Understanding the Bisexual Man

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)

An excerpt from my book “Bi – A Bisexual Man’s Transformational Journey”.

 

For everyone out there that is confused by bisexual behavior, it is helpful to try to understand what it’s like to be a bisexual. Prior to the 1980’s when I was growing up, bisexuality was considered just a transition stage from heterosexual to being gay. It was not until the mid-1980’s that science took a serious look at bisexuality because of the AIDS epidemic that was spreading from the gay to the heterosexual population. Most of us did not see the third choice; our struggle was between being gay or staying heterosexual and trying to live a “normal” life.

In my experience, bisexual men, particularly men with a feminine side to the gay side of their personality, seem to experience greater levels of social anxiety during childhood and adolescence, which coupled with their feminine enhanced psychological nature, makes them vulnerable to rejection, particularly by fathers, older brothers, and by potential male friends at school and in the community. Some cover it over by trying to hide behind a strictly masculine persona. Either way, they often grow into adults with serious issues related to their sexuality.

What is it like to be a bisexual man and what is the relationship, if any, between bisexual orientation, social trauma, and mental illness? It is not easy for bisexuals to deal with their gay side. A study by Susan Cochran[1], indicated that gay and bisexual men have significantly higher rates of major and recurrent depression, generalized anxiety, mood disorders, and higher rates of suicidal thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, this new generation is not coping any better. Research indicates that the bisexual population in American high schools has grown to three to six percent with an additional three percent who are unsure of their sexual orientation[2]. About one in four experience bouts of depression and attempts at suicide.

The occurrence of mental issues is even higher for married bisexual men. How does a married bisexual man with children deal with compulsive overwhelming drives that compel him to engage in behaviours that he knows will destroy his life and his marriage? They have to deal with the issues of the gay side of their sexuality while trying to maintain their social heterosexual image. The occurrence of suicide is very high; however, the exact numbers are difficult to establish, because the bisexual motivation for suicide is often concealed from the public eye. Bisexual men appear to have anxieties that may last a lifetime.

Most bisexuals that I have interviewed do not allow themselves the privilege of open and carefree gay sex. They avoid gay relationships because intimate friendships may interfere with their heterosexual lives. They seek out places for anonymous encounters, such as parks and bathhouses, where they may engage in multiple sexual acts on any given day or night. They make anonymous contacts through gay dating services and pickup gay bars. They do not care if these encounters result in intimacy or relationship. They just need gay sex as a release valve for their suppressed gay desires. Based on my observations, many bisexual men continue to lead this life until they reach a crisis point brought on by discovery of their lifestyle by their spouse, or by reaching a point where they crash and have to make the decision to accept their gay orientation and seek a relationship with another man.

In my experience, the bisexual person not only has to deal with typical gay issues, but he also has to face the mental issues brought on by repression and denial. In extreme cases, this repression can lead to a gender identity disorder which seems to involve a significant segment of the bisexual population. I believe the term “sexual identity disorder” does not exist in isolation; it has to be included as part of a personality disorder where a person denies their own identity with their own wants and needs. The sexual orientation then becomes an impossible complication to their already fragile identity.

My observations suggest that the bisexual man frequently has no self-identity or has two conflicting identities. He tends to use his gay orientation as a means of self-abuse, self-punishment, and self-destruction. Because he cannot face his true sexual identity, his sexual drive may become a compulsion that is based on fear and the subconscious emotional pain from denial and repression. This may lead to an addiction where there is only one stimulus available that can break through the hopeless feelings of self-imposed withdrawal, and that is to seek out another gay sexual rush. This compulsion, if unchecked, will eventually lead to sexual addiction, with a cycle of stimulation, action and then withdrawal, which can eventually lead to a mental collapse and suicidal desires.

[1] Cochran, 2002.

[2] Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),2016

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