by Chris Watkins
The topic often comes up in Lifestyle chats: How is it that bisexual women are accepted and even celebrated, but bisexual men are not? The answer is complicated and somewhat disappointing.
Much earlier in my life, I had casual sex with men as well as women. It’s been my experience that society accepts gays, lesbians and bi women, but not men who deviate from the straight or gay sides of the sexual spectrum. This is largely driven by a cultural bias that ranks the ‘Men in the Middle’ as being less masculine, less trustworthy, and less scrupulous… all of which are untrue.
Where Did the Bi-Male Phobia Come From?
A recent survey of women by Glamour Magazine showed that 63% of women won’t date a guy if he’s bisexual or has had sex with another man (even once!). Keep in mind that 47% of these women expressed attraction to another woman, and 31% reported having had a same-sex encounter.
Discrimination against bisexual men also exists in the gay community. Some gay men are quick to assume that a bi guy is merely “on his way to being gay” or is homophobic because he won’t make a full transition to gay.
Where does that leave men who may, on occasion, find themselves aroused by same-sex behavior? In general, they’re depressed, act violently, feel lonely, and are more likely to experience anxiety or commit suicide than gays and lesbians. They stay trapped in the closet.
Fear of Disease
Discrimination against bi men comes, in part, from studies that show that men who have sex with men (also called MSM) have higher rates of HIV and Syphilis infections. But clinical studies fail to put things in context.
It’s true that gay and bisexual men are more at risk for these diseases. But in general, STI infections are on the rise, especially in the straight community. And the types of infections passed by straights are remarkably different than in the gay and bisexual community.
An additional complication: Straight men are not getting tested as often as gay and bisexual men. This is due to the CDC dedicating more resources to educating gay, bisexuals and straight women about regular testing. This has resulted in an overrepresentation of these populations in the testing data.
Unsafe sex is not unique to bi men. Married couples in the Lifestyle are incredibly aware of STI risks. They practice greater caution because they have much more to lose. This also holds true for the bi men in the Lifestyle. They know the risks, and they take greater care to protect themselves and others.
Fear of Bad Behavior
Some people in the Lifestyle are worried that a bisexual man will make unwelcome advances. This goes back to the assumption that the ‘Men in the Middle’ have no self-control. The fact of the matter is these men are just as well behaved as anyone else. They, of all people, know the problems associated with upsetting their play partners.
Straight men, straight women and bi women cross boundaries all the time. Bad behavior reflects the person, not the sexuality.
Double Standards in the Age of Sexual Fluidity
Much ado has been made about studies suggesting that women are more sexually fluid than men. This discovery led to a sexual revolution for women for the past 20 years. From college girls to celebrities, female bisexuality is front and center. For those of us in the Lifestyle, it’s rare to encounter a straight woman.
Despite the loud protests from straight men, current research shows that men are fluid, too. Furthermore, data from online porn consumption shows that 22% of straight men watch gay porn, whereas a greater number seek out terms like “well hung”, “jack off”, “cum” and “gang bang”, all of which emphasize the penis. The climax of every porn clip is a close up of a man’s cock ejaculating.
Turns out, men get turned on seeing men have sex. It doesn’t mean they’re bi or gay. They’re just quietly expressing their naturally fluid tendencies.
Even with all of these options, the stigma still remains. Masculinity in general is trapped in a very narrow place, especially when it comes to sex. You’re either straight or gay to some people, but the truth isn’t that tidy.
How My Sexual History Shaped Me
My own same-sex encounters were always opportunistic. Nothing more. I was young and horny. At times there were no willing female partners available for me. I had a chance to get off. It just happened to be with dudes. And, yes, I practiced safe sex.
As a younger man, my self-worth took a beating as I came to terms with who I am and what my past meant about my sexuality. Given the hostility towards the ‘Men in the Middle,’ I struggled to understand why I considered myself straight but had sex with other men. Even more damaging, why did I enjoy it?
I don’t find men attractive. Kissing a guy is a total turn off. Anal sex has never been my thing – even with women, which is unusual in the Lifestyle. In the strictest sense, I’m neither bisexual nor gay, so what was I doing?
At the age of 48, I look back on my 20s and realize those sexual experiences shaped me into who I am today. It taught me that I prefer women, but at some point, sex is just sex when you’re with a consenting partner, regardless of their gender.
I have no regrets about my past. It was fun.
These days, I don’t get freaked out if a guy gets grabby with me. Oddly enough, it’s not always the bi or gay guy who makes a pass at me. Sometimes it’s the men who vigorously claim they’re straight. But when a boundary is crossed, all I have to say is “No, thanks.” Case closed.
How My Sexual Past Helps My Marriage
Women who’ve dated ‘Men in the Middle’ report them to be better lovers, better fathers and more supportive partners. Many would never date a straight guy again. ‘Men in the Middle’ are more likely to try BDSM, role play, and additional partners in bed. They typically challenge traditional standards about monogamy and marriage.
For people in the Lifestyle, this should all sound very familiar.
When it comes to dating, bisexual men have better luck with bisexual women who’ve already explored their sexuality. Bi women get it. When everything is known up front, these couples develop a relationship that accommodates or at least acknowledges both partners’ sexual preferences.
This definitely holds true for me.
I knew from day one that my wife was bisexual, and she knew about my experience as a young man. We are completely open with one another. She knows I understand her bisexuality from a personal perspective. In turn, she accepts me – past, present and future. It’s made us stronger as a committed married couple.
Since then, we’ve enjoyed a relationship where she can be with other women, and I can enjoy the show or take part. As we venture further into the Lifestyle together, we’ve established our own rules for play. If for whatever reason I decided I wanted to enjoy men again, we’d talk about it just like we talk about all things sexual. We’d figure it out as a couple.
‘Men in the Middle’ and the Lifestyle
As a guy who’s seen what it’s like to be in the Middle, I see signs that some men list “straight” in their profiles so they don’t miss out on play opportunities. They fear the pervasive stigma.
How many times have a you read a profile where a guy lists himself as straight, but then feels the need to write “I am STRAIGHT”? You already said you are straight. Why do you have to repeat yourself?
These men may actually be straight or perhaps they’re really bi-curious or Down for Whatever. Unfortunately, the Lifestyle hasn’t progressed to a point where every man can be themselves. They’d rather bluster about their “straightness” than deal with the fallout.
The good news is that the younger generation has cast off society’s expectations. They are sexually open, and they enter the Lifestyle with a healthier understanding about the fluidity of male sexuality. The more men open up, the more people will accept it – just like they do bisexual women. Change is coming to the Lifestyle.
How Do You Open Up to Your Wife About Your Sexuality?
For me, my honesty during the early stages of our relationship made it easier for me to find a partner who accepts me for who I am, kinks and all.
For men who’ve been married a long time, it may not be so easy. Wives typically have a hard time coming to terms with sudden changes in their husband’s desires, regardless of what it is. You can’t blame them, but hope isn’t lost.
Remember your wife’s reaction when you first discussed the Lifestyle with her? It took a TON of communication. There were questions. There were tense moments. There was reading and podcasts. Quite a bit of preparation went into the decision to say, “Ok, we’re doing this Lifestyle thing.”
The same thing applies when opening up to your wife about any new sexual interest – bi, straight or otherwise.
No matter what you’re into, honesty and good communication are critical. Being vulnerable with your wife and clearly expressing yourself is paramount. If she’s bisexual, she may actually understand. If she loves you and if she enjoys seeing you experience pleasure, it could end up being a new way for her to get off. We men in the Lifestyle enjoy watching our wives have sex with other men and women. Why do we assume our wives wouldn’t enjoy the same visual stimulation? Compersion comes in many forms.
When the two of you cross that bridge, you’ll set your own rules. It might be, “You can be you, but you can’t play with men.” Or you may decide, “Let’s try it once and see how it works for us.” It could just be a new form of pillow talk between the two of you.
Regardless of how you proceed, be prepared for the same jealousy, tension and awkward moments you had when you first entered the Lifestyle. But if your marriage can handle the Lifestyle, it’s strong enough to at least have open conversations about your curiosities and preferences.
It’s a personal decision for each man to make. I am not advocating that you put your marriage in jeopardy. But life is too short to not have fun and be our true sexual selves. For people in the Lifestyle, especially men who are married to bi women, you are in the best possible community to enjoy whatever sexual experience you desire.