Mixed anxiety/depression disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder

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This is the fifth and last in the series on exploring anxiety dysfunctional traits for  Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) on the DSM 5, and symptom six on the DSM IV. Today we will look at mixed anxiety/depression disorder (MADD).

Although I was unable to find research into a direct link between BPD and MADD, I did find some interesting information and have taken the liberty to employ the blogger’s freedom to draw a few unsubstantiated conclusions. Fava et al in their investigation into the frequency of anxiety disorders in 255 outpatients with depression, concluded that anxiety disorder diagnoses were present in 50.6% of these patients[1]. Moreover, they discovered that an anxiety disorder preceded depression in about sixty five percent of the time. The obvious conclusion is that these two major disorders often occur together and that clinical anxiety usually precedes and may potentially be a significant factor in the onset of depression.

Based on past blogs, I think we can safely extrapolate that people with BPD frequently suffer from MADD symptoms. Because of our fragile egos and our tendency to feel excessive amounts of shame, we are constantly having to deal with anxiety related to the overreaction of the sympathetic system and the hypersensitivity of the reticular system. Because of this constant battlefield in our minds, ninety percent of the time we develop an anxiety disorder. Consequently, this constant battle with anxiety frequently causes a breakdown in the nervous system resulting in clinical depression.

Living with BPD is definitely a difficult path, but it is not hopeless. Neither is living with MADD hopeless; although, it may seem that way when we are in the middle of it. Therefore, I think it is important to recognize our BPD symptoms and predispositions and put safety mechanisms in place before we go MADD.

Here are my five suggestions for bisexuals with, or have the potential for, MADD:

  1. We hang in there. The depression is just a reaction to a buildup of our anxiety. It is a call to slow the world down and get off the treadmill for a while. We accept out present state of depression, acknowledge that it is a natural outcome of our BPD, and seek professional help. MADD can be complex; therefore, when we go to our family doctor, we go to the top and ask for an appointment with a psychiatrist. A combination of anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medication will restore our chemical imbalance and get us back on track.
  2. Counselling now can become effective. We seek out a counselor (or stay with our psychiatrist if she is available) and begin the process of coming to terms with our BPD. We explore the original causes of our anxiety and begin to deal with them one at a time. 
  3. We do not let our sexuality be the cause of anxiety. It is one of the best ways of getting rid or stress, anxiety, and anxiety residue. We want it to work for us not against us, so we make sure we have a healthy attitude before and after sex. No blame, no shame. 
  4. If we know we have BPD, we make sure we have a plan in place to prevent common stresses from becoming causes of an anxiety attack and/or another anxiety disorder. This includes a support person or group to help process common issues, a diet to keep our body healthy, and an exercise program to burn off the residue of our anxieties. We can then return to the parasympathetic system and gain relaxation and regeneration.
  5. We carefully monitor our reticular system. We note when it is becoming engaged. We will usually feel a sense of fear, anger, or shame followed by physical symptoms. We learn to soothe ourselves by breathing exercises and self-talk – there, there – it’s okay – we can handle this.

 

[1] Fava, Maurizio; Rankin, Meridith A.;  Wright, Emma C. ; Alpert, Jonathan E. Nierenberg, ; Andrew A.; Pava, Joel, and Rosenbaum, Jerrold F.. Anxiety Disorders in Major Depression. Comprehensive Psychiatry· March 2000.

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions for Bisexuals

shirt-tie-w-out-white-background-final-13 The best advice I can give regarding New Year’s Resolutions is, “Don’t do it!” If you are striving and hoping to change your sexual behavior, “Stop trying!” Why? Because our brains do not work that way.
       Let me explain. Our brains are designed to avoid pain and seek pleasure, and seeking pleasure is ten times (I made that up) more powerful than avoiding pain. But it does not stop there. There are two kinds of pleasure: the activation of the quick route through the pleasure system of the brain, and the process of setting goals and achieving them.  They both go through the same pleasure system, but one is short term and leads to pleasure, and the other is long term and leads to happiness. 
       So what is the difference between pleasure and happiness? Pleasure is easy to define; it is biological; more specifically, it is chemical. It has two purposes: to excite and then to soothe, thus completing the pleasure circuit of the brain. Our bisexual brains have decided that the quickest and most powerful way to activate the pleasure system is gay or lesbian sex. This is how it works. We are feeling down and need a fix; we need to get a high to escape the low. All drugs work this way including that wonderful hormone mix of testosterone, estrogen, oxytocin, epinephrine, and adrenalin. Together they not only  excite the body, but they  also serve as neuromodulators to excite the brain. Now the combined hormone/dopamine rush is on with the goal of a pleasure bath through sex. There is one other thing to consider. Having sex with our life partner is great and usually provides a high; however, if we are really down, we may need a greater high. This is where going out on the hunt, or to a lover on the side, comes into play. You see, the novelty of finding a new partner or the feeling of crossing a forbidden boundary actually adds to the charge – namely a more intense flow of dopamine and a greater adrenalin rush. At this point, desire becomes an obsession, an intense dopamine and hormone flow that can only be alleviated by accomplishing our goal – new and exciting sex. Unfortunately, there is usually no soothing after we literally come back to our senses. There is usually pain in the form of guilt and shame. Oops, no soothing. Back to anxiety.
       Now let’s look at happiness which is much more complex and almost impossible to define because it means different things to different people. The closest we can get to universal agreement on happiness is intimacy. This is where sex with a life partner comes in. We look across the room and see our lover and our neurons begin to fire. We are not likely looking just for a fix. Usually, the goal is intimacy. Whenever we feel a little down or we have a hard time seeing the connection with our partner, within ourselves, with life, the world (whatever), we can connect all those dots with sex with our partner (a very clever design because it has the potential to create one more human being and save the human race one more time). This type of sex in usually slower, seeking connection as well as pleasure. This combination of connection and pleasure creates intimacy and intimacy is a form of happiness. To celebrate this reconnection with our partner, our world, and our self the brain now releases a flow of serotonin creating a soothing type of contentment and quiet pleasure; in other words, happiness. The circuit is now complete.  No anxiety.
       Which brings us back to New Year’s Resolutions. They simply do not work. Our brain will refuse to abandon its favorite sources of pleasure without a very good reason. So all the “I will stop” resolutions are worse than useless. They create anxiety, and unsoothed anxiety is a form of pain which the brain wants to avoid. These types of resolutions are doomed to fail, and repeated failure is another form of anxiety and pain. What about the “From now on I will…” resolutions? In this case, the brain has another objection. You see, the pay-off or reward has to be perceived as attainable and perceived as a significantly greater source of pleasure. In other words, we have to firmly believe that being “happy” will be a greater reward than the sought after pleasure. The second factor is that we also weigh the amount of effort (employed anxiety) it will take to achieve the goal. If the cost is too great the brain will not engage the dopamine achievement pleasure system. It takes a strong dopamine charged circuit to change a behavior, and the brain simply does not want to expend the energy it takes to prune and develop the circuits needed to change the behavior.
So what is the alternative? Here are my five suggestions for bisexuals:
  1. We do not make any New Year’s Resolution. We do not try to change our behavior. Instead, we aim to evolve into higher human beings. If we can learn to appreciate and enjoy who we are, we will be “happy”, and as long as we are happy, we will no longer have out of control anxiety, and we will no longer have the need for a sexual high to counterbalance our emotional lows.
  2. We can do this by awakening our higher self. It takes no effort, so our brain will be happy. We simply change our paradigm. We simply choose to accept ourselves and love ourselves just the way we are, with all our flaws. This includes our sexual orientation and our sexual desires and behaviors.  They are what they are. There is no blame there is no shame.
  3. We continue to seek pleasure. It is a wonderful gift from the universe. Whenever we have sex we enjoy every minute of it. Every smell, every touch, every taste, every “I love you”, and how beautiful our partner is. We plan to indulge all our senses. No blame no shame. After sex, we stick around and come down together, thus releasing all our tensions and enjoying our body’s serotonin bath.
  4. We do not stop at pleasure, we seek happiness.  This means getting rid of guilt and shame once and for all. If we have a partner, we work things out together. It will mean honesty and compromise. If we cannot work it out, we may have to make plans to part. Whatever path we choose, we have to free our sexual behavior from the guilt and shame pattern. Sex was meant to be enjoyed and to be a part of our pleasure and happiness circuits. It is too powerful a force to have working against us, and it is too precious a gift not to be enjoyed.
  5. We seek deeper and deeper levels of intimacy. Good sex with a partner leads to bonding, intimacy, contentment, purpose, and to feelings of control rather than helplessness. It establishes a firm base. It is that one guiding principle that our brain can understand. It is willing to try anything, any new adventure or risk as long as it adds to its feelings of intimacy and contentment.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Relationships

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)(This is the fifth in the series on the relationship between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder [BPD].)

In previous blogs, we have established a link between BPD and bisexuality. We have looked at two symptoms for BPD on the DSM4: symptom 1 –  fear of abandonment, and symptom 3 – identity disturbance or poor self-concept.  Today we want to look at the second symptom which is “a pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation”. The DSM5 describes it as, “Intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships … alternating between over involvement and withdrawal”.  From my review of the literature, it appears that difficulty in interpersonal relationships may be connected to problems with the mechanisms involved with bonding. This goes back to childhood issues such as abuse or neglect.

The relations between parental bonding and attachment constructs and borderline personality disorder features were examined by Nichol et al in 2002[1].  In a sample of 393 18-year-old’s, low parental bonding and attachment scores were associated with borderline features including insecure, anxious, or ambivalent attachment, and a perception of a relative lack of caring from one’s mother.

So what is happening biologically for people with BPD.  Bartz et al investigated the effects of intranasal oxytocin (OXT) on trust and cooperation in borderline personality disorder (BPD)[2]. Their data suggests that OXT does not facilitate trust and pro-social behavior in BPD’s but may actually impede it. They suggest that this may be due to possible neurochemical differences in the OXT system.

So where does this difference originate and how does it occur? First of all, we have to view OXT not only as a hormone generated by the pituitary gland but also as a neuromodulator. In plain English, that means that OXT affects the functions of the brain. This is usually done through the excitement or suppression of neurotransmitters.  In other words, OXT works differently in people with BPD by suppressing rather than exciting the transfer of messages within the brain and from the brain to the rest of the body.

We know that OXT is involved in bonding and that bonding to one’s mate creates aversion to any other potential sexual partner. When we look at aversion, we can get some clues from the rats and wolves[3].  In the case of wolves, one experience with tainted mutton made them swear off sheep for the rest of their lives. We all have experienced a nauseating sensation after an intense emotional experience and what could be more emotional than feeling rejected by one’s own mother? Could it be that when the outflow of OXT between mother and child during early childhood is accompanied by rejection that it literally leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the child by affecting the digestive system?

So how does this apply to our sexuality? We  know that sexual attraction usually involves a release of OXT. We also know that OXT can result in aversion and even nausea when presented with an opportunity for sex with members of the opposite sex for gays and lesbians and that some heterosexuals experience similar reactions about have same sex experiences. Could this indeed be the workings of OXT?

Gays, lesbians, and heterosexuals usually have no trouble bonding, and it is the work of the bond that creates the sense of aversion, and it is the aversion that creates the emotional reaction. What about bisexuals? Because we have difficulty bonding we also have no aversion mechanisms. Therefore, we can have sex with either men or women without experiencing overpowering negative emotion. We still have the OXT rush but not biologically imprinted restrictions. We have no difficulty devouring the delirious meal set before us.

What I am suggesting is the people with BPD have difficulty forming lasting relationships because we have difficulty bonding. The OXT release has the opposite effect, we simply associate it with rejection and have an aversion to bonding itself. We enjoy sex for the sake of sex but reject the bonding that goes with it. We burn our bridges and walk away from potentially painful experiences.  That does not mean, however, that we cannot have lasting relationships. It just means that we have to work harder to form stronger and more encompassing emotional and mental bonds in spite of the negative flow of OXT.

My five suggestions for bisexuals.

  1. We don’t give up on the bond. We can still  form mental and emotional bonds by creating and repeating feelings of love for our partners .
  2. If we feel emotional aversion, we can accept it, face it, and understand where it is coming from. We can then choose to recreate a feeling of love. Every time we do this, it reinforces our love bond.
  3. We do not let our aversion feelings interfere with our sex life. We focus on the physical and emotional pleasure and use this experience to again reinforce our love bond.
  4. We keep focusing on the positive aspects of our relationship and consciously build our mental-emotional bond.
  5. We do little things to show our partner we love them. Flowers and chocolate works for women and a good back rub does wonders for a man (by the way men like chocolate too, and women like back rubs).

 

 

[1] Angela D. Nickell, Carol J. Waudby, Timothy J. Trull, (2002). Attachment, Parental Bonding and Borderline Personality Disorder Features in Young Adults. Journal of Personality Disorders: Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 148-159. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi.16.2.148.22544

 

[2] Bartz, Jennifer; Simeon, Daphine; Hamilton, Holly; Kim, Suah; Crystal, Sarah; Braun, Ashley; Vicens, Victor; and Hollander, Eric. Oxytocin can hinder trust and cooperation in borderline personality disorder. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Volume 6, Issue 5, 1 October 2011, Pages 556–563, https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsq085

 

[3] Gustavson, Carl R.; Sweeney, Michael; and Garcia,John. Prey-lithium aversions. I: coyotes and wolves 1. Behavior Biology, Vol 17, 1976.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Bisexuality 4

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)(This is the fourth in the series on the relationship between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder [BPD].)

In the previous blogs, we have established a significant correlation between bisexuality and BPD. In the last blog, we looked at the first symptom for BPD from the DSM4 which was, “Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment”. Today we want to look at the third symptom, “identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self”.

The DSM5 describes self-identity under “Significant impairments in personality functioning”. The markers are “Markedly impoverished, poorly developed, unstable self-image, often associated with excessive self-criticism; chronic feelings of emptiness; and dissociative states under stress.” The key here is self-identity. There was a catch phrase in the 1980’s that said, “he is trying to find himself”. For us bisexuals, this can be a lifetime pursuit. Not only do we often have to deal with BPD, but we also struggle with our sexual identity.

In my definition, there are two aspects to self-identity; namely, how I present myself to others, and how I view my own sense of being. The first is usually defined by occupation, family roles, and societal roles. People with BPD usually try to be everything to everybody in order to please. Unfortunately, we lose our sense of our inner self. When our outer self is threatened, we have nothing to fall back on so we crash.

When we look at some of the other descriptors, we see “impoverished and unstable self-image”. There is no, or only a limited, sense of inner self. As seen in a previous blog, these feelings usually originate due to abuse or neglect during childhood. The bonding with our parents gives us a foundation, a sense of having a loving bond that we can build on during childhood, teen years, and early adult life. We gradually sort it out and come up with a feeling of who we are and what we stand for. However, without this firm foundation, the self-structure is limited and usually lacks confidence and a sense of what it feels like to be loved.

The next descriptor is “chronic feelings of emptiness”. We lack confidence in our self and have difficulty building on past successes. We reject positive compliments and focus on  the negative.  The result is that we go from moment to moment looking for affirmation but never really digesting it. We look for love but never really accept that we are indeed lovable and worthy of being loved.

The last point is “dissociative states under stress”. This is the one where our bisexuality really complicates the matter. Because we lack a sense of self, we tend to have difficulty dealing with stress, especially when it comes to our sex life. It seems that in order to function as heterosexuals, we have to create a heterosexual identity, and when we enter the gay or lesbian world, we create a significantly different persona. Bisexual men tend to seek love and intimacy and bisexual women tend to seek and protection and security in the heterosexual relationships, and when we want power and passion, we go gay or lesbian. When we are under stress and need to restore our chemical balance by going from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic system, we usually go for same-sex erotica. This helps us escape anxiety for a few precious moments, and also stimulates the pleasure centers or our brain.  We then form a dissociative relationship between the two identities to cope with the stress and avoid guilt and shame. This works for awhile, and then we will inevitably crash.

Let’s face it, there are a significant number of bisexuals who have to deal with the BPD component of their psychological makeup. The key is to bring the two sexual identities together. We can do this by creating neural pathways involving feelings of acceptance and gratitude to replace the feelings of guilt and shame.

My five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. If you are bisexual and have no self-identity issues and no BPD problems – enjoy.
  2. If we struggle with self-identity, we can learn to accept ourselves just the way we are. We can seek a new foundation. We bond with ourselves. We bond the fragile ego-self with the spiritually powerful higher self. We become our own parent.
  3. We flood our self with self-love from the higher self. We practice looking in the mirror and seeing the higher self within. We tell our selves we love our self over and over again until we believe and feel the higher self healing and cleansing the neural pathways of our brain.
  4. When confronted with a moment of self-hate, self-loathing, or self doubt we stop it. We tell ourselves that we are better than that; in fact, we are beautiful, powerful, and in complete control of our emotions and feelings. We make a conscious decision to let go of the negative feelings of self-loathing and shame and embrace the positive feelings of love from our higher self.
  5. We bring the two sexual identities together and accept our bisexuality as part of our self, and yes, even, or especially, a part of our higher self. We release the power of our sexual identity and sexual passion  as a motivator for loving our self and sharing our love with others.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bisexuality 2

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)

(This is the second in the series on the relationship between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder.)

A study by Zubenko et al [1], using the sexual histories of patients who met standardized criteria for borderline disorder, found that 17 of the 61 men (21%) were homosexual, and 4 (5%) were bisexual compared with 7 (11%) of the 61 women. They concluded that homosexuality was 10 times more common among the men and 6 times more common among the women with borderline personality disorder than in the general population or in a depressed control group. Another study by Reich, and Zanarini,[2] concluded that same-gender attraction may be an important interpersonal issue for approximately one-third of both men and women with BPD. There were no significant differences between homosexual or bisexual orientation.

We can see from these studies that about a third of the people with BPD have some form of same-sex attraction. I was not able to locate information on the reverse to see how many bisexuals would be diagnosed with BPD, but I think we can extrapolate that the number is indeed significant. It is my belief that the majority of bisexual men and women may exhibit at least “some” of the BPD symptoms, even if they do not reach the level of a disorder where it would seriously affect their ability to function psychologically and socially.

So let’s take a look at the symptoms listed in the DSM4 (this appears to be much clearer that the DSM5). In general, it is, “A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five(or more) of the following:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or selfmutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms “

The first of these is a fear of abandonment. We will look at this one in detail next week.

Here are my five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. Do an inventory on the nine symptoms. Give yourself a rating between 1 and 10 with 10 being severe and frequent.
  2. If your score is 25 or greater you may have a Borderline Personality Disorder.
  3. If so you may wish to consider getting counselling.
  4. Write down the symptoms that you have noted. We will be covering these items in future blogs.
  5. If you know someone with BPD you may want to give them this website address.

[1] Zubenko, George S.George, Anselm W.; Soloff, Paul H.; and Schulz, Patricia. Sexual practices among patients with borderline personality disorder. APA PsycNet, 2018.

 

[2] D. Bradford Reich, MD; Mary C. Zanarini, EdD. Sexual Orientation and Relationship Choice in Borderline Personality Disorder Over Ten Years of Prospective Follow-Up.  Journal of Personality Disorders December 2008. Guilford Press Periodicals. Vol 22, Issue  6. 2018

Read More: https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/pedi.2008.22.6.564

Knowledge and Bisexuality

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)(This is the fifth in the series on applying Napoleon Hill’s principles for financial success to how we can shape our bisexuality into creating a life that we would truly love to live.)

“Knowledge will not attract (our desire) unless it is organized, and intelligently directed, through practical plans of action to the definite end of (living the life that we love to live)”.[1]

If you are reading this article, it is probably because you are seeking knowledge about bisexuality. But how much do we actually have to know in order to live the life we would love to live? What we are seeking is not knowledge but to actually educate ourselves. The Latin word educo means “to draw out or develop from within”. That knowledge on how to live the life that we would love to live is already there inside of us; we just have to draw it out.

According to Hill there are two types of knowledge – general and specialized. What you are seeking in this article is specialized knowledge. I am a psychologist and a bisexual; therefore, by processing the information I have gathered and applying it to my own life, I hopefully have some specialized knowledge to tell. In truth, yes, I do have some specialized knowledge, but my main goal is to help you educate yourself by helping you draw out what you already know and applying it to your own life.

First of all let’s decide on the sort of specialized knowledge we require and the purpose for which it is needed. Yes, it helps to know that we are not alone, and approximately five percent of men and 15 percent of women heterosexuals have at some time experimented with same sex relationships. If we do the math. one of every ten people may be considered bisexual. Knowledge will also help us know where we can meet other bisexual people for relationship, companionship, and just general support in developing new thought patterns. But what else is really necessary?

What we really want to do is develop our general knowledge. We need to somehow come up with a new thought about ourselves and how we can handle the circumstances of our present situation. If we are burdened with a bunch of negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves, we have to somehow change the way we think. We have to overhaul our general knowledge mechanisms. We need to think new thoughts.  This new thought then has to be nurtured and organized into a new self-concept that we are indeed worthy, powerful, and beautiful.

The place to start is with our discontents and dissatisfactions. What is impeding us from being the people we want to be? We need to take inventory. Every time we have a negative thought about ourselves, we have to challenge it. We need to apply some good old cognitive therapy. For example, “I hate myself,” becomes, “I have a negative feeling whenever I think about gay or lesbian sex”. Okay, we are making progress. Now we can challenge that thought “Why do I feel bad whenever I think of gay or lesbian sex?” The answer might be, “Because my friends make a lot of gay jokes, and if I want to be with my friends, I have to stop having these thoughts.” Aha! Now we are getting somewhere. Where do these thoughts come from? Well they come from our basic biological make up and have developed over time to being a core part of our being. We can therefore conclude, “If my friends are real friends, they will have to love me for who I am, if not they are not real friends anyway.” Whenever we challenge our negative thoughts, we should always come back to the essential core belief of generalized knowledge, namely, “I am in complete control of my mind; I can control and direct all my thoughts; I am powerful and I am beautiful; and my bisexuality is a gift to be nurtured and enjoyed”. All our thoughts have to be in harmony with this core belief.

We can then use the power of our imaginations to organize and put this new knowledge to work. The next step is to take action. We tell our friends how we feel and engage them in some honest discussion. They may respond with their own feelings and fears. Women do this naturally, we men have to work at it to make it happen. Above all, we make a commitment to ourselves to live honestly, walk tall, and speak from the heart. In other words we have “organized, and intelligently directed” our thoughts and formulated “practical plans of action to the definite end” of living the life we would truly love to live.

[1] Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. Dover Publication, Inc. 2015. (Page 64).

My five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. We challenge our negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones.
  2. We develop our self-concept by understanding ourselves, the way we think, and how we organize our thoughts. If our self-concept is negative we change it. If it is positive we celebrate.
  3. We refuse to accept anything that lowers our self-esteem. We actually should learn to admire ourselves for what we have accomplished and the hardships we have overcome or are in the process of overcoming.
  4. We put our new self-concept and our new self-esteem into action. We deal with issues and with our relationships with confidence. We do not fear criticism; we welcome it. It is our opportunity to grow.
  5. We plan our life and take steps to make it the kind of life we love to live.

Bi-gender and Transsexual Procedures

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)In a recent article in Newsweek[1], Borreli noted that sex change increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the U.S., with more than 3,000 operations performed in 2017. She also reported that some male to female transsexuals felt they would never be liked or accepted as real women. Borreli also reported that there is a lack of pre and post counselling, and that a significant number of male to female trans wanted to reverse the procedure.

A group of researchers in Sweden[2]discovered that the mental health of transsexuals after surgery was not what we would expect it to be. In a follow-up survey of 324 sex-reassigned persons (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males), they discovered that the overall mortality, particularly death from suicide, for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up than for controls of the same birth sex. Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts and psychiatric treatment. They concluded that physically changing the birth sex may not be sufficient for treating transsexualism, and advocated for improved psychiatric care after sex reassignment.

With the increased frequency of sexual reassignment and the data on mental wellbeing after transition, one must take a long serious look at this life-changing procedure. Many of the people involved in sex reassignment have been previously married and in a heterosexual relationship. In my mind this makes them bisexual, or to put it more accurately, bi-gender. Many do not make the transition for sexual reasons with little or no desire to experience sex in their new sexually reversed bodies. Most of the issues are gender related not sexual. As we have seen, gender feelings come from a genetic predisposition and then shaped and molded by life and cultural experiences. Perhaps it is enough to be like the hijra and just take on the clothing and gender roles without the sex change.

More and more of the sexually reassigned are young people, many of them in their teens. This may not be a good time for a sex change. Sexuality seems to be quite fluid at this age with many, especially women, experimenting with bisexuality. They may need to resolve these feelings and explore their gay or lesbian nature before deciding on a sex change. They may also want to experiment with gender role change before starting hormone treatments.

Sexual reassignment begins with hormone treatment. One person Borreli interviewed felt it was the hormones that made him act impulsively and go for the surgery that he later regretted. Hormone treatments affect the whole body not just the genitals. They also serve as neuromodulators thus affecting the neural circuits of the brain causing a major shift in mental functioning. These dramatic physical and mental changes may lead to massive confusion in the creation and changing of neural pathways. This may lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

 

My five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Look for clarity in our sexuality. We can define ourselves sexually as heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian. We can then seek sexual gratification based on this knowledge.
  2. Look for clarification in our gender roles. Are we masculine, or feminine, or are we bigender with fluid flow from male to female feelings of orientation? If we feel we are a man in a woman’s body, or a woman in a man’s body, or if we alternate from one gender role to another, we can explore and enjoy same sex and opposite sex relationships by changing our gender roles without hormones or sexual reassignment.
  3. If we truly want and need to experience sex, not as gay or lesbian, but truly as our transgender nature, than proceed with the sex change.
  4. If we are in a love relationship or we want to experience a love relationship according to our transgender nature, then have a sex change.
  5. Give it time. Be absolutely sure that this is how you want to live the rest of your life. Seek pre and post transition counselling. Make sure you have a professional and personal support system in place before starting the hormone transition.

 

[1] Borreli,Lizette. Transgender Surgery: Regret Rates Highest in Male to Female Reassignment  Operations. Newsweek. April, 2018.

[2] Dhejne, Cecilia; Boman,Marcus; Joohansson,Anna l.; Langston,Niklas; and Landen, Mikael. Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden. Plos. February 22, 2011.

 

Bisexuality and God

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)Strange title isn’t it? Seems like those two words just don’t go together. That may be because of our concept of God as the Ultimate Patriarch of the Islamic/Christian/Judean faiths. We have been taught to think of God as the judge and prosecutor of the family unit, where the man is the protector and guiding force, and the woman is the keeper of the hearth. There is no room here for the person who is not sure of their gender or is experimenting with same sex relationships.

Because of these foundation beliefs, we are taught to fear God and to attune ourselves with the traditions and beliefs of our parents, and through them, to the community of believers, and to our society at large. The result is either conformity and peace, or shame and anxiety. The tendency for us bisexuals, who just cannot conform to these beliefs no matter how hard we try, is to say “there is no God” and “I will live my life with my heart and my gut as my only judges”. We rule out the possibility of God because we can no longer carry the shame and the pain of being isolated from our biological, social, and spiritual families.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Each morning when I wake up, I light the fire in the hearth and then go out onto my front deck to watch the sun rise over the Salish Sea. I slide into my meditation sanctuary and experience the beauty of the colors melting into the clouds, framed by the silent silhouettes of the giant fir trees, and I listen to the barking of the sea lions and the songs of the twees, robins, and loons, and I somehow feel a part of something grand and powerful.

This is my God, the Presence that is in me and all around me; the Presence that is Life itself.  This Presence is part of me and I am part of it. It is masculine and feminine, male and female. It is the God of bisexuals as well as the God of gays, lesbians, and  heterosexuals. It is the God of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims, yes and even the fundamentalists. If I want to relate to this Presence as my Father, than he is my Father; as the Tao then it is the Tao; as my Mother Earth, then she is my mother earth. It, he, she – is everything. There is no gender; there is no condemnation based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. It is what connects me to you and you to me. It is the source of all that is, of every thought, of every spark of energy, including our powerful drives.  It is even part of my sexuality, my desire and joy in being a bisexual man and a Father, my ability to know and love lovers and friends sexually and/or platonically.

Anyway, that is my own personal belief, and this belief makes life easier and sweeter for me. It gives me a foundation for love. It gives me a reason to get up each morning and love the life that is in me. And yes, it is even there at the basis of my sexual desires. It is what transforms having sex into “making love’.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. We do not have to give up on God; he-she-it, by its very nature, has not given up on  us. Remember our beliefs provide the guidance and the power for our feelings and emotions. We have to believe in something so we may as well reach for the sky and believe in this wonderful power of love and beauty that is the foundation for all that is good in this life. Believing we are part of this presence, and it is part of us, opens the door to unlimited power. We can create miracles.
  2. Even if we cannot believe in a personal god, or even a presence in the universe, we can believe in something. We can believe in love. We can believe that we are beautiful powerful creatures, and yes we can still create miracles. This presence, this energy, can still work for us subconsciously.
  3. We can see the presence in others. This will prevent us from falling into hate with all its negative emotions and consequences. We can see others as powerful and beautiful people who are struggling with their own identity.
  4. We should never be ashamed of our bodies. They are a gift. They are beautiful. They are what binds us to Mother Earth and to the Universal Presence.
  5. We should never be ashamed of our sexual desires. They are a gift of the Universal Presence through our bodies. Through sexual relationships we can connect with others on a deep spiritual as well as physical level. We can know that love is the essence of life.

Bisexuality and the Variables

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)In an on-line survey involving 243 college students at Northeastern University[1], researchers assessed variables including same- and other-sex attractions, fantasies, and behaviors; and history and sexual attitudes. Bisexual (nonexclusive) women were more liberal in their political and sexual attitudes and had greater sexual experience then their straight peers, whereas bisexual (nonexclusive) men were virtually indistinguishable from other straight men.

So what does this mean? Again, women seem to be leading the way in accepting and acting upon their bisexual preferences. They seem to enjoy their dual sexuality more and are not afraid to let their preferences and opinions be known in public.  This suggests one of two things or perhaps both. On one hand, they seem to be able to put aside personal feelings of shame and uncertainty and just flow with their own desires and inclinations. The second factor is that same sex behavior among women is much more accepted by the general public. Lesbian and bisexual romance among women is considered erotic, whereas, the same behavior among men is often labelled as disgusting.

As bisexual men, we face a more difficult road when we choose to come out and admit our same sex attractions.  It is much easier for gay men who are certain of their orientation and are eventually willing to step out, take their place in society, and declare their orientation to the world by flirting in public or joining political organizations.  Our sexual excursions are usually carried out in private where we are less likely to be observed by our male peers.  We will go to places frequented by our gay friends and acquaintances, but usually we do so with a feeling that we do not belong, and we seldom carry those friendships out into the broader public. We seem to find it more difficult than bisexual women to walk away from relationships. Once they decide they seem to be able to make a clean break while we struggle to hang on. Political will and advocacy is almost non-existent among bisexual males.  We have no need for special recognition of our rights and freedoms because we can hide, if we so choose, with the rest of the general public.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. We can accept who we are and let it be known on a need to know basis with those we care about. This is really a shame issue because we feel we are not attuning to perceived parental and society norms. If the truth is known, they do not care as much as we think they do, and if they care about us, they will accept us just the way we are.
  2. We can begin to feel proud of our orientation – and it is an orientation in spite of what others may believe. We are not heterosexual and we are not gay or lesbian. We are bisexual. Let’s not feel queasy about it and call in “nonexclusive” or “queer” or anything else. There is nothing wrong with the term bisexual; it is a perfect description of who we are. Let’s not forget that sex has two meanings; yes, we enjoy having sex with men or women, but we also have the biological (brain patterns) and psychological qualities of both genders. That makes us special with an amazing range of feelings and thinking patterns.
  3. We can go public. That means pursuing sexual encounters in public. We do not have to meet in bath houses and public parks after dark. We can be like our open female bisexuals who are not afraid to be seen in public with same sex friends and lovers.
  4. We can choose to pursue relationships with men or women and eventually choose to settle down with one or the other. We can be monogamous. If the relationship fails we can eventually choose to be monogamous again with someone of the other sex than our last partner. This does not mean that we switch from heterosexual to gay or gay to heterosexual. We are just following our freedom to be one or the other and to switch back and forth without having to explain what our new orientation is. We are bisexual.
  5. We have to let our lovers know who we are and let them decide if they want to risk a permanent relationship with us. Whether or not we remain in a lasting relationship has nothing to do with our orientation. We are like everybody else. The relationship may last, or not, and if it does not, we are free to seek a new relationship, or not. We may choose to have an open relationship but it is not a necessity. We are quite capable of maintaining a permanent relationship like everyone else. If it is an open relationship this is not a SPECIAL CONSIDERATION BECAUSE WE ARE UNCONTROLLABLY BISEXUAL, it should be open to both parties.

 

 

Bisexuality and the Problem with Statistics

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Are you tired of statistics on bisexuality? I am. Yet another survey has shown that bisexuality is on the rise, especially among women[1]. A whopping 17.4% in the current survey have had some bisexual contact compared with 14.2% in the 2006-2010 survey. Higher numbers of both women and men identified as bisexual, 5.5% of women and 2% of men, compared with 3.9% and 1.2% respectively in the last survey. And you can be sure that number is higher for men as most of us to not want to disclose our bisexual tendencies.

So what? Why do we want to know that there are more and more of us? It reminds me of the Matrix Trilogy where Agent Smith keeps reproducing himself by thrusting his hand into someone’s chest. In the case of us bisexuals, we thrust our hand into someone’s pants and avoid the heart. It is time to step back and realize that we are all more than just programs in a worldwide sex-video game. Quite frankly I have no desire to just be another Agent Smith.

It seems that everyone wants to get in on the act. International popular TV series have taken up the torch. Bisexuality needs to be understood, and by god, they are going to show us what it is really like. However, this is not some glamorous Hollywood show where networks are competing with each other to see who can get the most views by depicting yet another example of bisexuality where marriages are broken and people are murdered because of unnatural passion. And quite frankly, I no longer want to compete with other bloggers to see who can get the most views on bisexuality. I do not want my life and my mind and my soul reduced to a statistic or another episode, book, or blog.

Did you know that only one of forty-six chromosomes is dedicated to male or female sexuality, and they cannot even find a half a chromosome, or for that matter, even one of twenty-five thousand genes, that can be nailed down for same seek attraction?  And yet sex, especially bisexual sex, seems to be a preoccupation of our western world, and it seems everyone is now encouraged to experiment with same sex attraction.

Women seem to be more attracted to same sex experimentation. When women engage in sex, their brains lights up like a Christmas tree as the pleasure center, the Nucleus Accumbens, is immediately activated, connecting with the sensory processing lobes, particularly the somatic processor which is associated with touch. Women are lucky, they immediately experience the pleasure. They take a little longer to get wound up which allows for more pleasure and more time for intimacy or attunement with their sex partner. This also allows for a second level of appraisal, and therefore,they are more likely to say “no” even after arousal.  Why do almost one in five women give up on sex with  men as their main source of sexual pleasure? Could it be that they are looking for more than sharing the “rush” provide by men? Could they be looking for something “deeper” (pardon the puns)? Could they be looking for the kind of intimate attunement that is much easier to get with another woman?

For us bisexual men, the pleasure sensation is delayed as the sexual rush is connected with the dopamine drive and the powerful emotions from the Limbic System. We get our pleasure by reaching our goal through orgasm, and only then does the Nucleus Accumbens suddenly connect with all the sensory processors to create a powerful pleasure surge similar to a hit of heroine. There is very little desire for intimacy as it merely delays the rush we so desire, but we do play along with our female partners hoping for the additional rush of mutual orgasm. When we are with men, it is all about the drive. And quite frankly, once another man touches our penis, we are literally driven to seek that hit.  We have our own built in addiction center. Sex is so simple with men. There are no mind games. There is no desire to delay orgasm because our pleasure is not in the play but in the outcome. We can just close our eyes and enjoy the anticipation of the oncoming rush with no thoughts of anyone else. There is no waiting for a partner. No guilt if the partner does not orgasm. It is so reassuring to know that once the game is on  our male sex partners have no intention of saying “wait” or  ”no”.

For many of us bisexual men, especially if we are married or in a relationship with a woman, gay sex becomes guilt and is compounded by addiction withdrawal. Our addiction demands that we do it again. However, our tortured minds are trying desperately to control our drives. The only thing that can stop our addiction is the prefrontal cortex, particularly the orbitofrontal cortex, but quite frankly, once the drive is on, it is very ineffective.  But it is our source of second evaluation, or as Freud would say, our super ego or our conscious. It attempts to employ checks and balances to prevent same-sex arousal, halt addiction, and regain control over our sexual impulses. It employs cultural and religious beliefs that come in the form of layer upon layer of mind sets shaped by past negative experiences that involve shame and guilt. In order to gain control, it has to compartmentalize; it has to put sex back into its Pandora’s Box.  As bisexuals, we have to willingly choose to place our sexual drives in a nice safe compartment that we can access when appropriate so that we are not raping and pillaging or spending all our waking hours in bathhouses.

If we choose to fight the addiction, we may eventually arrive at the conclusion that we are much more than the oxytocin and hormonal impulses coming from our genitals. This realization has the power to bring us to our higher self, our soul, to a deeper level of living. Our spiritual desire and spiritual energy can then be put in control of our impulses so we can generate ideas and thoughts and beliefs to make this world a better place, something a bit more than a worldwide video game where the winner is the one who can screw the most people during a life span.

Sorry for the rant. But for us bisexuals who were born with our bisexual impulses, this is not a game or something to experiment with. This a very powerful part of our mental and physical anatomy. We really do need to control it or it will destroy us. Personally it has literally screwed up my life. I wanted to be a good husband and a good father and, in fact, I was a great husband and a great father for 33 years before everyone I cared about suddenly knew I enjoyed having sex with other men. I lost my marriage and respect from my children which, quite frankly, were more important to me than another same sex orgasm. So let’s not glamorize this thing. Let’s not encourage more and more young people to experiment with bisexuality. If they are bisexual, they will know it because it is so powerful that it will eventually come out into the open. For us, sex is not just another source of pleasure that we can experiment with. So there is no rejoicing here to learn that other men and women are experimenting with bisexuality. Getting involved with bisexual men and women is like playing with fire. We have to take the box of matches away from the juveniles.

Here are my five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. For those of you who are thinking about experimenting with bisexuality – you don’t have to experiment. If you are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, you will know it without experimenting. Even if you are seriously considering it, it probably means you are bisexual. You still have a choice. The question is do you really want to start a bisexual lifestyle with all the issues it will bring into your life? Think it through. Done the right way, it can be a very powerful and satisfying life choice.; done poorly can lead to a great deal of pain.
  2. For those of us who are truly bisexual my advice is TO BE CAREFUL, and that does not just mean having safe sex.
  3. Care for yourself and have the courage to make the right decisions that will lead to a more conscious and more joyful way of life.
  4. Beware of the addictive powers of casual sex. Avoid porn, sex shops and other places that you can get a quick fix.
  5. Listen to the voice of your higher self. Seek relationship. It can be a man or a woman or both, but it has to involve relationship. Look for love.

[1]. Copen, Casey E Chandra; Anjani; and Febo-Vazquez, Isaedmarie. Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Orientation Among Adults Aged 18–44 in the United States: Data From the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth Division of Vital Statistics. National Health Statistics Reports Number 88, January 7, 2016