Frangipani

Polyamory, bisexuality and maybe even some atheism

Things I’ve Learned March 20, 2012

I’m sure I mentioned this in an earlier post, but men have become more appealing of late. I think that comes from having sorted out a lot of my shit in that department and having come to understand and accept my kinks and inclinations.

For instance, I wondered if, in being drawn to being dominant towards men, I was simply reacting to the submissive-by-default status of women in what little BDSM I had previously been exposed to as well as, well, the world in general. I wondered if wanting to hurt them was perhaps more a political thing than a personal thing and maybe, deep down, I really didn’t want to do it at all. I know that my reaction to being struck, dominated, etc. is almost immediately aggressive and potentially violent in just about any context, and that should have been a clue, but such is the power of suggestion and conformity. It’s just so much easier (at least in theory) for a woman to be submissive that when you’re not, you’re left second-guessing yourself. At least I was.

Then I met a woman with whom I had amazing chemistry and whose libido was about as strong as mine. We spent at least the first three months fucking like our lives depended on it at every single opportunity. The funny thing about all that sex is that it didn’t really help us get to know each other all that well as people, but it certainly helped both of us get to know ourselves an awful lot better.

I can’t write about what she learned, but for my part, I found out that I really do like running the show. I really do like impact play. I really DON’T like being on the receiving end of impact play, but trying it and finding out was actually pretty fun anyway, and I only really concluded that it wasn’t for me afterwards. I don’t mind hurting women or dominating them, though I much prefer things to even out in the end. I get off on hurting people in ways they like. I get off on playing with people’s bodies and figuring out what works for them and what freaks them out (in a good way). I don’t mind tying people up, but I much prefer simply not allowing them to move. I love the feel, smell and weight of a whip in my hand. I love just using my hands. I love using my mouth, and especially my teeth.

And, at the same time, I learnt that a lot of the stuff that freaked me out or that I didn’t like the idea of wasn’t all that scary after all. I may not like it, but that’s ok. I have the right to not like things. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It did not shatter my idea of who I was. It did not make me a bad person. It was just…stuff.

For a while, I thought it was weird that sex with a woman should help me sort out stuff about sex with men. Eventually, it dawned on me that, duh, it’s not that different. I feel safer with women in general, but I felt particularly safe with her, at least sexually, and that allowed me to let go and experiment with stuff that, in the past, I’d been far too wound up to even think of trying. I’d thought for the longest time that it just took me longer to trust men than women sexually, but really, it was me I didn’t trust. I was afraid that despite what I really wanted, I would simply freeze and then revert to the handy-dandy little  he-Tarzan, me-Jane script when dealing with a man.

*lightbulb*

I don’t have to do that. Or, if I really feel like it, I can do exactly that. The key is figuring out what I want at the time and articulating it and then letting the response be about the other person and not me.

And the end result is that while that relationship may have gone south, it’s left me in a much better place. I’ve actually started to notice men and to find lots of them sexy without knowing the first thing about them. I know most people will think that’s perfectly normal, but it has rarely, if ever, happened to me.

Now to figure out what to do about it.

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Safety February 2, 2011

Filed under: Bisexuality,Fear,Sexuality — Araliya @ 12:28 am
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A thought has been bugging me lately. It first came to me when I was walking down a dark, deserted street with a female lover. I live in a fairly safe area and have walked down many dark streets in the company of women (and by myself) without a second thought. The only thing that was out of the ordinary was that the date in question is a butch lesbian, not a generally feminine-spectrum bisexual like me, my partner, or any of the other women I’ve been in that situation with.

For the first time ever, I was apprehensive. I looked up and down the street for movement and listened for footfalls or any signs that someone was approaching us. I saw and heard nothing and we eventually got to a better-lit section of town and onto the bus we were looking for without incident. I deliberately didn’t raise the issue with her because I recognized the source of my discomfort and I felt bad – almost guilty – about it.

Almost as soon as I felt that initial tendril of apprehension, I realized why I felt that way. It wasn’t just that she was a woman – I’m often out with women. It was the fact that she was a lesbian and in a primary relationship with another woman, and looked it. I understood in that moment both my own privilege as a feminine bisexual woman married to a man, and the formerly unconscious assumption that underpinned that privilege.

Because I have a male partner and because my female partner, S, has two male partners, all of whom are able-bodied and large, I (and S) move around in the world under a cloak of protection I had not realized I had. Obviously, their physical presence means that it is highly unlikely that I will be catcalled, harassed, or otherwise attacked except in extremely unusual circumstances. But the weird thing is that they don’t actually have to be there for that feeling of safety to persist. The fact that they exist and that my extended family includes even more men of their general type somehow confers a kind of protection on me that I only noticed when it was removed – if only in theory – that night.

The other reason I can assume that protection is that I present as heterosexual. Or rather, I don’t ‘look’ like a lesbian. My hair, my clothes, the small amount of jewelry I wear all signal ‘female’ and ‘straight’ to most heterosexuals. (Lesbians, I’m told, can spot me, but then they’re not the demographic that tends to do most of the gay bashing.) That doesn’t mean I’m immune to attack, obviously, but that combined with the way I carry myself certainly suggests that I have backup. People tend to leave me alone.

It’s not like I’ve never felt uneasy when walking home at night. It happens sometimes. But the way I deal with it is call either H or a partner or a friend and keep them on the phone with me till I get home. Even if something were to happen, I know I have people – male-type people – who will help me out one way or another, even if it is after the fact, and that gives me a sense of safety beyond the idea of police or the law or female friends.

Which is why, when walking down that street that night, I felt scared. Because had we been attacked, the fact that my date has a female partner and presents as butch means that we weren’t ‘protected’. That I present as generally feminine means something when I am alone or with a man, or even with S who presents the same way. But put me next to someone who looks like my date did and I don’t look so straight any more. And that frightened me because that meant that I had stepped outside the socially constructed roles that I had not even realized I’d swallowed whole. Men look like men and do the protecting. Women look like women and are protected by men as a result. But if a woman looks like a man and is caught in the company of another woman who looks like she too could be gay, all bets are off. I would not be surprised if, had we been attacked, someone would have pointed out that we shouldn’t have been walking around while visibly gay, and many people would have agreed that yes, that’s what ‘flaunting your sexuality’ gets you.

While I’ve considered talking to my date about it, I never have. I don’t know what good it would do to point out that I feel like I am less safe when she and I are out together. Because even though it is true that members of marginalized groups are more likely to be attacked or mistreated by the majority, I have realized that I would rather risk it than lie about who I am. I have also understood that while I cannot erase my privilege entirely, now that I know it exists, I can at least acknowledge it and, when possible, step outside my safe little box.

 

Getting ‘involved’ February 24, 2008

Filed under: Bisexuality,Figuring it out,Lust,Monogamy — Araliya @ 11:20 am
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I look at women. No, I mean I look at women. I look at their mouths, their eyes, their hands, their breasts, their curves and lines. I listen to their voices, their accents, their speech, their laughter. If I can, I’ll get close enough to get a whiff of their hair or skin, make contact for a second. Sometimes, at some point, a woman looks back.

And that’s when I run.

Something in my head flips reality back on and I back off. You’re married, says my brain. You can’t get involved. So, over the protests of my lips and my skin and my cunt, I withdraw. Because my brain, you see, has a point. I am not free to get entangled with a woman and, without some kind of investment like that, I can’t see myself being with one. A man, yes. A man, I could just fuck once and never think of again. Knowing me, I probably wouldn’t even think of him while I fucked him.

Maybe it’s just the security heterosexuality gives you. It’s a given that men and women want to and will have sex with each other, so pretty much every kind of hookup is ‘normal’. There are endless acceptable variations to the dynamic between men and women – even the ones that are a bit out there still have a veneer of acceptability because they involve the right kind and number of people.

In contrast, if you have the ‘wrong’ kind (or number) of people, you’re immediately taking more of a risk, making yourself more vulnerable. As someone who can retreat into the safety of being ‘normal’, I think it would be unfair to ask someone to take that risk unless I do too. “I’m married so I can’t possibly be queer.” may be transparently disingenuous, but it can still be said and accepted, if not believed.

I can see why gay girls stay the hell away from bisexuals. From the interactions I’ve had and the conversations I’ve observed both online and in real life, I’ve understood that bisexuals are seen as predatory, unreliable and insincere. Some make the argument political, but for most it’s about being the more vulnerable person in the relationship. Being female and South Asian already, I really, really, don’t want to enter into a situation where I have to proffer even more explanations about who and what I am.

The solution, it seems, is to seek out other bisexual women because at least they’ll get where I’m coming from. Not as easy as it sounds, that, given that bisexuals make up an even smaller minority of what is already a pretty small minority in the queer world. And they’re harder to spot. My gaydar is pretty spot-on for both men and women, but bisexuals don’t seem to trip it.

And then of course we’re back to the “you can’t seek anybody out, missy, because you’re married.” I don’t cheat. I don’t want to lie and hide because I don’t think this is something that needs to be lied about and hidden, because I don’t think that there’s anything inherently wrong with it in the first place. Unfortunately though, that means that until I can expand the terms of my marriage, nothing can happen.

H and I have talked about it previously but since it’s an uncomfortable topic, nothing much has come of it. In some way, I think I’m hoping this blog will help us sort some of it out. He’s always known about my bisexuality – I’ve never made a secret of it and he’s never had an issue with it. We just sort of went along with the joke that all being bisexual really means is that there’s twice as many people in the world you’ll never have sex with. Five years on, I’m not so convinced.

Sometimes, I wish it were simply that monogamy wasn’t working for me and that I wanted to have sex with other men because I could do that without threatening the emotional base of my marriage. I can’t fathom keeping a woman at that kind of emotional distance. And that would have ‘implications’ that I don’t know if we’re equipped to deal with.