Open to LoveThe Mystery Behind Living as a Bisexual Adult in a Heterosexual Society<br />
"Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep's and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior, the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex."Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948)<br />
The Confusion of Bisexuality<br />Bisexuality makes heterosexuals uncomfortable for many reasons. Most significantly, it is not a life they would choose so the idea of jumping from one gender to another can be very unsettling. By researching several studies done on the negative attitudes “straight” people have towards bisexuals , I have identified three primary explanations for this all to common form of discrimination.<br />
What is the Rationale?<br />Many heterosexuals equate bisexuality with sexual promiscuity or non-monogamy<br />Men have a tendency to feel threatened by the idea of open sexuality, and so the negative attitudes toward bisexuals are controlled by men.<br /> There is an implicit assumption that sexual orientation is dichotomous. One is either gay or straight.<br />
Boundless<br />Many heterosexuals equate bisexuality with sexual promiscuity or non-monogamy. This has become the assumption because most homosexual individuals had to carry out their “bisexual” activities while cheating on their heterosexual partners. In all actuality many true bisexuals are in monogamous committed relationships, it just happens to be that throughout the course of their lives those relationships could be with woman and men. Still the assumptions persist.<br />
There are many reasons that Americans are resistant to appreciate the bisexual lifestyle. One is the mass hysteria that was created in the late eighties and early nineties by the AIDS epidemic. It was during this time that bisexual men and women were targeted as a group of people that were at a high risk for HIV contraction.<br />In a study of interviews conducted between 1973 and 2000 by survey organizations, most Americans condemned bisexuals 11 percentage points harsher than homosexuals saying their way of life was always wrong and particularly deserving of God’s ultimate punishment, in the form of AIDS. (Herek, G.M. & Rivera-Gonzalez, M. 2006)<br />The epidemic that started it all<br />
The Dominant Sex<br />It is no secret that men are much more likely to be homophobic than women. Straight men manifest much higher levels of prejudice than their female counterparts. Homophobia serves to affirm male identity through a rejection of what is deemed either unmanly or negating the importance of males. This explains why effeminate men and butch women are the most common victims of antigay violence, they threaten the terms of masculinity. (Stokes, J.P. & Miller, R.L. 1998) For homophobic males, bisexuals are the worst offenders.<br />Men are more angered by bisexual men than they are women. One explanation for this stems from the differences in the way heterosexual men and women organize their thoughts about homosexuality and bisexuality. Men regard being gay as a violation of traditional gender roles, women are more likely to see bisexual men and women as being members of a disadvantaged social group. As a result, the negative attitudes held by men may fulfill an ego-defensive function in the sense that they are affirming their own masculinity by derogating individuals they believe have strayed from the norm. (Louiderback, L.A. & Whitley, B.E. 1997)<br />
Its Either A or B<br />As recently as the 1950’s, Alfred Kinsey a famous sexologist created a scale to help categorize bisexual desires. On the scale a zero represents exclusive heterosexuality, a six marks exclusive homosexuality. The people who fall in between represent bisexuals to different degrees. Where a person falls on this scale has little to do with how they view their sexuality being put on display for others to see or know about. <br />The idea of fluid sexuality can cause problems for people who have created a set of rules for accepting homosexuals into their lives and society. For example, many heterosexuals cling to the idea that homosexuality is a biological, innate trait that cannot be controlled. So, if people are gay at birth then it is something they cannot change. If people choose to be gay or even bisexual than it cannot be genetics they point the finger at. Either way, once you have settled into an identity and built a life around it, anything that doesn’t fit can be disconcerting. (Sailer, S. 1994)<br />
Sometimes It Just Happens<br />For some, bisexual activities happen out of desire, for some comfort, and for others necessity. (Sterling, A.F. 2007) <br />Adopting a bisexual attitude and engaging in sex with a member of the opposite sex can help to reduce the anxiety and overwhelming sense of isolation when coming out.<br /> In some cases opportunity will drive men to have sex with other men, this can only occur in situations where they have no other option, such as prison. <br /> There have also been studies done that report heterosexual men who have sex with another man but consider it acceptable as long as it does not involve intimacy or love. They see it as a means of sexual aggression and sexual power. <br />
In Conclusion<br />In this study I wanted to see why people have a hard time accepting that anyone could be confused about who they are attracted to. My reasoning started with the concept that people who are one hundred percent secure in their heterosexual identity cannot understand an attraction to a same sex individual, much less switching back and forth between sexes. Also this lifestyle is mostly thought of as immoral and selfish. The truth is the many reasons why heterosexuals take issue with bisexuality comes from their culture, their belief system, their life choices, their children’s choices, and the influence of societal stereotypes. Like with most negative stereotypes, the resentment toward bisexuals comes from a place of ignorance.<br />
REFERENCES<br />Broman, C.L. 2001. Sexuality attitudes: the impact of trauma. The Journal of Sex Research, 40(4), 351-356. <br />Goldstein, R. 1998. The hate that makes men straight. The Village Voice, 43(51), 64-67. <br />Herek, G.M. & Rivera-Gonzalez, M. 2006. Attitudes towards homosexuality among u.s. residents of Mexican descent. The Journal of Sex Research, 43(2), 122-125. <br />Louiderback, L.A. & Whitley, B.E. 1997. Perceived erotic value of homosexuality and sex-role attitudes as mediators of sex differences in college students. The Journal of Sex Research, 34(2), 122-125.<br />Sailer, S. 1994. Why lesbians aren’t gay: the old stereotypes about homosexuality have been discarded in favor of new ones. National Review, 46(2), 31-34.<br />Sterling, A.F. 2007. Frameworks of desire. Daedalus, 136(2), 47-50. <br />Stokes, J.P. & Miller, R.L. 1998. Toward an understanding of behaviorally bisexual men: the influence of context and culture. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 7(2), 101-107.<br />
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