Today, when bisexuality is accepted by most experts as a normal variation in sexual expression and information about bisexuality is readily available on the internet and other sources, many young men who are anticipating marriage may already recognize they are bisexual men and be very concerned about what to say to the woman in their live, if anything, and how to say it.
In my experience, I find men in either situation are conflicted about what they should do. More often than not, they are dealing with guilt about their bisexuality. They want to do the right thing, but overwhelming fear often leaves them not knowing exactly what the right thing is.
For a young man who has fallen in love, telling the woman he loves he is bisexual could cause her to back out of the relationship. For men who are already married to a wife whom they love, with families, professional lives, and status in their community, telling what they have come to know about their sexuality can possibly wreck their own life and that of their wife and children as well.
The open discussion of such things on the internet can be instrumental in helping either a young man just starting out or an older man with a wife and family to think through his own situation carefully and fully. Unfortunately, the discussion on the internet can also be conflicting and confusing. There are those who will tell bisexual men they have no ethical choice and no moral choice except to tell regardless of what the fallout may be. Others will take a more nuanced approach and stress to the bisexual men that each situation if essentially unique and that only they can decide what is best for their specific circumstance.
I tend to take the latter approach. Frankly, I consider myself to be a moral person, but I admit I have trouble with people who tend to see and insist on moral absolutes which they have defined for other people's lives. There are always people who are ready to decide what is moral for other people and more than willing to insist that people live by the moral absolutes that others have identified as proper.
The problem is, people who are quick to see moral or ethical absolutes are people who see the world only in black and white. To them, something is either good or it is bad. The truth is much more complex. The real world is almost always hued in shades of gray. Admittedly it might be easier if everything were either a black or a white issue. It simply isn't.
Unfortunately, in America today, Right Wing Christians are one group which is always ready to claim they have a lock on the moral high ground. They don't. This should be obvious even to Right Wing Christians, since there are millions of Christians scattered throughout the world in hundreds if not thousands of denominations and sects and all of them believing something different about how Christianity is supposed to work. The simple fact is Christian precepts are not black and white either. They come in all shades of gray.
In my experience, I have had friends who have been truthful and straight forward about their bisexuality and it has worked out well for them. I also have friends who, because they were truthful and straight forward, lost everything they had. These men invariably regret and grieve their losses.
In my own case, once I came to understand my bisexuality and recognize it for what it was, I told my wife. Fortunately, by that time our marriage was happy, strong and well grounded. It survived the telling with relatively few problems. I had counted on that being the case. My wife is a professional person and well educated. She is a psychotherapist who is involved almost daily in marriage counseling and sexual counseling. She is very much aware that homosexuality, bisexuality and even heterosexuality are not choices one makes. They are the result of some combination of genetic markers and nurture.
Telling my wife about my bisexuality actually helped me to understand it better. We talked about it over the course of many long and detailed conversations. In one of those conversations, she said something to me that had a great impact on me and an impact on the advice I give to others in a similar situation.
She said, she was glad I told her, but she was glad I hadn't told her before we married when we were 18 years old. She said we have a wonderful marriage and she is glad that we've been able to build the life we have together; however, had I told her at age 18, she wouldn't have understood, she wouldn't have married me, and knowing everything she knows now, she would regret not having married me.
In a lot of ways this makes sense. Most men who are bisexual or homosexual spend years trying to understand their sexuality and getting to a place where they can accept themselves as they are rather than as they would choose to be. It is almost always a long, hard and difficult process and these men are living that process every day.
Since it takes them so long to understand it and to accept it, is it any wonder that very few wives can understand it or accept it when it is suddenly thrust into their lives without warning of any kind?
For me, it was much different. One of the things that was hardest for my wife to deal with was the fact that we had been married for years and she had never noticed the pain I was in and the struggle I was having with my sexuality. She felt as if she had failed me by not noticing.
Certain people make a big deal these days out of marriage supposedly being between one man and one woman. The trouble is we make a big deal about that when it fits our purposes, but we don't really believe it. The majority of people have now been married at least twice. The majority of men and a huge percentage of women have had sexual affairs outside their marriages. Even many Christian pastors and church leaders are themselves divorced these days. We simply do not really believe in the sanctity of marriage unless we're beating someone else over the head with it. I may be a married bisexual man, but I can honestly say I've been married for almost 50 years to the same woman and we have loved each other all those years. Not a lot of people can say that regardless of their sexuality.
All this is not to say that anything goes. I don't believe that at all. Sexual activity these days can be very dangerous when one has multiple partners. One simply has to look at the statistics. Sexually transmittable diseases are sharply increasing. A bisexual or heterosexual man who has unsafe sex with another partner and then has sex with his wife has failed at recognizing the realities of life. But I think its safe to say that more heterosexual men are doing such things than are bisexual men. Bisexual men just come in for more scorn. It's almost like heterosexual men are just being men and doing what is more or less expected.
Over the years, I have come to realize that the experts who say that human sexuality is a continuum along a line from exclusive heterosexuality on one extreme to exclusive homosexuality on the other extreme are correct. In between these two poles, everyone else is aligned including bisexuals. The estimates of just how many men have some attraction to and/or sexual experience with other men vary greatly in various studies. In almost all studies the number of women who admit to same sex attraction and/or experience far outnumbers the percentage of males who admit to the same type of attractions. Given that society is more accepting of female same sex activity and much more likely to condemn such activity by men, most researchers suspect that probably both sexes under report their same sex attractions with men much more likely to refuse to admit such feelings or experience.
One recent study reported 42% of men reported same sex thoughts and/or experience after age 16. Other studies put the percentage of such men at only 18%. I personally suspect both percentages are lower than they would be if men were able to report their feelings and experiences without fear and guilt.
Outside the ranks of fundamental Christians who have a bias they can't or won't overcome, there is no doubt that bisexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality. As a married man who has successfully managed and experienced his bisexuality and who as an older man is reaching the point in life at which sexuality is more a memory than a reality, I can honestly say that I never felt at peace with myself and I never felt whole until I both understood my bisexuality and accepted it as a part of what made me myself.
I have lived the most fortunate of lives. Now that there are far more years behind me than those remaining before me, I have few regrets. If I could change anything, I guess my first thought would be to have my understanding and acceptance of my bisexuality come earlier in life. However, to wish such a thing brings the possibility that it would have actually changed my life for the worse.
When I was 18 and about to marry, one's sexuality was not something that could be discussed openly, especially if one was not heterosexual. I knew my life had been different from some, but on the other hand it had been normal too. In the small Texas town I grew up in almost all boys played. Those who didn't were considered the weird kids.
As it was, I didn't even know there was such a thing as bisexuality. I knew about homosexuality, but that didn't apply to me. I knew I was very much attracted sexually to women and especially to my future wife. At the time, I had come to see my homosexual activity throughout my life as nothing more than a substitute for heterosexual sex. I felt that with marriage and a beautiful woman in my bed each night, the desire for male/male sex would simply vanish.
What if I had known the desires wouldn't vanish? What would I have decided to tell the woman I planned to marry? I honestly don't know. It is a question I think about some times. By her own admission, she would have more than likely called off the engagement, depriving both me and her of a happy and successful marriages, preventing the birth of our children and grandchildren as the persons they are today. That would have been a tragic thing.
Life is always a challenge. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy to achieve. I have few regrets. There is little I would change if I could do it all over again. I can think of nothing worse than coming to the end of one's life and thinking only of what might have been and regretting the things I had missed in life.
What if I had known? I'm glad I didn't.