I’ve said for many, many years that I thought that most people were bisexual on some level, but that the tendency is socialized out of most of us, pushed deep into our psyches. Men, in particular, are not encouraged towards bisexuality and the only thing mainstream society likes about a bisexual woman is if she’s willing to “perform” it for the benefit of spectators (usually male). Still, in most conversations I’ve had about sexuality in the past 10 years or so, I interjected that I thought that sexuality was more fluid than most people wanted to admit. I didn’t base this on statistics or studies, but on observation of behaviors and comments. When I finally decided to act on this belief this year, I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole would go… to mangle a Morpheus quote.
I thought I was bisexual and I suppose I am, at least in practice. But I really blocked out experiences I’d had with woman. If you’d asked me in December, when this little journey started, to define my sexuality, I would have confidently said I was bisexual but that I preferred men. People who know me well may have figured out by now that the more strongly I state an opinion, the more likely it is that there is something lurking beneath the surface that needs some exploring. And I stated that preference VERY strongly.
As things progressed with L, I was completely overwhelmed by the intensity of “rightness” I felt being with a woman. I’m still trying to process it all, but things that stand out to me are physical attraction and emotional/social connection. I started thinking about times and people in the past who I had this with. I never would have denied the emotional/social connection, but I was in deep denial about the physical attraction.
Truth be told, I’ve never had the same level of chemical reaction to men that I do to women. And in either case, I’m pretty selective. But with women, it’s more intense. Maybe that’s because I’ve kept it so tightly under wraps. I don’t know yet. I definitely get that my current state (lack of interest in men, fascination with women) could be due to letting loose something that’s been suppressed for a very long time. All the unsurety is why I’m hesitant to really grab a label right now. Anyway, I started really considering the times I’ve had that reaction to women and realized it’s been more often than I initially recognized.
The easy and obvious ones have been at camp. I imagine it’s because I’m more open there. Certainly the community there encourages exploration, fluidity and range in regard to sexuality. I can think of at least three intense situations that I chalked up to camp weirdness when they happened. Now I’m viewing it through a different lens. A few friends who have attended camp with me noted my reaction to some of these things in different ways and those have been interesting and enlightening conversations. The harder interactions to consider, though, are the ones outside of camp.
I can think of at least two relationships that have been affected by my struggle with my sexuality. I can think of far more where I can identify all three components, but where, for varying reasons, the powder keg scenario never erupted. What’s the powder keg scenario? Well, that’s where I have a physical attraction, combined with the emotional and social connection… and it feels like the emotional and social connection were reciprocal… until it becomes very clear that they are not. And then I run away, with or without explosion, depending on the personalities involved.
I haven’t had these kinds of relationships with men, save one, and I think that’s just some kind of karmic thing with that particular man. Men make me tense and there is no doubt in my mind that this is mostly due to sexual abuse I’ve dealt with at their hands. (I know women can be abusive too, but in my case, they weren’t the perpetrators.) At any rate, someone recently asked me if I’d been attracted to men in recent years and I was surprised to find that with the exception I noted above, the answer is pretty much no. Not the same way. Did I have relationships with men? Yep. But I never felt the connection, nor the butterflies. And it’s all about the butterflies when it comes to physical attraction.
So where does this all leave me? Still pondering and processing. I’m taking a break from any kind of romantic attachment until I get some of this figured out. I’m seeing a therapist (though I’m shying away from the idea that some doctor will tell me what my sexuality is, ’cause ick, that’s just … ick). I’m journaling. I’m tuning in to my intuition, though it’s still sort of influenced by my “stuff” (this is what I want the therapist to help with). I’m making space for this journey, ’cause it’s a big one. I’m literally getting fit for it, ’cause I think it will require that kind of energy.
Labels still itch a bit, so I’m trying not to take them on. Bisexual and gay both have their sets of “things” attached. Everyone wants me to choose and I’m just not ready. I’m going with fluid at this point, fluid and leaning towards women, which I suppose means gay. I feel like I have to be unequivocally sure, and that’s some kind of pressure. I wonder how often people ARE unequivocally sure if they really allow themselves to be honest. But now I’m back to my initial argument, aren’t I?
At any rate, I promised a post about this, and here it is. Questions? Comments? Diagnoses? 😉