Jean Leloup
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Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:07 am

Hi all,

With all the threads that have seen a lot of discussion on sexuality lately (some of them interesting, some of them lame and deleted  Wink ), I have notived something. It seems that there are very few people on here who identify themselves as bisexual, while there are many who identify themselves as gay and (of course) straight.

Everything I have learned in the social sciences about sexuality seems to point to a 'spectrum' of sexualities ranging from completely heterosexual to completely homosexual. While clearly the majority of folks are distributed near the 'hetero' side, I would think one would expect a fairly wide distribution of people elsewhere on the line. But it strikes me that that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead, it seems that the distribution is almost bi-polar, in that the vast majority of people seem to be at one end of the scale or the other, or at least claim to be.

My theory is that this is because of cultural factors. It's easy to label oneself as straight, and act in accordance with this label. These days, it is also becoming easier to label oneself as gay, and act and speak accordingly. There is a 'gay community' for support, understanding, friendship, 'gay' events, etc. There's a gay culture now, and (obviously) a straight culture, i.e. the typical 'majority' way of being.

But I've never heard of anything like a 'bi' community. So I'm wondering whether people who are really bisexual, i.e. really close to the 'middle' of the orientation spectrum, feel pressured to simplify things and label themselves as one thing or another. In the past, of course, that would just mean deciding to live as a heterosexual, but more recently one may feel comfortable going the other way.

In politically correct 'sensitivity training' I've taken, we hear a lot about bisexuals (alongside homosexuals, etc.). But I don't think i've met a self-identified bisexual, and I can't recall many people on here identifying themself as such (One user comes to mind; but he was really weird and 'out there' in other (non-sexual) ways, so I do'nt count him as meaningful evidence).

So, am I on to something here? Do bisexuals generally choose to label themselves as one thing or another, thus reducing the necessity or numbers to have an identifiable 'bi' community? Or, perhaps, is the truth that the distribution along the spectrum does tend to be bi-polar, and that there aren't many true 'bisexuals' in existence? A third theory, connected to the second, might be that most bisexuals are actually people who are not yet sure of where they stand on the spectrum, and thus engage in a variety of thoughts and behaviours, but do not tend to stay in this situation.

I am really curious to hear any thoughts on this from any members that do currently or have in the past experienced themselves as bisexual. Do you feel pressured to 'join' one community/culture over the other, do you move between the two, etc? I would really like to know how your experience might differ from those whoh experience themselves as flat-out homosexuals.

Thanks!
Next flight.... who knows.
 
Newark777
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Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:09 am

You really moved this fast, guess you didn't want everyone to see you posted it in civ av by accident.  Wink

Harry
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Jean Leloup
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Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:11 am

Yep; I'd forgotten where I was for a moment. Came in from outside and clicked 'start new topic' without looking to see which forum I was in.  Wink
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TedTAce
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:16 am

I'm Bisexual.... everytime I want sex I buy it.

Signed... The Coz
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seb146
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:34 am

I guess I would consider myself more homo than bi but if the right woman came along, I could be with her. That is looking more and more like an option these days with the way gay guys suck (and not in a good way).

GO CANUCKS!!
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luv2fly
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:40 am

Sorry I only play on one team! No switch hitting here, happy with the choice I made.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
TedTAce
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:42 am

Sorry Coz, but I know you can take it, and will get your revenge somehow.

Seriously speaking this is one that gets me stymied. I say this because it's not as easy as purely straight or gay, because the people I know who fit those labels, have their feelings of attraction from their earliest sexual memories.

I have met a few genuinely bi people, but they tend to ultimately prefer one sex or another as a general rule, then like to have the non preferred sex 'to play with' from time to time.

An example is a girl I knew who really liked girls best for serious relationships/intimacy. Her 'problem' was she just sometimes liked to go out and get a guy to ....do What guys do in a short term scenario... And then go home to her girlfriend. She told me that guys were ok enough, but living with them is to difficult.

And as much as I wanted to, nothing sexual ever happened between her and I as we were "just friends" small f  

[Edited 2005-06-12 02:44:41]
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kalakaua
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:43 am

I always swung both ways. I always loved the femininity of a woman and the masculinity of men. Don't bother asking if I like feminine males, but I do like certain butchy women, like volleyball, soccer players... But I plan on settling down with a woman, when I do get married. And boy am I glad to be home in Hawaii. My sex drive is going crazy. I can have it both ways! Ha!



[Edited 2005-06-12 02:49:24]
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
 
kalakaua
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:44 am

I'm Bi, and I can't deny... I love fashion and American football.
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:53 am

Very good topic.

I know from personal experience the sheer volume of married men looking for some male action, on the side of course. I've heard IT ALL:

1. "I love my wife, but...I like guys too."

2. "I love my wife, but we don't have sex and being with another woman would be cheating."

3. "My wife won't do oral."

4. "My wife would lose her mind."

5. "My wife wants to watch me with another guy."

And countless more...ad naseum. I've actually known what I consider real bisexual men...those that live with thier MALE partner get a little FEMALE on the side. 2...count 'em 2!

I was "bisexual" for a few years, but that was denial...trying to put on a show for the rest of the world when deep down I knew it was a lie.

I guess there are ALOT of bisexual men, but VERY few who are open about it. At least from my experience.

Bisexual women are a whole different story.

[Edited 2005-06-12 02:55:02]
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TedTAce
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 10:01 am

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 9):
"I love my wife, but we don't have sex and being with another woman would be cheating."

Yah know.. I knew men were DUMB.....but damn...that's frighteningly Springer esque..

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 9):
Bisexual women are a whole different story.

Please do tell; us horny married guys NEED to know  Smile
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CaptOveur
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 10:50 am

I think suddenly it is cool to be bi so half the world is claiming it. I wonder how many of the people who label themselves as bi have actually done anything to back up the claim.... and once when they were so drunk they were about to pass out doesn't count.

At my university you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone claiming to be bi.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
Jean Leloup
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 12:56 pm

Thanks for the interesting replies, guys. It seems like there are a variety of self-understandings for people who are bisexual. Interesting that there can be very different ways of understanding this concept.

The possibility that people would claim to be bi to hide that they're gay (or just a really unsuccessful hetero) is interesting. Where I grew up, both would have carried the same stigma, so I would never understand the point of claiming you were bi; it was just as "bad" as gay.

I understand that in the late 60's, early 70's, it was 'in' to say that you were bisexual, but not outright homosexual. It's really difficult to see why the difference. The only thing that strikes me is that perhaps being bisexual was perceived as a way to just be "more" sexual... i.e., you're cool because you can get it from everywhere (see Kalakua's enthusiastic reply above!)  Wink I wonder if the wish to be seen that way by some insecure college-age people might lead to the widespread claims of bisexuality that Captoveur observed.

One thing I find interesting about Kalakua's reply, on that note, is that in reading it I can't tell if you're male or female!
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VSlover
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:05 pm

oh i certainly do believe human sexuality operates on a spectrum and each individual identifies somewhere within a range.

i seriously consider myself gay, but i have slept with two past girlfriends, and if a woman like my ex came along, i wouldnt hesitate or think twice about getting with her.
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:06 pm

Ted: bi women are a WHOLE different bag. They may want you to join in, watch, or just imagine. They KNOW that a big male fantasy is 2 girls together and even bigger: two girls and a guy.

They'll screw with ya man...but if you play your cards right...you'll get in on it.
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MD-90
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 2:31 pm

I have a friend who describes himself as being pansexual, which was a first.
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:33 pm

And don't forget tri-sexuals: they'll "tri" anything.
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whitehatter
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:40 pm

I honestly believe everyone is bisexual.

It's an issue where there is no black or white answer. It's shades of grey. There are other species which practice homosexual relations, whether through instinct or recreationally. We all sit somewhere on that scale between gay and straight, some more to one side than the other, and it's more to do with acceptance of our own feelings or indeed recognising them in the first place whether we do anything about it.

Quoting Jean Leloup (Thread starter):

But I've never heard of anything like a 'bi' community. So I'm wondering whether people who are really bisexual, i.e. really close to the 'middle' of the orientation spectrum, feel pressured to simplify things and label themselves as one thing or another. In the past, of course, that would just mean deciding to live as a heterosexual, but more recently one may feel comfortable going the other way.

That's a whole mess of politics and bigotry. The hatred of the gay side which is bred into so many kids and adults means that someone who is actively bisexual will have to identify themselves with the exclusively gay community.

That causes a shift of groupings as one 'side' rejects actively all other forms of sexuality, meaning there is a definite schism and artificial fence created. So anyone who engages in same-sex relations is automatically considered to be on the 'gay' side of the fence.

There is also the point that predominantly straight women will reject openly bisexual men, meaning that bisexual men will associate more with other bisexual or gay men. Strangely enough the reverse is not true! However I know quite a few gay men who also don't like having sex with bisexual men as well.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
flybyguy
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:17 am

I've been thinking... forgive me if this may be trivializing the issue, but I have always thought of the hole gay, bisexual, and heterosexual issue was sort of embodied in the X-Men series of comics and movies. I say this because mutants in this series are considered deviants of mainstream society and therefore all mutants tend to go into a closeted sort of phase (if it is not obvious that they are a mutant) until they meet people that can help them express their abilities for bad or good.

There also seem to be a couple classes of mutants; those who have the superhuman abilities, but appear to be normal and those who have developed beyond the normal human physical form. The "normal" mutants can easily lead double lives while harmoniously assimilated into normal society. However, those mutants who are obvious are tormented and driven into seclusion by the public. I think for the purposes of this discussion that the 'obvious' mutants are the metaphorical representations of the openly gay community whereas 'normal' mutants are representations of bisexual people.

Just a thought
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Rj111
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:34 am

Quoting Jean Leloup (Thread starter):
Everything I have learned in the social sciences about sexuality seems to point to a 'spectrum' of sexualities ranging from completely heterosexual to completely homosexual. While clearly the majority of folks are distributed near the 'hetero' side, I would think one would expect a fairly wide distribution of people elsewhere on the line. But it strikes me that that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead, it seems that the distribution is almost bi-polar, in that the vast majority of people seem to be at one end of the scale or the other, or at least claim to be.

I'm sure there is a very wide spectrum of homo/hetro levels amongst society, although the bulk will be nearer the hetro side of the scale. However, bisexuality may occur in the 40%-60% homo/hetro area, or maybe even less. Critically, half the range of the homo and hetro categories.

So say a man is 65% hetro, he obviously prefers women so he's going to grow up fantasising/sleeping with his preference. He'll probably repress his homosexual side and embrace his hetro side too - he ultimately wants to marry a woman, and the social and personal implications of gay sex may put him off experimenting. Although he might be slightly aroused by men when he sees them about, men may be a turn off when he's engaging in intercourse with women. Like when your having chips you don't suddenly want chocolate ice cream, despite enjoying both to some degree. Also, 35% homosexuality may not provide enough homo 'power' to have regular full on sex with a guy, basically, he's not going to sleep with a man 35% of the time and a women 65% of the time. He might experiment when he's young or whatever, but categorically he's straight. The vice versa can be said for a 65% homo guy/girl too.

A 'pure' (for arguments sake) bisexual means a person can have regular sex with both sexes, by definition. But because of this repression embracing thing I was talking about, it may have to be a very fine balance of sexuality levels, for someone to develop physically as well as actively into a bisexual.

Just my 0.02 GBP anyway.




....and if you were wondering, I must be about 65-75% hetro.
 
Jean Leloup
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:10 am

Wonderfully thoughtful replies!

RJ111's in particular is very thought-provoking.

That model makes a lot of sense. In that light, I suppose I could see myself as, ohhh, 80% hetero. Enough that, growing up, girls got the solid majority of the tension. That mental behaviour sort of becomes self-reinforcing, as you get used to heterosexual behaviour, and eventually what was likely about a 20% homo side sort of atrophied. Something resembling sexual thought towards the same sex still occurs now and then, but because I have not really 'developed' this side of my sexual identity, those thoughts are inarticulate and don't tend to go anywhere. It doesn' really bother me, because I'm 'satisfied' seeing myself as a heterosexual, and pursuing only women. But I could imagine that as one moves further towards the hetero side of the spectrum, it becomes more and more difficult to just shrug off/forget about the homosexual attractions, etc.

Very helpful way of looking at things. By the way, Whitehatter, are you saying thatI'm a bigot, in your post above, or just that the situation I was describing involves bigotry? I really don't see what I have said wrong in this thread, if that's what you were suggesting.
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wassch71
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 4:52 pm

I just came back from the Endocrine Society meeting in San Diego, and the sexual differenciation of the brain was among the topics debated in one of the sessions.
There is a team of researchers at UCLA (Roselli et al) who have been studying the sexual behavior of male sheep and seeking to understand if sexual orientation had any correlates in terms of brain anatomy or physiology. In their study, about 51% of these sheep were female-oriented (="straight"), 9% male-oriented (="gay"), 35% were bi-sexual and the remainder were sexually inactive. The study of the anatomy of the brain of these animals showed differences in the hypothalamus region according to sexual preference. In other animals, further studies showed that these differences may have to do with the exposure to hormones during certain critical times of fetal life (ie before birth, when the brain is developing). These results do seem to support the idea that sexual preference has at least in part an organic (= non psycho-social) origin. Two major points are nevertheless very obscure:
1-If these findings in animals can be extrapolated to humans, and it is very unlikely that such studies will be conducted on humans for obvious ethical considerations.
2-If there is a continuous spectrum in behavior between male and female sexuality as intuitively suggested by some of you in this thread (percentages) or whether sexual preference is essentially either male or female (preliminary data from rats seem to favor the latter, but these are only rats so...).
Hope you find these thoughts helpful,
Regards,
Wassch71
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whitehatter
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:20 pm

Quoting Jean Leloup (Reply 20):

Very helpful way of looking at things. By the way, Whitehatter, are you saying thatI'm a bigot, in your post above, or just that the situation I was describing involves bigotry? I really don't see what I have said wrong in this thread, if that's what you were suggesting.

I am not implying anything of the sort, just saying that if you want to get into the question you asked then the debate takes you into the realms of those subjects.

Nothing personally directed at you whatsoever. It's just that you have to consider the bigotry and hatred problem to understand the overall picture of what we are discussing here, and why I think bisexuals don't seem to have their own community as such. The hate on one side of the 'scale' causes an imbalance.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
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solnabo
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:40 pm

Read in a medical journal years ago that every 10 person are HS and every 5 is BS in the world.

Have no source for this, but I guess its full of info about this on the web.

Micke//SE  Wink
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Aloha717200
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:36 pm

I know several self-identified bi-sexuals.

One of them is a former girlfriend of mine who now has a (male) fiance but still likes women too. She and I are pretty good friends.

Another is one of my neighbors, she's married, but swings both ways. Her husband's attitude is that as long as he knows what's going on, she can have a girlfriend, but that's not happened yet according to them, and maybe never will.

My roommate is also bisexual, he thinks. He's attracted to both men and women, but I'm watching his current relationship with his girlfriend wither away into almost complete non-communication with her on his part. I don't think that will last much longer. He's told me and just about everyone else that he "knows" he's a bi, but he might end up being gay. He just doesn't know right now.

As for me, I'm straight, but I haven't had a relationship in about 4 years and no interest in having another one anytime soon. So people sometimes assume.

It's also difficult sometimes being out in public with him. He doesn't "act" gay or bisexual or anything like that, but for some reason people just seem to know, and then assume I'm "with" him like that, and start shouting rude things.

Before I moved in with him I was never a target in public, nobody really messed with me at all. But since my roommate is also my friend, we tend to go to sitdown restaurants sometimes, or go shopping together, and whatnot, and people just say the rudest things to us. It pisses me off because they're insulting a friend, and they're putting a label on me that isn't correct. I never got this back in Idaho and it's started to piss me off royally.

The other day some asshole was getting into his truck and shouted "faggots!" at us at the grocery store parking lot. I damn near threw the stuff in my hands on the ground to go over and get in his face about it. If it keeps happening eventually I will, and I'll probably wind up getting my ass kicked too, but it's enraging how people just assume and then hurl insults at you without any remorse or care at all. I don't get why they do it either, my roomie and I are just friends...i dont see us acting any way that would suggest anything at all.
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:17 am

It's probably harder for bisexuals to identify themselves as such as, for some reason, people either tend not to believe in it or don't take it seriously. A lot of people, when they hear of a previously straight guy having sex with another man will say that he was gay all along and just couldn't come to terms with it. Also, there is less of a need for bisexuals to group together or form organisations the way gays do: to score, gay men usually frequent bars, clubs, cruising areas and saunas; a bisexual man can go anywhere and has a chance of scoring. They even have more options than straight men for finding a sexual partner, so there is no need whatsoever for bisexual pick-up places. This probably contributes to some people not taking the issue of bisexuality as they don't have a visible public identity.
I agree with WhiteHatter on this, in that I believe most people are bisexual to some extent. While the majority of people would seem to be heterosexually oriented, from my own, and my friends' experiences, there is a LOT of latent homosexuality out there. I am constantly amazed at the amount of guys (and girls) out there who experiment.
 
kalakaua
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:59 am

Quoting Jean Leloup (Reply 12):
One thing I find interesting about Kalakua's reply, on that note, is that in reading it I can't tell if you're male or female!

Yeah... I tend to do that a lot. The girls and the guys are surprised that a tackle/nascar/surfer likes to garden/cook/shop. Everyone knows about me.

It's funny when the guys joke around with me thinking I might "do it" with them, and when they find a girl, I hit if off with her. And the guys are jealous.

Quoting Captoveur (Reply 11):
I think suddenly it is cool to be bi so half the world is claiming it. I wonder how many of the people who label themselves as bi have actually done anything to back up the claim....

Please... Give me a break. Sometimes I wonder if gay people are gay. Ever since this new Gay Era has begun, why all of a sudden being gay seems so cool. I've been bi since I was a little kid.

I have a girlfriend. I have sex with her and I love it. I had sex with a guy, and I enjoyed it. I, or rather me and my girlfriend, check out good looking guys and girls in public together.

After all, Freud said we're all a little gay inside. I'm up there, half and half.
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
 
TedTAce
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:36 am

You and your roomate PLEASE take this as the joke it's meant to be....

Quoting Aloha717200 (Reply 24):
He doesn't "act" gay or bisexual or anything like that, but for some reason people just seem to know, and then assume I'm "with" him like that, and start shouting rude things.

That's what you get for prancing about in California (at or outside the leather bars) while holding your roomate's leash Big grin
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Superfly
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:26 am

Quoting Aloha717200 (Reply 24):
one of my neighbors, she's married, but swings both ways. Her husband's attitude is that as long as he knows what's going on, she can have a girlfriend,

That sounds like a sweet deal!  bigthumbsup 
"Honey, you can bring over the hottest babe you want tonight for us to share." Big grin

Bisexual women are Goddesses! Big grin
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gigneil
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:14 am

Honestly, I don't believe in bisexuality.

Sure, I believe there are people out there that truly enjoy sex with both men and women.

What I don't see a lot of people that can develop a real emotional attachment to both. I know lots of guys that like sex with guys, but when it comes time to have a loving relationship, they only do that with girls.

Same thing to be true of women... they're a lot more in tune, emotionally, and so they can explore sexuality with each other unencumbered of societal programming. But when you ask them what they want, they want a man in their lives.

Its eh.

N
 
carmenlu15
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:19 am

28 posts so far and still a decent discussion?  wideeyed 

Quoting Aloha717200 (Reply 24):
As for me, I'm straight, but I haven't had a relationship in about 4 years and no interest in having another one anytime soon. So people sometimes assume.

I can relate to that. I haven't had a relationship in more than 4 years, and people assume that trying to balance a full-time job and college studies leaves no time for a boyfriend. My best friend (a guy) has been single for about the same time, and people automatically assume he must be gay (not the case; he's also trying to balance a full-time job and college studies).

I'd think it's because of the still prevailing macho attitude that ranks a "real man" by the number of women he sleeps with, while at the same time states that a "real woman" must remain a virgin until she marries. But I'm going off topic now...

So back to topic, I believe sexual preference is not an either-or issue; going from the fully heterosexual to the fully homosexual, there are many shades in between. However, I have yet to meet a self-declared bisexual.

Just my Q.0.15  twocents 
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
JGPH1A
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:21 am

Quoting Wassch71 (Reply 21):
There is a team of researchers at UCLA (Roselli et al) who have been studying the sexual behavior of male sheep and seeking to understand if sexual orientation had any correlates in terms of brain anatomy or physiology.

Ngggg...bite...tongue...must...fight...impulse...

(I wouldn't normally, but come on, that post just BEGS for a you-know-who reference. Oh OK, I won't).
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Klaus
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:52 am

You´ve got yourself a nice, big, fat obsession going, JGP...!  bigthumbsup 
 
JGPH1A
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RE: Are Many People Really Bisexual?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:56 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 32):
You´ve got yourself a nice, big, fat obsession going, JGP...!

Oh come ON ! Look at the quote, even the most blasé amongst us can see the glaringly obvious reference there ! I just happened to point it out.

Besides, the party in question made HIGHLY opprobrious and ENTIRELY unwarranted offensive remarks about my person, and it is my duty to ensure he is slagged even unto the ending of the world.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers

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