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Friday, May 27, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: Phased Out

Posted by Dan Savage on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I am a 27-year-old woman, and relatively recently I started dating a wonderful man after years of dating both men and woman. I had a very formative relationship in high school with a woman, which after some deep relefction, prompted me to self-identify as bisexual. I became pretty active in college and grad school in campus LGBT organizations, came out to friends/family/professors, and generally adopted bisexuality as a part of my identity. I was a little sensitive to all of the "two-beer queer" and "lesbian until graduation" criticisms often lobbed at bisexual women, and strived to conduct myself in such a way that I wouldn't perpetuate those stereotypes—that is, no sloppy makeouts with the roommate to turn on some frat boy.

In my mind, I very much feel that I am truly sexually attracted to men and women. On paper, however, I have the dating history of a straight girl: two long-term relationships with men, more casual dates with men than women, and now happily in a toosoontotellbutmaybethisisit relationship with a man. I can think of several reasons for that heavily skewed male:female ratio, including pure numbers (more straight men than gay women), easier identification and location of straight men than gay women, and fear... I know how to flirt with a guy, but I'm still that 16 year old awkward girl around women!

Anyway, my point is that I could easily round myself down to straight—but is it fraudulent to round myself up to bi when I've almost exclusively dated men? I haven't considered myself straight in over 10 years,and dropping that part of my identity would be a big change of mindset, even though it wouldn't have any real impact on my dating life. I'm secretly terrified that this means bisexuality was just a phase, but I'm not exactly sure why that would bother me so much—everyone spends adolescence and young adulthood figuring out who they are, and my path took me into the arms and beds of a few women. So what do you think, Dan: Straight girl with fluid sexual boundaries? Bi girl with an apparent preference for men? Does it even matter?

Mulling Over Sexual Identity


My response after the jump...

···············

Instead of thinking of your bisexuality as a phase, MOSI, why not think of it as a missed opportunity?

Not that you missed out on being bisexual. You're definitely bisexual. (Your basic trajectory matches the trajectories of almost all the bisexual people I've known.) But if the guy you're in this toosoontotellbutmaybethisisit relationship with does wind up being "The One"*, you can continue to identify as bisexual even if skewed ratios, imbalanced numbers, and white-hot fear caused you to miss out on ever being in a same-sex relationship. (And, hey, who knows? The life-expectancy stats tell us that you're highly likely to outlive Mr. Toosoontotellbutmaybethisisit, so you could still wind up in a same-sex relationship... sometime in your mid-70s.)

But please continue to identify as bi. Like I said in one of my toocrazybigotedbiphobic blog posts...

It would be great if more bisexuals in opposite-sex relationships were out to their friends, families, and coworkers as well as their partners—hell, it would be great if more bisexuals were out to their partners—because more out bisexuals would mean less of that bisexual invisibility bisexuals are always complaining about. And if more bisexuals were out, more straight people would know they know a sexual minority and that would lead less anti-LGBT bigotry generally.


* There's no such thing as "The One." There are only ".64"s that we round up "The One."

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