Author Topic: Internalised biphobia  (Read 5369 times)

Offline silverfluff

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Internalised biphobia
« on: Sep 06, 2013, 12:50:05 AM »
I am struggling with it, and it was one of the reasons why I have more or less disappeared from GB after re-assessing myself as bi few years back.

I can see from other posts that people were struggling with it here as well, so maybe we could have a discussion about it, unless of course the entire issue has been already exhausted and I am late to the party.

In practice I don't know if I am comfortable with ID-ing as bi, since I probably don't desire I relationship with a man, but in reality I do have a bi past with men and some of it  did not feel like a terrible mistake, it felt that I was maintaining my personal integrity and it was ok at the time.
Some of it didn't, but that is besides the point here.

And yet when I enter my phase gay phase I just become kind of repelled by the idea of straight sex, and by proxy disgusted with my past self. It just starts to feel dirty, when it did not feel at the time.

I also feel very uncomfortable talking about finding men attractive eg. in  straight social settings where I am not out. Sometimes I do find a guy attractive but would never admit it  to anyone, when I would have no problem admitting that I find a woman attractive.

So here it goes, my very own cognitive dissonance!

Do you have any yourself?










Online MzB

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #1 on: Sep 06, 2013, 09:14:00 AM »
It's a funny one.

I actually identify as a 'sequential bisexual who has been almost exclusively lesbian for around half her adult life'. 

Which is a bit of a mouthful, but is the most accurate way I can put it. In practice it means: I always knew I was theoretically bisexual; I had twenty years of relationships with men (which worked OK, on quite a few levels); since the age of 35 I've been pretty much exclusively involved with women and can't really imagine having a relationship with a man (unless someone transgendered or who is a very unusual person).

I haven't felt bad about my past choices. Though I do imagine I'd feel quite confused if I wanted a relationship with a man now. 

But then, having gone through a radical shift in my sexual interest and focus, I've never ruled out the possibility - however slim - that it could happen again.


Offline OhGrowUp

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #2 on: Oct 13, 2013, 10:59:05 AM »
Surely a woman passing through a ‘phase’ where she is in an exclusive intimate relationship with another woman would classify as a lesbian?

The term bisexual to me implies someone who is shuttling back and forth between men and women for fun.

This is certainly my experience in dating women who classified as bisexual. We simply had a string of dates and lots of sex.  I had no expectations that these encounters would lead to anything more. Interestingly none of them wanted to be referred to as a lesbian or ever come out as one. I suppose bisexual seems more socially acceptable and one can be forgiven for an error of judgement. Or two. Or three. Or four…
 

onmyway

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #3 on: Oct 13, 2013, 11:57:43 AM »
The term bisexual to me implies someone who is shuttling back and forth between men and women for fun.

To me that is nonsense, deeply inaccurate prejudice of exactly the kind that means so many of us struggle with bi-phobia.  Maybe you need to question that assumption within yourself a bit.

Offline OhGrowUp

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #4 on: Oct 13, 2013, 12:31:40 PM »
This was a post based on my personal experiences, not assumptions.

There's lots of women on lesbian dating sites classifying as bisexual advertising for dates, relationships and encounters. Some have been active for years. What's the significance in stating bisexuality when seeking intimacy with another woman?  Perhaps you can explain to me why a woman who enjoys having sex with another woman cannot consider herself a lesbian, even in part?

I had a boyfriend for about a week when I was 16, does that make me a bisexual?

« Last Edit: Oct 21, 2013, 10:06:12 PM by OhGrowUp »

Offline Blythe

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #5 on: Oct 13, 2013, 12:33:49 PM »
I remember reading somewhere on here that those of us who had slept with men in the past but we're now ID ing as lesbian, should call ourselves bisexual.
I felt furious and outraged and was muttering to myself that there was no way that I was a bisexual.
I suppose that showed my biphobia, ... like the OP I remember my sexual past with men with shame and loathing.
Sometimes I dream I'm back, trapped with the father of my children, and wake up feeling sick and scared. 
I can't imagine ever wanting to have sex with a man again, and if I fancied a man I'd be horrified.
That feeling sometimes means I judge bisexuals harshly, I am trying my best to recognise that and stop it but it's hard.  I'm not as evolved as some.
'Someone take Blythe's mobile phone off her before she says something silly'           kitty

Offline enitharmon

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #6 on: Oct 13, 2013, 12:50:47 PM »
I can't help feeling, although I may be a biased veteran of two straight marriages and various bits in between who now identifies as lesbian, that the best thing might be to forget about finding the right label to hand round one's neck and just go with one's feelings. 

Offline silverfluff

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #7 on: Oct 13, 2013, 01:38:31 PM »
Surely a woman passing through a ‘phase’ where she is in an exclusive intimate relationship with another woman would classify as a lesbian?

The term bisexual to me implies someone who is shuttling back and forth between men and women for fun.

This is certainly my experience in dating women who classified as bisexual. We simply had a string of dates and lots of sex.  I had no expectations that these encounters would lead to anything more. Interestingly none of them wanted to be referred to as a lesbian or ever come out as one. I suppose bisexual seems more socially acceptable and one can be forgiven for an error of judgement. Or two. Or three. Or four…
 

I think the problem with bisexuality  that you are describing  comes from the fact that for some it describes a bi-sexual and bi-romantic orientation whilst for others it describes purely their sexual orientation, the bisexuals who are 'problematic' for the gay community are the ones who are mostly hetero-romantic, but not all 'bees' are like that.
 'Lesbian' or 'Gay' as opposed to 'homosexual' describes more a psychosexual orientation, but 'bisexual' for some  describes only sexual behaviour, whilst for others their psychosexual orientation.

Basically I think 'bisexual' just stopped having a descriptive meaning, I'd much rather see it reserved only for the case of bi-romantic + bisexual people: who can and want to have a romantic and sexual relationship with either a man or a woman and they don't care which one. OR find a different word for that orientation similar to 'lesbian' or 'gay'.
People who are sexually attracted to both genders but romantically only to one, are technically hetero-romantic bisexuals or homo-romantic bisexuals.

People who are attracted to both genders romantically, but sexually only to one, are bi-romantic homosexuals, or bi-romantic heterosexuals.

All of this are horrible mouthfuls to say, personally I think I fall into the bi-romantic homosexual category: whilst I can have physical sex with a guy, something always is missing, period.


I think because today we identify orientation as 'attraction' and  many bi-romantic, or bi-sexual  lesbians are attracted to men on some level, this makes them adopt the 'bi' label, because attraction=orientation, when I don't think it is as simple, I think there is some innate part of us that makes us either more compatible with women or men and desire romanic and sexual relationships with them. This problem would not exist if we allowed for attraction to just exist as a thing in itself,  without it having to define our orientation, and if we defined orientation as a innate trait of psychosexual compatibility with one gender or both.

The problem really stems from the fact of how narrowly heterosexuality is defined, if you step outside of it, you are automatically non-straight, when really a person who is bi on only one aspect of their psychosexuality, really still fits more or less into the 'straight' category, because their long-term relationships will be straight.
This narrowness found its way into the queer world as well: you are attracted to the opposite sex in some way= you are bi, when this often is not the case.

I guess keeping the 'bi' label by people who live predominantly gay or straight lives has to do with keeping personal integrity, to 'owning' their past.
It makes sense, but only for people who are bi in the psychosexual sense, for ones who innately don't have a gender preference in terms of forming relationships.
Personally I am not bi in the psychosexual sense, I am bi-romantic and gay, and in my case I've felt that I was pressured into the 'bi' label by a world that demands from us to justify our  attractions and want to define us by them.


birdwatcher

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #8 on: Oct 13, 2013, 01:50:41 PM »
I was essentially in a 10 year marriage with a man.  I consider myself a lesbian who took a detour.  I wouldn't mind the bisexual label but it would suggest that I might take another detour but I wouldn't do it.  Which frankly is good news for any men who might have thought otherwise.  :)

* ^ psychosexual is a great word. 

« Last Edit: Oct 13, 2013, 01:52:31 PM by bush »

duck!

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #9 on: Oct 14, 2013, 08:03:14 PM »
Oh grow up - the bit about bisexual running back and forth for fun? Im not entirely sure if that was meant to be a bit provocative because i find it hard to believe someone would think that.

I hate explaining my sexuality - how can i anyhow it has a life of its own i havent been able to suss out where it's taking me. I identified as bisexual at about 24. i probably thought i was one of those that ran back and forth because i was interestde in exploring it in a sexual way. However i alos wasnt processing the fact that i had actually already fallen in love with one girl.
I didnt become what i thought was lesbian until i was about 32. I met a girl, fell head over heels (she was a full on dyke and actually wanted sex with me rather than to experiment) and from that point on ive been crazy about women and havent had a shred of interest in men.
So I thought i was lesbian even though i had a bit of doubt as i had obviously had relations with men in the past and loved them - kind of -.
Then this year ive become attracted to a man. its been a long process of getting to know this person who i have a spiritual bond with and this has turned into some kind of physical attraction. I havent tried anything and wont hes in a relationship with someone but now im confused.
I think i feel comfortable with the term queer. I hesitate to use the term bisexual and yes mostly because of its ties to the impression of a woman who wants a bit of a flirtation a sexual fling with a woman rather than anything more serious. I dont want to pin myself down anyway to a label id rather go with my own natural flow. Queer is good for me because it just means something other than straight. If your queer your not straight but its a very open term. Even if i ended up suddenly in a male relationship for the rest of my life i think id still identify with queer because my path has been curved.
 

birdwatcher

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #10 on: Oct 15, 2013, 06:13:59 PM »
Oh grow up - the bit about bisexual running back and forth for fun? Im not entirely sure if that was meant to be a bit provocative because i find it hard to believe someone would think that.

I hate explaining my sexuality - how can i anyhow it has a life of its own i havent been able to suss out where it's taking me. I identified as bisexual at about 24. i probably thought i was one of those that ran back and forth because i was interestde in exploring it in a sexual way. However i alos wasnt processing the fact that i had actually already fallen in love with one girl.
I didnt become what i thought was lesbian until i was about 32. I met a girl, fell head over heels (she was a full on dyke and actually wanted sex with me rather than to experiment) and from that point on ive been crazy about women and havent had a shred of interest in men.
So I thought i was lesbian even though i had a bit of doubt as i had obviously had relations with men in the past and loved them - kind of -.
Then this year ive become attracted to a man. its been a long process of getting to know this person who i have a spiritual bond with and this has turned into some kind of physical attraction. I havent tried anything and wont hes in a relationship with someone but now im confused.

I think i feel comfortable with the term queer. I hesitate to use the term bisexual and yes mostly because of its ties to the impression of a woman who wants a bit of a flirtation a sexual fling with a woman rather than anything more serious. I dont want to pin myself down anyway to a label id rather go with my own natural flow. Queer is good for me because it just means something other than straight. If your queer your not straight but its a very open term. Even if i ended up suddenly in a male relationship for the rest of my life i think id still identify with queer because my path has been curved.

This doesn't sound like bisexuality to me.  To me bisexuality is an equitable emotional, spiritual and sexual attraction to some men and some women.  Sounds like your emotional, spiritual and sexual attraction is to women.  I think loneliness can sometimes confuse things.

« Last Edit: Oct 15, 2013, 06:15:39 PM by bush »

onmyway

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #11 on: Oct 15, 2013, 08:16:30 PM »
You all know you are posting in the bisexual section of the boards, right?  Where it says:

"This is a section for the bisexual members of Gingerbeer or those who wish to discuss anything and everything related to bisexuality in a tolerant and safe space. If you choose to enter this forum please be respectful of all who post here! DO NOT post defamatory, libellous, inaccurate comments, these will be removed without warning".

(not directed at the last two posters particularly, more intended as a general reminder for all) x

duck!

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #12 on: Oct 15, 2013, 09:49:37 PM »
onmy way - i didnt find the reply to my post offensive at all - i found it good to have another opinion and some feedback - im pretty confused.
My response to ohgrowup's post; sorry if i was a bit brusque(i obviously didnt meant to say oh grow up haha). I still honestly cant think anyone who's gay or bi would think that though. I really do find it hard to believe although i can totally get the personal experience bit that was written and got that and was good to hear that side.

onmyway

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #13 on: Oct 16, 2013, 08:42:01 PM »
Sorry, the confusion is my fault.  When I wrote that my post wasn't aimed at the last two posters in particular, what I meant and should have written was that it wasn't aimed at you AT ALL!  If anyone, it was OhGrowUp and perhaps a little bit Blythe...


Offline silverfluff

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Re: Internalised biphobia
« Reply #14 on: Oct 16, 2013, 11:22:33 PM »

Then this year ive become attracted to a man.(...)
I think i feel comfortable with the term queer.
 


I am with you on queer, for me it seems like a neat word because it so broad, it avoids labelling in a narrow way and is close to the whole gender identity thing, it lets the world know that you are not straight, without allowing for close scrutiny of your attractions by strangers.

I wonder however why is it  that our sexual identity is understood to be based on whom we are attracted to, and not on who we are innately  compatible with on sexual and emotional levels in relationships.

We can be attracted to all sorts of people, sometimes for entirely wrong reasons, I remember being attracted to older men because I had father issues, once I became older, aware of it and started dealing with it, the attraction stopped, it would have been wrong to see it as an indicator of my actual sexual orientation, it had nothing to do with it, it was based on emotional deficits on my side.

Some women are repeatedly attracted to abusive people, does it make their sexuality into 'victim sexuality'?! Surely their attraction stems from other  psychological reasons, rather than their sexuality.

Therefore I think defining peoples orientation by their attraction is  very shallow, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition of ones orientation. Sure in many cases this way of defining works, but it also creates lots of unnecessary problems for people.

For example, a person can be attracted  to literature, and spend a significant amount of time on writing, but that will not make them an actual writer if they lack the innate ability for it.