sexual orientation

Sexual orientation isn’t the problem; shitty behavior is

Dear Eliza,

My boyfriend of about 2 years and I began watching gay porn together. It turned us both on and after a while we discussed having sexual encounters with other men together. The agreement was that we would only do it together in a safe and consensual manner. We did this for a while but then his sexual energy for me started to change. Now, he has no desire to have sex with me alone but if there is a third person involved he was totally into it with both of us. I addressed him about this and explained I was a little concerned and kind of hurt. He says he’s still into me and that I’m reading into things. Other than sex, we agree that our relationship is strong. What should I do? Is he gay and scared to come out? Is he bi and if so would it be realistic for me to think we can continue together in a healthy relationship?

-Gay, Bi or Doomed?

Dear Doomed,

If your boyfriend’s attention and enthusiasm during these threesomes is spread equally between you and the always-male third wheel, then yes—your boyfriend is bisexual.

Which is fine, of course, even if he just figured it out. Some people are keyed into their sexuality from a young age. Others take a while to define their desires, especially when their orientation falls somewhere between the firm hetero/homo ends of the sexuality spectrum. Some people are attracted to men and women equally, and sometimes there’s a distinct imbalance. Some people are attracted to both but tend to fall in love with one or the other. Sex is crazy and complex but there’s a reason it makes the world go ‘round (biologically speaking): it feels fucking great.

So it sucks when people are confused about what they want, especially when their understanding of their most basic need is clouded by a stunning lack of reference to bisexuality in culture at large. How many public figures are known bisexuals? How many celebrities and fictional characters? And when it is referenced, how often is it portrayed as tawdry or suspicious or a joke? There’s an actual name for this bullshit: bisexual erasure. Look it up.

But I don’t mean to be harsh—your concerns are legitimate, I just needed to lay the foundation of my advice.

Let me also state upfront that your boyfriend is acting like a shit-ass. Just because that first threesome blessed him with sexual clarity doesn’t mean his new path should be paved with inconsideration. Your existing, long-known needs are no less important than his brand-new desires, and only having sex on his terms is jerk move in any kind of relationship.

On some level he knows this, or else he wouldn’t pull the wounded act when you bring it up. It’s a defense mechanism for assholes, manipulating your guilt to maintain the status quo, and you don’t have to put up with it. If MMFs are it for him now, if he has no desire to fuck you alone (or another guy alone, for that matter), then he needs to find a relationship or situation that’s satisfying for everyone involved—a relatively easy feat thanks to the internet.

Another defense mechanism to expect when you press this issue (notice I don’t say “if”—there’s no way to avoid this conversation unless you like being miserable): he’ll claim that he loves you and doesn’t want to lose you, and he just needs time to “figure it out”. Don’t let him pull this indefinite crap. Even if he does love you, even if he truly values your relationship, there’s nothing left to figure out. He already knows what he wants. Unfortunately, what he wants clashes with what he had, and he’s too much of a coward to not only face the conflict, but do something about it.

He has to ask himself: is he willing to accommodate your need for exclusive sex as seriously as he expects you to accommodate his need for thirds? Are his feelings for you strong enough to compromise?

Keep in mind his answer might hurt. A lot. But not as much as it hurts to share your life with someone who’d rather make you feel bad about what you want than explain why he won’t give it to you.

With justice and pleasure for all,

Eliza Lane

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