Monday, February 1, 2010

The assumption of female bisexuality

One of the most positive developments to come out of the sexual and feminist revolutions of the past half-century is that women are much more free to express themselves sexually than any other time in post-Victorian western society. Add the internet, with it's reach and possibility for anonymity, and sexual expression is almost limitless. There are still obstacles to be overcome, of course, but in general we're living in very open times.

One outcome of all of this is the rise (or perceived rise) in female bisexuality. This is true both for "true" bisexuals (those interested in relationships with both men and women) and "the other kind" - those who enjoy sex with both men and women, but are still only interested in relationships with the opposite sex.

(There's much more to be written on the subject of the separation of these two "types" of bisexual activity in mainstream and sex-positive culture, but that can happen latter).

While positive, to be sure (sexual openness and pleasure are Good Things), there's an unintended consequence: straight but sexually adventurous women, like my girlfriend, find themselves in a weird place.

Some background: My girlfriend and I swing. We both like sex, and enjoy a variety of partners. When we started searching online for other couples to swap and swing with, however, we were constantly running into the "looking for a bi girl" roadblock. A huge percentage of couples online looking for couples seemed really to be looking for a girl, but since single bi girls aren't exactly a dime a dozen, they're "willing" to take a couple. If the girl in the couple's not bi, however, they're not interested.

If girl-girl play is a big part of the appeal for them, that's totally cool. We're all looking for some specifics when it comes to sex, and just like in all relationships, most people aren't good matches for most other people. But it makes me wonder where the line is between "women are free to express themselves sexually" and "my boyfriend wants to see me eat pussy, and I'll do anything to make him happy, even if it's not my thing".

None of this seems to both my girlfriend, who isn't going to do anything she's not interested in. But I wonder how many women out there feel like they "need" to at least experiment bisexually - not only because their boyfriends want them to, but because it's assumed that in order to be a good sexual person, you have to be willing to do things you'd really rather not.

Through all this, we've met some amazing people who self-identify as "bisexual", but enjoy us as a couple even without the girl-girl play. And there are plenty others out there, though finding them through the maze of "looking for a girl or couple" profiles is tough.

The line here isn't drawn at bisexuality - there are plenty of other sexual activities both men and women are expected to like, and if they don't, they're considered "bad partners", even by the "sex-positive" world (oral sex, most notably). While the credo of the sex-positive world is "do what you like with consenting partners", it seems to me like there are still some "expected standards", and those might need some reevaluating.

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

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