When I was thirteen? fourteen? I thought that maybe I could be a lesbian, but reluctantly decided that I was not a lesbian, because I liked boys too much. But other than the liking boys and not wanting to give that up, I had no problem with being a lesbian. But since I liked boys and was female, I was obviously straight. I couldn't deny that I liked boys, so I couldn't be a lesbian, because that wouldn't have been me. So, as much as I wanted to snuggle up to my friend Galadriel and touch her, I couldn't, because I was straight, and not a lesbian.
One of my friends at the time pointed out that he thought I would probably be happiest being bisexual. (Note the phrasing -- this, in his mind, was something that I could choose.) I looked the word up in the dictionary, and regretfully decided that while I was potentially attracted to people of both genders, and while I wouldn't have a problem with it, my actual "this person spikes my lustometer" reactions were, at that time, limited to not all males, but only a very few specific ones
. I decided (teen-logic, remember) that I was not sure if I was straight, either, because I wasn't attracted to "males", I was attracted to very specific examples of the species.
Fast-forward a couple months. My boyfriend narrowly escaped what he thought was sudden death at my hands
-- instead of walking me back from the school annex as he'd promised, he walked back with the hot senior he'd been lusting after for gods know how long. When I caught up with him, instead of killing him, I made polite conversation, and afterwards would have congratulated him on his good luck in getting to spend time with her, except that I had to first convince him that I wasn't angry with him. (He wasn't used to dealing with polyamorous females, I gather. A monogamous female would have executed him on the spot.) After he was calmed down, I did congratulate him on his good luck, and agreed with him when he rhetorically asked me if she was not hot.
That agreement set his fuses off, of course, and he began making not much sense. I hung up on him, and our mutual friend (a lesbian, and the local Sex and Relationship Guru) called me to straighten out what the hell had happened (as he'd called her and hadn't made much sense).
She took it as read that I was fully functional in my attraction to males, and asked me if I was bisexual. I hadn't the foggiest. She wanted to know if (I think) I would date a woman, if I would make out with a woman, and if I would sleep with a woman. I said that yes, indeed, I would, under the right circumstances (like, you know, if I was in love or something). "You're bisexual," she said.
I was? Wow. Cool. Now I had a name for it. I grumbled at myself, in retrospect, for not realizing that I had a major crush on my little sister's violin teacher and on my friend Galadriel. Not that my crush with the violin teacher could have gone anywhere, but who knows, the crush on Galadriel might have... and I had not done anything because I knew I was straight. AGGGGH!
My 14 year old decision that the label "bisexual" applied to me was on-target. Soon after that, I went off to academic camp
and met not only pyrogenic
, but also a completely gorgeous girl who twoinked all my lust-settings to maximum.
Some people who decide that "bisexual" could apply to them find, in the field, that when the time comes to do something interesting with a person of the gender they thought they might like, that they are actually not as attracted to that gender as they thought they might be, and that therefore they should be considered straight or gay. Until I met this girl (my former fiancée, in fact), I wasn't sure if I actually was attracted in the WOW LUST WOW way to other women. After getting to know her, I had no doubt. A friend of mine thought that she might be bisexual, but when she was experimenting with her would-be girlfriend, she found that implementing the whole "sex with girls" thing was a little past her squick filters, so she was probably -- make that definitely -- straight.
It's that gap between theory and practice for some people that makes bisexuality such an uncertain orientation. Are you or aren't you? Some say it's only when you've tested it in the field that you can declare yourself bisexual. Some say that it's as natural a knowledge as "I need to breathe". Some say that there's no such thing, and everyone's either straight or gay. Some say it's a sliding scale. Some say that it's impossible for everyone to be absolutely straight or absolutely gay, and therefore everyone is bisexual.
I'd go with the sliding scale idea myself. I'm possibly equally attracted to women and men, but in practice, I tend to wind up with more men. Then, the men that I tend to fall for do tend towards the bishounen... so one could argue that I'm more attracted to the feminine... which opens up the can of gender worms.
Sexual attraction is not a binary switch. It's not Straight or Gay. It's like sundae toppings. Chocolate? Yes, please. Strawberries? Yes, please. Caramel? Yes, please. Nuts? Only a little, please. Whipped cream? Yes, a little extra, please. Banana? No, thank you.
And I really need a better icon for gender/sexuality/etc. ramblings.