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Bisexuals Exist!!

Timothy Kincaid

August 23rd, 2011

Shocking, simply shocking! A new study has determined that some men are attracted to both male and female persons. Or, at least, sexually stimulated by watching them have sex.

This new finding contradicts and earlier one which denied evidence of existence of bisexuals, but was flawed in its population selection. (NY Times)

In both studies, men watched videos of male and female same-sex intimacy while genital sensors monitored their erectile responses. While the first study reported that the bisexuals generally resembled homosexuals in their responses, the new one finds that bisexual men responded to both the male and female videos, while gay and straight men in the study did not.

Both studies also found that bisexuals reported subjective arousal to both sexes, notwithstanding their genital responses. “Someone who is bisexual might say, ‘Well, duh!’” said Allen Rosenthal, the lead author of the new Northwestern study and a doctoral student in psychology at the university. “But this will be validating to a lot of bisexual men who had heard about the earlier work and felt that scientists weren’t getting them.”

Ah, but we can’t really be certain, can we? After all, heterosexual attraction in men is determined by response to lesbian porn (hetero porn is inconclusive, as gay men may find the presence of men stimulating).

But what if these are just guys who are attracted only to lesbians and not women in general? Huh? Then what? Maybe bisexuals are really transgender lesbians! What about that?

Okay, enough silliness. But it does strike me as odd that we have to have studies to figure out if the person sitting there in the room with you exists.

Comments

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Grandmère Mimi
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Why can’t we just believe what people say? Who would know better about a person’s sexual attractions than the person her-/himself?

junkgirl
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

ah, but us female bisexuals, do we exist or are we just attention whores?

Blake
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

I have friends that are bisexual but identify as gay because that’s easier than having to explain it all the time. They’re really fun to go to strip clubs with. Also, I am a gay man that is turned on by lesbian sex (but not by women, ironically). What does that say about me!!!

Rob in San Diego
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Ya I’ve been finding out over the last couple of years that a lot of my male heterosexual friends, aren’t so heterosexual. Shocking, I had no idea.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Timothy, its a little odd to hear you now joking about it being obvious that bisexual males exist when it one time you were implying they didn’t:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2010/06/24/23742#comment-71373

Timothy Kincaid
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

As usual, Priya Lynn, you are entitled to your own opinion.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Thanks for admitting you can’t dispute me.

Timothy Kincaid
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

you are entitled to your own opinion

MattNYC
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

To me, the issue/question has always been one of identity/politics–not sexuality. I don’t doubt that there are men/women who are perfect Kinsey 3s. But–from one specific angle–at a slice of time when a bisexual is in an opposite-sex relationship then–from a legal standpoint–he/she is for all intents and purposes no different from an opposite-sex relationship involving two Kinsey Zeros.

And, I would hypothesize that a significant portion of the former would really have no interest in getting involved in the overall LGBT internal and external politics. They may not even really see themselves as Bs as long as they are happily committed.

However in both cases, I fully welcome either type of couple as allies–I’m not going to turn away anyone who aligns with LGBT Equality.

Setting aside all of the snark (let s/he who is without that sin cast the first stone), I think there’s some animosity from some Ls and Gs (I am generalizing, not accusing!) because of the “ability” (not proclivity) to hide/pass.

I am sure some Sociology dissertation has been written on the subject (or SHOULD have been) comparing the L/G vs. B friction to that of the friction between “archetypal” African Americans vs. very light-skinned African Americans or mixed-race persons who stayed under the radar during the “bad old days” of segregation.

I’ve been at discussions/debates where bisexuals have literally been shouted down, and I think that’s a shame. But I can also empathize with those doing the shouting.

I know similar things happened in the past in NAACP chapters where Whites rose to leadership. I know of mixed-couples (Jewish/non-Jewish) participating in Jewish organizations where tensions rise if the non-Jewish spouse wants to hold office. And so on.

I have no answers, except to accept all who have similar desires for equality and not focus on motives, “deserved-ness”, righteousness, etc.

Just my two cents.

TampaZeke
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Bisexual men exist. Anyone who says they don’t is clueless.

Some gay men identify, or go through a period of identifying, as bisexual before they’re ready to come out fully as gay. Anyone who says that they don’t is also clueless.

Both are true. I don’t know why people on BOTH sides of the issue are so deeply entrenched in denying the other.

Also, just because a gay man has sex with a woman it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s bisexual. I get really tired of having bisexual activists argue with me that I’m actually bisexual just because I have kids. Strangely it’s usually people who demand that people take their word that they are bisexual who won’t take my word that I am gay.

Kokas
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

What I find really odd is that usually in poll interviews there are a lot more of self-identified bisexuals than gays and lesbians – how is that possible? I agree that bisexuals exist, but they’re only a very tiny minority. Most “bisexuals” are gays who don’t want to come out.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Kokas I think you’re wrong. Some people claiming to be bisexual are gays who are reluctant to admit to being gay, but there are A LOT of men in heterosexual relationships who are bi, they just prefer to let people think they are strictly heterosexual. Far from being a “very tiny minority” there’s far more bisexuals than there are gay men with perhaps as many as 80% of men having some degree of bisexuality. Due to the stigma associated with being same sex attracted very few bisexuals will live openly but that’s going to change as gayness becomes more accepted.

Timothy Kincaid
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Leaving the women out for just a moment:

There are bisexual men

There are gay men who identify as gay for a time as a sort of intermediate stage

There are bisexual men who identify as heterosexual out of machismo or other cultural pressure

There may even be heterosexual men who identify as bisexual men out of a sense of solidarity

Anecdotal experience is probably not a good basis for guessing which of these “most bisexuals really are” so I recommend taking them, collectively, at their word. (Though a little gentle mocking of the ones we personally know to be succumbing to social pressure is okay.)

Erin
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

I have a hunch bisexuals make up the majority of human beings. Although I am using the term as referring to those who are not 100% gay or straight. I think there are way way way more Kinsey 2′s and 4′s than there are 3′s. This is of course, a guess based on personal experience. Because I’m so open about my own sexuality and non-judgmental about that of others, a lot of people both male and female have admitted having tendencies to me, even though they have very limited or even no prior experience with same-sex encounters. I also have many gay male friends, one of whom just happens to be one of those people who is gorgeous and commitment-challenged. He is like Brian from Queer as Folk. I spent a lot of time hanging around his house, and I can tell you, there were some straight-up jocks I knew from my high school, whom I never would have guessed were anything other than straight, in and out of that boy’s bedroom.
I also found out both my father and brother, both of whom are straight-identified and have never had a single gay relationship have had same-sex experiences as young boys. My brother just flat-out told me I’d be shocked if I ever knew how much homosexual experimentation goes on between teen boys. Granted he said he has no desire now for the things he was curious about as a boy. I think it’s true what I heard said on a documentary once- There are as many different kinds of sexuality as there are people on this planet.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Erin, some experts in psychology think we are all bisexual.

Erin
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

I personally identify as a lesbian, but I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m not 100% homosexual. I have been attracted to one man my entire adult life. I could have dated him too. He was single at the time, and flirted with me a lot. I didn’t respond, however because I was so freaked out. I think I experienced what many straight-identified people experience. I was just starting on the other side of the fence. They think they’re set on their straight identity. They know from experience that they’re only attracted to the opposite sex, and then Bam! Someone comes along who challenges that. Most people probably keep it to themselves and never look back. I identify as a lesbian, because I have only ever been attracted to women as an adult, except for that one guy. Now, as a teenager, I was mad about an older guy, but I chalk that up to hormones. I would rarely fantasize about kissing him. My feelings for women are much deeper. But if I were to define bisexual as having even the slightest tendency toward one sex while predominantly being attracted to the other, than I am indeed bisexual.

This is definitely the place to have this discussion though. The anti-gay crowd loves to twist the experiences of bisexuals as “proof” that people can change their sexuality. I’m sure some of those ex-gay success stories were actually bisexual men who worried so much about their attraction to men, but then actually met a woman they could love. It’s highly possible.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

I agree Erin that having a slight attraction to one sex while being predominantly attracted to the other makes one bisexual. Its in that context that I say perhaps as many as 80% of men are bisexual although virtually none of them will ever acknowledge it.

Tara TASW
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

The “bisexuals don’t exist” spin was never an accurate description of the earlier study, though it was packaged with cutesy headlines like “Straight, Gay or Lying.”

What it found was that among the men who responded to the porn (some didn’t), about a quarter of the self-identified bisexual men had a similar response pattern to the heterosexuals, and the other three-quarters had a similar response pattern to gay men.

“Similar response pattern” turned out to be about an 80/20 split in their response to either the male or female images. It could be argued that the study found that everyone is bi. But because of the stereotype that bisexuality has to be 50/50, it was held up as proof that bi men are all closeted gays (er, including the quarter whose response was the same as the straight men?).

Interestingly, most of the bi women I’ve known came out first as lesbian, later as bi. Yet we don’t have the same tired stereotype that all lesbians are closeted bisexuals.

Tara TASW
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Sorry, should have linked the study I was quoting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/05/health/05sex.html

Hunter
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

@TampaZeke:

“I don’t know why people on BOTH sides of the issue are so deeply entrenched in denying the other.”

Because we have developed the habit of thinking “either/or.” Therefore, one is either straight or gay, and anyone who claims to be bi is either lying or deluded.

Unfortunately for that outlook, the real universe doesn’t operate that way — it’s a place of grays, and there’s no reason to think that human sexuality is any different. That’s why psychological measures of personality traits make use of scales — Kinsey’s 0-6 is only one. And that’s why “normal” behaviors occupy a range, not a point.

And sometimes you need studies like these that reinforce the obvious to make it real to people.

Priya Lynn
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

Hunter, I think the reason why people on both sides deny the other is that its hard to relate to someone who feels differently than one does themselves. Many gay men have no attraction to women so its hard for them to see how someone could be attracted to both. Bisexuals are attracted to both so its hard for us to see how somone else could not feel the same way.

For me on an emotional level I still find it hard to believe there are any men or women who don’t have at least some attraction to women. Intellectually I accept that that is true and I take gay men at their word but viscerally I find it hard to believe.

Regan DuCasse
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

I wish this wasn’t a political issue on condition of the risk of mistreatment in the law, one’s professional and personal life.
If it weren’t and nobody really cared at all what orientation someone was, but respected that they want to be with the adult they want to be with and respect the choice, whatever it is.

We’re only having this discussion at all because of the negative socio/political implications and our society being rigid about the role of gender in sexuality.

Excluding such implications, it would only be worth idle curiosity or a path to more egalitarian laws and protections that didn’t require such rigidity, but respected individual character and potential OTHER than their gender implies.
I live for a day like that when whether someone was hetero, gay or bi or transgendered…the response would be…is this a problem?

BTW…the new 24hr Fitness health club in my neighborhood has a unisex facility between the men’s and women’s locker room.
Progress!

Priya Lynn
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

“BTW…the new 24hr Fitness health club in my neighborhood has a unisex facility between the men’s and women’s locker room.
Progress!”.

That’s really something!

Pintuck
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy’s previous comment (putting “bi” in scare quotes) is evidence of his one-foot-in-Queer-Culture viewpoint. It’s a hokey-pokey foot. Sometimes, he’s all for inclusion with the Separate-but-Equal contingent of this vibrant tapestry of a community that some of us pretend exists. Other times, he criticizes Queer Culture (and immediately suffers the predictable vicious abuse from queers). In fact, the whole reason why this article “Bisexuals exist!” exists is to counter the Queer Culture dogma that bisexual people are nothing more than gay people who are “self-hating queers”, so this article counts as criticism of Queer Culture. But I remember when Timothy also darkly condemned a gay man because that man wanted to assure straight people that not all gay men are effeminate. (You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out….) Gay men who are disgusted by effeminacy is, of course, is grossly offensive to Queer Culture which maintains that the very essence of being gay is to talk, look, and act like a girl, and that any gay man who doesn’t do talk, look, or act like a girl is a “sell-out” and a “self-hating queer”.

Timothy, I think Queer Culture should die. Why would you object to that?

Priya Lynn
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

Pintuck said “Queer Culture which maintains that the very essence of being gay is to talk, look, and act like a girl, and that any gay man who doesn’t do talk, look, or act like a girl is a “sell-out” and a “self-hating queer”.”.

Pintuck I think your image of “queer culture” is largely imaginary. There’s a difference between thinking its okay for a male to be girlish and thinking ever gay male must be that way. No one thinks every gay male must be that way.

Jimmy
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

“I thought I was bisexual. Then I realized, no, I’m just slutty.” – Margaret Chow

Muscat
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

@Pintuck

What a bizarre use of the term “Queer Culture.” IME as a gay/queer man and a scholar of sexualities, queer-identified individuals are the most likely to express solidarity with bisexuals and/or themselves identify as bisexual. Also,queer-identified men commonly include such groups as macho leathermen . You seem to be confusing Queer Culture with some subset of gay male culture.

Muscat
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

Or, as Priya Lynn has suggested, some figment of your imagination.

Robert
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

The study that said bisexuals don’t exist was just really research pushed by biased homophobic researchers that are trying to invalidate the Kinsey scale.

Priya Lynn
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

I agree Robert. And a sample of (if I remember correctly) 30 people is no where near enough to draw conclusions especially when they came mostly from gay bars. Not only that but in Bailey’s original study he inexplicably excluded men who showed bisexual responses from the results.

Timothy Kincaid
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

Gay men who are disgusted by effeminacy is, of course, is grossly offensive to Queer Culture which maintains that the very essence of being gay is to talk, look, and act like a girl, and that any gay man who doesn’t do talk, look, or act like a girl is a “sell-out” and a “self-hating queer”.

Timothy, I think Queer Culture should die. Why would you object to that?

Fabulous, sweetie. Love! It!

Then let’s have the Italian Culture die off (eww, too much mafia and bad fashion). Oh, and the Orientals with all that “ching-chong” talking. Who can think with that going on? And don’t get me started on the Religious… well, girl, what a waste of a Sunday morning, I mean really!

And ugghhhh, I just shudder at the hip-hop stuff of the, well, you know. But all those big muscly hot sweaty black men, ohhhhhh I’ll work on that culture myself. And they know how to be real men, I tell you (I could barely walk on Monday)! (except for the missy-prissy choir queens, who really put the “girl” in “girlfriend” if you know what I mean. Ha!

But Mary, I know just what you mean about being disgusted by all that effeminate stuff. I’d had enough of that Joel at brunch no Sunday at FredPaul’s. He was going on and on about his beauty regimen. And get her! she’s not that pretty. So I leaned over my Latvian Waffle Souffle and I told Miss Thing, “you’d better be careful, Precious, you’re about one glitter bead away from a full-on drag queen!” And you can guess that her mouth just fell open and so I knew it was perfect time for my exit.

And who wants to be all militant and, ugh, political? I don’t have time in my life for all that.

I think we would all just be happier if they’d stop with that femmy stuff, shut about “pride” (“Gay Shame,” I call it). As I was telling Jimee while we were shopping (and Oh! My! God! there’s a great sale on toenail moisturizer at Nordstroms – my toes a Glistening!) that it was so much better back in the days before all the queers and fags got all uppity and militant and started marching. We would just have our brunches and nobody would bother us. Oh, sometimes you had to be careful in the park when you cruised the T-Room (ohhhh honey, I could TELL!! you stories) but we were just fine.

And all those girly bitches could just butch (snap) it (snap) up (triple snap). I mean!! Would it kill them to just pretend to be real men like us once in a while?

You know, with all the dykes pretending to get “married” (and insisting that I celebrate a home with no penis – really?!) and all the butch trade actually calling themselves “gay”, it feels like no one ever appreciates how things should be.

I’m so glad that I have you, though, my dear kindred spirit.

Timothy Kincaid
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

p.s. Oh, girl, I know I’m just running on and on but i had to tell you. I heard about a group that is like us! Like us!

They too are tired of all the queer and bi and oh oh oh .. well anyway, honey, they’re GO Proud or some such thing and they just like Good Things like we do, sweetie, and they support real men and real women who don’t look like they got their hair did by Andre’s Androgyny shop (that’s what I call it anyway – Andre gave Mother the a Justin Bieber haircut and died it a quiet shade of, get this, BLUE! It was all I could do not the shriek with laughter – while she was there).

Any way, as I was saying, they have some meeting coming up to support Michelle Bachmann. And you know, I’ll just say it: she has the best shoes.

Priya Lynn
August 24th, 2011 | LINK

Now Timothy, that was funny!

Donny D.
August 25th, 2011 | LINK

Priya Lynn wrote,

Some people claiming to be bisexual are gays who are reluctant to admit to being gay, but there are A LOT of men in heterosexual relationships who are bi, they just prefer to let people think they are strictly heterosexual. Far from being a “very tiny minority” there’s far more bisexuals than there are gay men[....]

And a large proportion of openly gay men are bisexual to some degree, often significantly so.

Blair Martin
August 25th, 2011 | LINK

I am sorry if I am misreading something here or missing it because of being an Antipodean, but what is so hard to understand about a gay man that says he is totally gay? I’m struggling a little with Priya Lynn’s remark, “For me on an emotional level I still find it hard to believe there are any men or women who don’t have at least some attraction to women. Intellectually I accept that that is true and I take gay men at their word but viscerally I find it hard to believe.”

Please correct me Priya, but does this mean that deep down and in your most contemplative moments you cannot believe that I do not have a physical attraction toward women? This actually goes hand in hand with Donny D. and his remark “And a large proportion of openly gay men are bisexual to some degree, often significantly so.” I’m also struggling with these broad, sweeping statements that “significant” numbers of gay men are actually bisexual.

Perhaps things are different in America, but the bulk of the men I’ve slept with are not gay men in the closet about being bisexual. Some may have been dabbling with heterosexuality when younger as society pressured them that way, but, their true inclination was unfolded when they released themselves from any notion of being “heterosexual” or “bisexual”. I can attest that as a very young 21yo living in a time when homosexuality was still illegal that I professed I might be “bisexual” (without any evidence… I’d only had male to male sexual encounters).

Could we not create further divisions where none really need exist? I fully and openly accept and truly believe that some people are bisexual and to me that means being a) aroused sexually by both sexes & b) being capable of emotional attachments to both sexes. While I can be emotionally attached to a female in a platonic, deep and abiding friendship sense, there is no physical arousal and no mental gymnastics on my part has ever been able to convince my “boy” parts that there is anything exciting about “girl” parts.

Sorry if this seems flippant or confused or missing the point, just letting my fingers do a stream of consciousness thing here this evening.

Priya Lynn
August 25th, 2011 | LINK

Blair, I don’t know about large percentages of gay men being bisexual but I believe large percentages of heterosexual men have at least a slight attraction to men.

You ask “Please correct me Priya, but does this mean that deep down and in your most contemplative moments you cannot believe that I do not have a physical attraction toward women?”.

I’m trying to make a distinction between what I know logically and intellectually and what I “know” emotionally. I’m simply trying to say that because I find some women so incredibly attractive its hard for me on an emotional level to accept that not everyone feels the same way. If the topic comes up in conversation (and it frequently does) I’m going to say yes there are men who have no attraction whatsoever to women and some even feel sick at the sight of female genitalia. I will never argue that all men have some attraction to women.

Its like when I go to get on a large jet plane. When I look at the size and weight of that thing, emotionally I feel there’s no way that thing can fly while intellectually I know it can because I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times.

Hope that clears it up.

Priya Lynn
August 25th, 2011 | LINK

Blair, I want to add that if someone were to ask me if you were bisexual I’d take you at your word and say “No, he has no attraction to women.”.

Muscat
August 25th, 2011 | LINK

*spittake*

Props to you, Timothy.

Donny D.
August 27th, 2011 | LINK

Blair Martin wrote,

This actually goes hand in hand with Donny D. and his remark “And a large proportion of openly gay men are bisexual to some degree, often significantly so.” I’m also struggling with these broad, sweeping statements that “significant” numbers of gay men are actually bisexual.

It seems to me that must mean that you believe that an insignificant number of gay men are actually bisexual. I can’t think of any other reason you’d have trouble with thinking the opposite.

Perhaps things are different in America, but the bulk of the men I’ve slept with are not gay men in the closet about being bisexual. Some may have been dabbling with heterosexuality when younger as society pressured them that way, but, their true inclination was unfolded when they released themselves from any notion of being “heterosexual” or “bisexual”. I can attest that as a very young 21yo living in a time when homosexuality was still illegal that I professed I might be “bisexual” (without any evidence… I’d only had male to male sexual encounters).

Unless you got to know every man that you slept with deeply, why would you assume they’d necessarily be upfront about any continuing bisexuality? A lot of gay men are pretty negative toward male bisexuality, so don’t you think that a lot of men, especially if they just want to have a good time with another man, probably wouldn’t make their heterosexuality evident? And if they thought you were especially likely to be bi-negative, they’d work to avoid the subject with you.

I fully and openly accept and truly believe that some people are bisexual and to me that means being a) aroused sexually by both sexes & b) being capable of emotional attachments to both sexes.

The problem with that is that this really is about sexuality. Some bisexual people are much more likely to get into relationships with one gender than the other. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have sex with both, or have strong though unacted upon sexual feelings toward both. I won’t assume that’s the intent of your definition, but it leaves out people like those lesbian-identified women who have hot sexual relationships with men but leave those relationships without regret to get into committed relationships with women. Or men who do the same thing. Or those young gay guys who actually started their sexual lives having a lot of sex with girls in their secondary school years, because they liked the sex and the girls they were having it with, but went on to live the gay life as adults — with none of the magical disappearance of heterosexual feelings that is so necessary to make the “most ‘bi’ guys are on their way to becoming gay” trope work. There are a lot of all of these kinds of people around, but somehow the anti-bisexual ideology among gay people has to make those bisexuals’ heterosexuality mutable (just like ex-gay ideologues, but in reverse), or dismiss it in some dodgy way or another. A lot of assuming and ignoring has to go on for monosexually-identified gay people to not see the bisexuals among the gay and lesbian people around them.

Could we not create further divisions where none really need exist?

The divisions already exist, and don’t stop existing when bisexual men in the gay community sit down and shut up to avoid trouble.

Timothy Kincaid
August 29th, 2011 | LINK

It seems to me that must mean that you believe that an insignificant number of gay men are actually bisexual. I can’t think of any other reason you’d have trouble with thinking the opposite.

No, Donny D, that is a strawman argument. To not accept your presumption as absolute is not the same as asserting that is it, in entirety, wrong and that the opposite is true. Instead of believing that your opinion is not accepted due to anti-bisexual bias, perhaps consider that it isn’t accepted because you are not backed up by research.

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