Bisexualism has a chequered history. Beloved by its proponents, it lacks convincing support, at least in the West, where it is taken to mean, more or less, ‘equal attraction to both masculinity and femininity’. Actual studies are conflicting and the consensus must be that more depends on the way the question is put than reality. Look at the following pictures. Can it really be possible to be sexually attracted as much to the one as the other?
I don’t think so. Yet there is one form of bisexualism in males that is well-supported and documented. It is a function of Autogynephilia. a very common fetish of straight men.
Many homosexual males and females are Sexual Inverts, that is, males who prefer to be penetrated and females who prefer not to be. (It’s not quite the same because females cannot naturally both penetrate and be penetrated, while males can.) We don’t know exactly why this occurs but numerous studies, over a period of decades, have pointed towards irregularities in hormone delivery to the foetus in utero and this is the best supported explanation at present.
In sexual inversion, a male has female sexuality. He is attracted to masculinity and desires to be penetrated; usually they see themselves as women, though this is to some extent socially influenced. The inverse applies to females. Sexual Inverts may suffer severe Gender Dysphoria and might transition, in which case they are then called HomoSexual TransSexuals, HSTS, or True Transsexuals. However, there are many other causes of same-sex sexual, or homosexual, behaviour.
Does bisexualism exist?
‘Bisexualism’ remains moot. I have never seen convincing evidence that it exists, in males. There is always another, more reasonable explanation.
There is some evidence that bisexualism exists in females and here it might be an ‘exaptation’ that allows related females to come together to ensure the survival of their children, where their male partners have been killed or otherwise disappeared (remember that all human societies are based in tribalism, where the individuals are all very closely related.) In such an arrangement, the biparental family structure could be accommodated by a sexualised or quasi-sexualised relationship between two women who already have dependent children and are thus unlikely to be able to find a new husband. In these cases, bisexualism is effectively serial – the women were formerly heterosexual but have entered a lesbian relationship for their mutual benefit as mothers. Nevertheless, while they presumably do remain sexually attracted to men, they must have become sexually attracted to another woman, in order to pull this trick off.
Women, especially closely-related ones, form bonds of affection surrounding their children in a way that men do not. While these may not be sexualised in terms of practice, there remain parallels and there are certainly instances where such relationships may move to providing sexual gratification for women. These might help to explain bisexualism in women.
Since men do not have the birthing and nurturing components to their sexuality that women do, it’s hard to see how this exaptation might work there. Males are naturally competitive, since it is competition with other men, to impregnate women, that ensures reproductive success. Men expend huge amounts of effort to achieve impregnation and almost none in reproduction itself, whereas women are exactly the opposite. That is because the male’s primary interest, albeit tempered by society, is in siring as many children as he can, whereas the female’s interest is in ensuring that the children she does bear, survive to sexual maturity. Given the differences between male and female sexuality, it is hard to see how bisexualism, which might have an adaptive advantage in females, could have one in males.
This suggests that the old saw, quoted by Mike Bailey, was right, at least as regards men – they are ‘gay, straight or lying’.
Bisexual as gay male
In many areas outside the West it is axiomatic that ‘bisexual’ is a form of gay sexual expression; in fact there is no coherent separation between ‘gay’ and ‘bisexual’ there. In south-east Asia, ‘bisexuals’ are gay males who are prepared both to penetrate and to be penetrated. They are what might be called, in the West, ‘versatile gays’. This latter, however, appears to be a convenience. No gay man will ever be able to get what he really wants, which is a straight, masculine man, unless he completes his transition into a woman. Those who do not do so find that they must ‘do for each other’ in an exchange of sex roles. In cases where two such males have formed stable relationships with each other, that I know of, this exchange has become more-or-less solidified and one partner has become much more masculine while the other has transitioned socially into a woman. This is due to the social rule ‘girls go with boys and boys go with girls’ – which, in the West and only there, is denied.
This is not what is meant in the Western sense of bisexualism, which is ill-defined as a form of attraction or sexuality. This is doubtless the result of Anglo-Saxon prudishness and the reluctance to discuss anal sex, which is obviously a necessity in sexual relationships between men. ‘Bisexual’ in this context has come to mean something like ‘homosexual but only sometimes’. This seems little better than a conceit. In fact, the Western model of bisexualism appears to be completely without substance, with one exception.
Pseudo-bisexualism — the only real form of bisexualism in males
That single exception, in males, is pseudo-bisexualism, which is a function of autogynephilia or AGP (and possibly also of its female equivalent, Autoandrophilia.) AGP is ‘a man’s propensity to be aroused at the thought or image of himself as a woman’. This is the cause of all male non-homosexual gender dysphoria, in Blanchard Theory. Not all AGP males exhibit pseudo-bisexualism, but this appears to be at least partly related to culture.
In the West there have historically been relatively few pseudo-bisexual autogynephiles, about 20% in Blanchard’s studies.
Pseudo-bisexualism causes AGP men to seek to satisfy their fetishistic desire to ‘be women’ by being penetrated. Since they are naturally attracted to femininity and repulsed by masculinity, however, they often seek transwomen to penetrate them. This leads to many problems since HSTS, who are usually far more feminine, are themselves repulsed by being asked to penetrate, meaning AGP transwomen (who have male sexuality and are therefore willing to penetrate) are better suited to this.
These men are attracted to femininity but in sexual practice, they are women. They definitely do fetishise their partners’ penises and the role of ‘being women’ in sex. For many, especially in more misogynistic cultures, this many be associated with a narcissistic desire for self-emasculation. AGPs who are recognised as powerful male figures frequently demonstrate this. As an example, one such, the CEO of a successful technology company, married and with children, explained to me that he was ‘a completely heterosexual, virile alpha-male who easily dominated other men’; but found the act of becoming a woman and being sodomised (in his case, by a trans prostitute) was the most deeply soothing and relaxing thing he could do. In shucking off his masculine persona, in other words, he was able to escape from the cares and stress of his professional career.
Pseudo-bisexualism is a process by which the invented AGP character may be affirmed as a woman through social and sexual relations with men. There are two components: non-sexual and sexual. The first works through the expression of desire, by men, for the subject, and the other is via the act of sex itself. This latter is often through being penetrated in ‘sex as a woman’, but not always; some pseudo-bi AGPs remain penetrative even after social transition. (The ‘top ladyboy’ in southeast Asia is an expression of this and it is striking that they are invariably more masculine, to put it mildly.)
These components are not always associated, which is why some pseudo-bisexual AGPs deliberately attract men’s admiration then reject them as ‘chasers’, if they actually attempt to move to sex. In the non-sexual form it is only the provocation of desire or admiration that is needed, so consummation is actively rejected. In fact the AGP subjects, who, after all, are heterosexual men, may well see a man who is prepared to pursue them sexually as homosexual. Given the well-known homophobia of Western AGPs, this causes a powerful reaction.
In the sexual form, it is actual penetration that is desired, though again, this may not be straightforward. Again, the AGP may be unable, because of his male sexuality, to allow himself to be penetrated, and instead may try to penetrate his partners. This is likely to cause significant cognitive dissonance and might be implicated in why Western AGPs are often analloerotic or ‘asexual’ – the kind of sex they would like to have, they are unable to have, so they have none. Alternatively, such men may only penetrate other AGP males like themselves, while both parties are dressed as women.
Many pseudo-bisexual AGPs do NOT transition socially and may instead remain a part of ‘gay’ society. (‘Gay” is a broad-based lifestyle, ‘homosexual’ is an orientation. They are not the same.) These may appear as ‘bottoms’ although they will probably not be particularly feminine, or even handsome. Again, they may incur significant cognitive dissonance in having sex with other men and might use alcohol or drugs to reduce this.
On the other hand, they might be married and seek to be ‘pegged’ by their partners. Some of the latter might be ‘closet gays’. Some might be ‘men who have sex with men’ or ‘MSM’ who pursue ‘top’ ‘gay’ men for sex, although most MSMs appear to be opportunist penetrators.
Pseudo-bisexual males are only having sex with men for affirmation, so if another means presents, then their need for such sexual reward may reduce. For some AGPs, it is enough to have one single sexual encounter with a man to affirm their ‘inner woman’, although for others, regular encounters may be desired.
Remember that under every single AGP there is a heterosexual man and all such men are repulsed by the idea of sex with other men. This may lead to binge/purge cycling, similar to that seen in transvestic AGPs, where the subject indulges in sex and then is overwhelmed by guilt. This will be especially likely in strongly homophobic cultures.
In transitioners, most pseudo-bisexualism occurs either post-transition or while the subject is cross-dressed. Feminising hormonal treatments or HRT may be involved in provoking this. In non-homosexual female transitioners, this seems to be even more marked, probably because testosterone is relatively so much more powerful than oestrogen. On the other hand, in some cases, beginning hormone treatment may cause a reduction in need for other AGP affirmations; this is as much a ‘talisman’ effect as a consequence of the drugs. It appears to be the symbolic ingestion of cross-sex hormones that satisfies the autogynephilic urge, in these cases. (I’m not aware of any serious studies that used placebos to test this; perhaps a reader might know of one.)
All expressions of AGP are massively socially-conditioned and this accounts for its marked difference of appearance in different cultures. For example, nearly all AGPs in southeast Asia are pseudo-bisexual, because of a strong cultural imperative that ‘boys go with girls and girls go with boys’. Some do contravene this but they face significant push-back from the broader culture, including from gays, women and other transwomen. This effect has misled a number of Western researchers into thinking AGP is rare in the area; it’s not, you just have to know where to look, and what to look for.
This cultural effect also accounts for why some ‘gay’ men may later transition. In fact they are AGP and pseudo-bisexual. In areas, like large Western cities, where the gay lifestyle has been tolerated, even celebrated for decades, such individuals naturally gravitate towards it, in order to seek sexual satisfaction by being penetrated. However, where transition becomes better and more widely accepted, they may well follow that path. This would at least ease the massive cognitive dissonance they experienced as ‘gay men’.
Finally, please note that the above only applies to autogynephilia and NOT to male Sexual Inversion, ‘feminine homosexuality’, Early Onset Gender Dysphoria, Homosexual Transsexualism or HSTS. This is a natural variation of sexuality caused, at present state of knowledge, by as-yet not fully understood pre-natal mechanisms. It always appears prior to puberty and displays, in the individual, a clustering of physical cross-sex traits that are not limited to homosexuality or cross-sex identification.
Also published on Medium.