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.
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.