Can bisexuality "just happen"?

I have heard people espouse the opinion that you can be born straight, you can be born gay, but something has to happen to you to make you a bisexual. There may be something to this, and I say that as a practicing bisexual myself.

I realize that most straight people have an occasional gay impulse, and that most gay people have an occasional straight thought, but they rarely if ever act on them. Does it take some kind of sexual orientation bending life event to forge the truly bisexual preference.

For the purposes of this thread let’s define bisexuality as “Sexual desires that have no prominent gender preference”.

It’s just an interesting idea, hopefully that OP doesn’t offend anyone too bad, it’s obviously very generalized so it won’t catch everyone, but I think we can deal with that, right?

So- in your opinion, can someone have a normal life with no sexuality-bending experience end up as a “true” bisexual?


I don’t quite understand the question, do you mean “does anybody identify as bisexual without first identifying as gay or straight?”
If so, I can only answer for myself. I had a girlfriend in junior high, we used to play “dress up”, in high school I identified as gay for a while (not openly, but that is how I thought of myself) then as bisexual. I think I was born bi, but sexual identity is a difficult issue for adolescents and most people think in binary terms gay/straight- it never really occured to me that I was bi.

No, I meant more like “I’ll acknowledge that a person is born gay or straight, but I wonder if there needs to be some kind of sexual trauma or an unusual environment to generate bisexuality”.

I guess the question could better be asked “Is anyone born bisexual?”


Why on earth not?!

Why is it implausible that a person could be born at any point along the scale? Why can people only be born 100% straigh or 100% gay?


I think that most people (prominently including myself here) are born bisexual, or at least without pronounced gender preference, and that later polarity in gender preference is a result of societal pressure to be something easy to understand.

Remember, not too long ago, it was assumed that everyone was utterly heterosexual, and that anyone who didn’t behave that way just felt like being immoral for some reason. It’s unfortunate that most people don’t realize that the same attitude is generally pushed on bisexual people these days - there’s a widespread attitude that we should just pick something and go with it, and that failure to do so is just a sign that we enjoy messing with people’s social perceptions [1] .

If sexual socialization in this country ever reaches the point of simply saying, “Well, you can fuck whomever you want”, I’m fairly confident that many fewer people would restrict themselves to sexual polarity. OTOH, that’s just my feeling, without any proof to back it up.

[1] .In fact, I do enjoy messing with people’s social perceptions; however, that’s not because I’m bisexual, it’s because I’m a wierdo.

For my entire life, gender has been completely irrlevent to me as far as sexual desire goes. If I met a guy that I really liked and he really liked me, we dated. If I met a girl I really liked and she liked me, we dated. End of story.

When I was little, I liked the boy from Return to Witch Mountain (although he grew up to be really goofy-lookn’) and I liked “Nicole” from Jason of Star Command (aahhh… Nicole… my first celebrity crush at the age of 4…)

So anyway… I would say that I’m a “true” bisexual because I’ve never been predisposed to prefer one particular gender over the other. Gender has simply never factored into the equation and never mattered to me.

Tansu asks the relevant question: Why can people only be born 100% straight or 100% gay?

I agree. I believe that sexuality is a continuum, from knuckle-dragging men all the way to Scarlett O’Hara. Bisexuals are probably near the center of this scale.

Unfortunately, even though one’s internal sexuality exists along this continuum, which plumbing a person is born with is a much more boolean question.

I tend to agree that most people are at least to some extent bisexual, even if they never act on it.

I find women to be much more aesthetically attractive than men, whose figures tend to be either top heavy (buff) or boring (lanky or too round). I’m not grossed out by the idea of kissing or making out with a girl, but unfortunately, as far as relationships go, I’ve never met a female that I think came anywhere close to being able to entertain me for any great length of time. My interests lie in a very small subset of a typically male population, being mostly a geek myself and being attracted to a small percentage of the larger pool of general geeks. To find a female that was not only sufficiently geeky in the right areas, but that was also physically attractive and able to entertain me on a long-term basis… Well, to me it nears the impossibility of proving the existence of God.

Add that to the fact that they lack the “equipment” I require, so to speak, for which plastic/rubber/whatever is NOT an adequate substitute… and that’s why I’ve never dated a chick.

I also require someone who looks good walking next to me in public. The polarity with another female would be wrong. It doesn’t work in my Big Picture.

Given all that, I wouldn’t be opposed to kissing one to entertain the SO or something, if the situation was right.

I think this is absolute bollocks. I think nearly everyone is born WITH pronounced gender preference. I do NOT believe gender preference is the result of “societal pressure.” The existence of 100% gay people totally screws your argument because (traditionally) there has been ZERO societal pressure for them to be anything but straight. If they could go either way, why the hell would they pick a gender preference that historically has brought them prejudice, violence, and abuse, and discrimination?

Depends on how drunk you are!!! AHGLAUHGLUAHGLUAHG

Pride of the persecuted, maybe? The whole belonging-to-a-group-going-through-the-same-crap-as-you thing really gets some people going; a lot of people join persecuted groups just for the shock value.

A lot of people crow about being part of a persecuted group but never engage in such activities for shock value or to feel like they’re rebelling because allegedly the world gives two shits about one’s private life. Do you have anything useful to contribute to society beyond telling everyone within hearing range about your bedroom habits?

Okay - first, I wasn’t especially clear on this: I definitely think that there’s a biological influence on sexual preference; I do not, however, believe that that pressure is toward one of three explicit categories. Rather, I think that, firstly, most people are biologically impelled to prefer the opposite of their own gender, and secondly, that biological influences mostly affect the level of preference in either direction. I’m certain there’s not some absolute biological on/off gender preference switch, because I don’t have one (though I do have some preference for one side of the fence).

I don’t think that any particular gender preference is the result of societal pressure (I certainly don’t think that upbringing or other environmental factors can “turn you gay”). My observation of society in general, however, leads me to believe that society tends to pressure straight people into never, ever admitting to same-sex attraction (or even the ability to feel it); unfortunately, a similar social pressure tends to discourage people with prominent same-sex attractions from displaying any “straight” attraction as well.

If you don’t believe me on that last point, consider how much flak Rosie O’Donnell got recently, not for being a lesbian, but for being a lesbian after having admitted to being attracted to Tom Cruise. She didn’t just get open disapproval from both sides of the fence, she got accused of lying about finding him attractive - because everyone knows that lesbians are totally incapable of appreciating the male form, even when the male form in question is as hot as Tom Cruise.

As for this:

the answer is that all of humanity seeks its own pleasure. If someone has a seriously pronounced gender preference, they’re going to go with whichever side overwhelmingly gives them the most pleasure to experience. There’s nothing wrong with that; rather, there was (and is) a lot wrong with the social pressure that kept gay people from fully acknowledging their own nature. The existence of strong gender preference in some people, however, is not sufficent to argue that all people must have perferences equally strong.

IOW, I’m not denying that some (most!) people stay on one side of the fence. I’m only arguing against the idea that sexuality is a matter of two or three exclusive choices, when my own experience, and my observation of other people’s experiences, suggests that it is not.

My opinion is that it’s points on a continuum. At one end of the continuum, you have people with a strong orientation toward the oposite sex. At the other end, you have people with a strong orientation toward their own sex. As you move from either end toward the middle, the strength of the orientation weakens. The farther away from the end you get, the more the individual is open to the other possibility. At the middle, you get true bisexuals, who really do not prefer one gender over the other.

Numerically, it would seem that the largest group are the people with a strong to medium oposite sex orientation.

In a society where people are completely free to form any type of relationship they want, the numbers would probably be somewhat different. I doubt that gays and bisexuals are as small a minority as is commonly believed. In 19th and 20th century America, it’s likely that many bisexuals, and many with a mild same-sex preference, just never allowed that aspect of themselves free reign. They stuck to oposite sex relationships due to fear of the consequences of doing otherwise, or due to being unwilling to allow themsleves to do anything they believed was “pervered” or “sinful”. The people who did not do this would have in most cases been the ones so fat toward the same-sex end of the continuum that nothing else seemed right to them.

In my opinion, generated by years of some study into homosexuality, I would say yes. It can just happen and it was there at birth.

Some of it can be triggered by a boy or girls first sexual encounters among peer groups. Boys especially, once they discover that their dick works miracles when erect, have to show it off to other boys. Pounding Pud in company is not unusual and they can get somewhat polarized towards their own sex if the bisexual tendency is there. Especially if they experiment homosexually, as many boys have done, and have their first climax in some other boy or by some other boys efforts.

See, years ago we considered such experimentation as normal sex play, but today you’d probably rush your kid to a shrink and scar him for life.

Such polarization will not take place in any kid who is straight hetero, though many heterosexual kids will have had homosexual peer group experiences that will change to hetero firmly as they mature. Puberty is a real difficult age for kids.

ah, nature/nurture redux ad infinitum…

i feel that sexuality exists across a broad landscape (not as linear as a spectrum) and that most people fall into murky grey areas with different degrees of polarization towards discrete categories. prenatal endocrinology plays a role, childhood socialization plays a role, genes play a role (xq28, anyone?), life experience plays a role…it’s a pastiche that’s too complex to be boiled down into simple categories.

i don’t personally identify as bisexual, although that’s how most outside obervers would tag me (i’m queer, as far as i’m concerned). i’ve been deeply attached to boys, i’ve been likewise in love with a girl before and i’ve had fabulous sex with both. i’m sometimes more politically-comfortable with dating girls, but that’s a bit shallow of me. i’m all-fluffy about a boy right now and i’m terribly pleased with that (and my social conscience isn’t cringing a bit).

i don’t really like genders, i like people. i can remember having pre-pubertal crushes on christina ricci and wil wheaton (well, i still have a crush on christina ricci). i’m sure i’ve had some experiences that could be roughly classified as potentially sexuality-bending, but i’m also sure that a good number of people have had similar experiences and emerged with a dichotomic sexual orientation. my interests and attractions were in place before these and i think i would’ve acted on them. futhermore, i can’t remember ever thinking of myself as hetero. i know that it’s the default condition from the social-constructionism standpoint but i can remember classifying myself as bisexual shortly post-pubertally (and getting into occasional arguments with my then-boyfriend about it).

so in short, i think it’s not reducible to that degree and that it’s often misleading to even try to categorize sexual orientation.

I’ve posted my thoughts in the past, here are some off the web…

Fairly, Clinically defininition (with several exaggerations):

And the “know your enemy” definition:

*Originally posted by Some Guy *

I think that most people (prominently including myself here) are born bisexual, or at least without pronounced gender preference, and that later polarity in gender preference is a result of societal pressure to be something easy to understand.

No offense, but I don’t put much stock in this argument. While it may be true that some people “on the fence”, as they say, decide to swing one way or another due to pressure from society, there’s no reason to think sexual preference wouldn’t be biologically ingrained, at least to a certain degree. This is difficult to prove, certainly, but seems more realistic than the “society is to blame” argument.