Exploring your bi-curiosity

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Sexual orientation: [mass noun] A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.

We live in a society where we like to place people in boxes. We experience a sense of security knowing where people sit, whether that be their points of view, belief system or even their sexuality. Nevertheless, there are few who recognise that life isn’t quite black or white, who spend a good part of their existence fighting for freedom from these boxes, only to find that they’re placed in another box instead.

We’re taught to believe that sexuality is rigid and identified by three simple words, you’re either straight, gay or bi.  Sexual preference, however, is not as simple as all this. It doesn’t end after doing some introspection and labeling yourself as gay, straight or bi. Rather, it is about experiencing and acknowledging feelings of sexual attraction and preference.

Should the world be divided into goats and sheep?

Sexual orientation is fluid

Steering away from this sense of rigidity, let’s look at sexuality as a sliding scale; on one side we have heterosexuality, and the other, homosexuality. Now imagine, as individuals, we may be assigned a position on this scale for different periods of our life. How uncomfortable does that make you feel?

According to Dr. Fritz Klein, this fluidity in terms of sexual orientation and attraction is normal, and his pioneering sex research allowed for the development of the multi-dimensional Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, which measures the complexity and fluidity of sexual orientation. Klein suggested that many people change their orientation over time, where a person is today is not necessarily where he or she was in the past, or, for that matter, where he or she would like to be in the future.

A continuum approach to sexuality doesn’t bind well with the human mind as we like to place people in boxes, which can make bisexuality seem slightly more complicated for people to understand.

Many people believe bisexuality means a 50-50 split of attraction to the opposite gender and the same, which simply isn’t true. It may just be that at some time or another you may be attracted to both. And, as a second point, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve had relationships with both; but merely had the attraction.

Bisexuality or confusion?

There are those in communities of all sexual identities who believe that bisexuality isn’t real; rather that the person claiming to be bisexual is either afraid to come out as gay, or that they are trying to be ‘unique’ or get attention, or they’re simply greedy. This is where a lot of negativity around bisexuality seems to arise, however, we assure you this isn’t true.

The tendency to reduce experiences into right and wrong, black and white, good and bad is inherent in human nature. It supports us in keeping track of things. Life would be tiring and confusing if you had to categorise all your friends based upon their own unique sexuality.

Release the straight jackets

A friend of mine who would be termed a lesbian in traditional societal vernacular, recently informed me that she refers to herself as a “balderosexual.” This means that she is attracted to women and a few choice bald muscular men. Though the term “balderosexual” sounds pretty comical, that doesn’t mean that her sexual attraction to this selective list of balds is any less valid.

Boxing people who have had homosexual relationships or hookups into a larger category of “not straight” while keeping those who are involved with members of the opposite sex in a “straight jacket,” so to speak, limits our ability to explore our sexuality. The human mind doesn’t function in a simple way, and to ask it to remain within these straightforward boundaries we’ve created isn’t reasonable.

We’re not suggesting that we all go out and hook up with anything that has a pulse, regardless of gender, orientation, age, etc. Our point is that respecting the sexuality of others means understanding the fact that nothing is simply black and white. In the case of my balderosexual friend, insisting upon celebrating her as a lesbian is counterproductive. She is in tune with the fact that she is attracted to certain kinds of people, and that self-knowledge is what should be celebrated. Labeling her as a distinct sexual orientation is limiting and could be detrimental to her desire to explore her sexuality. If she so chooses, she should be allowed to sleep with Deepika or Vin. Or both. Now that would be one magical threesome.

Artwork by Satish Tayade