bisexuality means sexual or romantic attraction or behavior directed towards some members of more than one sex.

What is "a bisexual"?

A strict definition of a bisexual would be someone who has romantic and/or sexual relations with other people of more than one sex (though not necessarily at the same time).

However, since not everyone has necessarily had the opportunity to act on their sexual/romantic attractions, some people prefer a looser definition; for instance, that a bisexual is a person who - in their own estimation - feels potentially able to have such attraction. This could be anyone who has erotic, affectionate, or romantic feelings for, fantasies of, and/or experiences with both men and women.

A bisexual may be more attracted to one sex than the other, attracted equally to both, or find people's sex unimportant . The strength of their attractions to men and women may vary over time.

Is there a difference between "a bisexual", "bisexual" and "bi"?

Yes. Definitions for "a bisexual" are suggested above - all relating to attraction and behaviour. "Bisexual" (and the short form, "bi") is sometimes used as an adjective, to describe a bisexual person.

However, many people who exhibit bisexual behaviour do not identify as bisexual; and other people may identify as bisexual for reasons other than those suggested in the narrow definitions of the above question. In other words, bisexual identity and bisexual behaviour are not necessarily the same thing. So the word bisexual is being used in two different ways here.
Some argue that if bisexual is to mean anything, it must have a strong definition - that of exhibiting bisexual behaviour, or at least the potential for it. Others feel it is more important to respect people's self-definition whatever it is.

It has been suggested that the word "bisexual" should be limited to describing behaviour, and the word "bi" could be used for describing identity, with all the cultural implications which have grown up in the bi community.

Since the word "bisexual" can be used in different ways, it is enough to bear this in mind and make it clear how you are using it, in the interests of good communication.

Aren't bisexuals just going through a phase of being confused about their sexuality?

The simple answer is "no" or at least "not necessarily" - many of us are absolutely certain that we are attracted to both sexes; there is no confusion. Many people are bisexual for life, which proves it is not always just a phase.

It is natural for people who are coming to terms with a sexuality which is not society's norm to be feel confused. For some people, bisexuality is a phase between homosexuality and heterosexuality (and the individual in question could be going in either direction); for others it can just be a brief experimentation. But for many people bisexuality is a lifelong, committed sexual orientation.

And even for those who ultimately do not stay bisexual for life, that does not make it any the less valid as a sexual orientation. Many people have reported that their sexual orientation has shifted over time; sexuality is dynamic, not fixed. For some people it may be a small shift, others a major change of lifestyle; but this does not make the points in between in any sense "wrong". Life is a continuous process, and few of us remain exactly the same over long periods of time.

Some people who behave bisexually identify themselves as gay or lesbian or straight. This too does not mean that they are confused, only that they base their sexual identity on their primary interest rather than going for the more technical term bisexual.

Aren't bisexuals really denying their homosexuality?

It's difficult for some lesbian/gay people to come to grips with their homosexuality, and for a while, dating "Mates Of The Other Sex" (MOTOS) may make life seem a little more "normal" and bearable. Let's face it, coming out of the closet and living as a homosexual is no picnic; between the sanctioned discrimination which gay/bi men face of being in a perceived high risk group for AIDS, and the social standards of love, courtship, and marriage, being gay at times takes more energy than humans should be asked to give.

But coming out bisexual is no easy matter, either. Some bisexuals have to face loved ones who have relied in the past on their attraction to them being constant, and who have to assure them that it will be there in the future. We also often have to deal with straight friends who assure us that our attraction to MOTSS(Mates Of The Same Sex) is just "a way of avoiding intimacy" or gay friends who suggest that our attraction to MOTOS is "internalized homophobia". At all events, whether or not a bisexual is currently involved with a MOTSS, to much of the straight world anyone who comes out as bi is queer, "one of them," and is discriminated against and excluded on that basis. Thus, being bi is not an "easy way out," a "denial," or a "middle ground." It is for many people the hardest decision they will ever make.

Are bisexuals equally attracted to both sexes?

Many bisexuals feel they have a "preference" for one sex over the other, but they do not deny their attraction for that other sex.

Some bisexuals, however, have no such preference, and instead focus their attractions on qualities they see in an individual regardless of that person's sex. Sometimes these qualities involve sex, sometimes not. For example, some people find men attractive as men, and women attractive as women; others find people's sex irrelevant.

Do bisexuals have to have lovers of both sexes to be bisexual?

No. People who call themselves bisexual are saying that they are attracted to both men and women. They don't necessarily have to act on that attraction, any more than straight or gay people have to act on their attraction to people of the same sex as their partner.
There is a separate newsgroup, alt.polyamory, for discussion of the issues relating to the dynamics of multi-way relationships (whether involving bisexuals or not).

Are bisexuals capable of monogamy?

Yes, some are. It depends on the individual. It's like asking "Can a straight person be monogamous?" Some bisexuals are monogamous, and some aren't. Monogamy is the socially sanctioned option with respect to relationships, but then so is heterosexuality. It should be up to every individual, of any sexuality, to choose the lifestyle which is right for them.

But if they're monogamous, how can they be bisexual?

A bisexual deciding to be monogamous is not deciding to be "gay" or "straight." He/she is still bisexual; he/she has chosen a person to live his or her life with, not an orientation, preference or ideology. It is important to recognize that he/she still feels bisexual.

Isn't everyone really bisexual?

Not by any useful definition. A useful definition of bisexuality might be, anyone who has serious relationships with members of both sexes, and anyone who identifies as bisexual. It is possible to suggest that everyone has some potential for attraction to both sexes, but since most people never act on it, (*) this is pretty irrelevant.

If someone says that they are straight, or (gay/lesbian) then for you to insist that they are "really" bisexual but perhaps just don't realise it is to deny them their self-identity. Everyone should be free to define their own identity for themselves, which invalidates this kind of generalisation.

Moreover, bisexuality is not better than being straight or gay. The best thing for each individual is to be what they feel is right. So please do not think that people identify as bisexual if they are "more highly evolved" or more in touch with their inner feelings. Accept diversity - different people really are different.

(*) Research carried out at the Harvard School of Public Health, USA in 1994 found that 20.8% of the men and 17.8% of the women studied admitted to same-sex sexual attraction/behaviour at some time in their lives.

Why do you think bi issues are different from gay issues, since all your problems come from the same source, homophobia?

While homophobia is a bi issue (many would say the biggest issue), we do also have concerns different from those of the gay community; the most striking being that of dealing with prejudice from the gay community itself!

Among our other issues is the problem of dealing with the emotion of SOs who we deeply love yet who cannot understand our attraction to both sexes. And being accepted as bisexual if we only have one partner. And we have to deal with a lot of myths which surround bisexuality.

Why would lesbians/gay men discriminate against bisexuals?

One reason is because we are sometimes perceived as "hiding," a sense that some bisexuals use their bisexuality to look heterosexual at work, in straight social settings, to enjoy the "heterosexual privilege" that is part of the social norm. Secondly, bisexuals are sometimes seen as blurring the issues and weakening the lesbian and gay movement. Naturally, bisexual activists disagree with this view (we feel that the real issue is sexual freedom for all sexualities), but sometimes lesbians and gays label bisexuals "traitors" for this reason. A further reason is that some lesbians and gay men also have sex with MOTOS (while not identifying as bisexual). Often peer pressure means that they can't admit this in the lesbian and gay communities, and see bisexuality as a threat to their own acceptance. And finally, simply because of the fear that arises out of ignorance and out of the media's very poor record of portraying bisexuals as serial killers, homophobes and generally self-centred, confused people.

The lesbian and gay communities are oppressed by homophobia and prejudice, but unfortunately being oppressed is no guarantee that you won't oppress others. Happily, prejudice against bisexuals in the lesbian and gay communities seems to be diminishing over time as more people come to accept that sexuality is not a monochrome issue.

Why can't you choose one sex over the other?

Some of us have tried, but why should we? Denying our attraction to one sex or the other hurts. If you ask the question out of innocence (you don't feel this attraction, so why should anybody?) then you're asking us to put away feelings that we cannot and will not live without. If you ask these questions with full knowledge of the issues at hand, then your question is as patently offensive as a white supremacist asking us to choose one race over another.

I've discovered that I'm bisexual - should I tell my family?

Look at your life, and decide that if by telling them you will help yourself, and by not telling them you won't hurt yourself (one doesn't necessarily preclude the other). Both instances, of telling or not telling, can be problems. They may not accept you, then again, maybe they will. Not telling them may leave you at peace, or it may gnaw at your mind constantly, with "I really need to tell them" or "I really need to tell someone who knows me well".

There are many people in the bisexual community who can tell you of good and bad situations that have happened to us with each different type of decision. Indeed, these "coming-out stories" (so called because they describe "coming out of the closet" and telling people of our sexuality) are often to be heard whenever bisexuals meet - it is something that brings us together, because so many of us have one of these stories to tell. But, ultimately, the decision is yours, and must be made by you. We can offer support for your courage, and comfort for your loss, happiness for your gain.

But you must make the step to make it all possible. You must decide whether any need to know, or whether you want any to know. Good luck.

What is the Kinsey scale?

Dr. Alfred Kinsey created a scale, graduated between heterosexuality and homosexuality, to rate individuals on actual experiences and psychological reactions. Human sexuality is a complex phenomenon, and not so neatly categorized by the labels society arbitrarily applies: heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, gay and others. Between the strong and exclusive attraction of man to woman, and that of man to man, or woman to woman, lies a whole spectrum of sexual and emotional affinities: the ardour, or warmth, or coolness of any human relationship depends on the individuals within it, and not on any of the arbitrary specifications which might be imposed by society.

Some men want sex with other men as a permanent part of their lives; some are curious about male bodies, and may experiment at some time in their lives; some feel equally attracted to men and to women; some men enjoy looking at other men's bodies without desiring sexual contact; some prefer the company of other men for leisure; some work in an all-male environment.

Women also feel and do all these things with other women. These infinite permutations and the confusion that results from them cannot be accommodated by society, which needs order in which to function. Order means ignoring varying shades of grey and distinguishing only between black and white; it means putting labels on things. And since society is never stronger than when it is united against a common evil, labelling things also means defining society's outcasts.

Various attempts have been made this century to 'explain' homosexuality, and even to 'cure' it. Homosexuality refers to sexual orientation in which one develops sexual interest in those of the same biological sex.

But the question is not really why some people are homosexual, but why our society is heterosexual. People born into a homosexual society generally conform to the norm, just as do people born into a heterosexual society.

Most of us have a broad enough sexual response to allow us to be conditioned comfortably to either mode of behaviour. The people who feel less comfortable with the status quo, and those who feel positive discomfort with it are in no way unnatural; rather, it is the restrictions that society places on them that should be considered against nature.

One man in three has had some form of homosexual experience resulting in orgasm, according to the Kinsey Report, published in 1948. Kinsey was not saying that one man in three was homosexual; but he was tearing off the label that branded sexuality between men as abnormal'. Kinsey pointed out that humans were not alone among animals in engaging in same-sex activity: the assumption that animals had sex only when reproduction could be guaranteed was a man-made one, designed to bolster the view that homosexuality was 'against nature'.

Dr. Alfred Kinsey created a scale, graduated between heterosexuality and homosexuality, to rate individuals on actual experiences and psychological reactions. The ratings are as follows:

0 - Exclusively heterosexual.
1 - Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual.
2 - Predominantly heterosexual, but with a distinct homosexual history.
3 - Equally heterosexual and homosexual.
4 - Predominantly homosexual, but with a distinct heterosexual history.
5 - Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual.
6 - Exclusively homosexual.

Homosexuality does not describe physical appearance, sex roles, or personality. Some homosexual men are masculine in appearance and actions.Related Boys First Time. Some lesbian women are feminine in appearance and behaviour. No one can tell by behavioural characterstics that they are homosexual.

Homosexual encounters between men usually begin in foreplay and end in orgasm, but the pattern of lovemaking is much less rigid than the pattern of lovemaking between men and women tends to be, and both partners almost always reach orgasm.

Many homosexual men consider sex with other men to be liberating because there are no rules: it does not involve pressure to perform or pressure to satisfy the other person, and mutual satisfaction is effortless because men understand each other's bodies so well.

Men report that another advantage of sex without obligations is that they feel they can come straight to the point; a sexual relationship often precedes a social friendship, and not the other way around. Many men describe their sexual relations with male partners as generally more honest and straightforward, both physically and emotionally, than their relationships with women. Most homosexual men derive a great deal of physical and emotional satisfaction from being penetrated. Hygiene should always be the first priority in any act of anal penetration, as disease is especially easily transmitted in this way. Always wear a condom. A condom on a finger inserted into the anus can aid lubrication as well as protect against scratches -- from fingernails and rough skin -- that could lead to infection. You should always wash thoroughly before and after anal sex, and if you use a vibrator for penetration, make sure that this is washed thoroughly too, in hot soapy water with a splash of antiseptic added.

Some women rebel against the narrowness of the status quo and become lesbians for political reasons, feeling dissatisfied with a male-dominated society;others do so because they find men unsatisfactory as lovers or as partners on an emotional level; and others because they are intensely emotionally involved with a member of their own sex and wish to express their feelings through their sexuality. Condoms come ready-rolled and most end in a teat, which catches the semen.

Expel the air from the teat at the tip of the condom by squeezing it. Place the opening of the condom on the head of the penis. Unroll it down the shaft to fit comfortably. When fully unrolled, the condom should extend almost to the base of the penis and fit like a second skin, feeling silky and smooth. After ejaculation, the condom should be removed carefully to prevent spillage. First, the man withdraws his penis from the woman's vagina, holding the condom securely to his penis so as not to leave it behind. Then he removes it and disposes of it. Of course, care must always be taken that any semen left on the penis does not get transferred -- on the fingers, for example -- to the woman's vagina.

Putting on a condom can be fun. Some women enjoy doing this for their partners. You can use your lips and tongue to help your fingers unroll the condom down the shaft of the penis -- but be careful not to snag the delicate material with your nails or jewellery.