In my mid twenties it became important for me to assert my sexual identity as bisexual. It seemed to me it was either deny it or live it and I chose to live it. Some people don’t make a big deal about such things. I don’t think I made a big deal about it, but I did make a deal of it to some degree. I was kind of aware that many of my choices in life were slightly against the norm. I was a pagan, I was a witch, I hung out with artists and musicians, I had tattoos, I drank and smoked quite a lot and most of the people I chose to have as friends were similar in many ways to me. But while my life and lifestyle may have seemed to be a bit outside society’s norms, it was normal for me. I had always been equally as attracted to women as I had been to men sexually. The choice aspect was simply whether to live as a bisexual or to deny that side of things to myself. There was always a rebellious part of me (which still very much exists) which wanted to be open and upfront about my sexuality to challenge those who still clung to what I believe to be archaic prejudices about sex, race and gender. And so I was pretty open about being bisexual and I made the most of the opportunities that opened out to me!
Over the years my feelings about my own sexuality and sexuality in general have fluctuated a bit. There was a time when I thought women might be just for fun while men might be for longer term relationships involving babies and such. Then I went through a stage where I could quite happily identify as purely lesbian. I am now in a very happy and stable relationship with Sophie. However what has become clear is that neither of us are really lesbians. Our sexual tastes have grown and developed as a couple but we are both very aware of being bisexual. Luckily we have very similar tastes in men…
In any case we are pretty much at an age now where we don’t really care much about what others think. We do our own kinky things together and sometimes with others and it’s nobody’s business but ours. But a couple of things lately made me think about this subject again.
My step-daughter has become sexually active in the last year and is probably rather more self confident and worldly wise than I was at her age. (Although I was pretty keen to experiment and quick to learn myself)! What kind of fascinated me about her view of things is the degree to which sexuality seems like a non issue to her. Or rather, bisexuality is a non issue. It’s as if for her bisexuality is the default position. Perhaps that is how it should be. Perhaps the fact that she has been brought up by bisexual parents is an obvious factor. But it just seems curious to me that something which I felt obliged to “come out” and make a bit of a stand about, is even more normal to her than it was for myself and Sophie at her age. I think it is a good thing of course.
Then there was a study published this week that states that “most women are bisexual or gay but very seldom straight”. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/11/05/most-women-are-either-gay-or-bisexual-but-never-straight-says-study/
The survey found that straight women were strongly sexually aroused by videos of both attractive men and attractive women – despite identifying as heterosexual. By contrast, women who identified as lesbians exhibited a much stronger sexual response to women than to men. Dr Rieger, the leader of the the study said, “Even though the majority of women identify as straight, our research clearly demonstrates that when it comes to what turns them on, they are either bisexual or gay, but never straight”
The Pink News article also goes on to report another study which found that; ” 43% of people identify themselves as somewhere between exclusively homosexual and exclusively heterosexual – showing people increasingly see sexuality in a less polarised way.”
Well I think all of this is progress and it is all good. Indeed anecdotally I had come to the same conclusions myself. I have often said said that I think most people are somewhere on a spectrum of sexuality and very few people are exclusively one end or the other. I also believe that where we are on the scale can vary to some degree at different points of our life.
But there is something about these latest surveys that disturbs me. I don’t know what it is exactly. Partly it is because these results were published in various newspapers in a style that seemed mainly aimed at titillating the readers. In particular at titillating men. I also think there is a big difference between what turns people on in theory and what people’s sexuality actually is, a point which the first survey ignores. Also in part I think I resent scientists and the fullness of time being required to somehow legitimate feelings which are in essence perfectly normal and perfectly human. Perhaps I am just getting old!
Anyway I hope the main thrust of these reports is true and that our society is beginning to grow up about sex. My step daughter’s generation have inherited a lot of political, social and environmental problems which they will have to deal with. Hopefully they can at least enjoy full and happy sex lives in peace.