Content Warning: homophobia internalized homophobia religion cults labels

Inspired by Bhan's post, I thought I'd share my own journey to knowing my bisexuality.

I remember experimenting sexually at a young age with other boys AND with girls. At the time, I didn't think anything of it, and by the time puberty hit, I was pretty much following the crowd and only expressing attraction to girls and avoiding looking at guys' junk - because that's "just weird, and gay".

At 16 I got involved in a very conservative Christian cult group that was very homophobic. I was taught that any same-sex attraction was caused by "devil spirits" and so any urges I had I blamed on temptation, and cast it out of my mind. When I left that cult 10 years later, I went straight into a conservative evangelical denomination, so my internalized homophobia continued.

I finally left the church in my mid-30s, and my wife and I started swinging. There I was able to explore a lot of my sexual curiosity, but sex between men was a no-no, so I still kept that part of me down. Eventually I left my wife (for reasons that had nothing to do with sex or sexuality).

Once I was single and living alone, I started remembering my childhood "adventures" with other boys, and that curiosity came flooding back. So, I found someone online looking for a hook-up and tried it out. I was hooked! I started with the label of "bicurious" but it became pretty quickly obvious that I wasn't just curious, I was full-on bisexual.

That was about nine years ago. Since then, I've evolved and defined what being bisexual means to me. First, it's only a sexual thing for me. Romantically, I've only ever been attracted to women. Second, while I'm not only attracted to men and women (the "bi" in "bisexual" refers to my own gender plus other genders), I find different things attractive in different genders. I find certain aspects about the more feminine genders attractive and certain aspects of masculine genders attractive in different ways, and the blend of masculine and feminine aspects in non-binary genders is particularly hot to me. This is why I don't use the label "pansexual". To me, a "pansexual" would be attracted to a person regardless of gender, so I don't feel comfortable in that identity. Of course, that's my personal feelings, and your mileage may vary.

My lifelong journey of understanding my sexuality continues, but I'm comfortable knowing that I am, without a doubt, bisexual.

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Mike Straw is a bisexual man on a journey of discovery about his own sexuality and the rich variety of people in the various non-binaries.

During the day, Mike is a computer programmer, and at night and the weekends he referees roller derby. The rest of the time, he spends exploring the various intersections of gender, sexuality, and relationship orientation through the Intersections project (https://www.intersectional.info)