Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Coming Out" as "Straight" (don't everybody gasp at once, please)

I used to tell people I was bisexual but now I'm straight. Straight. Got that? I'll take your questions now. Operators are waiting. Don't be shy.

Was that a shocked silence? (More likely the usual: I'm just talking to myself here.)

Historical background: for years now, I've been answering any direct inquiries about my sexual orientation by saying, "I'm bisexual." The responses were all over the map. Baffled, embarrassed silence. Clueless questions. Barely-concealed snears of disgust. Lips puckered into a muttered "oh", under lidded eyes. Wincing skepticism (mostly from gay men.) Wishful thinking from some, irrespective of batting preference: "Maybe you're just confused about your sexuality." ("Oh yeah? Or maybe you're confused about my sexuality.")

The reactions got old. Fast. Hanging out with identified bisexuals helped a little. Then I moved to Tokyo, where such questions were seldom asked. It became an issue only when a new relationship started, and there were few enough of those.

Now I'm in Seattle. Getting a life again. The gay life? No. Not sexually, anyway. But I like gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, the transgendered, as much as anyone else, and maybe more. And they are curious about me, naturally, so sexual identity is an issue again.

I've decided: from now on, whenever it comes up, I'll tell people "I used to say I was bisexual, now I just say I'm straight." If they want an explanation, they'll get something like the rest of this blog entry. If they don't, we can go on to talk about sports, cars, work, politics, men, women, music, art, computers, relationships -- all the usual topics about which I know next to nothing.

This announcement has nothing to do with my desires, except my desire to be honest. It has everything to do with other people's feelings. Is that codependent of me? Honestly, I don't care. I have my reasons. I'll get into them.

But first, my desires: Yes, I'm still attracted to some men. I still sometimes fantasize about men. More pragmatically, when it comes to what might make me happy: I haven't ruled out finding a nice guy (preferably already with kids) and settling down, though I think that's unlikely even if I were in hunting for such a man. Just statistically, I'm more likely to end up with a woman matching the description. For now, though, fantasizing about being a father is about as idle a mental activity as fantaszing about having a boyfriend again. It's not gonna happen, not soon at any rate.

So why am I doing this? Why "come out" as "straight"? For me, it's a question of ethics, not morals.

When I was "experimenting with" (really, manifesting) my sexual "orientation", meeting men who liked to have sex with men, having fun with them, sometimes have sex with them, delighting that it was possible, relieved that I had more options, there was still something that seemed not quite right. I was sexually attracted, but not that attracted. I liked the sex, but not that much. I had romantic feelings, but they seemed directed at what was feminine about these guys. I left them for boring old garden-variety reasons for any breakup, but also because they were men, and men didn't quite do it for me. I broke hearts in part because of that final reason. It wasn't fair, it wasn't right, they deserved better than me on several counts, but in particular they deserved a man who was really into men. Not necessarily a man who was solidly gay. Just a guy who was more into guys.

I don't regret having had sex with men, and sometimes I get a little nostalgic about it. I recommend it to any man who's simply curious. I recommend it especially if you're curious but also creeped out by the prospect of trying. I was. The closer I got, the creepier it seemed. Then I did it. My skin promptly stopped crawling. I won't pretend it was the most graceful of breakthroughs, but it was surprisingly nice from the start. And it got better. But only so much better.

Were there benefits besides getting laid a few more times in life? Yes, I think so.

Having sex with men helped me shed my last few vestiges of homophobia. I stoppped caring whether people thought I was gay (though I still bristle when people think I must be gay, rather than bi, or possibly a slightly effeminate straight who has sloppily let his paintbrush slip over the paint-by-the-numbers lines here and there.)

Another good thing: I can more easily take a come-on from a man as a compliment, if it's done in a nice way. To notice more people finding me attractive, to find myself welcoming much of that attraction ... the only thing wrong with it is having it go to your head, letting it delude you into thinking you're some demi-god of pansexuality. Of course, sometimes the overtures are persistent and unwelcome. But that only renews my still-developing understanding of what women have to go through when they are being sexually harassed. (Not to speak of sexually-harassed gay/bi men, but let's not get distracted.) In short, I lost nothing but a certain kind of virginity, and I gained a lot.

Still, if you're like I was -- a homosexually inexperienced man, somewhat attracted to men, but ultimately just not that into them, and basically monogamous, please please please: be totally honest about that, with whomever you're doing your little personal behavioral-science experiment. He may go head over heels for you. That's not something you can control. But if he is, always tell him, "Don't believe I'll be here for you tomorrow. The sexual part is interesting, I don't know where it's going, but never forget I'm doing this for me, not you. I like you, but maybe I can only love you as a friend, not as a lover or a partner. Keep your options open. Don't let me break your heart. Don't cling. Keep a grip on yourself. Then I'm more likely to help you find someone you should really be with."

It's only right. For me, anyway. That's all I'm saying. If you're basically not monogamous, and bisexual, and clear about that with all your partners, indulge yourself as much as you want, without hurting yourself or others. And definitely call yourself bisexual, whether you're monogamous or not, because there still aren't enough people who could, and who are actually saying so. But I can't anymore. Being straight is something I have a choice about, unlike those who are solidly gay or straight. And it's a choice I'm making.

Well, that's it. Anticlimactic? Sorry. I'm being straight with you. I'm straight, not heartbreak bait, get over it, Mary. But above all, let's be friends.


At 11:01 PM, Blogger lisalangley93630600 said...

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At 2:59 AM, Anonymous todd said...

I just happened to find you blog. Thank you SO much for writing this post. I thought it was insightful and helpful. It surprises me and makes me happy to know there are others like myself out there.

About two years ago I went through a phase of experimentation where I enjoyed french kissing other men. I had been straight my whole life and had two girl friends. I tried sex with a man once and found it was not for me.

Up until then I had kissed other men and found it to be an enjoyable safe-sex practice, but sex I did not feel was good for me. I have been feeling a strange guilt about it and it comes from the "lie" of homosexuality I lived.

I have decided that after 2 years of thinking I might be gay/bisexual deep down I am straight. I am in the process of coming out as straight to people who had long known me as bisexual. I am not sure how they will respond. I hope that since they are my friends they will understand...

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous said...

I too just happened to come across this posting. Interesting. I can identify to a large extent. The only difference would be that everyone knows me as straight. I too at times get the same questions about my sexual orientation but I avoid the answer. In general, is it appropriate to feely and casually ask something so personal and private of a person? I'm not in the closet so much as I am very private about things others have no business knowing. It seems in this world everyone must know more than their fair share about everyone else. I do not agree with that.

I'm a happy guy. I'm attractive and rarely do I have problems connecting with men or women. About women.. I love women. I might be married again one day but not until I come to terms with the casual desires I have for men.

Thanks for the posting. I connected with it. Too bad we will likely never meet. We seem to have some things in common.

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANKS! I so wish my friend could read this. You describe exactly what I have suspected about this subject. Bravo for daring to speak yet another truth int he big subject of sexuality.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Right now I found out of 2 guys that found out their straight after years of being gay... it's so sad man... girls can dabble in lezzie sex (I did it myself) and relationships and then find out their truly straight (straight --->gay ---> straight) and a man will date them but guys? Those two dear guys I meet have faced nothing but shit... no woman wants to know them after knowing their history

They're considered dirty... like damaged goods ):

Why don't more people (both gay and straight) show this to the world? So many guys out there (more than you know) live in paralyzing fear of their female lovers finding out about their past gay history... they always tell me they are not gay but nobody believes them... some of them commit suicide and others end up alone... it's so sad

Thank goodness I found your story online... I'll print this to some colleagues... it may not be what would be considered an ''extraordinary'' story by society's standars but it's real and that's enough for me

Wish you the best man

At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a similar story, from a woman's perspective. I identified as lesbian for a while, had sex with/dated women, but just wasn't that into it. It was fine, but not amazing. I then started dating guys, and the sparks started to fly. But I kept calling myself bisexual, partly to honor my history, partly because I was open to the idea of meeting an awesome woman and settling down. The problem is, recently I have met the awesome woman, and she's gay, and she's into me ... but I've realized that it's not what I want PHYSICALLY. It sucks, really badly, to feel such a strong emotional connection and to understand that it's somehow still not right. And, it's such a hard thing to explain to people that I've figured out that I'm not bisexual, but straight. I know, "Every day is straight pride" according to the GLBT world, and they're largely right. But, every day is not proud for people who are trying to explain that their first self-identification didn't turn out to be true for them.

At 7:05 PM, Blogger Jak said...

Thanks for this blog! Really good read and in a way I sort of relate.
I have a blog which is on a very similar subject, however I identified as gay for about 9 years and am now only questioning whether I did the wrong thing. Well written! Thanks for your insight into your situation

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another woman with the same story as 9:28 AM who relates closely to the initial poster's account as well. Thanks for helping me to feel less alone.

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Agen Bola said...

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At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Taruhan Online said...

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At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this! Awhile ago i found some things on an old computer that my SO owns,(I'm a dirty dirty snooper) one that he hasn't used in years. There were sexual pictures of men and women. When i confronted him and told him it was okay if he was bisexual he denied it vehemently. I was hard at task to believe him. It hurt my feelings because i felt we had so much together and i felt upset that he didn't feel comfortable enough to tell me. Ever since I've been reading as much as i can on the subject of people who once thought they were bi/gay/straight and then realized later that wasn't the case. While other websites explained how sexual orientation was fluid. Its something i was having a hard time believing since Ive never really questioned myself i always knew i loved men. Reading your personal account along with other commenters accounts is eyeopening, and relieving. I think its just the idea that a person can be one orientation for a long period of time then realize that isn't the case is just hard for people to understand especially people who never had to question their orientation.


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