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Bisexuality / LGBTQIA+ / Relationships

I’m Bisexual and Attracted to Men – and I’m Not Happy About It

My attraction to men is just *frustrating*.

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Written by Helena Walker.

Art by Leila Porto.

“I wish I were a lesbian,” is a statement that immediately causes a full body cringe when I hear it from my aggressively heterosexual aunt.

I hate it…but I get it. I am a bisexual woman who 100% wishes I were a lesbian—enough so that I have convinced myself, and others, of the fact three whole times and had to re-come out. Usually with a bad hair mistake. It was like I needed to assert my queer identity because accepting my wlm-ness made me feel less queer, and I took that frustration out by getting a pixie cut (which I hate). It happened at 15, 19, and now at 22. And I’m sick of it! I’m getting a nose piercing this time.

Or maybe a tattoo. A backwards tattoo on my face that reads, “Ur Bisexual, Dumbass!” when I look in the mirror.

My friend (a Capricorn) defended my bisexuality to me with, “But sexuality is fluid!” And, yes, to a degree, it absolutely is. But I have a pattern: 

Step 1. Experience trauma.

Step 2. Blame that trauma on myself, maybe because I wasn’t into the experience? Because I’m a lesbian??

Step 3. Yeah. Identify as a lesbian.

Step 4. Immediately get serious feelings for a boy.

Step 5. Embarrassedly re-come-out to myself, friends, family, etc.

Wash, rinse, repeat. And with every time, I not only have internalized biphobia—identifying with a label with “sexual” inscribed in it has never fully jived with me—but also The Usual. You know: being barred from queer spaces for being bi, having family members express their hope that I end up with a guy because it would make my life easier… The Usual.

And most of my experiences with men have been terrible. We make jokes about men, for sure, but my encounters range from disappointing, totally self-centered sex to straight-up sex abuse. The only time I can actually think of fondly is when I made my ~sexual debut~ with a friend, but that one’s a bit tarnished, too. Not only because of our intense friend drama afterward, but also (and mostly) because I accidentally elbowed him super hard in the dick. He still likes to bring this up, five years later. I’m very sorry.

“Girls good, boys bad” doesn’t work for me because it denies both the depth and complexity of my own sexuality and other people’s genders.

 My attraction to men is just frustrating. Boys make it really frustrating to be attracted to them. For one, it’s just difficult to date outside of your own marginalized identity. My last partner was not only straight and a man, but abled, which meant that our relationship was just one large miscommunication after another. I felt like an insane person because I would try to get him to relate to my stories about experiencing marginalization—catcalls, professors being ableist, weird biphobia (which had gotten especially rampant since I was dating him, a man)—and be met with disbelief at best. At. Best.

Now, I’m sure there are men out there who have done appropriate amounts of decolonization, and know what microagressions and marginalization look like, but I haven’t dated them. Instead, any relationship I’ve had with a man (I’ve had two) has turned into back-breaking emotional labor, in which I try to become a world-renowned expert on post-colonial discourse so that I can make my feelings feel at all valid. Have I quoted Audre Lourde to a boyfriend in an argument? Yes. Am I proud of it? Yes. Is it exhausting? Also yes. I am trying my hardest to not let my experiences reflect on all men, but it’s difficult not to. Not when so many people have parallel experiences. (I’ve asked around.)

I will say, the labor of dating men and having to educate them on marginalized experiences is almost balanced out by the joy of introducing them to skincare routines. They are like frightened baby deer. It’s amazing. I’m ready to date men again just for the exciting prospect of taking a boyfriend to Lush.

Of course, I’m kidding. I can introduce men to moisturizer platonically (hmu). I guess my ultimate point is, delineating attraction based on binaries isn’t something I’m a fan of. “Girls good, boys bad” doesn’t work for me because it denies both the depth and complexity of my own sexuality and other people’s genders. I am absolutely not trying to deride monosexuals, either straight or gay, but what I’ve noticed in myself as a multisexual is that by trying to convince myself that I’m a lesbian, I get trapped into these cycles of toxic binaric thinking. In deluding myself, I end up trying to convince myself of a lot of other things that just aren’t true, and are frequently unkind.

At the end of the day, if I’m going to believe and practice the, “It’s not the gender, it’s the person” ideology, I have to accept men (ugh) as part of “people.” That is not to deny my negative experiences with men, and my statistical likelihood of repeating similar experiences with them, but this acceptance of my bisexuality comes with the acceptance that I can trust and rely on myself to be more discerning when it comes to partners and friends, and that I don’t need to rely on stereotyping those around me.

I will say, the labor of dating men and having to educate them on marginalized experiences is almost balanced out by the joy of introducing them to skincare routines. They are like frightened baby deer. It’s amazing. I’m ready to date men again just for the exciting prospect of taking a boyfriend to Lush.


About the Author

Helena is pursuing a degree in art history at Chapman University, and is starting their thesis this year, potentially about the human psychological need to control environments, how this impacts under-served populations, and how this should guide the conversation around graffiti and litter.

Follow on IG: @screamingb33


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