“When’s the last time you dated a woman?” I get asked this all the time, and it’s probably my least favorite question regarding my (bi)sexuality.
There are a couple of reasons why the question bothers me so much. First, it’s a loaded question, based on the false premise that you have to date men and women equally in order to be “truly” bisexual. With this question, people are implying that I’m gay because I’ve only dated men for the past few years.
Bisexuality, however, does not have a statute of limitations. After three years of dating men, my bisexuality doesn’t magically disappear, and I don’t revert to being gay. I don’t need to actively date multiple genders in order to identify as bisexual. If I’m still attracted to multiple genders to various degrees, physically and/or emotionally, then I absolutely have the right to claim a bisexual label.
The second reason this question is bothersome — even a little triggering — is because I know the person asking the question won’t believe my reasoning. In other words, even after I go on my mini-tirade stating that you can still be bisexual while primarily dating one gender, I know they won’t believe me. They may nod their heads like they do, but I know they’re most likely thinking to themselves, “Yeah, I get that, but like, seriously. When’s the last time you even had sex with a woman? You’re gay for all intents and purposes, right?”
The thing is, I may never seriously date another woman in my lifetime. I hope I do, but I also know that it’s unlikely given my lifestyle. I simply don’t meet a lot of women who would be interested in dating me. It’s not like I work with any straight women. I write for LGBTQ magazines, where the vast majority of employees are gay. Most of my friends are gay men, and they’re not willing to set me up with their straight female friends. I also can’t stand straight bars and clubs. I feel so predatory there whenever trying to meet women, which relates to another issue I struggle with: I’ve gotten really bad at meeting women, even when I do have a golden opportunity.
Women usually think I’m gay, which is understandable given how I dress, act and speak. But when I clarify that I’m bisexual, I can sense an immediate change in their comfort level. They felt unthreatened by me when they thought I was their GBF. But if I’m bisexual, that means I’m attracted to them and want to sleep with them. So their guard, once down, immediately shoots up.
Sensing this, I feel uncomfortable and no longer attempt to flirt or engage with them. I don’t want to appear like another sexist, predatory man, objectifying them with my male gaze. On the other hand, I have no problem objectifying men. I know it’s problematic, but that’s the truth. I also have no problem saying to a gay guy I met at the bar just minutes before, “Damn, you’re really cute. Any chance you want to go back to my place and bone?” I’d say 90% of the time the answer I get is a solid, gleeful “Yes.” The other 10% of the time, I get a polite “No.” I then apologize for being too aggressive. “Oh my God, sorry, I totally misread your interest.” Even when the guys decline, our interaction isn’t awkward.
With women, though, I would never ask that question within an hour of meeting them. That would be way too aggressive, and I may even land a drink in my face because it doesn’t follow the standard heteronormative scripts of how men and women should act upon just meeting each other.
I like the fact that I can be more true to myself around gay men. I don’t have to worry about appearing “too gay” or overtly sexual. I can just be me.
There’s also the matter of whether women will want to date me when they learn I’m bisexual. Glamour conducted a survey last year that revealed nearly two-thirds of straight women wouldn’t date a man who’s had sex with another man. I’ve not only had sex with (a lot of) other men, I’ve dated them! I’ve lived with past boyfriends! Even Amber Rose, who identifies as a bisexual woman, said earlier this year that she wouldn’t feel comfortable dating a bisexual man. So even many bi women refuse to date bi guys!
For all of these reasons, I just don’t think it’s likely I will seriously date another woman. While I’m attracted to women, love dating women (when we actually do date) and love having sex with women, at this point in my life there are too many barriers to dating them. This may change. Who knows? I may happen to meet a woman in a queer space who’s also bisexual, over dating straight guys and exhausted by all the heteronormative nonsense that plagues opposite-sex dating. Immediately we’ll hit it off, and the rest will be history.
All I know now is that I am still both emotionally and physically attracted to women, and under certain conditions, could happily fall in love and date one for the rest of my life. That’s why I continue to claim the bisexual label.
Featured image by RyanJLane via iStock