Posy Roberts is a wonderful writer and a cool lady–but you may not know she’s also bi. Coming out as a bisexual isn’t easy, in part because of all the negative stereotypes and myths that go along with that word. I’m happy to turn my blog over to Posy so she can shine a harsh light on some of them, and eloquently kick their asses to the curb for all of us.
Four years ago when I told my husband, “I’m bisexual,” I think I turned his brain to Jell-O. I immediately reassured him that I wasn’t looking to end our relationship or start a new one with a woman (or a man), but I wanted to be honest with him. This wasn’t a huge revelation to me. Some of my first sexual experiences were with girls, but my first real kiss was with a boy. I went on to date and fall in love with several different boys. I had a crush on a woman in college, and when I now look back and examine my past, I had more than a few crushes on women.
As I relayed some of those stories to my husband, he saw that this wasn’t a new discovery for me, but he still had to adjust. He started to question our relationship and whether or not he could meet my needs.
When I started to share my bisexuality with more people in my life, I had mixed reactions. Most were totally fine with it. Some jumped to the conclusion that I wanted to suddenly start snogging them. Uhm… no thank you. But that was just the start. I’ve run across some of the most preposterous (in my estimation) assumptions. Many of these come from the GLBT community too, which surprised me at first.
- can’t make up their minds.
- can’t ever settle down because they’ll always desire the other gender.
- are sluts or want to be with everyone.
- want threesomes.
- just need to find the right man/woman.
- are confused.
- are experimenting or going through a phase or using people as a gateway to identifying as gay or lesbian.
I’ve run into all of these. I’ve also talked to several other people who identify as bisexual who have experienced the same thing, so at least I knew I wasn’t alone in this.
Can’t make up my mind? I made it up two decades ago when I knew I wanted John to be my husband. He was the one. We’ve been married for nearly nineteen years, so I obviously settled down. We adopted dogs together, bought a home, had a baby, and made a commitment to each other to be there and grow together and support each other through that. And we have grown in many ways. When I came out, that certainly sparked some of that growth, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.
I hate the word slut. It is packed with so much judgment and it devalues a person with one, very harsh syllable. It’s a cutting word. Just listen to it. But the message in this assumption is really about bisexuals wanting to hook up with every male and female on the entire planet. I recall meeting a woman; we hit it off and were having a decent time with a group of friends. It came out that I was bisexual, and she turned to stare at me. “Now you’re gonna want to make out with me. Right?” I have a type. She wasn’t it. In fact, most men and women aren’t it. I’m attracted to certain things, most of all, a great sense of humor and a kind heart. She had neither. For the record, I’ve never had a man say this to me after he’s found out I was bi.
What men have asked me is, “Wanna have a threesome?” Of course they’ve been straight men and are imagining being with two women. Is that a bisexual fantasy like it is a straight guy one? Not for me. Sex is about communicating with my lover, not being worried if someone is feeling left out. I’m already forced into multitasking as a mom and an employee, so adding more to my already full plate is not at all what I want from a sexual experience. I don’t think bisexual people have any more desire for a threesome than gay or straight people. Some will want to go down that road and others will not.
I don’t need to find the right woman to turn me all the way gay. I’m not going one day magically end up a lesbian. I’m not confused. I’m also not experimenting. I know what I like. I identify as bisexual because that fits me. Yet it’s human nature to want to put people in easy-to-distinguish boxes. Bisexuals refuse to be so simply boxed up.
It is because of all of these assumptions that I have chosen to write about bisexual characters. In my North Star trilogy, I cover several of these in varying degrees, but I also examine them from my bisexual character’s perspective as well. Since Kevin has essentially lived as a straight man for thirty-five years in Spark, he is shocked by some of the issues he comes across once he starts dating a man. The truths he is forced to face are more and more challenging as the trilogy continues. As a writer, I want to shine a light on these assumptions so they aren’t just sitting in the dark places alongside bigotry and hate.
A few weeks ago I was helping my husband paint his office. I was cutting in while he was rolling a burnt-orange color on his wall. I told him I was writing this article. He shared how confusing it was for him when I first came out, but then he told me he was so glad I did. It made him ask very hard questions about our relationship. The biggest conclusion we talked about as we covered the ice blue walls with warm orange was that your partner, no matter who they are, will never be your everything. One person can’t fulfill all your needs. My coming out put a very sharp focus on that realization, and then he looked back at himself and realized I couldn’t meet all his needs either. That’s why we have friends and why we rely on family and go meet people with similar likes online. It’s unfair to our lovers to expect them to be everything.
That’s rich coming from a romance writer, isn’t it?
Spark, by Posy Roberts
In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.
By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.
When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.
Posy Roberts writes about men falling in love with men. Her newest release is Spark. The second book in her North Star trilogy is Fusion, and it will be released by Dreamspinner Press in November.