When did I consciously realize that I was bisexual? That I was attracted to women as well as to men? It wasn’t that early, though looking back, I can see I’ve have crushes on women since high school at least. Still, I was mostly consumed with desire for guys rather than gals (and consumed is an appropriate term – it seems I spent my twenties in a state of perpetual lust). The appeal some women had for me was more of a background ache than an urgent need.
My first actual lesbian experience didn’t happen until I was in graduate school, when one of my closest female friends stayed over at my apartment. It was awkward – it was exciting – it was fun. Somehow, though, it was not a huge deal. Loving C. felt as natural as getting it on with one of my male partners.
Lesbian erotica often hinges on the hesitancy of one of the characters, the sense that she’s about take an irrevocable step over some critical line between normal and not. The taboo aspect is front and center. It seems strange, but I’ve never had that sense. Bisexuality just seems to be part of who I am.
Nobody ever told me it was wrong to love a woman or to crave a woman’s flesh. As I grew up, no one ever suggested that attraction to members of your own sex was abnormal or unacceptable. I don’t think that I had many, or even any, examples of same-sex relationships in my early life. Or if I did, nobody bothered to mention it. With my head in a book as it usually was, I might have been oblivious. Still I’m certain no one tried to instill in me any sort of prejudice, fear or hostility with regard LGBTQ people. It was simply a non-issue.
The end result, though, is that I’m totally comfortable identifying as bisexual. There’s no angst, no guilt. I don’t go around broadcasting this, of course. I don’t talk about sex, in general, nearly as much as I think about it!
I’m deeply grateful for this lack of conflict. It leaves me free to savor the appeal of the entire human race, rather than just half of it.
I thought I’d close this post with a poem I wrote to a woman to whom I was powerfully attracted. This was before my encounter with C. Kathy and I were casual friends. Nothing ever came of the connection I felt for her. However, I think – I hope – you can sense the intensity of my desire from piece.
There’s some nervousness here, some hesitancy – but no shame.
November 1977 To Kathy Shoeless priestess, bittersweet sister, carpenter-queen of the rainy-day people— What does this mean? This smile, this blush, this breathless hush in the space between our separate selves? You draw me. You scare me. What can I say? These awkward words cling to my fingers like clay. Sapphire-silent, you sparkle for me; cobweb silk; electricity. One morning we met on a Monday bridge, you sporting your bowler and me in my green (green is for freedom). I sang all day. Candlelight curves and spring-wound tension— your honesty lures and alarms. You drench me (so thirsty) in feeling that’s dizzying, gather me shivering, shining, transparent, into your sphere, invite me to share in the sense and enchantment. How do you know the other me so thoroughly? I struggle to keep you from hardening into a myth or a symbol; maybe I dreamed you. Daughter, teacher, hardly I dare to look in your eyes. Your body is there, behind my eyelids; I scare easily. This is too much like being in love for comfort.