Shame. Unremitting, soul-crushing shame.
Shame lies at the heart of every secret bisexual desire, thought, encounter.
Shame keeps us from talking, sharing, and being authentic with our loved ones.
Shame stifles our ability to have close, intimate connections.
Shame motivates us toward harmful, hurtful acts.
Shame tears us apart inside and leaves room for little else other than devastating self-loathing.
Bisexuals are deeply ashamed of Who We Really Are, sickened by our own desires, our own selves. It is one thing to act shamefully, but quite another entirely when one’s very nature is shameful.
It is because of this shame that we fervently deny any and all evidence about our true natures – even when caught in flagrante delicto with another, or in a photo, or email describing experiences in which we’ve partaken.
Every encounter we have is seen as an act of self-betrayal, and we swear to ourselves it will be the last: “Never again. I can gain control over this behaviour. I can cure myself of it. Mend my ways. Be a better person. This is not Who I Really Am, but an aberration of me, a distortion, a perversion as the result of an inner defect which, once discovered, can be fixed so that I’ll be normal and good and right again – like everyone else.”
The thought process associated with the discovery of one’s bisexual desire usually goes like this: What is wrong with me? What is causing me to feel this way? What is my problem!?
For this is seen as a problem to many. And to them there is nothing pretty about bisexuality. It’s a fucking nightmare for everyone involved. It is, after all, the terminal cancer of life-long heterosexual monogamy – and God knows this is the supreme summit to which we all aspire. Yes, I’m being facetious.
Once recognized we begin looking for the cause of our disease, fervently blaming anything we can to distance ourselves from accepting responsibility for our own basic natures: I’m bi because of an inappropriate touch when young; an accidental same sex experience which must have left an indelible mark on my soul; something my mother/father did/didn’t do; too much exposure to porn; hanging around too many gay people; too horny; too desperate; over-sexed; satanic possession. You name it, I’ve heard it.
We go to counsellors, join self-help groups, attend Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings, seek out pharmaceutical means of curing ourselves of what really ought not be an issue whatsoever: we enjoy, need, desire, want, crave sexual and/or emotional contact with both sexes.
Why is this such a big deal? Would we feel the same if we replaced sex with skiing? “My husband has agreed to go see a counsellor to find out why it is he cannot control himself from going skiing when a large amount of snow falls. The doctor has suggested a drug which may help him.”
Bisexuals who are hiding are doing so because they are exponentially more appalled by their own desires than their confounded partners. We would like nothing more than to tell them we are cured, and will not be partaking in that kind of thing again.
It is a strange feeling indeed to have an unexpected, uninvited desire rise up from some unknown area within ourselves, goading us toward behaviour which many of us feel is not right – for ourselves.
This is not me!
This cannot be me.
I won’t allow this to be me.
No one can know this is me.
It is interesting to note that when I mention bisexual desire you automatically infer I am talking about a straight person wanting a gay experience. This is not the case. Bisexuality affects gays and straights alike. Gay men and women and others have looked at me in earnest and asked me what is wrong with them that they desire the opposite sex?
Because bisexual desire is inconsistent, coming and going as predictably as the weather – or the human libido – we find it hard to accept as a valid part of ourselves. When there is no bisexual desire, there is no bisexuality. Until it returns, and then all goes into question again.
As a partner of a bisexual you need to understand that the reason we lie, deny, hide is because we firmly believe that Who We Really Are is unloveable. No matter how much you tell us to the contrary, we are certain deep down that our very nature is shameful and problematic.
After I’d come out to my wife in 2009 she allowed me to go and have sex with guys when I wanted. The only stipulation being I had to tell her before.
I could not bring myself to say the words, however. I knew I was supposed to, that it was important for me to do so, but try as I may I could not say it. The main reason being that I did not want to acknowledge it to myself. I was disgusted by my own need. Communicating that to her only made it that much more real, and somehow more perverse.
The next time you find your partner has been less than forthright with you, remember that it is their own self-loathing which drives their behaviour, and the only antidote for that is love. We need to bring light to the darkness, compassion to the affliction, joy to the sorrow.
Overcoming shame is a process which requires the element of time. It took a few years for me to feel good about Who I Really Am, and until that point I had many periods of relapsing into self-loathing, i.e. I was not fully forthright about my behaviour.
Unfortunately there are those who will not under any circumstances open to Who They Really Are, instead choosing to deny until their final day. In this case they remain permanently out of reach.
But for the many of us who understand that self-acceptance is the path to inner unification, peace and contentment, a healthy dose of love and support for Who We Really Are by those who love us is the cure. We may not get all the way there today, but slowly, one step at a time, we will eventually arrive.
I want to thank all those amazing people, such as my wife, who are willing to go through this process with us, and love us regardless. You make all the difference to our lives.