Double standards: Are we really more likely to explore bi-curiosity than the boys are?

Gaymen Kissing

Photo © See-Ming Lee

A response to a recent piece by Guardian journalist Barbara Ellen which suggests that men are less likely to explore bi-curious feelings than women

Barbara Ellen (or her sub-editor) asks the question “If you really think you’re gay, guys, why not act on it?”, but, I contend, this question is not only non-equivalent to the issue of female ‘sexual fluidity’, but also simply wrong-headed. Women, she contends, are embracing each other on a more regular basis than their male counterparts. She calls these visits ‘carnal mini-breaks’, which makes a lot of sense – primarily straight women experimenting with same-sex encounters. But where are the men? Indeed, where are they?

She answers her own question when she writes:

These days, a woman kissing another woman at a party might be interpreted in many ways, only one being that she is going to be a committed lifelong lesbian. However, a man doing similar would usually be viewed as 100% gay. If he said he was experimenting, he would be branded as in denial.

This is pretty bang on. But it’s not just straight guys who would say this, so would most gay guys. While working in the theatre many years ago I was party to a green room chat about guys these guys had slept with, or wanted to. “Oh, he’s gay,” went one comment, “he sucked my cock last week!” This of a married man with kids. “Excuse me?” I interjected. “A guy sucks one cock and he’s suddenly gay?” They confirmed that this hypothesis was correct. “OK,” I said, “how many of you have slept with a girl?” Two guys nodded. “Damn, you’re straight!” They laughed. “That’s not the same.” The question Ellen asks reinforces this arrant nonsense, while simultaneously answering the question why so few men appear to be sexually fluid. The category doesn’t apply.

I am what many would call bisexual. This isn’t true, as I tend far more towards sex with women than men, but I do enjoy the occasional dalliance with a guy. I also swing, that is, I indulge in group sex, partner swapping and so forth. Most couples consist of bisexual/bi-curious women and straight men. And no, the women aren’t doing it to gratify their male partners. Really, they aren’t. Fewer couples have both partners bisexual/bi-curious, and hardly any where the man is and not the woman. My partner and I sometimes invite single men to play, but they must be bisexual. One chap offered his services but had failed to read our profile correctly. We gently pointed out that we only did bi guys, while asking him to stop shouting (his message was in capitals). His response ”I’M NOT SHOUTING. FUCK OFF YOU F*CKING QUEER ****S” pretty much sums up the attitudes of many men. So often we’ll meet a couple with a ‘straight’ man who pretty soon turns out to be rather past the curious stage.

The statistics are, I suspect, similar to those regarding number of sexual partners that don’t match between men and women. The answer in those situations is simple: men overdo their ‘conquests’, while women undereport theirs. Don’t worry, Barbara, lots of basically straight men take carnal mini-breaks with other men. The truth is that while gay culture is so taken up with lifestyle, rather than sexual preferences, few of us are going to tell you that we’re doing it.
Name withheld

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Charlotte Dingle

Charlotte 'Lottie' Dingle is Biscuit's founding editor. When she's not running freelancing for a diverse bunch of clients ranging from Cosmo to Occupy, she enjoys teaching life drawing, discussing life/the universe/everything with her beloved (but smelly) 22-year-old cat, writing flash fiction for her MA course, getting pretentious tattoos, listening to folk music, creating surrealist art, trying to change the world and drinking red wine. Oh, and My Little Pony. Don't forget My Little Pony. Her favourite biscuits are cream crackers (do they count as biscuits?).

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