Why It's Hard for Men to Come Out as Bi
Bisexual men have to face homophobia and toxic masculinity when they come out.
Photo by VICELAND
This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Why does it feel like there are so many more bi women than bi men? In this episode of VICELAND's SLUTEVER, Karley Sciortino tries to solve this mystery by meeting with adult film performers, going to a bi men's support group in NYC, and attending a pegging workshop. It can be scary to be a man who loves both men and women, thanks to the prejudices bi men face. Where women sleeping with other women is celebrated and fetishized, and women frequently experiment with being bi-curious, men have to unpack toxic masculinity before embracing the full spectrum of their sexuality. But Sciortino is here to help. She learns about coming out as bi as a man, and what kinds of support bi men need.
What stigmas do bi men face?
Sciortino met with adult performers Dante Colle, Amilia Onyx, and D. The three create MMF a.k.a. “two guys and a girl" bi porn. D, who was also the director for the scene, explained the ways their porn is different from what you might encounter more frequently. “I think if you google bi porn, the vast majority of what you see out there is what I call forced bi porn," he explained. "And I’m a big believer that that’s not what’s going on behind closed doors.”
Forced bi porn is what it sounds like—porn where the bisexual encounter is "forced" rather than desired or natural. Colle, Onyx, and D demonstrate what this looks like by simulating a scene involving a straight couple, where the woman begs her partner to play with another man. The two men begrudgingly touch one another and it feels uncomfortable, voyeuristic, and just wrong. Luckily the three give Sciortino a demo of how much hotter the scene is when everyone is actually into it.
Bi men also face prejudice in the porn industry that keeps them from being adult performers in straight and gay adult films. “Well, there’s some homophobia on the straight side, so when they see a crossover performer, a lot of the straight studios and the straight performers don’t want to associate with you," Colle explained. "But there’s a stigma on the gay side too. It’s so much more okay for women to do that, why can’t it be for men?”
Where can bi men go to meet other bi men?
Daniel Saynt is the founder of The New Society for Wellness—which you may have noticed, shortens to NSFW. He started it after coming out as bi, because he noticed there wasn't any kind of community for him to meet other bisexual men. “As a bisexual male, you want that community," Saynt said. "That community wasn’t necessarily the gay community or the lesbian community, it really is this bi community.”
Like other bi men Sciortino talked to, Saynt believes, "bisexuality for men hasn’t been represented.” NSFW curates events and workshops that allow bi men along with men and women interested in bi men, to flirt and fuck in a safe, consensual environment. “I wanted to create an experience that helped educate people and helped teach people," Saynt said.
Sciortino also attended a pegging workshop to get a crash course in anal sex. The instructor Dominus Eros, a sex educator at Pagan's Paradise, explained how sex is often so "dick centric." He explained how bisexual and gay relationships help men get away from the mindset of dick centric penetration as the only form of "sex," and how anal play can broaden couples' sexual horizons. “I think we all have sexual ambiguity," Eros said.
What support is there for bi men who feel isolated or want to talk openly about their sexuality?
Sciortino attended BiRequest, a bi men's support group in NYC, moderated by a man named Paul. (The moderator and members of the group are all referred to by first name only.) In the group, the men discussed the ways coming out as bi changed the way others saw them.
Many of the men didn't come out until their 30s out of fear of looking un-masculine. “I identified as straight for a very, very, very long time," Robert said. "I knew the word bisexual existed but I didn’t really know enough about it and what that meant and the fact that it didn’t have to be a 50 50 split. And I felt forced to choose and it was easier to identify as straight. I didn’t even think about making that choice.”
Men also explained how coming out as bi effected their relationships with women—some men said that some straight women were no longer interested in them as soon as they said they'd slept with men, and that some of their peers simply told them they must be lying about being interested in both men and women. Ultimately, the men shared that being bisexual made them less worried about being perceived as masculine. “I no longer care, does this seem masculine," Robert said. It looks like bisexuality might be the cure for toxic masculinity.