Dear Dr Eve, help! Im a straight woman in a relationship with a man who recently revealed that he is bisexual. I am very attracted to him, and I know he feels the same way about me. We have a really good sex life. I am scared he is going to leave me for a man . Or that he will cheat. What if he wants to bring another man into our bed? Bisexuals are supposed to like sex with a lot of different people, right ?! I mean how is it possible for him to be attracted to me and to men ?!
DR EVE ANSWERS:
Your man is pretty brave to come out to you. Thank him. After you get over the shock of finding yourself unexpectedly in a relationship with a man who has expanded attraction . That means he is a person who has sexual and /or romantic attraction to more than one gender. Now don’t scurry off thinking that you can never be enough for him and that you won’t be able to sexually and /or emotionally satisfy him. Stay and talk to him. Gain understanding of his sexuality, gender and sexual orientation .
Claiming oneself as bisexual is a very personal experience. It does not have to mean that one has equal attraction for different genders, or that a person has actually had sex or been in relationship with more than one gender. It may be that he only ejaculates whilst watching male porn , fantasies about sex with a man but does not want to act on this – yet or ever.
He may call himself “bisexual” or ” non-monosexual” , “sexually fluid” “poly sexual” “bi-curious”and even “plurisexual”. Be sure to ask him what this label means to him as “bisexual” is an umbrella term for for variety of bi-spectrum identities. Exploring terms gives you both an opportunity to gain a better understanding of where he currently identifies himself. You may even find that you yourself have a bisexual part lurking inside of you:)
Let me give you another label – you are in a MORE relationship= Mixed Orientation Relationship . You self identify as heterosexual and he self identifies as bisexual. So your sexual orientations are different. Acknowledging this is a good way to begin managing your relationship in a healthy and respectful manner.
Im going to help you set aside your binegative stereotypes with facts about bisexual people. Here is a little window into the mental world of bisexual people:
- high levels of anxiety
- ongoing identity exploration – they are suspiciously considered part of the LGBTI community
- lack community support
- body image concerns
- bisexual women experience a high incidence of intimate partner violence
- higher depression
- higher alcohol and substance abuse use
- struggle to form relationships due to binegative stereotypes
- suicidality is high
Bisexual people feel as if their identity is simply erased. For example, your boyfriend will appear as “heterosexual” as you are a woman and he is a man . Yet he is actually self identified as “bisexual”. I wonder, will you share this information with your friends? If not, why not?
Like your boyfriend, bisexual people may avoid disclosing to new partners , may even hide behind a relationship to protect their identities , but the anxiety of holding the secret causes intra and inter personal distress. And the partner, just like you, feels betrayed and injured. Thank him again for disclosing to you.
Your partner is not going to cheat . Ok , bisexual people have more flexible attitudes toward consensual non monogamy relative to other groups , even if they never engage in multiple sexual/romantic relationships. Perhaps because of their attraction to more than one gender, bisexual people are simply more tolerant of the idea that people do not have single-partner relationships and should only experience attraction towards partners of a single gender. Bisexual people value all that you may value in a healthy relationship, namely communication, trust, honesty.
The fact is , this is not a “phase ” your man is going through. I advise you not stay with him in the hope of changing him, hoping that your honeypot will keep him permanently entranced and that he will never want a penis again . Its like saying you will never want another man again , never fall in love or lust again . You will, even if you don’t act on it. The same goes for your man – the only difference is that he may find his next attraction in either a man or a woman , or a non-binary or transgender person.
He is not “immoral” nor “deviant”. The pathologising of bisexual people just has to stop. A recent study of young people in a UK report 43 % of them describe being something other than “exclusively heterosexual or homosexual” suggesting that bisexual attraction is almost as common as a heterosexual attraction . He is simply a man who experiences stigmatisation and probably avoids engaging in romantic relationships due to the horrid binegativity shown by society.
You say you have a good sex life. Mmmm, could it be that your man brings added value to your sexual encounters because he has enjoyed sexual activity with other men as well as women?! Perhaps he is less bound by the mono hetero normative script that dictates how sex should be between a man and a woman. Which places major emphasis on penis into vagina . Hopefully your man is a little more creative than this very limited and narrow definition of sexual behaviour.
In summary, I hope your man is kind, respectful and passionate and that you honour him as you would any other person you consented to having lie between your legs. If not, let him go.
For more information on Bisexuality contact me here.
Reference for blog: Sexual and Relationship Therapy. Special Issue: Shining the Light into the Darkness : Bisexuality and Relationships. Volume 33 Numbers 1-2 February-May 2018.