I came out as bisexual to my best friend KK a few months ago, and it went overall well (KK has been out to me as gay and nonbinary for as long as they have known, so definitely a safe person for things like this). Before I was out to them they would invite me to be a volunteer steward with them at the big Pride parade in their city. (I haven’t tried it yet but maybe one day.) A couple of months after the conversation where I came out to them I said something like ‘when you asked me to steward at Pride for all those years, I thought you knew’. They said ‘I’m not a mind reader’. Which…fair enough. I guess I felt like the changes in my appearance to be more gender non-conforming were a signal to others that something not straight was up here. (Also I suspected some of my bi meetup facebook stuff was appearing in my friend’s feeds- instead of being a facebook privacy buff I have an ‘avert eyes and pretend it’s not happening!’ approach to this, sadly.) I like my new appearance way more than my old one but I don’t know if other people, even friends, could know the significance to me.
I never identified as bi until I was in a relationship with Lionel for 3 years, Lionel is a man so it’s a ‘straight’ relationship. I know the debates on calling it that so will explain my position: I don’t call my relationship straight internally, and I would prefer that M/F relationships containing not straight people not be referred to by others as straight, but it’s not my hill to die on. I feel that debates around this go too far into territory of ‘M/F couples containing not straight people are somehow exempt from societal privileges that come with being in an M/F relationship’. I want to fully acknowledge my privilege in this regard. And where you find people insisting M/F couples with not-straight people are not privileged in this regard, you see many many rebuttals and anger towards those M/F partnered people making these arguments, even though I’m not one of the societal privilege deniers, and never have been, I find myself feeling bad anyway (overidentification with the criticised party when criticism is happening is something I’m currently struggling with). So, keep me well away from that debate. I just want to keep my head down and not make any waves, and support the members of the LGBT+ community dealing with far more pressing and visible problems. The extent I will take it might be asking someone politely to not call my relationship straight (say, someone from an LGBT+ meetup group), and my reason would be ‘I don’t feel right with the term straight relationship for my relationship, because I spent so much time figuring out I wasn’t straight and it feels like calling it that is erasing that struggle’. But only if I knew them and trusted that they hadn’t meant to upset me.
I’ve never dated or had sex with a woman, or anyone who wasn’t a man. I love Lionel and feel he is my true best friend (my friendship with KK is more complicated and harder) and that we are going to stay together long term, it’s 6 years we’ve been together currently and I’ve been out to him for 3. We are monogamous because he doesn’t feel he could cope with polyamory in any regard. I’ve never tried it or even considered it before I started to finally come to terms with my sexuality, so it’s possible I would also find I couldn’t cope with it if I tried. So….I won’t date a woman ever, and I won’t have sex with a woman ever, and that’s the good ending. Because I truly want to stay with Lionel forever. I’ve soul searched so hard about this, when I had thoughts about wanting to be with a woman, have sex with a woman. I thought maybe it was a sign I should break up with Lionel. But then I thought about how empty my life would feel without his presence in it. I thought realistically about how hard it is for me to meet new people and relate to them, and all my sexual damage that would be unlikely to suddenly vanish just because I was with a woman and not a man. I realised I had this idealised scenario of dating women being really really easy and perfect and fun, and me being actually desirable and sexy to women (my younger, ‘straight’ self looking to date men felt she was often viewed as ‘eh, she’ll do’, and that was when I was trying to dress feminine). Worst of all, I realised I had this horrible idea that if I just had sex with a woman I would finally belong in the LGBT+ community, that I would no longer hate myself for my lack of experience, that my self loathing would drop because I had ‘proved’ to myself that I was really bi and not just having wild fantasies about my own importance. (Due to baggage I consider allowing myself any identities at all some sort of wild fantasy about my own importance. Am working on it. 😦 ) I can’t think of a worse reason to have sex with someone, to use them for my own validation. I keep all those thoughts in my head, when I feel sad and horrible about never dating a woman, I remind myself of them. I’m really, really happy in the relationship I am in. It seems so strange that I can feel so glad to be with Lionel, and so sad at the same time. I feel like that contradiction gnaws at me, makes me feel guilty, and there’s no solution other than to remind myself that no one, ever, gets to experience every single thing that they want in life.
Sometimes I imagine myself in a couple of decades time, as a middle aged woman, and I’m single for reasons I don’t care to think about and aren’t relevant to this train of thought. I imagine that version of me trying to meet women for sex or relationships, bringing with her all this desperation from being closeted and repressed and then in a situation where dating women wasn’t an option, even though that was for positive reasons. I imagine that version of me has so much baggage about never having slept with a woman, enough to put off any interested parties, more experienced parties, who don’t want the pressure of living up to all my decades of thinking what it could be like. I imagine that the desperation isn’t uncommon in LGBT+ circles, so its cause will be understood, but that doesn’t make it any less shameful and nakedly embarrassing. I can imagine it so clearly that when my thoughts unwittingly touched upon it earlier I shed tears. I don’t know why I always have to be hard on myself like this.
A part of me wishes I could go back to the (sadly relatively short) part of my life before I met Lionel but after I stopped being in crappy relationships with men that I didn’t know were crappy, and have casual sex, but with the possibility of having casual things with women on the table. Realistically and knowing myself I don’t have a lot of sex, especially not casual sex, because I’m a homebody and get out very little, but just…the possibility being open. Because it never has been. I often find myself feeling strong jealousy if I read about people having fun, casual sexual experiences, even if they aren’t gay ones. It’s not even jealousy of wanting to have casual experiences outside of my current relationship, I’m not even sure I really want that, it’s the jealousy I feel when people say ‘I did [x] sexual activity and it was fun and enjoyable’. To me any kind of sexual activities feel full of pain and difficulty, only just mitigated now by being with someone I can truly trust and communicate honestly with. I want my story to instead be ‘I had fun and it was enjoyable when I did [x]’. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I expect I’ll explore my sexual hangups further in a future post. I think understanding this about myself, as I’m just beginning to, is helping, especially as it makes me go a little easier on myself for having these bad feelings (like jealousy) towards what I perceive that other people have if I know why it is happening.
I’ve made a resolution to at least email the advertised as LGBT+ friendly therapist I thought looked accessible transport-wise, before the coming week ends. I’m very nervous, but I clearly need to talk to someone.