Ask Dr. Jay

by Dr. Jay Nagdimon
August 1996

Dear Dr. Jay,

Are there really very many bisexuals out there? It seems to me that most people stick to one sex. Most "bisexual" guys I know only date men. Some of my female friends say they are attracted to girls, but they would never get involved with one. I understand the predicament. I mostly go out with guys because they are the ones who ask me. I like guys, but sometimes I don't want to be seen with them because I don't want to be thought of as straight. Girls will never ask me out. Most of the ones I like are straight, and I'm too afraid the ones who are lesbian would laugh in my face. It's hard to get to know gay people without labeling yourself as gay. How can a person work out leading a bisexual life?

Frustrated and confused

Dear Frustrated and Confused,

Bisexuals are in a difficult position. In your e-mail you have one main problem and then a couple smaller concerns. The main problem is you want others to know that you are interested in both sexes (without broadcasting it on your T-shirt). Actually, the answer is similar to how you go about letting anybody know that you are interested in them.

If you don't know whether a woman is a lesbian/bisexual or not, I suggest finding that out before letting them know that you are interested in them. Once you know that they at least date women, then the typical way to express your interest is to maintain eye contact a little bit longer than usual. Arrange to do some social things together, or perhaps more formally ask the person out on a date. Don't wait for them to ask you, life's too short. As for the lesbians who might laugh in your face because of your interest in guys, you could respond by saying that you are interested in the quality of the person and you are blessedly free from being restricted to only one sex.

As for the exact number of bisexuals, I don't know, and I'm not sure anyone does. In the 1950's Dr. Kinsey and his sex researchers hypothesized that bisexuals were the majority of people. I think we can fairly easily rule that one out. In my experience, most people seem to prefer one sex over the other. However, more and more groups for bisexuals have been developing including a national bisexual youth organization. The group is called the National Bisexual Youth Initiative and can be contacted by writing "National Bisexual Youth Initiative, c/o 426 Watergap Dr., Fayetteville, NC 28314." I think they are more of a policy group than a social group.

By the way, I think guys will continue to ask you out. Learning that a girl is bisexual never stops some guys, and the new guys you meet will probably assume you are straight, as most of society does. Straight girls may never be interested enough in girls to have a real relationship with, or at least the type of relationship you would find ultimately satisfying, so you may have to look harder for more suitable lesbians. You may not have found them yet, but they are out there. After all, you are out there, so I'm sure there are others like yourself with all the qualities that will sweep you off your feet.

Jay Nagdimon, Ph.D. was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His early involvements included six years of volunteering at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center's Youth Department. Jay worked on the Gay and Lesbian Youth Talkline, both as a volunteer and later as a trainer of new volunteers. He also was very involved in the Center's Pen Pal Program and youth newsletter.

You can e-mail Dr. Jay at DrJay@oasismag.com. He will try his best to respond to everyone, depending upon the volume of mail received.

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.