Where Are All the Bi Men, and Why Are They Hiding?
They're out there. They're just not <i>out</i>, because the stigma of being a man who likes both fellas and ladies is still a serious weight to deal with.
Tuesday was something called Bisexual Visibility Day. Which got me thinking: Where exactly are all the bi guys? I know a fair few fellas who've confided in me about their same-sex experiences, but only a handful of guys who straight-up identify as bi.
That might be because, for years, bisexuality has been maligned as homosexuality's no-good cousin-a sort of halfway house between straight respectability and full-blown gay-dom. Bisexuals spread diseases. Bisexuals can't accept that they're really gay. Bisexuals are greedy, confused, selfish. This is the sort of shit people say about bisexuals. No wonder bi dudes like to keep it on the lowdown.
I thought all of these stupid things once, growing up in Nottingham without registering that I, too, happened to be attracted to both men and women-depending on the men and women involved. On the whole, I generally prefer men, but I'd rather get off with an attractive young woman than a fat old man. I doubt I'm unique in that.
To be honest, I don't know many women under the age of 30 who aren't up for a bit of both. And though we seldom see the word bisexual mentioned in the press in the way that gay and lesbian often are now, there's actually a plethora of bi women celebs: Angelina Jolie. Neneh Cherry. Drew Barrymore. Lady Gaga. Amanda Palmer. Sia.
So where are all the bi guys?
They're out there. They're just not out. Recent research shows that just over a quarter of bisexual people are open about their sexuality. These days, there are probably more bi people hiding who they are than gay people. According to Alfred Kinsey, the godfather of our modern understanding of sexuality, "46 percent of the male population had engaged in both heterosexual and homosexual activities, or 'reacted to' persons of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives." That was in 1948, though few studies have put the number as high as that since. There are some examples of male bisexuality in pop culture-Frank Ocean, Brian Molko and Bret Easton Ellis, for instance-but not many. While bi women might have the likes of Megan Fox for sexual inspiration, bi men are left with, uh, Alan Cumming.
And even when a famous guy does go on record talking about his same-sex attractions, it's frequently followed by a retraction or clarification further down the line, usually around the point that he is trying to become more famous. It's a depressing list of great men losing their nerve, and some of my respect, ranging from Byron to Bowie. And Tom Hardy, too-although I'd still definitely let him fuck the shit out of me.
Bush guitarist Gavin Rossdale initially denied that he'd been sexually involved with androgynous 80s pop star Marilyn when Boy George wrote about the relationship in his 1996 autobiography Take It Like a Man. He threatened Boy George with his lawyers at the time, but fast-forward to 2010 and he'd changed tact, merely dismissing it as experimentation and "part of growing up." It's entirely Gavin's business who he dates, of course, and he has no obligation to talk about anything he doesn't want to, but I can't help but feel disappointed every time I see someone like him get defensive about their same-sex relationships. He's hot. He's successful. And he's with Gwen Stefani now for fuck's sake! What has he got to be worried about? When the only thing you seem to want to be private about is your bisexuality, it gives the impression that it's something to be ashamed of.
This isn't just on bi people, though. We're all to blame. When a bisexual person is in a same-sex relationship we secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) believe it means that they're just gay, really. If a bisexual person happens to be in a heterosexual relationship, we assume their bisexuality was a phase and that they're now back on the straight and narrow, so to speak. We all do it. I do it. You've probably done it. It must be suffocating being bi and having other people project all their stupid ideas of what your sexuality means to them onto you.
Many bisexual people end up in heterosexual relationships because it's easier. Wouldn't you, if being in a relationship with someone who was the same sex as you meant you had to deal with all the pointless fuckeries associated with being gay in our supposedly liberal society?
"COME ON, BI GUYS-COME IN OUT OF THE COLD"
Keeping quiet about your bisexual desires also seems pretty shitty. Research conducted by the LGBT charity Stonewall revealed that bi guys are more likely to have attempted suicide than gay men. They are nearly twice as likely to have self-harmed. And they are much less likely to go and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. These aren't just faceless statistics-that person cutting themselves or thinking about ending their own life could be your work buddy, your best friend, your brother. Maybe someone you are sleeping with. How many people are suffering in silence and putting themselves-and their sexual partner-at risk through fear of rejection and ridicule?
I do understand that fear. It's hard enough for some guys to get laid as it is without thinking that women will judge you for having been with other dudes before. But seriously guys, any girl who's put off by your experimental side is likely to be a shitty lay anyway. If she's so basic that she can't handle the fact that you also like men, how is she going to handle all that weird shit you've been saving up for a trusted and adventurous sex partner? The kind of dirty girl you're looking for really doesn't care about stuff like that. In fact, it probably turns her on.
And girls, you need to let your male friends know that it's OK. Because the next time you want two guys to do you at the same time, don't come crying to me if they pull out the moment their dicks start rubbing together through your rectovaginal septum. (Yeah, that's what that bit's called.)
I'm not saying that everyone is or should be bi. Nobody should feel they have to do anything they don't want to sexually. But, equally, nobody should feel like they can't do something they desperately want to do-so long, of course, as their fuck buddies are conscious and willing, too.
So come on, bi guys-come in out of the cold. I'll shag you. As will lots of other sluts of every possible gender up and down the country. I'm not saying that just because you jerked some guy off in college that you have to go around telling everyone you're bi for the rest of your life. Not if you don't want to. But if-like gazillions of other sex pigs-you've enjoyed a same-sex splooge, that's not something you should feel the need to hide. It's all good. Love who you want, be who you want, shag who you want.
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Image by Sam Taylor