The first time I ever thought that I might be attracted to women was when I was fourteen. I was in a hot tub with friends, we’d been having drinks, and one of the girls in the group leaned over and kissed me. It was hot. I mean the actual temperature; it was hot, and steamy, and she tasted like mint, and all of this, despite its fairly obvious connotations in hindsight, felt exclusively like a tremendous amount of confusion mounting up inside of me, overwhelming the experience in general.
I was a teenager in a fairly accepting environment with not a lot of solid ground. Unlike my friends who were proudly (and of course nervously, and bravely) coming out as gay, or lesbian, or trans, I had not “picked a side”. I knew that I was attracted to men. And now it seemed I was attracted to women.
I was left wondering if maybe I’d missed something; did I just think I was attracted to men because that was the norm? Could my head really do that to me? Or maybe, everyone felt the way I did about the same sex, and these were just normal feelings of intimacy between friends.
I considered coming out to my parents, but didn’t quite see the point. What would I tell them? That I occasionally followed social norms, but also occasionally wanted to be with women? I didn’t even have a girlfriend. No way to “prove” my sexuality. They would be accepting of me either way, I knew, and in this I was extraordinarily lucky. But though I’d been raised in acceptance, I’d never met someone (that I knew of) like me. No one who was in the middle. Everyone had a side.
As I grew into my identity with my sexuality still bouncing off the walls, I became intimidated by the very idea of the LGBT community. “Bi” was definitely in there, but every time I managed to drag it out in conversation, it seemed it was associated with the words “wishy washy,” “lazy,” or “slutty.” I honestly wasn’t sure which term was worse. I began to question myself. Maybe this wasn’t my sexuality. Maybe this was desperation. Maybe I was pathetically in need of attention, so much so that I didn’t care which gender it came from. I became disgusted with myself.
I believe my resolution to this internal conflict has, unfortunately, come much more with age than experience. Learning to strengthen my confidence in other areas of my personality, such as my love of compassion, my ability to listen, and my intelligence, eventually brought me to a more comfortable place within myself. My decisions have become my own. I no longer shyly laugh at being called “lazy” in my sexuality. I command a need for respect and education.
And yet there is, perhaps, a lingering sense that I am trying to prove that bisexuality doesn’t mean promiscuity. It doesn’t mean indecisiveness or laziness or “attention-whoring” (a term with which I take issue on quite a few other levels as well, but we’ll save those for a different time). On that point, there is a sadness that can only be overcome, perhaps, by raising awareness. I am sad that the term “bisexual” has failed to become recognised as a legitimate sexuality.
So I write this as an open invitation. What is your sexuality? What is your experience?