As underarm hair started making its appearance in the reflection I saw of my 14-year-old body in the mirror, I also starting noticing a lovely girl in drama class. She was fiery and sweet. Her laughter moved my soul with sensations that realigned my stars.
She would become my high school sweetheart and together we'd find love. Her and I eventually made our way to my bedroom for our first-ever sexual rendezvous. I gave her my virginity and my covenant ring. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Several years later a bright-smiled and muscular handed young gent walked into my booth. I was passing out toothbrushes at a community health fair. I had to ask him out.
Kissing him, my first male experience of erotica, was cosmic. I think I may have even blacked-out for a half second in pure ecstasy.
Did I enjoy his touches more than I had my high school sweetheart's? No. Were my sexual experiences with her more meaningful than the ones I shared with him? Sure. I had loved her.
Would either of these interactions, whether full of love, lust, or passion predetermine my sexual attractions and emotional cravings forever? No, absolutely not.
Sexual orientation is never only about sex, per se. It is about love and connectedness.
"Bi-curious," is what I circled on a form. It was my first visit to a therapist. I was so shamed. I had slept with someone before my wedding night. Needless to say, I had slept with both a woman and man. The most shameful of truths to my tale was that I enjoyed both.
Too often writers, even those who are lauded, write and speak of sexual orientation as though it is a simple attraction to one set of gonads or as though its best understood by identifying with whom one chooses to sleep. What a fallacy.
Such rhetoric can be incredibly shaming. So let me set the record straight.
After studying human sexuality for years, learning of its complexity, and observing its fluidity among the nearly 4,000 clients with whom I've worked, I've learned 6 salient lessons:
- Men who are sexually active with men can also enjoy sex with woman, and vice a versa.
- Falling in love, for many, is not predicated by they physical body, but rather the emotional connectivity between the two.
- When one sleeps with men and women it doesn't mean they are somehow afraid of commitment or hypersexual.
- If a bisexual person falls in love, they are equally capable of monogamy, just like the rest of society.
- Bisexuality is not the manifestation of relational cowardice.
- Bisexuality isn't just a thing; it's a biological phenomenon in the same manner and fashion as heterosexuality.
This is confusing for many, but confusion isn't an excuse to remain uneducated on the topic.
Maybe if we stop talking of sexual orientation as though is simply an appetite we'll start to revere one another's innocent cravings to belong and feel cherished.