I always knew I was different, but I never thought I was bisexual.
it’s a realization decades in the making, a feeling long pushed to the recesses of my mind by a strict, conservative upbringing that looked down upon sex of any kind outside of heterosexual marriage. I didn’t even fully understand what sex was until I went to college, and then I couldn’t fathom how it could be done with people of one’s own sex.
so you’ll excuse me if I missed the myriad bisexual signs for the first 30 years of my life.
because the signs were there. oh, yes.
as a prepubescent child I couldn’t wait for the Sunday paper — not just for the comics, which were fun, but for the ads in the entertainment section featuring scantily-clad men and women. I really don’t know what the ads were for. underwear, maybe? all I knew was that they made me want to masturbate… and so I did. (in secret, of course, because I learned quickly that masturbation was bad, almost as bad as sex.) and in those early years, it was the images of the women that turned me on the most.
please keep in mind that I had no idea women could love other women in anything but a platonic way.
at the same time, I also liked boys, though the thought of interacting with them mostly scared me. in my daydreams, and often in my dreams, I usually saw events through the perspective of male characters. as I grew older, my sexual fantasies were also from a male perspective — but still, it was a woman and a man so that was “ok.”
touch from almost anyone, male or female, brought about some kind of emotional or sexual response in me. it was confusing; I started avoiding touch altogether, telling people, “I don’t like to be touched.” truthfully, I liked it too much for a good Christian girl.
as a teenager, I met the young man I would marry — and, boy, was he hot. (still is.) from that point forward and for many years after, I had a specific object for my sexual desires and felt little or no need to lust after anyone else, man or woman.
my theological, sociological, and political views are evolving. my view of myself is changing. I’m very happily married to aforementioned man; I love him and I love our sex life. but as much as I enjoy his rugged masculinity, I also have this strange fascination with breasts and soft curves. I have vivid dreams about being with certain of my female friends, in a very non-platonic way. I’m confused, but this time, instead of pushing everything away, I turn to the one I love and we talk about it.
slowly. haltingly. but we talk.
it takes years, but eventually it all comes out, all the repressed thoughts and feelings and desires. I realize that I have levels of physical attraction for people of all different genders, and that I appreciate different things about all of them. I realize that maybe some of my friendships aren’t as platonic as I wanted to think and that I might need to reevaluate them. I also realize that I need to make some choices, together with my husband, about what to do with all these sexual desires that have finally been allowed to surface.
something about being with someone who makes me feel safe and unconditionally loved has triggered a desire to be completely honest about myself and my sexuality — even if that means accepting something about myself that I was raised to believe impossible.
I always knew I was different. I just never thought I was bisexual.
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I wrote this piece several years ago when I was just coming to terms with my sexuality; I am sharing it now in honor of Bisexual Awareness Week, September 21-17, 2015. Please note that I use the term “bisexual” in a way that is interchangeable with terms like “pansexual” and “omnisexual.” A lot of other bi/pan/omni folk do this, but some do not; it’s a pretty personal thing, it seems. For me, the definition of bisexual as being attracted to people of your own gender AND other genders rings true. Just in case you were wondering!