Editor's Note: This piece was first published in April, 2009. I enjoyed the discussion of sexual fluidity and gender identity. For Pride Month, I want to feature more BlogHer posts that discuss queer identities when it comes to dating, love, and sex. - Feminista Jones
For someone like me, living in oh so open-minded Northern California, the tabloid press stories about celebrities’ sex lives are kinda puzzling. Every week, there’s a story outing some star’s sexual life:
“Gavin Rossdale’s ex-girlfriend is a man!”
“Lindsay Lohan is gay!”
“Will Smith is secret love of Tom Cruise—and his wife Jada’s on the down-lo!”
“Lady Gaga’s Poker Face is about how she really likes girls!”
Is the Bay area the only place in the world where the idea someone might be bisexual—rather than straight or gay—isn’t some super big deal?
Am I the only woman in North America who thinks that men who are open about their (occasional) interest in other men are appealing—and way hotter than fake bisexual Ms. Kate Perry (cover singer of “I kissed a girl,” the phoniest song on the planet)?
Image: Bisexual Flag by Cody via Flickr
Right now, despite the spate of racy headlines about Gavin Rossdale’s past with singer Marilyn, (cross-dressing, gender bending man/woman), male bisexualty is apparently cool—or at least flirting with it is.
In a recent piece at The Daily Beast, the wonderful Rachel Kramer Bussel writes about how the bisexually tinged “Bromance” is the new cool thing of the moment in celebrity land—or at least flirting with it is. While she recognizes a lot of the well-publicized chest bumping the fellas are engaging in is fake, she sez that doesn’t mean there isn’t something new happening.
Rachael says that a lot of the man-crushes are “faux”—no one’s getting truly sexual—but that the fact the straight male crowd can even just start to embrace their inner pansexual bi guy indicates some new hopes for the future. After all, when Jimmy Kimmel jokes “I Fucked Ben Afleck,” the world’s shifted, right?
Writing in Salon, Sarah Hepola echoes Kramer Bussel and adds that back in the day, male “slips in heterosexuality” were fodder for laughs, and notes that now the need to always define as straight has (somewhat) abated.
Says Hepola, “What was risky four years ago in "Brokeback Mountain" has almost become beside the point (not to mention award fodder) in movies like "Milk," so that James Franco can speak casually with "Fresh Air's Terry Gross about kissing Sean Penn, and it doesn't even generate headlines.”
And then of course, there are the “emo boy” Pete Wentz (married to Ashlee Simpson and father of a new baby) pix of the dude lip-locking with some other lip-liner-ed fella. That doesn’t seem to raise any eyebrows with anyone, does it?
So, ladies, here’s the deal--Is the question “Would you date a bi guy?” Or it is “Hey, why wouldn’t you?”
On the don’t go there side, there’s always the “What if he’s really gay?” thing.
After all, no one wants to be an unwitting beard, window dressing for the "down low". And anal sex is a high-risk practice that carries higher danger of AIDS transmission than many other things, so a girl’s gotta watch out.
On the other hand, if someone tells you’re they’re into guys—but they really like women, too, (or they like women, and an occasional guy), isn’t that kind of a comment about their flexibility and openness?
Are guys who are confident enough to admit they’re sometimes drawn to men potentially a lot more interesting? (And after all, practicing safe sex is common sense with anyone you sleep with, no matter the gender of his or her partners. And hey, herpes knows no bounds (just barriers).
So, ladies, what say you, in your dating life are the bi guys a yea, or a nay?
For my friend Lisa, the idea of a guy who plays with other men is repulsive. “I don't want someone who puts private parts in those places,” she says (a comment there is never an answer to). “It just turns me off.”
My friend Stephanie, on the other hand, looks out for the bi guys on Nerve and Okay Cupid and frequents bisexual meet ups as a way to seek out bi men. “I’m not so into women myself,” she says, “But I think bi guys are way more open-minded.”
What do you mean? I ask.
“Oh, bi men who like women are adventurous,” she says. “And they’re better explorers, more interesting. They’ve worked the edges.” (Steph’s dated a gorgeous Irish scientist, a pagan poly programmer, and an emergency room physician since she began to focus on bi men, and each one of them has been fantastic in a lot of ways.)
I asked my friend Jediah, a married guy who identifies as polyamorous and bisexual what he thought about Steph’s comments.
“Well, isn’t everyone bisexual to some degree?” After all, there’s that Kinsey scale," he said. “Well, I think men who are bi-sensual, or bi-sexual may have dealt with all their feelings more, and have experienced gender in a more diverse way. That, in turn, may make them somewhat different that the'typical' guy.”
In my own life, I give men who self-identify as bi extra kudos.
It’s not a requirement for dating, it’s a nice to have, and it comes with my assumptions bi men will be more comfortable talking about gender and sexuality as fluid, and that they won’t just assume that male hetronormative privilege thing automatically.
But most of all, I value men who identify as bi because they exemplify something I believe in and practice myself: you fall in love with the person, not the gender.
Do we really love people because they are male, or female, or because of who they are? And don’t we often love people because of the mix of masculine and feminine traits we see in them, regardless of what sex they were born?
In other words, aren’t sexual identity and gender actually choices we make and are really somewhat-to-fairly fluid?
I don’t think there are that many people in the world that believe that because Gavin Rossdale had a relationship with Marilyn, a transsexual singer, he doesn’t have a good relationship with Gwen Stefani, his wife. And it seemed pretty clear to everyone that when Lindsay Lohan fell for Samantha Ronson, she was drawn to the person, not the gender.
So, what’s the deal, yo? Would you date a bi guy? Yes—or no? Share in the comments, please.
Around the blogosphere:
Rachel Kramer Bussel, How Male Bisexuality Got Cool:
"Somewhat surprisingly, women, too, are increasingly open to dating—and are sometimes specifically attracted to—bisexual guys. In December, blogger Jocelyn Nubel wrote about dating a bi guy: “To be honest, I’d never before considered it a turn-on to picture a guy I’m into making out with another guy, but there’s just something about this one. He gets me so worked up, so sexually excited, and I guarantee if I saw that in action, it’d get me all hot and bothered.” That’s a far cry from Carrie Bradshaw’s reaction to the bisexual man she dated in an episode of Sex and the City nine years ago. In that episode, she goes to a spin-the-bottle party with him as the token straight girl, and even makes out with Alanis Morissette, but only so as not to seem like an “old fart.” Throughout the episode, Carrie and her friends make it clear that she finds the world of bisexual men to be disorienting and unreal. “I was Alice in Confused Sexual Orientation Land,” she muses, ultimately deciding she just can’t date someone who can’t pick a side."
Violet Blue: Does bisexual fakery ruin it for the rest of us?
"Straight people think girls are "experimenting" and it's acceptable. When they grow up to be women and declare their real, true bisexuality everyone gets all uncomfortable and wishes they'd just hurry up and choose a side already. Lesbians call them traitors or want to convert or bag them (trust me on this one), while straight dudes think it's hot as long as he's not threatened he's going to be replaced by a woman with masculine traits.
Meanwhile, men who state their sexual orientation as bisexual are pretty much either totally invisible (they might as well be unicorns)."
Feministing community: After Ellen's "The Trouble with 'Bisexual'" and why I am not a Cheeto:"
"Bisexuals are not Cheetos. We don't come with an expiration date. It's not like we go bad if we are not used in a timely fashion. I don't know where this idea came from, which I often see banded around in the lesbian and gay portions of our community, that if you haven't been actively dating both sexes concurrently and very currently, we are not really bi.”
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