How willing are you to learn about a topic that you feel you have formed an opinion on? Is your sexuality perhaps something that you have already formed an opinion on?
I grew up in the 90’s in an small farming town outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada. My upbringing, my religion at the time (I don’t consider myself religious anymore) and the society I grew up in all told me that as a man I had to be either straight or gay, there was no middle ground or differing gender identities. There were only two choices. Further more, damaging and unfortunate, it seemed that most of the messaging I received was that being a gay man was weak, a sin, and only creates challenges for the men who title themselves as such. Society told that gay men were overly emotional and as a man I wasn’t supposed to display my emotions outwardly, I was supposed to stuff them down, to “BE A MAN”, whatever that meant. Religion told me that gay men aren’t actually gay, but just confused and sinful. Media told me gay men had to care about their style, and present themselves in a feminine way. The messaging I received towards females who considered themselves gay was hyper-sexualized in pornography and not taken seriously by many of my peers. “They are just doing that to get attention” was the message I got, which is damaging on so many levels.
Now, as a boy in school in the 90’s, being called gay was definitely more of an insult than a sexual choice one would make. “That’s so gay” was thrown around about as commonly as a basketball. I didn’t know it at the time of growing up, but that language creates so many problems in our society and it is damaging to many individual’s sexual exploration. Perhaps I was sheltered as a result of where and when I grew up, but this was my experience as a boy growing up in the 90’s, and it was everywhere. TV shows, movies, posters, commercials, branding, pornography, magazines and media of all kinds displayed homophobic tenancies, and continued to confuse my personal sexual identity for years to come.
These things gave me a confused understanding of sexuality. Until recently, I thought that being bisexual meant that you were attracted to both men and women, but I’ve realized that this is an outdated and limiting view of sexuality. These days it is much more widely accepted and known that gender is a sliding spectrum and includes many definitions. When it comes to sexuality, to me, bi simply means more than one, and it’s not always 50/50. Bisexual people can swing in all sorts of directions, and you don’t have to sleep with both men and women to unlock your “bisexual” status.
I personally knew I was bisexual when I was about 20 years old and started experimenting more sexually on my own. Turns out there are some things I hadn’t felt before, and they felt really good. Exploring my own sexuality has given me the ability to find men sexually attractive. This was because I was able to do things to my own body that felt sexy instead of focusing entirely on someone else’s body all the time. There is a scientist from the 40’s by the name of Dr. Alfred Kinsey who proposed a continuum of sexuality known as The Kinsey Scale. Nowadays I personally believe that all humans are on a sliding scale, nobody is 100% straight and nobody is 100% gay, but please call yourself what you identify as, because you’re amazing the way you are!
Part of why I am writing this is for people who grew up in a similar environment to the one I grew up in, they might need to read this. I want to help break down the stereotypical assumptions of masculinity and demystify bisexuality. As a man, being attracted to more than one gender doesn’t make you less of a man, it actually just gives you more to life and in my opinion makes you more of a man! It might just mean that you appreciate beauty in all sorts of things and you are someone who is deeply in touch with their inner self.
With all of this being said, I still have a hard time outwardly identifying as a bisexual man. One reason is because I have never slept with another man and another reason is that I have a weird feeling about “coming out” as bisexual. It feels strange to state publicly, “Just to let you all know, I am ALSO attracted to that over there”. I feel fear around identifying as bisexual publicly for some reason, I don’t have it all figured out yet, that’s for sure. That’s part of the beauty of life, to not have it all figured out yet. To explore to facets of being human, no matter what anyone might think of your own personal journey.
So here I am with my heart on my sleeve, hoping that someone out there might benefit from reading this blog post.
Matthew Carter Yoga & Fitness
Founded in 2020 by Matthew Carter.
Questions about the yoga classes Matthew offers?