Friday, June 16, 2006


I have spent much time lately considering differences in being bi versus gay. This always strikes me as a “hot button” issue. Straights would look at this and see it in simple terms: “sex with men = gay.” Subtleties are probably not of great interest to them. I am probably even more sensitive to gay people thinking I am using “bi” as a distancing technique. Nothing could be further from the truth which is why I continue to use bi/gay in my writing and self description.

Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that I have spent way too much energy on labels and have gone back and forth between gay / bi / hetero like a pinball. KA would refine the comment I am sure: pinballs are random whereas my swings follow a pattern. Gay Mondays leading to bi midweeks and of course hetero for the weekend, probably with the hope of “getting some.”

But I do feel caught between worlds and cannot help but sense that gay or straight would be preferable to my nether world. There are two relevant measures here – emotional and sexual attractions/ gratifications. Both of these needs are satisfied at home with my wife. Would I enjoy sex with a man on a regular basis? Sure. But not at the price of giving up sex with my wife.

If I am straight, well so much for this blog and my life would not be in careening mode. If gay, there is some small measure in comfort in saying that I desire gratification - emotional or and/or sexual – that I cannot obtain from my wife. Not that life as a married gay would be a cakewalk. Issues of family, friendships and vows would remain but at least the reason for this raging internal dilemma would be clear. For the moment I struggle with feeling selfish, with wants versus needs.

I came out to my niece this week and at the end told her of being upset over turning my life inside out over “a whim.” She looked at me and repeated “a whim”, and it was clear from her tone that she knew that this was not a whim. She was of course right.

And for all who are wondering as the particularly obtuse title for this post, I frequently find myself witnessing OMG and OMFG moments. Time for an OBG (Oh Bi God) instead.


Brad said...

Your niece is correct. I don't believe for one minute that you would cause this turmoil in your life over "a whim".

Cal Snow said...

Oh. This is so much more complicated than people who are not living it day to day will ever understand. It seems facile to say "be true to yourself"...when that involves multiple selves...and commitments. I guess my biggest personal struggle comes from feling so dead stuck in the middle. It would be easier to come to terms with being one way or the other. Trust me. Anyone who feels that way understands. But I am about as equally parsed between both worlds as a human could ever be. If I wasn't equally identified by both my gay and straight sides I would gratefully gravitate to one team or the other. And I think a point that people sometimes that for someone who is "bi" and struggling...the struggle has much more to do with feelings of love and emotional connection than any specific sexual urges. Just my two cents

Paul said...

Nate -

What a great observation. Somewhere between "straight" and "gay" lies "selfish" -- realizing that you/we/I want it all.

Well the truth is most people can't have it all. There are committments required to play on either team. One (and often me) must compartmentalize life in order to be a switch hitter.

How do we manage? Talk to me.

bear said...

Did you see Bigg's post on "Biology"
(here's the link: "Roughgarden believes that the hetero/homo distinction is a purely cultural creation, and not a fact of biology, she thinks it is only a matter of time before we return to the standard primate model."

So perhaps the struggle is biological vs. cultural. Cal's right, this is not a pure sexual urge...although, for you, Nate, you've been entertaining this idea alot more recently I think...

(btw, Cal - glad to see you're around... I just blogged about you the other day...)

Tony said...


Can't imagine what it is like to be in your shoes from an emotional standpoint. Somehow this will all sort out and you will have your answers. I think Cal brings up a good point regarding the issue being one of emotional connection and love rather than of a sexual urge.

Nate said...

Needless to say this is a theme that is not completed and I apprecite the chord it struck.

Cal - Your blog seems to have disappeared and we are all glad to hear your voice again. Good luck with the struggle (and struggle it is) and you can always find us here or back channel should you ever want.