(Originally posted on May 7, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)
I’ve noticed something since coming out, and I’m not sure if I should be bothered by it or not. I can’t say it’s a trend – can two people be a trend? – but coupled with other bisexual experiences I’ve read about, it seems to be a thing I can’t escape by the very nature of my sexual orientation.
I have officially dated two people since coming out, both of them have been men. Both of them knew I am bisexual, both of them knew my experience with women is limited, and both of them kept insisting I should explore my sexuality by dating women on the side.
I suppose now is a good time to clarify that I am very much a monogamous person. I can’t even casually go on a date with one person one week and a different person the next, unless I’ve completely ruled out the first person. I think I make this clear, as a general rule, to those I get beyond the point of casual dating with. I can’t focus on more than one person at a time to that degree; trying to maintain and further intimate relationships with multiple people would exhaust me.
Yet since coming out, the men I’ve dated have insisted I should carry on with what are essentially – in my mind – affairs! There have been arguments about it, like these straight men know what’s best for me as a bisexual woman and I’m obviously deluded about how bisexuality works. Neither of them wanted a free pass to also date women on the side, and neither seemed bothered by the idea of me forming intimate physical and emotional relationships with women.
I get confused by this behaviour. I feel like, despite their protests to the contrary, it is an excuse for them to see other people, since I would be seeing other people, too. Or perhaps they’re worried I’m actually just a misguided lesbian, and they don’t want to get too involved until they know for sure that I am certain about my attraction to men. I also have suspicions that it’s seen as a easy gateway to a threesome for them.
If the positions had been reversed, with me being a heterosexual woman dating a bisexual man, I definitely would not give him free reign to date men on the side. I am monogamous, and I want my partner to be monogamous. My latest partner has commented that he doesn’t feel threatened by the idea of me also dating women, because women can provide things (mostly physical) that he has no hope of being able to supply. I see his point, but at the same time, I’m looking for a partner, not a boyfriend-with-a-dick and a girlfriend-with-tits. I don’t spend all my time with men missing breasts just like I don’t pine for penis when I’m with a woman. Bisexual, for me, doesn’t mean desiring both, it means being able to desire either.
I fear this attitude is also out there among lesbians. While I was still questioning my sexuality, I watched an old episode of The Tyra Banks Show about straight girls crushing on lesbians and lesbians pursuing straight girls. Tyra asked guest Jackie Warner,
“is there the fear that, as a gay woman, you would date a straight woman and fear that she’s gonna, like, miss men and go back to guys and leave you?”
Jackie’s reply struck worry and fear into my heart:
“I think there’s a lot of fear about that. You know, there’s a reason I don’t date bisexual women or straight women seriously; ever, I never have.”
The overarching attitude here seems to be that bisexuals are polyamorous at best and unfaithful at worst. No matter what, we will consistently be unsatisfied unless we are sexually active with both men and women. If you don’t let us have someone else in our lives, we will leave you and find someone who will. And in the end, all bisexual women go back to men.
I don’t like the idea of my partner not trusting me to know what I want. To know that I want him or her, and not someone else. To know that I am bisexual, and that my limited experience with women doesn’t mean I am just curious or confused. To know that I want a monogamous relationship, and don’t need multiple boyfriends, girlfriends or group sex to be content.
Sexual orientation is exclusive from dating preferences. There are polyamorous straight people and monogamous bisexuals, and vice versa.
Like I said before, bisexual doesn’t necessarily mean desiring both, it means being able to desire either. How someone acts on those desires is completely individual.
2 thoughts on “Bisexual Monogamy”
I think it is a very popular trend for poly folks to talk about polyamory and open relationships. I also hear some vocal bi people insisting that bi people should be polyamorous. But I agree with you that bisexual does not or should not imply polyamory!
I think poly folks are talking about their lifestyle because it is new for some of them and some are just trying it out. It has recently been more acceptable to talk about polyamory in mainstream society and people feel safe speaking up. Monogamously minded people have little reason to talk up monogamy and it is clear by the number of same-sex and queer marriages (and opposite sex marriages with one or more bi partners) that monogamy is still a VERY popular choice. Many folks who wanted to marry their same sex partner did NOT fight for decades, organize politically, and litigate so they could have open marriages- I am assuming that a majority of those are in monogamous relationships, based on what I have seen.
I am a married and monogamous bi female. In my admittedly limited experience, I have never dated anyone who would want or tolerate an open relationship. I think it is problematic for one person to push their partner to be monogamous when their partner is not interested!