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

Bisexuality, Bullying, and Suicide

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)The bisexual population has grown to close to 10% and more than 25% of the bisexuals in this emerging population are facing a hostile world in which they see little hope.  In a study done by the American based Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) involving 15,600 students, we see that sexuality is still a major problem facing emerging adults.  Results show that one in three LGBT have been bullied compared to one in five in the general population. More than one in four claim they have attempted suicide compared to one in sixteen in the straight world. Of the population 2% said they were gay or lesbian and 6% to 9% said they were bisexual or uncertain of their sexual identity. If we generalize these results to the 16 million students who attend American high schools, we see that over a million were bisexual and more than 250,000 have attempted to end their young lives.

So what conclusions or suppositions can we make about these figures?

  1. This is in spite of the changing attitudes by law makers, school boards, and teaching staffs. The answers are not political but in the minds of the straight population and the hearts of gay, lesbian and bisexual young people.
  2. Bullying continues to be a major problem for the high school population in general and for LGBT students in particular. This is in spite of an all-out effort to make schools a safer place to learn. If we look at bullying itself, we see a significant number of young people are troubled and are showing their anger and lack of connection by hurting others.
  3. If we look at teens in general, we see massive disconnection and anxiety. These are just young people trying to find their way to adulthood.  It shows that our society simply does not know how to nurture and guide its young.
  4. Most of these problems arise in the homes and are already established by the time the children are five years old. As a society, we have lost the ability to parent. The results are showing up in violence and hopelessness.
  5. Anxieties leading to depression and suicide attempts are a major problem for LGBT students. As parents and as a society, we simply are not nurturing these young people. We are changing the laws, rules, and regulations but not our attitudes. Teachers, educators and social workers, I believe, have got it, but it is not filtering down to the students themselves.  For this to happen, media and social media have to change, but more important, these attitudes have to change in the homes.

And how do we change these attitudes?

  1. It will take time and persistence in speaking the message over and over again.
  2. We have to reduce the stress and the subsequent anxieties of the general population.
  3. We have to cut back on individualization and become more community minded.
  4. We have to reduce the work time for parents to allow for more quality focused attention that parents can give to their young people.
  5. We have to educate parents on how to nurture their children.
  6. In the school systems, we have to convince the administrators and the taxpayers that we need more resources. We need support services for individuals and more one to one time between teachers and students. We have to be focused on the development of the whole child. We have to make each one, even the bullies, even the LGBT student, feel they are a part of a caring community.
  7. We have to help students see each other as a vital part of the community.  We have to honor differences as a source of gifts that each one has to offer.
  8. If young people feel loved and connected at home and at school, they will take these vibrations into society in general. We will not have to do anything to change the system – the system will change itself.

As bisexuals, we have a responsibility to be true to ourselves and to the young people entering the lifestyle. There is no more place for secrecy and shame; there are innocent lives at stake. We are bisexual. We are unique. This is a blessing not a curse. Let’s let the young people know they have a gift they can be proud of.