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


  1. Well said Jack, thanks for putting into words what many of us think and feel. Good changes are taking place.

  2. I like to think that you're right--BUT!

    I think what people are afraid of is a new "in your face sexual generation" that's vulgar and self imploding with venereal disease. I would tend to agree with that concern.

    Go to any popular gay porn site and see what's going on. I mean really!?! How much does it take to turn some people on? How much do we expect from a sex life, and how much can we expect from a relationship? It's enough to scare anyone away.

    Maybe I'm just an old fashioned queen, but I think the younger generation [of gays] is really going to ruin their chances of being accepted if things go on the way they are when it comes to sexual attitude and behavior.

  3. Jack - your post is a great summary of the evolutionary path you were on, and our society is also on, toward what we all hope to be a more accepting place for young people to experiment and find out who they really are, and then find willing mates and partners and and a community that allows that kind of fulfillment.
    We may all have some mix of male and female sexual desire, but also are driven to find long term mates and that is part of the fundamental problem - we need the security of a partner in which to raise children, but this modern era also tempts us and gives us highly inflated and distorted images of sex that can drive us to want lots of experiences with multiple people.

    Some say that is an inherent human drive, and i agree, but it still is not easy to act upon and most adults, straight or gay or bi, seem to want exclusivity. So there is the issue of orientation, and I agree we are evolving to be more open there, but the drive for exclusivity is increasingly at odds with the images and allure of promiscuity.

    I admit to having both the internet porn videos and sex websites contribute to my own hyped up sense of what "good sex" should be...and we cannot put that visual stuff back away once we have seen it.

    I worry that all this hyper sexual stuff distorts in younger people the idea of what relationships can be, and the super focus on perfect bodies and huge sexual organs can lead to feelings of inadequacy in oneself and in others- that is the cursed side of the plentitude of porn.

    As with all human innovations and technology, it brings changes that can be good or harmful, and just as they open up opportunities to connect and meet and exchange, they also allow for distortion and fantasies and false connections too.

    But all in all, for so many of us, the computer age allowed us to connect to like minded men in a way that slinking off to restrooms and arcades and driving miles to find meeting places never allowed.

    And just look at the way that bi and gay bloggers have been able to reach one another and an eager readership.

    Thanks once more for your thoughtful and clear perspectives.

  4. Jack thanks for your wonderful post. The evolutionary path you describe is very similar to my own. It seems (at least by the blogs I have recently read) that there are many of us of this generation that are finally living authentic lives. I would like to invite you to visit my blog as well.
    As I explore many of the same themes from my own perspective. Wishing you well and can't wait to read more in the future.


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

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