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How should a hetero chick deal with cravings for women?

The best way for Atlanta women to come out as bisexual

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The Sexorcist

I've always considered myself a healthy, balanced, heterosexual woman. Lately, however, I've been having a hard time keeping my desire for a woman in check. I don't know how to stop this desire, nor do I know how to go about exploring that option. I don't trust the online thing, and there's a bit of fear and shame at the fact that I'm feelin' this way about women. I don't know what to do.

— Bi-lateral

Dear Bi-lateral,

You're so far in the closet, you're petting the lion in Narnia. You have to claw your way back to the closet door hinges or you're in for the kind of misery that best-selling memoirs are made of.

You're in the worst place you could possibly be right now — stuck between unwanted feelings and the desire to act on them. You've got what I call "psychological cancer." When the irresistible force of desire meets the immovable object of fear, your brain cells start feeding on themselves.

Time for a little emotional chemotherapy. First, get yourself a helpful definition of what you're feeling. Too often, what stops people from realizing their sexual natures is the fear of being labeled. Robyn Ochs, a respected teacher and activist, has the best definition of bisexuality I've read in a long time:

"I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way and not necessarily to the same degree."

Labels belong on a can, not on a man. Or a woman. Being unwilling to categorize yourself will go a long way toward self-acceptance.

Another way out of your paralysis is to act. I'm not a fan of excessive pre-action reflection, especially when fear is involved. You get into endless loops that go something like this: "I can't make a decision until I have some answers, but I can't get answers until I make a decision."

Here's what you need to do: Act now, decide later. By "act," I mean get enough experience so that you can decide how to proceed.

Start by talking to someone you trust. While you may not accept your desires, the friends you tell (carefully chosen), will. You need somebody to do for you what you can't do for yourself: accept your desires without judgment.

See, your desires aren't causing you pain. It's the judgment you've made about them that's breaking your heart.

Next, start meeting bisexual women. Online, start with www.bisexual.com, which has a great forum for discussing your concerns. Get yourself invited to lesbian bars and parties. Watch how women who are romantically attracted to other women interact. See what this brings up in you.

Finally, if you're up to it, and the right situation presents itself, do that voodoo that bisexuals do so well. If that works out, lather. Rinse. Repeat.

If you do decide to come out as bisexual, beware of closeted people's tendency to awfulize the future. They see only negative outcomes — being targeted for harassment and ridicule, abandoned by friends and family, or unable to have kids. But a more realistic scenario is that many (but not all) family members will be loving and accepting, that many (but not all) friends will understand. And that you will find many (but not all) opportunities to have kids.

In other words, coming out will give you all the things that any new path in life will bring you: the good with the bad, the expected with the unanticipated and the solution of old problems along with the rise of new ones.

Ain't that just like life?

Listen, whatever you decide, know this: Your desire has a purpose. It isn't to ruin you. It isn't there to "test" you. It's there to usher you into a new dimension of your life. Don't fight it; honor it.

Mike "The Sexorcist" Alvear hosts HBO's "The Sex Inspectors," blogs at mikealvear.com and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie. Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? E-mail him at sexorcist@creativeloafing.com.

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