Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I remember well as a young man how much the very concept of destiny angered me. It was, in my young mind, akin to being told I was going to be enslaved. How could anyone be happy being a slave? I was the Captain of my ship, the master of my own fate. Destiny be damned!

Now, looking back on 50 plus years of a life pretty well lived, I find like every other aspect of this thing we know as human existence, the question of whether we are slaves to destiny or masters of our own fate requires a very complex answer.

Within the complexities of that answer are aspects that angered me as a  young man and caused me great pain and anguish in mid life. At this point in my life, I can see clearly that in several real ways I have been enslaved. I have not be at liberty to make certain choices.

Among the choices I did not have the freedom to make was to choose how I would express my sexuality. It is the issue over which I had no choice that has most affected my life, but it is not the only one. I have always been a Type A personality. I did not choose to be that driven. I even have tried through the years to force myself into a lesser pace, but it never worked. I simply have no choice in the matter. I'm an intuitive person. So intuitive that it sometimes borders on the ability to exercise premonition. There are advantages to such insight, but it has always been something with which I am less than comfortable. I have, especially in my younger days, tried to stifle it, to no avail. I have always been a person of faith. Faith has never been a choice for me. It has always been imposed upon me. In my early years I rejected the faith of my childhood and sought out a faith that was less rigid, less legalistic, less close minded. In mid life I tried to reject faith completely, to put it away and become agnostic if not atheistic. In response to that bolt for freedom, God simply stepped into my life and overpowered me. I could not reject what was suddenly such an imposing part of my life, like it or not. And for a good while I didn't like it at all. I had never suffered being imposed on well by anyone and I didn't particularly like the idea of being imposed on by God. And what really scared me was the fact that since I had almost reached the point I didn't even believe in God, there was the very real possibility I was going insane.

In George Orwell's book, "1984" everyone was genetically engineered to perform a task to serve society and everyone was happy carrying out his assigned roll, even those who did the menial tasks. It's a weird metaphor, but I'm come to see destiny in a similar way. It's not that there have not been forks in the road of my life. There have been. But its like the road I was on, forks and all was itself determined by my destiny. For instance, I had to function as a bisexual man. I couldn't get off that road. The choices I had were within that context of my life. At the same time, the choices I had were within the context of an evolving spiritual faith. These two things often made for difficulties in my life. Many people see them as in conflict with each other. I understand that, believe me. There were times I just wanted to quit. To get off the road altogether, but my Type A personality kicked in at that point. It wouldn't allow me to quit. It forced me to carry on and so everything I did was influenced by that aspect of my life over which I had no choice also. Altogether, they worked well; and in the end, well fortunately well before the end of my life, I realized that I was a happy and blessed man.

I am the sum of my destiny but even in living one's destiny, I've found that one is not really a slave. The most precious gift in life is happiness and I have achieve happiness and inner peace. And it seems, at least, that there have been choices I've been able to make along the way. This blog is one of them. Sure some of the same characteristics I've listed above influenced me to begin this blog. But it was my choice. However, within the choice, destiny plays a part. Almost every week, I get emails from guys who tell me they just happened to stumble onto my blog and they can't stop reading it. They tell me that it is like they were somehow meant to find it. Like it or not that sort of thing speaks of destiny to me, mine and that of others interacting for the good of each other.

My bisexuality was so painful in the beginning. It caused me to hate myself so. It caused me to fear for my soul. I can't say I completely understand it even now, but I understand enough now to know that my bisexuality was a part of my destiny and without it I would not be me.

We live in a era when people fear introspection and thoughtfulness. We live in an era where a huge segment of society has co opted God and is ready to demand that everyone proclaim allegiance to their view of God. Perhaps these people are living out their destiny too, to goad us, to shock us into introspection and thoughtfulness. To force us to rise up against those who would enslave us with their perverted ideas of God and find for ourselves the God of our own redemption.

I have come to believe we are happiest and most content when we are living close to our destiny. That is not enslavement. It is simply being at home.

Jack Scott

Saturday, September 24, 2011

She Doesn't Know

I found the following You Tube video of the blog for women who have found out their husbands are gay. The blogger posted it with the comment that it would be almost funny if it wasn't all too true.

I am very sensitive to the point of view of married women who get the surprise of their life by finding out that their husbands are gay. Being a married bisexual man, whose wife knows, gives me some insight into what these women feel. The pain, the sense of betrayal, the simple embarrassment of having not picked up on something so significant is a terrible thing for these women.

Some women are told. They don't have to find out through some accident. But even that does not fully mitigate the pain or stop her from feeling that her world has turned upside down. It's not often discussed, but all women do not react the same way to the news. Some are willing to put up with anything to preserve the marriage and the family unit. Others go into a rage and immediately throw the offending husband out of the house and file for divorce. Sometimes the rage turns to bitterness that never heals and never ends. A few women seem to eventually understand the situation for the unfortunate reality it is, pick up their lives and move on, hurt but not broken, and willing to build a new life.

Over the last 15 - 16 years, the study of human sexuality, in particular the study of male sexuality, has occupied a great deal of my time. I have come to believe that society at large is undergoing a sea change in sexual mores that society itself has not yet recognized.

It has been more than 60 years since Alfred Kinsey founded The Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University and began his unprecedented and provocative study of human sexuality in modern times.

While numerous studies of different aspects of human sexual behavior have been conducted in the intervening years, there has been no new groundbreaking work which has rivaled the scale and the impact of Kinsey's research. This is most unfortunate, because I believe, though I cannot prove, that since the early 1990s and the commercialization of the internet the pace of change and adaptation in human sexuality has been profoundly affected. No one has yet published any groundbreaking research on a Kinsey scale to scientifically verify and measure these changes. I sometimes wonder if the United States has simply become so Politically Correct, so conservative and so cowed by the Radical Christian Right Wing that the people who would otherwise conduct such research are self-censoring themselves and thus inhibiting insight in to a sexual phenomena which is becoming increasingly clear.

The You Tube video above is  proof positive of a contemporary sexual expression which was almost unheard of in the 1950s when Kinsey began his research. And its not just on You Tube that the topic is being discusses. It is the subject of discussion on CNN, on The Today Show, on the Oprah Show and many others. Country Music legend, Willie Nelson, has observed in song that "cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other." The You Tube Video of Willie's song is restricted and cannot be embedded, but it can be viewed directly on You Tube at

There can be no real question any longer that bisexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality. There are simply too many of us too ignore anymore. Admittedly that bisexuality is real has a profound impact on what it means to be a sexual human being, a married person, a person of faith. Bisexuality raises questions in all these areas.

However, I believe that bisexuality is not new. It has always been a part of the human condition. Within recorded history, several societies have actually incorporated it into their behavioral norms. Bisexuality is not new, it has simply been forgotten. Probably more accurately, it has been the victim of a concerted attempt by religious zealots to wipe it from the collective minds of modern society.

But the truth is bisexuality is not going to go away. It is becoming a growing issue especially among men. I think it is becoming a growing issue among men because the truth is it is a biological norm among men. One that has survived every attempt to crush it.

The ubiquitousness of the internet and the candid private discussion of sexual issues that could not easily be discussed prior to the internet age have renewed and are renewing an awakening of men's bisexual nature.

The consequences for society are enormous. The knee jerk reaction of society and the church is to renew its resolve to stamp out the concept itself. It won't work. If it would work, most of us who are bisexual would willingly volunteer to lead the charge. We've tried to eradicate it on a personal basis and it just want be eradicated. It has to be dealt with. For the foreseeable future, each man is going to have to make a personal decision about how he deals with it.

It's best he makes that decision from an informed viewpoint, in particular when he's deciding what he should do about telling her what she doesn't know. One size does NOT fit all and telling her is opening a door that once opened can never ever be closed no matter what.

Telling her may be the right thing to do. In some cases, even she might consider it the wrong thing to have done. No one's opinion on the issue is shared by every woman. Its simply not!

Jack Scott

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Helping Hand

I received this letter this morning from an anonymous man:

"It is important to note that I love and have always loved my wife. It is important to note that I love and have always loved my family. It is important to note that we started out with nothing and worked side by side to build our dreams and we achieved those dreams and more than we had dreamed. It is important to note that I am socially and emotionally a straight man. I have no desire whatsoever to be in love with a man or to live with a man. A man is simply a physical attraction to me; and as I stated before, there is every reason to believe that is an esoterical thing that bisexual men understand and others do not."

... I have to comment on this. I'm not sure if the OP will ever read this, but...

I literally could have written the above paragraph word for word. I just stumbled across your blog today and have been reading it for the past hour. I just printed that paragraph and am taking it to my next session with my therapist. I'm 40 and not sure how much longer I can continue 'in the closet'. I want to talk about this so badly, and yet, most times, I think my therapist looks at me like I am a fuckin freak. I'm envious of your openness with your wife. I want to do it, but I don't think I can...


Guys such as -T are the reason, the only reason, I blog about and am so open about my own journey through my bisexuality. I hurt and hated myself for so many years feeling I was a monster like no other in the world. I had no one to talk to about it.

That decades long experience made me want to do all that I possibly can to help other guys avoid such personal pain over their bisexuality. I finally found answers for myself that have allowed me to live in peace with my bisexuality.

That doesn't mean I have the answers for anyone else, but I can sure talk to anyone and help him to work through some of the problems and perhaps find answers that will work for him in his particular situation.

There are some good psychotherapists out there, but sometimes they are hard to find when dealing with this subject. It is simply vital that we feel as if someone, at least, understands us. For bisexual guys, often the only person that can truly understand is another bisexual guys.

Please, if you have no one else you feel you can talk to, talk to me. I'll respect your privacy. You can contact me at

Jack Scott

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Complex Reality

Having been aware of my own sexuality from my earliest childhood memories, I have long recognized first my own sexuality and then human sexuality itself as a complex reality.

As I have related elsewhere in this blog, I became sexually active with other boys at age 6. It really wasn't a big deal because in the small Texas town where I was raised it was something that almost all boys were into.

I began to be sexually curious about girls around age 12. By age 14 I was actively exploring that curiosity. My frequent encounters with males continued through my 17th year. At age 18, I was married. The marriage was a good one, and it has endured for many years.

It was not until a few years after my marriage that I began to realize just how complex my sexuality was. The realization begin to take hold as the desire to return to male/male sexual activity began to grow in me in spite of the fact that I was enjoying a fantastic sex life with my wife.

For years, I tried to resist the male/male desires as also chronicled elsewhere in this blog. They simply got stronger.

As a Christian, I felt a huge amount of guilt because of my desires. The guilt began to turn into self hate and loathing as I felt I was the only married man in the world to have the thoughts and desires I had.

I was very much aware of homosexuality, but I knew I was not a homosexual because I had a strong desire for heterosexual relations with my wife. I just couldn't shake the feeling that my sexual activity with her was not enough. I knew nothing, at all about bisexuality.

In spite of my demons, I lived a great life. My wife and I raised a family. We both had very successful careers. We moved into our dream home and then a few years later, as our dreams grew, custom built another home that provided us a great deal of comfort and satisfaction. With success and age, life began to slow down a little bit and I began to study religion and human sexuality on my own.

I suppose over the years, I have probably achieved the equivalent of an advanced degree in religious studies and human sexuality. There has not only been the self-study, but I have fostered contacts with other guys similar to myself and have learned a great deal from the personal stories of others. Far from being the only man in the world with desires like mine, I found there are millions of us.

Several years ago I started a Yahoo Group to help guys like myself avoid some of the guilt and pain I had endured. In 2010 I began this blog. Both the group and the blog  have been a real blessing to me. I've learned much, and I've been able to help a few others along the way. A steady stream of email from guys who have benefited from my writing means the world to me. If I could have helped just one guy to avoid the pain and guilt, it would have been worth all the effort; but to have been able to help many has really been satisfying.

However, it has never been lost on me that, while I'm educated, I don't have any credentials in religion or human sexuality. All I have is what I've discovered along the way, my personal opinions and what I've learned from the school of hard knocks.

Blogging has been a very good thing for me. Not only has it allowed me to reach out to others, but it has allowed others to reach out to me. I spend a lot of time clicking through the links of blogs that are linked to mine and then on to the blogs that I find in those outlying blogs. Last week, I was doing just that and struck gold.

I ran into the web site of a man who has a Doctorate of Divinity as well as other credentials. I'm a member of the United Methodist Church. J. Benjamin Roe is a United Methodist Minister.

I spent an afternoon reading through several of his essays. It is a wonderful thing to read an affirmation of what I have written by someone with credentials to back them up.

Reading what Dr. Roe has written was like reading my own thoughts. I have posted one of his essays below. Some of the bold italic emphasis is mine. I tried to use the emphasis sparingly, because in reality, there is not much in the article I didn't want to add emphasis to.

Jack Scott

Sexual Orientation and Bisexuality: A Complex Reality

J. Benjamin Roe, D.Min.
"Bisexuality doesn't exist," said someone to me a number of years ago. I have heard other statements, too: Bisexuals just can't have stable relationships. Bisexuals live in a "no one's land." Bisexuals are really gay people who just haven't come all the way out of the closet. Bisexuals are really confused about their identity. Bisexuals are indiscriminate in their sexual partners. The only way to be "truly" bi is to be active sexually with partners of both sexes equally. Bisexuals are incapable of monogamy. Bisexuality "doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night."
Perhaps some of these statements are familiar to you. The reality of bisexuality is often denied by gay, lesbian, and heterosexual communities alike. And yet, to understand bisexuality and the complexity of sexual orientation might help make sense out of some of the claims of the "transforming" or "exodus" ministries.
My purpose in this article is to encourage a broader understanding of the complexity of sexual orientation, particularly as it is seen in bisexuality, and to encourage theological reflection which includes the experience of the range of sexual orientation.
Myths and stereotypes, like the ones listed above, are a problem for bisexual folk, just as they are for gay/lesbian people. Individual bisexual persons may fit or believe one or more of these myths and stereotypes. But just as there is not just one homosexual lifestyle, there is not just one bisexual lifestyle, but a whole range of possibilities from which each individual makes her or his own choices and decisions.
Looked at in the context of the whole of what we know about human sexuality, sexual orientation is much more complex than simply the two commonly used heterosexual-homosexual categories. It is even more complex than adding a third category of "bisexual;" yet, to talk about certain realities, labels sometimes make things a bit clearer.
Defining just what is meant by the word "bisexuality" is not easy. A definition that I like is, bisexuality is the presence of significant degrees of erotic attractions, erotic fantasies, and emotional preferences for members of both genders, with some recognition of their significance. Note that behavior is not a necessary part of the definition, and that recognition, or self-identification, is important. This is not a precise definition (if one were even possible), but it will do for the purpose of this article. It is important to note that bisexuality is not a discrete category, but roughly fits the middle range of scales that measure sexual orientation, such as the Kinsey scale and the Klein Grid.
The Kinsey scale is a zero to six continuum which was designed by the Kinsey researchers in the 1940's to describe the reality they were discovering, that there were not just "two kinds of people" (heterosexual and homosexual), but in fact a whole range of behaviors and "psychologic reactions" from homosexual to heterosexual and all points in between. The scale runs from zero, exclusively heterosexual, to six, exclusively homosexual, with three being equal components of both.
An affirmative approach to research on bisexuality or bisexual persons has been a recent development. Ron Fox has an excellent review of this research in an article in the exceptional text, Bisexuality; The Psychology and Politics of an Invisible Minority.[1] One early study not in his review I find particularly interesting. This study pointed out some of the ways bisexual persons are different from heterosexual and homosexual persons. Pat Saliba had self-identified heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual persons rank themselves on three separate Kinsey scales: physical sexual activity, affectionate relationships, and erotic fantasy. Saliba sums up her research: "Sexual orientation is complex, not simple."[2] She found that people almost never rated themselves at the same point on all three scales. Within each self-identified group, there is diversity of ratings: all the homosexual persons and all the heterosexual persons weren't exclusively so, and all the bisexual persons weren't perfectly equal in gender preference.
She found that, among the bisexual group, affectionate relationships and erotic fantasies were "almost as important as sexual activity in their decision to self-identify as bisexual." This group also was quite diverse in the combinations of ratings among the three scales: some had only incidental sexual activity with persons of the same sex, some had only incidental sexual activity with persons of the other sex. While affectionate relationships were frequently ranked equally, "erotic fantasies were as diverse as those for sexual activity."
Saliba found "tremendous variability, in all areas" among all groups, "And yet the bisexuals are much more like one another than they are either the heterosexual or homosexual groups, and the same is true for each group." She also found that the way sex and affection are dealt with is more related to whether one is male or female. "Sexual orientation is not only much more than who you sleep with . . . but it is also where your affections lie, and even more importantly, how you integrate those affections into your sexual identity."
There are different kinds of bisexuality, as well. One typology, identified by Fritz Klein[3] identified transitional, historical, sequential, and concurrent types. Transitional bisexuality can be understood as a stage in coming out homosexual, and is primarily a behavioral reality, though attractions and fantasies can shift. Historical bisexuality is seen in the long sweep of a person's life, with greater or lesser mixes of heterosexual and homosexual components. Sequential bisexuality is also seen over a period of time, with relationships being first with one and then with the other gender. Concurrent bisexuality is the maintenance of relationships with persons of both genders at the same time.
In my experience and that of others who self-identify as bi, bisexual persons often feel some confusion at sometimes being attracted to one and then the other gender. The either-or myth contributes greatly to this confusion. Sometimes the confusion is simply the changeability of their attractions from day to day, or week to week.
It is the homosexual part of being bi that usually gives the most difficulty, so bisexual people usually need the support of gay/lesbian people, and so often are reluctant to identify as bi in gay/lesbian circles. This seems to be changing somewhat, at least in some gay groups, but homophobia will continue to make it difficult to "come out" bi in the general society, and biphobia will make it difficult to come out in both groups.
Bi people are often particularly sensitive to the importance of self-identification, growing out of the common experience of others denying their existence or defining sexuality for them. Bisexuals may come for counseling to be more comfortable with a wide range of sexual options. They may want to be more comfortable in fantasy or behavior or both, with men and women. They may want to be monogamous. They may want to be nonmonogamous and still have a viable primary relationship with either a woman or a man. They may want to be comfortable with multiple relationships (and practice safer sex). They may want to be more comfortable defining their own sexual options, apart from partner, peer, or society pressure. They may want to be comfortable not being sexually active with both sexes, and have feelings and fantasies about both.
Bisexual persons are often more concerned about relationships than gender. The daughter of a friend of ours said she couldn't imagine using the shape of a person's genitals to decide whether to have a relationship with the person. This expresses well the perspective of bi people I have known.
Bi folks are concerned, too, with the capacity to express relationships genitally if it is fitting, desired, and mutual. Bi persons are also often concerned about managing these relationships not only in caring ways for their partners, but also in ways that honor their own self-understanding.
Bisexuality is a complex reality, and highlights the complexity of sexual orientation itself. In my opinion, the experience of bisexual persons helps illumine the wide range of the gift of sexuality, and will continue to challenge our understandings and assumptions about sexuality.
Christian faith communities and theological traditions, with a few exceptions have been ambivalent about affirming that sexuality is a good gift of God. Even while affirming its goodness, they have usually attempted to silence the testimonies of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians. And they have largely ignored emerging scientific consensus in their theological and ethical reflections.
If people of faith were to commit to hearing the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Christians, and to honor insights and understandings of scientific research, what would be some useful possibilities for Christian theological reflection? There are some really fine treatments along these lines which often focus only on gay/lesbian voices and experience. When the reality of bisexual and transgendered people is included, the picture of human sexuality immediately becomes more complex. What resources are there for this kind of breadth in theological reflection?
There are a number of publications that could be useful for theological reflection from a perspective that includes the reality of bisexual and transgendered persons. Some of these references are listed in the bibliography.
One approach to reflecting theologically on bisexuality could be to focus on the community of the church, the silencing, the judgments, the sacraments of baptism and eucharist, and the call for just and humble actions, such as Marilyn Alexander and James Preston do in their book We Were Baptized Too.[4] The emphasis of this approach is God's inclusive grace, known through creation (the image of God),[5] welcome of the stranger,[6] and the sacraments of baptism and holy communion.[7]
Another approach is in James Nelson's landmark book, Embodiment. It is to do "sexual theology," that is, a two-directional movement that takes seriously the embodied human experience, that recognizes the religious dimension of sexual questions and the sexual dimension of religious questions.[8] This approach emphasizes the constellations of meaning around sexuality rather than the acts, the wholeness of human embodied selfhood, rather than the dichotomous spiritual and sexist dualisms.[9]
A third approach is to use a central concept of theology such as the imago Dei, the "image of God." As an illustration of this approach, I have chosen a recent work that focuses on lesbian and gay persons.
I am unaware of a book that deals with bisexual persons that is comparable to Larry Graham's Discovering Images of God.[10]Though there is bisexual experience related in some of the interviews, there is no awareness (except in one important parenthetical remark[11]) of anything but a dichotomous view of sexual orientation in the book, due largely, I suspect, to his ethical accountability to those he interviewed who had this view. However, his discussion of the theological issues can be very helpful in theological reflection from a broader perspective. Out of many rich interviews and experiences, he concludes:
We have seen how the intensity of erotic love in relationships of mutual sharing and commitment have healed deep wounds and opened hearts in gratitude to God for such a wonderful gift of life.[12]
Further, he saw something that could be said of the experience of some bisexual Christians:
A sense of God's gracious participation in life has emerged through involvement in novel forms of partnerships and families that in turn have contributed to fuller personal experiences and to richer communities.[13]
Graham suggests that the doctrine of the imago Dei (the image of God) is "central to developing a theological foundation for positive care with lesbian and gay persons." He brings considerable insight to a position which he says "appears to represent the current prevailing position of American Protestantism toward lesbian and gay persons."[14] The main point of this position is that the image of God is heterosexuality, even as it also affirms the key place of relationships of mutuality and intimacy.[15]
His critique of this tradition is extensive and convincing. He notes the exclusion from consideration of "Christian tradition beyond the Bible" as well as "the concrete experiences of lesbian and gay persons,"[16] to say nothing of scientific research.
He outlines five inadequacies of this statement of the "current prevailing position":
First, it assumes that the materials from the tradition are given rather than creatively constructed by the best (and worst) judgments of human individuals and communities over time. Second, it assumes that its interpretations of the biblical texts are unassailable and accurately represent the self-understanding of the original writers. Third, it assumes that the church has always held the position they represent, rather than offering diverse interpretations of the same materials they so confidently draw on. Fourth, it assumes that the contemporary experiences of real persons cannot challenge, correct, and expand inherited traditions. Finally, it tends to "proof text" specific biblical passages for its authority, rather than placing the discussion within a larger theological horizon or context of meaning within the Bible and beyond.[17]
Graham discusses four additional "plausible alternative interpretations of the imago Dei." These include the image of God as "an asexual disembodied status," an embodied male/female existence with the male dominant, a sexless spiritual existence of male/female equality with male-dominance, and "an egalitarian partnership and fellowship" based on Phyllis Bird's thought.[18]
None of these, he says, fits directly the experience of the people whom he interviewed. Instead, the work of John Douglass Hall provided the most attractive and appropriate understanding. Hall found "a subordinated strand of reflection . . . that sees theimago Dei as a quality of relationship instead of an essential human trait or characteristic."[19] He goes on, using this part of Hall's work:
To be in the imago Dei means to be fully ourselves--rather than living according to something externally imposed--in relationships characterized by God-like involvement in all the dimensions of our relational web: with God, our ground and source, with our fellow humans, and with the natural order. Full, authentic humanity in the imago Dei means to be with, for, and together in communion with all of these dimensions of our relatedness.[20]
Graham concludes with this summary:
to be in the image of God is ultimately about the qualities of loving communion that come into being in the universe . . . When reflective of the imago Dei love is . . . embodied, sensual, mutual, unifying, wholistic. . . The imago Dei is characterized by creative and just relationality in a context of accountability and mutual concern.[21]
It seems to me that these insights apply as well to the experience of bisexual people of faith who, perhaps more than others, may be able to love fully without regard to gender. Contrary to the stereotype that bisexual people cannot commit to relationships, there are many who have the kinds of relationships Graham says are "reflective of the imago Dei." There are marriages and extended marriage-like relationships in which at least one of the partners is bi. And there are intimate friendships where these qualities exist.
Just as the experience of gay and lesbian people is calling the church and culture to broaden understanding of sexuality, so too is the experience of bisexual and transgendered people calling for a similar enhancement of understanding of God's gift of human sexuality.
(An earlier version of this article was originally published in The New Voice of Nebraska, Vol 4, No. 3, May 10, 1987.)
This article was published in the Summer 1998 Issue of Open Hands, Resources for Ministries Affirming the Diversity of Human Sexuality
©1998 J. Benjamin Roe. Permission is hereby granted to reprint for non-commercial use (including education) provided this notice is included. You may also cite this work with attribution, of course. I would love to hear how this paper is used: please send me an e-mail (ben at and let me know.
Original publication note: Ben Roe has been married for 29 years and has self-identified as bi for 20 years. He does computer programming and maintains the World Wide Web site for the Reconciling Congregation Program (now Reconciling Ministries Network). He is active in the Reconciling/Welcoming Church movement, Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns, and Warren United Methodist Church, a small inner-city church in Denver.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Same Sex Marriage From A Bisexual Viewpoint

There's a lot of talk these days about same sex marriage and there is going to be more as the Presidential Campaigns swing into high gear for the November, 2012 elections.

I'm a moderate Republican. That means I'm fairly conservative on fiscal issues and fairly liberal on many social issues. It also means I fear the radical right wing of the Republican party as much as I fear the radical left wing of the Democrat party.

But, on the subject of same sex marriage, the Democrats usually have it right and the Republicans usually have it wrong. The right wing conservatives go on and on about how same sex marriage will destroy the institution of marriage. It's a stupid stance. If anything equal rights, equal opportunity and equal treatment for gay people would strengthen traditional marriage in the long run because there would eventually be fewer gay guys getting married to a woman for all the wrong reasons and those marriages would not be ending in bitter divorces that affect not only the couple, but also have devastating effects upon their children.

There is no doubt the institution of marriage is in trouble today. It simply has very little to do with the issue of same sex marriage. Marriage is in trouble for many reasons. People are living longer. Vows of life long commitment mean a much longer commitment now than they once did. In two career families, which are now the norm, added strains are put on marriages and women are economically, as wage earners, more able to tell their husbands they're done than they were years ago when their economic well being was directly tied to him. Another big reason the institution of marriage is in trouble is because so many young people today are the product of broken homes and failed marriages, they have made the decision never to get involved with marriage themselves. The number of people choosing to live together in long term relationships without the chains of marriage is at an all time high.

As a married bisexual man, I think I have a fairly good perspective of marriage. I can easily see its good points and its bad points. As we learn more about human sexuality, we learn that it plays out in an almost infinite array of activities, social constructs, compulsions, fetishes and desires. Hardy any two  people are exactly the same. In my own case, I am physically bisexual. By that I mean that I can and do respond physically and sexually to both female and male sexual partners.

On the other hand, I am socially and emotionally straight. As a professional man in my career I was straight. While I openly have straight, gay and bisexual friends (by that I mean I acknowledge my gay and bisexual friends to my straight friends and vice versa), socially I function predominately in the straight world with only occasional forays into the bisexual or gay world.  Socially, I am very much a part of the straight world and I enjoy the privileges, benefits and responsibilities that normally accrue to a straight male. Emotionally, I am straight. My emotional well being and sense of self are fully invested in my wife and family. My wife knows of my bisexuality, and one of the reasons she can handle it, I believe, is because she understands my emotional bonds to her.

At the same time, I think it is what I described in the paragraph above that makes bisexuality so unacceptable to other segments of society including traditional straight society and gay society. Straight society fears bisexuals because we exist within their ranks. We are very much a part of their everyday lives, yet often we are invisible. Gays dislike bisexuals because they feel we embrace the straight social world and forge straight emotional bonds to hide what is really our homosexuality and thus avoid paying the price they have paid to be fully out of the closet. As gay men they simply cannot understand the inherent pull of many bisexual men to heterosexual sex, the real need and desire to be a part of straight society and the real need for emotional bonds with a member of the opposite sex while at the same time needing and responding to the physical need for same sex sexual activities. The fact is my best friend is a partnered homosexual man. I know more about him than any other person in my life. I love the guy, but I would not fit into this world because I am not a gay man.

But, my point is, all this plays into exactly what I am trying to say. Traditional marriage is neither necessarily threatened nor demeaned by same sex marriage. Happiness and success comes from being and acting on what we are. By definition, there has to be bisexual men out there who can and have fallen in love with another man. At the same time, as a bisexual man, this man can and does enjoy and respond sexually to women. If he recognizes he is in love with another man and chooses to partner with that man through same sex marriage or a partnership, to some extent, he is making a choice to relate more to gay society and less to straight society. But whatever way it plays out, there is no affect on marriage as an institution unless the affect is that this guy did what was the right choice for him and avoided marriage to a traditional straight woman and perhaps also avoided a future divorce.

Society simply has no valid reason for opposing same sex marriage. To the extent it opposes same sex marriage, it does so out of irrational fear, prejudice and misguided religious ferver which are the exact same reasons society resisted civil rights and racial equality in the decades leading up to the 1960s when the resistance finally began to break down.

Fortunately, we are now seeing the resistance to same sex marriage break down too. Even those who fear that break recognize it. Their recognition of the fact that there is a hole in the dyke (no pun intended) is made quite clear by the push to amend state constitutions as well as the national constitution to define marriage as between one woman and one man. Without such amendments, the fearful and the hateful know that the courts will eventually impose what they fear most upon them.

Society has much to gain by providing equal opportunity and equal protection to all its citizens under the law. Bisexual persons are more likely to be highly educated than is the average person. Homosexual people contribute disproportionately to art, music, literature and have made such contributions for centuries. Increasingly homosexual couples are establishing homes and families and are contributing to society in wonderful ways. They often adopt children who are more difficult to place with traditional families and they enrich the lives of these children as they enrich their own. Homosexual men are more often than not over achievers in every aspect of their lives and they are diligent, innovative and dependable in their professional careers.

The dirty secret behind the opposition to same sex marriage is that radical Christian fundamentalists oppose it because they have made a personal judgement that it is a sin. That is the real reason for all the talk, all the anger and all the attempts at misdirection. And its such a shame. I have not the slightest doubt that if Christ was among us today, he would simply say to homosexual couples, "love one another."

Trying to force someone into a mold he does not fit diminishes society. Allowing nothing other than a right wing radical view of marriage diminishes the true message of Christianity itself. It's time to move to the recognition of reality. Marriage and family is a human right, not a heterosexual right. Because we live in a republic that hopefully will continue to recognize the value of a society in which the state and the church are separate, no church should ever be forced by the state to sanction any marriage it does not wish to sanction. On the other hand, even as a Christian myself, I do not want Christians to be able to force their view upon the state and forbid the state from legalizing and recognizing civil marriages or marriages which take place in more tolerant churches.

Wanda Sykes takes all this and puts a humorous spin on it in the following You Tube Video.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bisexuality In A Post Modern World

I suppose every person over 50 can look back on his life and see several dividing lines. From the vantage point of 20/20 hindsight, it is easy to see events and/or decisions that caused one's life to take a significant change in course, for better or for worse.

I was 16 years old on the day John F. Kennedy died here in Texas. Like every American over the age of 6 at that time, I remember how and where I heard the news. And I remember very distinctly that I was aware, even on that day, that my life had been divided into two parts. There was everything that had come before that terrible day in Dallas, and there was the unknown that would follow.

I had always lived in a world that was perceived as dangerous, even potentially evil. It was, after all, the era of the Cold War. But danger and evil, in spite of the Cold War, had always been remote and more of a dread than a reality. Evil could not exist in Texas. It could not touch my life. Yet, it just had. Soon, very soon, it would be manifestly clear to me, really for the first time, that evil was a potent force in the world and that there were many who were willing to inflict it upon others.

On that day, something that had been relegated to history books and a period of Americas past, political assassination, was suddenly a part of my world. It was something that I had now personally experienced. It was shocking and disorienting. Something that only happened to people like Abraham Lincoln long before I was born, had happened in Dallas and was being played out for me and the world in great detail on television. The sense that this was a dividing day in the time of my life was inescapable. It was the day innocence died for me. Nothing would ever be the same.

In the years after that fateful day, the world,seemingly, went mad. There were other political assassinations, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and others. A war half way around the world in a country no one had ever heard of, Viet Nam, claimed the lives of tens of thousands of young American men my age, some of them friends and relatives I had grown up with. American cities were themselves battle grounds in which the hippie counter culture battled the establishment and the black minority demonstrated for equal opportunity and protested their lack of civil rights, sometimes violently.

All these things were a sort of backdrop to my own personal struggles with my sexuality. I knew I was attracted to male/male sex, but I was certainly attracted to heterosexuality too. I had married, become a father and enjoyed straight sex immensely. By every indicator, I was a straight guy living a straight life, except that in my dreams at night, I would dream of sexual encounters with men.

By every measure, I was a part of the modern era; but looking back, it is startling to see in hind sight, how few avenues were available for a guy like me to find help in figuring out his confusion in that era. There was no one I felt I could talk to. There was nothing to read. I knew a little bit about homosexuality; but given even the little I knew, I didn't seem to fit into that definition or that culture. I had never heard the word "bisexual." I honestly thought I might be the only married man in the world with feelings and desires like mine.

Looking back, perhaps I just didn't play close enough attention. Perhaps, the demands of raising and caring for a young family and building a career simply occupied all my time and energy and left me without the time or the opportunities to find answers that were available. I don't know. I only know I lived an ever increasingly frustrating and painful life. I was blessed with a loving wife, who actually loved sex and was very good at it; and yet, it was not enough. I was a monster in some way because I wanted more.

As my pain and self hatred began to increase almost exponentially in the late 1980's, I had no way of knowing my life was approaching a second dividing line. This dividing line was not marked by a single moment in time as was the moment I learned of JFK's assassination. Instead, this dividing line unfolded over a few years. For me, there was that first computer at the office. A fearful yet intriguing new piece of technology that began to revolutionize my business life and career. I even voluntarily went back to school on my own to take a few computer classes. But the computer itself was only prepared the way for the real revolution. The real revolution didn't take place until the internet was established. I got my first laptop computer and discovered the new world. They new world was the internet and it existed in cyberspace.

With my introduction too and exploration of the internet, my life was divided once again into the time before the internet and the time after the internet. Personally speaking, there is no doubt that finding and entering my first chat room was a turning point in my life. In those early chat rooms, which catered to homosexual men, I found a rather large number of men just like myself who were married, the father of children; yet, attracted sexually to both women and men. It was the internet that first introduced me to the concept of bisexuality.

Within a few months of discovering chat rooms, I found a young man, more than a decade younger than I, who was also married and the father of several children. He and I began what was to be a ten year sexual relationship. I felt whole for the first time in my adult life. The sex I had with this young man did not take anything away from the sex I had with my wife. If anything it added a new sense of excitement to it. It was a great thing. So great was the release from the pain and self hate that the sense of guilt I felt for stepping outside my marriage into a sexual relationship with a guy, was slight in comparison.

The internet didn't just change my life, there is no doubt the internet has changed the world in which we live. The a real sense, the internet ushered us into the post modern world. It changed everything. It changed the way we do business, the way we convey knowledge, the way we interact socially with others and it changed our sexual lives.

In this new world, I currently have the privilege of being friend to a young man who is just beginning to put his life together as a married adult bisexual man. The world in which he is undertaking that task could not be more different than the world in which I first undertook the task. This young man does not have to think of himself as a monster because of his desires. He makes his living using computer science. He can and does find volumes of material about bisexuality on line. Finding someone to talk to was easy for him too. He was able to find me via the internet in just a few days through a mutual friend. This friend pointed him to my blog and suggested to him that I would be a good source of help and information in dealing with his bisexuality and integrating it successfully into his life. He is doing just that and it is a wonderful thing for someone such as myself to watch him do it with an abundance of help and knowledge readily available to him. It is a marvelous thing to be a part of his questioning and to see him incorporate answers into his life.

While my blog is a minor one, more than 6000 people a month are currently viewing it.  It puts me in contact with a lot of people with whom the subject of bisexuality can be discussed. I don't hold myself out as a professional counselor by any means, but I do blog openly of my experiences with bisexuality and about what the experience has taught me about myself and the world I live in.  I had to go through the first decades of my bisexuality alone, racked by pain and burdened by self hate. Finding someone who has that experience and has overcome it is a real advantage to a young person who is just beginning to deal with the issue today as are all the other sources of information which are at his fingertips.

However, even in this post modern world, there are still pitfalls and pot holes one has to avoid. The internet is wide open and free. It attracts and proliferates great knowledge and wisdom at the very same time it distributes lies, avarice and intolerance. Even in a post modern era, some would have us believe bisexuality does not exist simply because it does not fit into the world view put forth by their own cultural or religious beliefs.

In the post modern era, everyone has become self empowered, even the dishonest, the ignorant and the down right stupid. People with no medical education at all have no problem second guessing physicians with years of experience, not to mention respected scientific and medical organizations and refusing to have their children vaccinated for diseases that  can and do still kill children.

In an era when information is at our fingertips from multiple sources, we are perhaps more polarized politically than we have ever been. Information, even information available from multiple sources 24/7 has not brought us together. Perhaps it is the availability of so much information that is partly responsible for our increasing polarization in politics and religion and other areas of our society. There is simply so much information out there that we as humans simply have trouble processing it all; and with so many bits of data to consider, there are an infinite number of opinions at which one can arrive.

In an era when multiple points of view are everywhere to be seen, heard, discussed and disseminated many of us react defensively by demanding that everyone share our own point of view and get even more defensive and critical when everyone does not bow to our demands. People long for a simpler time and a return to an era when religious and political philosophies were widely shared.

It has now been almost 60 years since Kinsey's research suggested that up to 25% of all women and up to 46% of all men are bisexual based on their sexual activities and/or their sexual attractions. Yet some people still refuse to accept Kinsey's research or contemporary supporting research simply because to do so would not fit what they have personally observed in their own life.

Some research suggests Kinsey underestimated the number of bisexual men. It suggests bisexuality among men is almost universal in fact; that society and religion, simply distort the true extent of it. Whatever the case, even if Kinsey over estimated the numbers by half, which is doubtful, there are a large number of bisexual men out there to be reckoned with. 

I can honestly say, I don't have a political, social or religious agenda as a bisexual married man. The only thing I seek to do is provide information and help to married bisexual men to help them avoid the pain and the self hate I endured for so many years. I don't really care whether bisexuality affects few men or many men. I care that those it does affect see it as a biological trait and not a choice they somehow made along the way for which they should be made to suffer.

In dealing with my own sexuality, I became a realist. As a realist, I see the world somewhat differently I guess. To me the die has already been cast in the post modern world. Information and the proliferation of information are unstoppable now. Part of the tumult, in fact much of the tumult, we see in the world today is nothing more than the manifestation of fears of religious, social and political reactionaries.

The reactionaries will not win. Reactionaries may sometimes win battles; but they never win wars. The tides of information and the changes information brings are unstoppable in the long run.

I don't know all the answers to dealing with bisexuality. I know some of them. But I know the time is at hand when young people who are exploring their sexuality, their sexual identity and their sexual desires will not be limited to deciding if they like women or men. They will explore if they like both. As the father and grandfather of girls, I want young men to have all the information they need to figure out their sexuality and I want them making decisions about their sexuality as early in their life as possible to avoid the hurt and pain to themselves and to others that is so much a part of too many lives today.

If you pay close attention to those who have reason to know, you'll find young people are presently experimenting with and exploring bisexuality as never before. That scares the crap out of several groups of people. But the only way to deal with the issue is by admitting it is a real issue and discussing it openly and honestly. To me, that young people are increasingly willing to experience their bisexuality speaks of hope, self-understanding, the absence of guilt and the prospect for their sexuality to grow into a part of them that is grounded, fulfilling and disconnected from pain. In the post modern world, like it or not, bisexuality is a reality.

Jack Scott

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Biblical Quotes from "West Wing"

You know, sometimes I really don't know how I got so screwed up! I mean, really, my life is a boiling cauldron of conflicting ideas, ideals, theories, beliefs, convictions and concepts.

I'm a bisexual married man living in a straight world. I'm highly educated; yet, I am a man of faith. I'm a liberal Christian in a world that doesn't know there are anything but radical Christian fundamentalists. I'm a moderate Republican in a time when right wing Republicans hate moderate Republicans worse than they hate Obama. I'm a man who hates the idea that I might be responsible for causing someone to take a wrong turn in life who is blogging to married bisexual men for whom the wrong path in life all to often seems the only path there is.

My life is truly as mess. But, its my life and since I've reached the autumn, if not the winter, of my life I guess I'm pretty well stuck with it. I can honestly say, it hasn't been a boring life. If anything, its passed all to quickly.

At this point my goals are rather simple if somewhat difficult to achieve. I simply hope to help those coming along behind me to overcome some of the adversities with less pain than I incurred when I encountered them.

I'm a Christian. A liberal Christian to be sure; but, nevertheless,  a Christian. To those of you that don't know what a liberal Christian is, its a Christian who believes that most of Christianity (as well as all other organized religions) are mostly just crap.  Liberal Christians understand, as most people don't, that religion has nothing whatsoever to do with God. Religion is all about men and power.

Liberal Christians also understand that the Bible is not the literal word of God and it was not handed down to man directly from the hand of God. At most, the Bible is a good and sufficient guide to faith.  It's not a science book. It's not a secret code to the future. It's an old and correctly venerated book which tells about the relationship of the Jewish people with their God and which also sets forth the Gospel of Christ which after more than 2000 years of supposed study, most Christians have not the slightest hint of what that Gospel is trying to impart to us.

Now, the problem with religion of any kind is that people try to use it to force their own personal views concerning what people should be doing and how they should behave onto others. And most religions sooner or later get around to thinking if you're not doing it their way your doomed to eternal punishment.

In the case of fundamental Christians, they use the Bible to back them up on whatever their opinion might be as to the truth about what's good and what's not. One big huge problem with this is they only use the part that suits them. They kind of ignore the rest.

But that part that suits them, they use it religiously (pun intended) to beat people they don't like about the head and shoulders as much as they can. One group of people fundamental Christians like to beat about the head and shoulders as much as they can are people that are NOT heterosexuals. And they have down pat parts of the Bible that they use as a BIG stick. They kind of ignore other parts though.

This You Tube video was recently posted on another blog. It is so good that I couldn't resist reposting it to my blog because it says more eloquently than I ever could everything anyone needs to know about religion.

Keep in mind it doesn't say anything about true faith and it certainly says nothing about the Grace of God. But then fundamental Christians don't have much to say about the Grace of God either. They're too busy talking about the wrath of God.

Hope you enjoy the video.

If your a bisexual guy who is having a problem reconciling his religious beliefs to his sexuality, please understand that you need to talk to a liberal Christian and not a fundamental Christian. A liberal Christian will be happy to explain the Grace of God to you in detail. I think you'll find it "good news."

Jack Scott
Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott