Dear Dan Savage, am I bisexual?

Comments5

I’ve heard your calls for bisexuals to come out to their friends and family, and I think it’s a great idea. Here’s my conundrum: I’m not sure I technically classify as “bisexual”. I’m a 40-year-old guy who strongly prefers sex with women to men (percentage-wise I’m 70/30). I’ve had sex with dudes in the past (five or six times) and loved it, though I’ve never had the same emotional attachment and attraction that I’ve had with women. Most people seem to think that bisexuals are equally attracted to both genders—sexually and emotionally—like they could decide by flipping a coin. So am I bisexual or just a juicy boner hobbyist?

> Just Understanding Identity Causing Erotic Delirium

A quick word about my calls for bisexuals to come out to their friends and family…

Bisexuals complain about anti-bi stereotypes and misconceptions—about biphobia and bi-erasure—and quite rightly. It’s awful, it sucks, it’s gotta stop. But just as coming out has always been the most effective way for gays and lesbians to combat homophobia, coming out is the most effective way for bisexuals to combat biphobia. And while 77 percent of gay men and 71 percent of lesbians are out to “most of the important people in their lives”, according to a 2014 Pew Research survey of LGBT Americans, only 28 percent of bisexuals are.

Some argue that most bisexuals won’t feel safe enough to come out until straight and gay people get over their biphobia. That’s a bullshit argument. Yes, biphobia makes it more difficult for bisexuals to come out—in the same way that homophobia makes it difficult for gays and lesbians to come out. Someone could argue that the culture is less homophobic today, and they would be right. But that wouldn’t be the case if gay people hadn’t risked coming out when “insanely homophobic” was the near-universal default setting for “most of the important people in our lives”, i.e., friends, family, coworkers.

I’ve been accused of “blaming the victim” when I make this point. That’s absurd. I’m not blaming bisexuals for biphobia any more than I’m blaming gay people for homophobia. But biphobia will continue to thrive so long as the majority of bisexuals remain closeted. That’s just a fact. I’ve also been accused of being biphobic for making this point. That’s just nuts. (“That guy hates bisexual people so much, he wants there to be way more of them!”)

Okay, JUICED, on to your question: I get letters like yours every day. Guys tell me that they enjoy fucking men and women but they fall in love only with women. They’re not interested in relationships with men—some aren’t even into kissing men (getting fucked by men, yes; swapping spit with men, no)—but they love them juicy boners. These guys invariably tell me that they’re confused about their sexual orientation. They know they’re not straight (not with all the cock they’ve sucked), and they’re pretty sure they can’t be gay (not with all the pussy they’ve eaten), but they’re convinced they can’t be bisexual—aren’t bisexuals open to sex and relationships with both men and women? Isn’t that what everyone says?

These guys are bisexual, JUICED, and so are you. The reason so many guys like you are confused about their sexual identity—sorry, but “juicy boner hobbyist” is not a sexual identity—is that the popular definition of bisexuality, “someone who is equally attracted to men and women”, excludes guys like you. But there’s an improved definition making the rounds. It was coined by bisexual activist Robyn Ochs: “I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

You say you’re attracted to men and women, but not in the same way or to the same degree? Congratulations, JUICED, you’re bisexual. But that may not be all you are…
“Of all of the bi guys I’ve known over the years,” gay journalist Charles Pulliam-Moore wrote in a post at Thought Catalog, “the majority of them have been what I would describe as bi-sexual but hetero-amorous. That is to say that while they’d certainly get into some sweaty bro-on-bro action, guys simply couldn’t provide the kind of emotional satisfaction necessary for a romantic relationship.”

So if identifying as bisexual feels dishonest—since many folks will assume it means you’re open to a relationship with a man—go ahead and say you’re “bi but heteroamorous”, and rest assured that you’re not the only bi guy like you out there.


I am a 58-year-old gay man. I have never, ever been attracted to women sexually and never had sex with a woman. However, a few months ago I stumbled across some trans man porn (thank you, Buck Angel!) and was incredibly turned on. I would totally go down on or fuck a hot trans man. Am I still gay?

> Transmen Have Ripped Open Wonted Notions

“I get this question all the time,” says Buck Angel, a trans male porn star. “You are still gay, my friend. Trans men like myself who present ‘male’ consider ourselves men. So THROWN is still attracted to a man—just one who happens to have a different set of ‘balls’. It does not make him any less gay. He’s attracted to the masculinity of the trans man. Some people think that genitals are the deciding factor in gender. This is far from the truth! So don’t stress it, THROWN, and go have some fun!”


I’m a 20-year-old guy in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend of almost two years. Before I met him, I had a history of anonymous sex with men on Craigslist. I’ve recently been having urges to have anonymous sex again and urges that are hard to satisfy in a long-distance relationship. We tried having an open relationship but decided to stop because it left us feeling unhappy. I’m only comfortable with both of us having anonymous hookups, while my boyfriend is only comfortable hooking up with people he knows and is familiar with.

> Gay Boy Problems

Unless you guys have a concrete plan that lands you in the same city soon, your best course of action is to officially break up, do whatever/whoever you wanna do, keep in touch while sparing each other the details of your (now separate and private) sex lives, and then pick up where you left off if and when you’re living in the same city.

If you can’t bear the thought of breaking up and you can’t resist your urges for immediate, real-time, in-person sexual contact, GBP, the second-best course of action is a don’t ask/don’t tell arrangement. You do whatever/whoever you wanna do (safely!), he does whatever/whoever he wants to do (safely!), while—again—sparing each other the details.

But the way your boyfriend wants to hook up—with people he knows—discomforts you, most likely because his hookup preferences seem more threatening. A known-and-familiar hookup could easily turn into a relationship, right? True enough, GBP, but the gay world is filled with loving couples in stable, long-term relationships who met during anonymous or nearly anonymous sexual encounters, aka unknown and unfamiliar hookups. So demanding that your boyfriend adopt your preferred model of hooking up is no guarantee that he won’t meet and fall in love with someone else—and it’s no guarantee that you won’t meet and fall in love with someone else, either.

Comments (5) Add New Comment
Hazlit
Confession: According to Dan's definition--I am bisexual. Any of you cute boys want to hang out with me?
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Rating: -20
burned
as a hetero woman i had the shittiest experience with a bisexual man. he remained closeted and asked me to marry him and i did. turns out he was getting boy-blow jobs on a regular basis. i don't give a flying fuck if it was a man or woman blowing him, it wasn't me. and all that deception, my God it hurt so much when i found out. so that, it appears, is the conundrum. i cannot sate that desire because i do not have a penis. how can a bisexual human being be happy in a monogamous relationship? i'm thinking they can't, they can only truly be happy in an open one.
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Rating: -19
Dumped
As a bisexual woman who's recently come out of an open relationship, I can assure you that's not true. I am monogamous. Just because I'm attracted to both men and women doesn't mean I need both in my life simultaneously to feel fulfilled.
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Rating: +8
burned
@dumped
and that is what i always assumed, just because i like men doesn't mean i need a variety, which means that who you are attracted to is not the point, it is whether you want one sexual partner in your life or not. is that right? so it's not the sexual orientation, it's just a douchey partner that doesn't have the balls to be honest.
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Rating: +6
raffa
Dumped- I don't get your point. You say you are monogamous, but also just came out of an open relationship. How are these two reconciled? I think it is simplistic to reduce desire to I don't need both at the same time to feel fulfilled. Men and women have different bodies and different acculturation and therefore satisfy different needs/desires. It is not out of line to question how one who is attracted to both sexes handles the separate needs/desires that each can provide. Frankly, I'd be interested to hear thoughts on this that are more reflective than the false canard that "it's the person."
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Rating: +7
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