Bisexuality – Kinds of Love

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Yes, I am a bisexual human being, but there is more to me than my genitals. The key to living a bisexual life, or any life for that matter, is learning to love from the deepest part of the soul.  Kaznarek, in his work titled “How Should We Live”[1], looks at the six Greek words for love. Lets apply them to bisexuality.

As bisexuals, we usually focus on the sexual eros, the passion side of love. We have taken a biological process designed for reproduction, created the concept of “sexual love”, and held it up as the solution to all our wants and needs. As bisexuals, we often seek same-sex love where we engage our passions without being responsible for the feelings of our sex partner. This can be okay as long as each person seeks passion for the same reason. As we have seen, this form of love may lead to pleasure and the dopamine rush that we all seek; however, we have also reached the conclusion that this is not enough to keep a relationship alive or provide for the deeper needs of the human soul. Typically, we use passion for a while to meet our individual needs and then we drift apart.

The second kind of love is ludus or playful love. This is the innocent stage of flirting or teasing. It is the banter at the bar, or psychological jostling in the coffee room at work, or the contact on the dance floor. It is innocent play that seeks to unite through joyful experiences. It is sexual in nature but is more of an attempt to connect through play rather than an all-out drive to seduce. This love lets us laugh and experience each other’s positive energies of joy and happiness without getting into the dopamine driven sexual rush. It lets us connect with and share positive energies with other human beings.   As bisexuals, this play can be with men or women; however, we usually save the play for heterosexual banter and the driven passion for same sex experiences. If we to learn to play with both sexes, we may smile more and regret less.

The third type of love is pragma, or longstanding love, often associated with couples in long lasting relationships. These are usually opposite-sex sexual partnerships but may also be the same-sex primary relationship. Pragma is having a life-partner to share at the deepest levels of our spiritual souls and sexual bodies. When we are in these relationships, we usually attempt to stay monogamous. However, we must realize that the monogamous part is for intimacy and soul to soul, spirit to spirit kind of relationship.  For bisexuals, this kind of monogamy does not necessarily exclude other kinds of love or other lovers for that matter. We may still have our pragma relations with our soul- mate but relate to others with sexual passion or play. This requires a great deal of maturity from both partners.

The fourth aspect of love is philia or deep friendship. At this point, we leave the sexual world behind and express an altruistic type of love. In the Greek, it originally referred to men fighting side by side in the phalanx on the battle field. I believe we are again on the battlefield in our present society, fighting a war for identity and purpose.  It helps to have people that we can trust with our lives to share, grow, and survive. In our bisexual desires to get closer to our same-sex acquaintances, we often revert to sexual attraction, but this kind of love is much deeper than that. For me, my challenge is to make non-sexual bonds with other gay and bisexual men who truly understand and share the struggles of bisexuality.  I have to learn to share my fears with them and trust them to guard my back when I need it.

The fifth, and perhaps most important of all, is philautia or love of self. The negative side is narcissism which is self-absorption that leads to individualism and most of the negative aspects of our society. The positive side is that we like ourselves and feel secure enough in ourselves to reach out to others. All other forms of love should be connected with self-love. All relationships with others should lead us to greater love for ourselves. If we bisexuals find ourselves feeling depressed and experiencing shame because of our sexual practices, we know we have work to do in this area.

The sixth type of love is agape or universal loving kindness. It is tapping into the universal power of love that connects us all as human beings. It is being able to take this love within and then share it with someone else. It combines compassion with intimacy. It is being willing to touch and be touched by others. It is that warm hug from a dear friend or the hug that follows a moment of tears with someone that needs our love and support. As bisexuals, because of the journey we have taken to become mature sexual human beings, we have something to share with others on how to go beyond our sexuality into the world of self-love and love for others.

If we truly understand our bisexuality, we can view it in light of all these aspects of love and connection. Yes, sexuality it is one way to reach out to others as a form of intimacy and connection, but it should not be used to fulfill all our needs and desires for connection and self-identity.  We are more than just sexual beings; we have all these other expressions of love that are better expressed by a hug than by an hour in bed.

 

[1] Krznaric, Roman. How Should We Live .Amazon.  2013.  (http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-ancient-greeks-6-words-for-love-and-why-knowing-them-can-change-your-life)

 

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