Perceptions of sexuality and promiscuity

Posted: April 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Recently, one of my sister’s work colleagues made a generalised comment about gay men when they were discussing the blood donation ban, saying “It’s right that they shouldn’t be able to give, they’re all so bloody promiscuous!”

It should be noted here that the ban does NOT only cover men who identify as gay or bisexual, but to all men who have ever had sex with a man.

When Becca told me about this comment, I was understandably very very pissed off, and not just because I was in LGBT defensive mode, but because it’s a stupid, inaccurate comment (I was, however, very proud of her for standing up to the person who made the comment and pointing out her error). I don’t think that sexual orientation affects how many people you sleep with, or how readily you’ll sleep with someone. I know gay folk in long term relationships and civil partnerships, many of whom have been together for years. And I know plenty of promiscuous straight people – men and women.

Before I was with Al (my boyfriend of nearly 2 years), I wasn’t promiscuous, but was completely averse to the idea of a long term relationship. The concept just didn’t suit me. My philosophy was: “Sex is a fun thing that I like to do with some of my friends, now and then. I won’t sleep with strangers, only with people I know and trust. I find some of my friends sexually attractive, therefore I would enjoy having sex with them now and again, just as an extension of our friendship”. This had NOTHING to do with the fact that I’m bisexual, but with how I imagined a relationship would impact on my life and my freedom to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Soon after Al and I became “romantically entangled”, we were both totally besotted with each other, and very soon I was aware that my feelings had completely changed, and that I wanted to be with him, and only him, for the forseeable future (I don’t like to use the word “forever”, but that’s how it feels sometimes). All of a sudden, the idea of sleeping with other people was alien to me. Not because it would be wrong, immoral or unfair, but because I just didn’t want to any more. However, both of us are 100% agreed on the fact that we do not want to marry or have children.

A few months ago, Becca accidentally “outed” me to my mum. By this I don’t mean that she revealed my deep dark secret that I never wanted my parents to know about, but I’d just never mentioned it before and therefore assumed (correctly) that my mum had no idea. She rang to speak to me, and Becca told her that I was at an LGBT conference. She then had to explain what LGBT meant, and my mum was totally puzzled as to why I would be there…

Her first reaction when Becca enlightened her was, “But I thought she was with Al?” Becs confirmed this, and my mum said “But I thought she was happy!” She had this automatic assumption – like so many others – that because I’m bisexual it means I have to have both at all times. Other people at work have asked me if I see women on the side. No, I don’t. I’m in a monogamous relationship.

However, there are plenty of bisexual men and women who are in open relationships, who have multiple commitment-free partners, and who cheat on their current partner. There are also plenty of bisexuals who are in happy, healthy long term relationships. Many are married.

All of the above relationship patterns (and many others that I’m not going to go into, purely because there are far too many, and I don’t think sexuality is something you can really categorise anyway) are reflected across the population, in people who identify as straight, gay, asexual, trans, queer, curious, undecided and otherwise undefined.

A person’s personality, desires and principles will govern their behaviour – sexually and in all other aspects of life. Not the gonads of the people they find attractive.

  1. Mark says:

    I want more posts Nurse Vez! PS I think the blog title is great, very catchy!!!! xx

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