It started with an innocent comment but my friend’s response made it clear it wasn’t the sort of thing you were supposed to say. The way she reacted you would have thought I’d said something really shocking; as she quickly dismissed my comment, reiterated that I “have a boyfriend”, and told me because I liked sex with men I couldn’t possibly be a lesbian. The real kicker was when she said “I know lesbians, they are horrified by the idea of touching a penis, that’s definitely not you.”
That gave me my first lesson on sexuality, you are either gay or straight. I liked cock therefore I couldn’t also like cunt. It also told me that I should keep those feelings I might have about finding women attractive to myself. They were not something I should share, they were ideas to be kept to myself. It made me feel really ashamed, to the point I even started to try and not think those things, if I started thinking about a pretty girl, I would berate myself for it, telling myself I wasn’t ‘gay’.
Then I started sex blogging, and meeting new people. People who were open in their sexuality, people who were open in their relationships. It opened my eyes to a different world but I’d spent so long beating myself up and telling myself I was ‘straight’ that it didn’t occur to me that these new ideas could be applied to myself. It took someone else telling me I was bisexual for me to realise the truth.
It was at a big sex and fetish fair. I was talking to a friend about this really cute girl, (she’d been wearing a lace body stocking over a thong, and had very lovely breasts. She’d hugged me, and it had felt so nice and snuggly) and my just friend looked at me, “Honey, you’re bisexual.”
I immediately went on the defensive, “No, I’m just acknowledging that she was cute, that doesn’t mean anything. XX said that other woman was pretty.”
She laughed, “Yes, but she wasn’t imaging her naked. Are you saying you’re not thinking about kissing her, or what she’d feel like naked?”
I looked at her, and words failed me, “I…I…I…”
She laughed again, “You’re bisexual. That’s okay, you’re like me.”
It was a revelation for me. After so long hiding something, realising it’s actually a totally okay thing to be and do was like breathing fresh air. For a long time after that, although I would tell people who asked I was bisexual, I was always careful to say that it was just in theory, I don’t know why I felt such a strong need to tell people that but I always did. It’s as if I felt a need to justify my sexuality, especially as it had been someone else who told me that’s what I was.
Now I wonder, if they hadn’t pointed it out would I have always kept it hidden, or as I got more involved in the community would it have been natural for it to come out of me. I’m certainly less shy about other things I used to be embarrassed about. Maybe this would have been one of those things. As it is I still feel like I am having to unlearn behaviours – whilst learning my sexuality, that I spent decades developing. I wish I’d never been made to feel like I had to hide that part of myself, that I’d been told it was okay, and natural. That I knew what I know now.