This might sound trite, but it can be tough to be queer. Or bisexual. I prefer queer because the “bi” part of “bisexual” feels a bit constraining for me. I’ve met plenty of genderqueers and trans people who I found deliciously attractive, and their gender identities are more nuanced than the gender binary has room for. So I’m gonna go with queer. But a lot of people are more comfortable with “bisexual.” Call it what you will; the point is that, as someone who finds more than one gender attractive, I’ve often found myself on the receiving end of crazy-pants assumptions and heckling about my orientation.
I’ve been told it’s just a phase, of course, like anyone who’s not 100% hetero has. I’ve also been told I must be really horny. Or greedy. And I haven’t just been told that my orientation makes me these ways: I’ve been treated accordinglyl. When I was with my long-term girlfriend, acquaintances would forever be flabbergasted that we’d stayed together for two and a half years. We’d get comments like, “I didn’t think you guys were serious.” Meaning they didn’t think we really liked women—it was just a phase. Just horny? I’ve been invited to orgies on the pretense that they were “just parties” because the people who invited me assumed that I must want to sleep with everything all the time. They were amazed when I wasn’t happy to have been misled, much less to do everyone in attendance. Greedy? Oh, honey. I can’t even tell you how many people think I just say I’m queer/bi because I want constant threesomes. And while I’m not opposed to threeways (I mean come on), I do exist this way to make people’s threeway dreams come true. My sexual practices, actually, have nothing to do with Random Person A at the bar. But when I tell Random Person A that, they sometimes are offended. As if I am purposely excluding them. As if my queerness is supposed to be an open invitation to everybody.
I think this is because of the common idea that being queer/bi must be awesome because everyone is a potential date. But let’s be real: it doesn’t work like that, at least not for most of us. Some of us are really horny and do want to have sex with everybody. And that’s awesome for those people. However, some of us (like myself) are attracted to many different body types and gender expressions, but not to every person. I’m extremely picky. A person either does it for me or does not, and I’d say at least 99% of the world does not. It’s just that the 1% that does capture my interest doesn’t have to fall into one specific gender classification. It’s really that simple.
And yet it’s so not simple. Like, ever. I’ve problems with expressing my queerness in relationships. After all, most people don’t have all the equipment to be both sexes and both genders, so sometimes when I’m dating a woman I get itchy to be with a man, and vice versa. The aforementioned threeway is a lovely way to bring it all to the table, but let me tell you: threesomes are not easy. There’s a whole mess of emotions that can get tangled up, and unless you are extremely honest and cognizant of all the risks involved, shit can get way less fun than it sounds. Trust me. There’s all kinds of room for jealousy and attachment and confusion. The point being: it’s not about bodies. It’s about people. If you confuse people with their bodies and try to get one without the other, you’re very often in for a surprise.
And the same goes for polyamory. I have identified as poly because I have at times found that having emotionally-connected, serious relationships with more than one person at a time fit my emotional and physical needs. It was satisfying and fun, but it was a lot of work. It could only really work for me when everyone involved was extremely busy and I didn’t have to juggle too much time with each person. But when things changed and someone needed more time and attention, like in any relationship, it got tough. When more than one person needs more from you—well, you can imagine. It’s never going to be easy to satisfy all those commitments, and then resentments can easily build. The height of my poly experience came along with unspoken jealousies that, because they were unspoken, remained hidden until it was too late to stop them. Resentment bred resentment, and soon there were break-ups, hurt feelings, and broken hearts all over the place.
Right now, after much trial and error (which I’m sure is an ongoing process), I am in a relationship with a straight, cisgendered man. And now I get queer-shaming. Like, “If you’re really queer, shouldn’t you be dating a not-straight male?” Well, if I’d met someone else with a different gender and orientation with whom I shared this deep connection and sparkling electric chemistry, then sure! But instead I met someone who was born male and identifies that way, and I fell crazy, super-dopey in love, and now my life without him would feel empty. And yet I’ve gotten eye-rolls over this. “Oh, so, what, you’re straight now?” Holy crap, people. No. Who I love doesn’t change who I am. Being queer includes the possibility for all kinds of relationship models, and right now the one I’m in looks more traditional than some I’ve been in before. Does that make me a Stepford Wife? I sure hope not.
I guess this was a bit of a rant, but for real, those buttons and T-shirts that say “Everyone loves a bisexual girl,” and the starry-eyed, wink-wink-nudge-nudge looks and the pushes toward other women at parties? It all gets old. Like I said before: it’s not about bodies for me, it’s about people. It’s not about nymphomania, it’s about what makes me happy. Yes, I’m lucky in some ways to be of an orientation that allows me a lot of options, but queerness is not an open invitation for your personal philosophy on human sexuality, or how hot it would be if I made out with that girl over there. I know what it means to me, and that’s all I need, thankyouverymuch.Image: LadyPaige Tigeress
Lynsey G is a writer, reviewer, interviewer, columnist and blogger writing for and about sex, feminism, and porn since 2007. Formerly a smut scribe for Fox, Juggs, and Tight magazines, she’s also written for xoJane, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Corset Magazine, TOSKA, MadisonBound.com, and WHACK! Magazine. She’s still on a high after winning a 2013 Feminist Porn Award for her short film, “Consent: Society,” and is now at work blogging at her own website and working on a few books of various types.