Relationships

Up For the Weekend: A Conversation with a Chem Sex Regular

imagesChem sex has been in the headlines recently, but how many of us know what really goes on? Artist and writer Sally Wyatt talks to an ex-chem sex regular. 

“Gay and bi men are being killed by seduction, and sex sites are letting this happen” he said, taking a sip of his skinny latte.

I look at Paul, a social worker in his 30s, who looks like a model from the autumn/winter Gap catalogue. I wonder if I have heard him correctly.

“How do you mean? “  I say.

“Sites like Grindr. People on there. They practically advertise chem sessions.”

“Sorry what’s a chem session?” I ask.

Paul gives me an astonished look.

“You know, where everyone comes, gets high on meth and has lots of sex.”

At this point, I have to confess I’m out of my depth, as I am a complete failure when it… Continue reading

Flirting Without Fear: Your Guide to Getting It On

download (1)There’s one workshop at BiCon that’s always completely packed: Flirting. We did a little flirting of our own and got Kate Harrad who runs the workshop to let us in on a few of her secrets…

Why do people flirt? There’s often a perception that flirting is a bit dishonest, a bit like beating around the bush; if you fancy someone you should just tell them so. But flirting is a vital tool in the pursuit of romantic/sexual connection. It’s not for everyone, but it is incredibly useful, because the fact is, many – many –  people are not confident enough to walk up to someone and say ‘I fancy you, please date me.’

And the truth is, many people aren’t comfortable with being told that, either. It can put you on the spot, and if you’re not good at saying no, you might find yourself going out with… Continue reading

We Need To Talk About Intimate Partner Abuse in the Bisexual Community

downloadIn 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the results of a survey into domestic- and intimate partner violence (IPV) in the USA. It found that 38% of bisexual men and 75% of bisexual women and had experienced physical or sexual or mental abuse from a partner. In the UK, Stonewall research has also found 75% of lesbian and bisexual women have experienced domestic abuse. Two thirds of the perpetrators were female.

We asked four bisexual survivors of domestic- and intimate partner violence to tell us their stories, and this is what we learned. [Contains frank descriptions of abuse in survivors’ own words]

We don’t have a frame of reference for our experiences

Stereotypes abound when it comes to partner violence. We believe men are abusers and women are abused and we believe same-sex relationships are by their nature free from violence. We believe abuse must… Continue reading

Bi Visibility Day: “My friend gave me a magnet that said ‘Bi Now, Gay Later’…”

empty-white-badge2Bi Visibility Day, says Sarah Evans, is a day to celebrate those who are vocal and proud – like these women.

I like to enjoy my supportive community and encourage others to be visible but the people I try and celebrate the most are those who make it their mission to challenge biphobia, bi erasure and my new pet hate – assumption.

In 2013 LGBT Youth North West started a brilliant campaign to challenge heterosexism (the idea that everyone in society is presumed to be heterosexual) called “Don’t Assume…”. It started with “Don’t assume I’m heterosexual” then young people started completing the sentences with their own endings. It made me think about how many people have assumed that my sexuality is a phase, that I won’t be monogamous, and that because I have a female partner I am no longer bi. I started to get angry. It’s been two years… Continue reading

Nicole Kristal: "Why I created the 'Still Bisexual' campaign"

2408oat-w800h800z1-85019-yes-im-still-bisexualI’m still bisexual.” It’s the phrase we utter to our friends and lovers, our families and co-workers, year after year, until we’re blue in the face.  It’s difficult to accept that reminding people of our bisexuality is both necessary and never-ending, so some of us abandon it altogether out of tedium or to avoid the scoffs and disbelief our orientation often inspires.

In the short-term, it seems easier if we’re partnered to just let people assume we are straight or gay. We let our bisexuality slip into our silent pasts just to make our boyfriends, girlfriends, wives and husbands feel more comfortable. But making everyone else more comfortable is coming at a tremendous expense to our own health and happiness. And it needs to stop. We need another way.

Going to the trouble of reminding people we are still bisexual is about choosing truth over convenience and… Continue reading

Past the look: What is demisexuality?

love-560783_1280One thing that has bothered me for a while when it comes to LGBT+ spaces is that they are primarily focused on bars and clubs: spaces revolving around alcohol and casual sex. For me, as someone who doesn’t drink, they are only places I would go if I was with a larger group of queer friends. Outside of that however, it is rare that I come across somewhere that is both queer and casual that I would like to spend my weekends.

I have recently been doing some research on the asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) communities that are included within the LGBT+ umbrella but are very often ignored. One main difficulty the ace community faces is people rebranding the “A” in LGBTQIA as being for allies and not asexuals. This erases them even further as they are replaced by non-queer representation, which is exactly, not, the point.

The problem with LGBT+ spaces being hypersexualised means that queer ace people could feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in queer spaces due to the heavy focus on indulging in casual sexual behaviour, which is totally fine and awesome if you are into that sort of thing, but if you aren’t it leaves you in the cold as to where to find queer spaces and likeminded queer individuals. This oversexualisation of queerness and queer spaces also means that asexuals get forgotten and are sometimes not seen as being “queer enough” to be part of the community. Which is something that to bisexuals sounds strangely familiar…
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Dear Joanna: "Am I bi enough?"

Untitled-2Dear Joanna,

For the most part I’m certain that I’m bisexual, but it seems like no matter how many times I seek support on the internet and am reassured that yes, it’s okay to be bisexual and lean more heavily towards guys, I still somehow don’t feel “gay” enough to legitimately call myself bi, or be a member of the LGBT community. I also only just recently came out to myself (as in, last week) which might contribute my feelings of not belonging to the LGBT community. Even though the word “bisexual” has been making occasional appearances in my mind for the last 4-5 years, I found it relatively easy to convince myself that I was straight. There was that time that I fooled around with a (girl) friend when I was about 13, but I just called it “experimentation”. And when I had a crush on another female friend from 15-16? I told myself it was just strong friendship, and any time my brain ever dared to label it an actual crush, I told myself I was just going through a phase. Except I’m 20 years old now and really don’t think it can be considered a phase anymore.

I’ve always supported the LGBT community, and grew up in a house that was very open-minded, though this wasn’t the norm for the rest of my family, who are heavily religious Christians. I have an aunt that enjoyed relationships with men until she very unexpectedly fell in love with a woman 15 years ago, whom she is still with today. The rest of my family still accepts my aunt’s presence and makes the effort to keep in touch with her, but it is generally understood that to ever bring her partner to a family event would be taboo. So it’s not that I actually have a problem with liking girls, because I don’t- I just understand how much easier it is to be straight, and wanted to fit that simple model. In fact, I’ve always viewed bisexuality with amazement: basically the definition of loving someone for what’s on the inside, rather than out, and now that I’ve accepted this aspect of myself I’m actually very proud of it, but I feel very unsure about telling people.
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"Share and share alike": Why multiple partners aren’t just a bi thing

poly2

“Polyamory, open relationships and cheating are tricky for bisexuals to talk about…”

In my experience in a heteronormative world, it’s much easier for me as a woman to find a boyfriend than it is to find a girlfriend. If I click with one of every 10 men who like me, and one of every 10 women who like me, chances are I will meet those ten men before I meet the ten women. Perhaps if I was a little more active in the LGBTQI community and less shy; but I’m not. Men come to me, as that’s how they’re taught to be. And they are always more interested when they find out I like women too.

I’m sure there are women out there who enjoy the male attention they get for being with other women. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that in and of itself, as long as… Continue reading

Biscuit Female Sexuality Index – the results are in!

bisexualityIt’s official! A new online survey of 1,000 British women reveals a startlingly open-minded attitude to same sex relationships.

Conducted by your friends at Biscuit, we recruited a random sample of women via Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, asking them to choose which of 15 statements most closely described their sexuality.

While similar surveys ask respondents to identify themselves as ‘gay’, ‘straight’ or ‘bi’ (and sometimes ‘asexual’), Biscuit’s study reflects an increasingly accepted understanding that sexuality falls along a much more specific spectrum.

The study differentiated between behaviour and fantasy, revealing that 26.5% of women are fully bisexual, although some of this group did express a preference for one gender or another. However, the figure rises to 38% when taking into account straight women who have occasionally had sexual contact with a same-sex partner and gay women who have sometimes had sex with men.

The completely anonymous questionnaire did report a… Continue reading

The trials and tribulations of playing hard to get

Playing Hard to Get

© Ehud Kenan, used under Creative Commons license

Chloe Marshall wonders how much thrill the chase really holds…

A man smiles at you across the bar, you coyly look back and then away, not wanting to seem too keen on the uptake. You might really fancy him, but you want to present him with a challenge, like a porcupine whose quills stand up on end when on the defensive. You might wait to give him your number, wait to reply to his texts, and generally behave in an evasive, aloof way when he asks to see you – purposely playing hard to get. Because, so the theory goes, you’re the mysterious oh-so-desirable woman, who he works extra hard to impress, thinking that you must be worth it in the end.

Does this dating mantra work, or will your pursuer just give up, concluding that you’re a selfish, self-centred cow?… Continue reading