Gay journalist Charles Pulliam-Moore stands in solidarity with his bisexual brothers and despises the "dismissive hetero and homo-fascists" who oppress bisexuals "with their snide remarks and dramatic eyerolls." (The history of the 20th Century would be a lot less bloody if fascists stuck to snide remarks and eyerolling.) But Pulliam-Moore also believes that bisexuals "have some shit of their own to own up to" and owning up to that shit might help defuse some of the tensions between the gay and bi male communities:
Of all of the bi guys I’ve known over the years, the majority of them have been what I would describe as bi-sexual but hetero-amorous. That is to say that while they’d certainly get into some sweaty bro-on-bro action at the frathouse, guys simply couldn’t provide the kind of emotional satisfaction necessary for a romantic relationship. From what I can tell from
a handful of informal conversationsmy research, it would seem as if the bisexual/hetero-amorous thing is rather common but rarely articulated in those terms.... I suspect that most bi-identified people find themselves leaning towards one sex/gender vs. the other for different kinds of fulfillment. That in and of itself isn’t a problem. It’s the not telling people that causes issues.
For many people, every hookup, no matter how drunken or casual or initially FWB-oriented, holds the potential of turning into something more. It’s important to disclose at the onset what it is you’re looking for when you start “seeing” someone. I would argue that it’s even more important, particularly when it comes to bisexuals, to be ready to articulate whether or not the bang-du-jour even has the potential to be “more” should that conversation ever need to happen.
I get letters every day from guys who tell me that they're confused about their sexual identities. They go on to explain that while they enjoy fucking men and women, they only fall in love with women. Sex with men? Great! Relationships with men? No thanks. These guys are bisexual in the bisexual-but-heteroamorous sense. But these guys invariably go on to tell me that they can't be bisexual—because aren't bisexuals supposed to be capable of falling in love with men and women equally? Isn't that what everyone says? Here's an example:
I’ve been reading your calls to bisexuals to come out to their friends and families, and think it's a great idea. Here’s my conundrum: I’m not sure I technically classify as a “bisexual.” I’m a 40-year-old guy who strongly prefers sex with women over men (percentage wise I’m 70/30). I’ve had sex with dudes in the past (five or six times), and loved it, though I've never had the same emotional attachment and attraction that I've had with women. Most people seem to think that bisexuals are equally attracted to both genders—sexually and emotionally—like they could decide by flipping a coin. So what do you think? Am I bisexual, “heteroflexible," or just a juicy boner hobbyist?
This guy is bisexual, obviously, but heteroamorous. But the most popular definition of bisexuality circulating out there—someone who is equally attracted to both genders—doesn't cover guys like him.
Benoit Denizet-Lewis cited a better definition of bisexuality in his recent New York Times Magazine cover story:
“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.”
That's bisexual activist Robyn Ochs's definition. It's a a definition that encompasses the bisexual guys who write me letters wondering whether they're bi and it covers the bi guy who broke Charles Pulliam-Moore's heart. Denizet-Lewis describes Ochs's definition as "widely used." It needs to be more widely used. And seconding Pulliam-Moore: there would be less ill will between gay and bi men if more bi men were honest about only being interested in sex with men. Lots of gay men are up for NSA sex or FWB arrangements—(duh) but if there's no possibility of a romantic relationship, that's something needs to be disclosed and discussed going in. And, yes, when a bi guy does disclose that fact to a gay male sex partner—which Pulliam-Moore's heartbreaking bi fuckbuddy did—gay men need to believe them.