It is a common meme that bisexual women are slutty, or need one of each sex to make them happy. Whereas this may be true for some bi women (as it could be for anyone) it is not true of all. Which brings me to an odd point.
Of most women I have talked to, either in person or online, who identify as polyamorous, also identify as bisexual. Is it just a coincidence? I do not think so. It is a matter of choice. We like having lots of choices and see no reason to limit ourselves, to close ourselves off from the possibility that there is more out there. There is debate about whether polyamory is a choice or something inborn in a person, and honestly, I’m not so sure about this, so I’m not going to touch it.
The religious right likes to say that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is a choice–which is bullshit. The gay and lesbian community sadly parrots this to bisexual people–you must make a choice, as if we can decide who we are physically and/or emotionally attracted to. If they can’t, why do they assume we can? The same goes for the poly community–we can’t make a choice as to who we are physically and/or emotionally attracted to–it happens, often out of our control.
The choices we do have regard who we have relationships with. Where it is true that we cannot choose who we are attracted to, we can choose who we want to have relationships with–especially with regards to the poly community. We know that there are some people who we may be attracted to who may be bad relationship partners–who may not be able to respect our identities or existing relationships. And it is our choice whether we want to include these people in our lives.
While it is true that there are poly women who have both male and female partners, it is equally true that there are bi poly women who have only male, or only female partners. A multitude of partners of the “opposite” sex does not make a bi poly person any more straight than having a multitude of partners of the “same” sex makes them more gay. It is also true that having a mix of sexes with partners does not make a person any more bisexual than one who has partners of just one sex.
As for being open and out, I am of two minds. I will and do freely admit to being bisexual–it is part of who I am and a part of my dating history and I think it is important for people, especially those whom I am attracted to and may be interested in forming a relationship with. While I do believe it is important to be honest to all of one’s partners, there’s a certain point where I think poly becomes must know information. So, in summary, bi=freely open, especially to prospective partners and poly=on a need to know basis, but as early as is practical. Maybe the last half is because I am not fully comfortable with this part of myself yet–it took me years of knowing I was bisexual to be this comfortable about it and I have only been dealing with poly for months.
I’m not quite sure how I was intending to structure this when I started, but I think I’ve said all I can say on this subject at this point in time.
Am I any less queer because I do like some things that are considered “normal”? That sometimes I like things that are pretty vanilla? That the only sex I’ve been having for the last nine to ten months is heterosexual?
I don’t think so.
I love the fact that queer encompasses everything about me, from the way I like my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (on sourdough bread, creamy peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam), to the people I think are attractive, to the way I like my sex (with occasional hints of dominance/submission). The term bisexual, which is what I normally call myself, encompasses only the people I like, see as attractive, would like to have sex with. Queer is an identity I’m just getting used to. It doesn’t force me into a tiny box labeled “likes men and women”. Yes, I do like men and women, and see both as attractive in their own ways, but what about the people who don’t consider themselves either or simply don’t believe they fit into society’s narrow definitions of gender and sexuality. Just because I have not yet found one that I like/want to have sex with does not eliminate the possibility that I might. I like to keep my options open. Yes, I still do describe myself as bisexual, because that is my sexual orientation, I will not disagree with that, but it does not describe my whole self, like the sex: female does not fully describe me. Yes I am female, in body and mind, but I am not that feminine, nor have I ever been, and I am fully comfortable with that.
To me, trying to fit into a prescribed gender role is restricting and it just feels wrong. I wear a skirt or dress when I want to, not because I have been forced into it. Make-up, nylons, hair-styling make me feel like I’m in drag. Sometimes being in drag is a wonderful thing, messing with people’s perceptions of my gender. I like challenging the assumed norms. That’s what makes me happy and comfortable. There are times that I just want to hide myself and I do, something I learned how to do very well in high school. That ability to hide means that only the people I like and respect get to see the true me, my true colors as they say.
I am working my way into a role I feel comfortable with. I would like to be completely open with everyone about who I truly am, but I know that society will not let me be that. So here at school is the only place I can truly express the full me: my sexuality and my queerness, and the truly great thing is that it doesn’t really matter to that many people. College is full of variations, that’s what makes it so wonderful.
The very nature of the bisexual is to be forever passing. When they are in a relationship of any kind with a person of the opposite sex, they are seen as heterosexual. When that relationship is with a person of the same sex, it is assumed they are homosexual. This binary system prevents bisexuals from expressing themselves fully. The whole concept of monogamy, emotionally and legally, puts bisexuals in this bind, being seen as straight or gay/lesbian without the possibility of expressing the duality of their attraction without being considered a liar and/or a cheat. Open relationships can be great for the bisexual person, leaving them open to live out their feelings for “both” sexes without fear of recrimination from their significant other, but due to human nature jealousy can occur, destroying the relationships.
Does my clothing, the way I dress identify me as bisexual or even queer? It shouldn’t. I dress in many ways. I tried the feminine once, it didn’t work for me. When I was much younger I tried masculine. The loose shirts, that hid my breasts when I hit puberty, the jeans and tennis shoes I wore every day, were a great indicator of how comfortable I was with myself. I’m older now and I realized, somewhere along that path of expression, that I liked my breasts, but I didn’t need to show them off in very low cut shirts like many of my classmates. Now I live in a happy medium, usually wearing the t-shirts and jeans that I am truly comfortable in, but some of the shirts are tight enough to draw attention to one of my favorite parts of my body (the other part is my eyes), but still high-cut enough that I am comfortable. I also live in drag on occasion. Drag is simply clothing that you do not usually wear or clothes that make you feel out of your warm and cozy comfort zone. It is one way I like to challenge the way people see me. Sometimes it is as simple as a pair of high heels or my favorite pair of lace-up boots with a pair of jeans; other times it can be the short plaid skirt for a Halloween costume (the drag artist’s time of year to shine) or the long hippie skirts I wear simply because that day I feel like the open freedom that kind of dressing gives me. Does the feminine part make me straight? Does my almost masculine everyday clothing make me a stereotypical butch lesbian? No; my clothing is who I am, fitting in between the stereotypes.
The fact that I pass upsets me and my sense of uniqueness.