The invisible bisexual man

Science has proven that they do exist, but bi guys say we're a long way from seeing sexuality in shades of gray

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Published August 28, 2011 12:01AM (EDT)

The big sex news of the week was that bisexual men exist.

OK, so a new study proving that bisexual men are aroused by both men and women didn't come as "news" to bi men, but most are nonetheless relieved by the results, because it will help to legitimize their identity in others' eyes. (This is especially true since prior research controversially reported that there was no evidence of male bisexuality.) Still, the more than dozen bisexual men that I interviewed about the study say it serves as a reminder of just how far they still have to go toward acceptance and understanding. Despite enormous strides made in the past decade for LGBT rights, male bisexuality remains a challenging idea and a unique taboo, even within sexually progressive circles.

A large part of that is because, culturally, we tend to think in terms of black-and-white, not shades of gray -- and that's especially true when it comes to the subject of sex. Rarely does a bisexual come out without fielding questions about which sex they like more -- the assumption being that they must lean one way or the other. It's true that many do: As Ryan from Vancouver wrote in an email, he puts an "emphasis on the 'preference' in 'sexual preference.'" He might be attracted to women more often than men, but believes he "could be attracted to pretty much anybody in the right circumstances, sexuality be damned." But there are also many bi men who describe their sexual attraction in much more fluid terms. The 27-year-old says: "To me, I look for and fall in love with the personality and the intelligence, and then the overall style of the person, never giving any thought to if they are ...

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Tracy Clark-Flory

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