Dare to Ask: No straight answer about sexuality
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
I met this girl a few days ago who is absolutely gorgeous and has an awesome
personality. I feel I'm sexually attracted to her, which is creeping me out a
lot. I also have some lesbian fantasies. Am I bi?
Ashley, 16, New York
Welcome to my world.
Keith, bisexual, Dallas
You're SIXTEEN. At your age, going through a car wash might turn you on.
Ann, 38, straight, Kansas City, Mo.
You are bi-curious.
Freda, 25, bisexual, Indianola, Miss.
Turned on by girls and lesbian fantasies? I'd say you're bi.
Amy, 23, straight, Louisiana
I am the exact same way. I was weirded out myself. I don't think you're bi
until you act on it.
Tiffany, 20, Detroit
Sexuality tends to occur on a sliding scale.
Laura, 20, bisexual, Grand Rapids, Mich
I feel the same as you as far as feeling ashamed. I come from a Christian
background. I'm "sick," "perverted" or, as some call it, "demon-possessed." One
can see how I want to be restored back to my religion and to God but at the same
time feel alienated and rejected by both.
Anonymous, Daytona Beach
It means you are in a very experimental stage.
Natasha, 25, straight, Marion, Ark.
It might just be a phase. I had that phase, too.
A.M., 17, straight, Des Moines, Iowa
We debated which of two definitions of bisexuality to use, but in the end
decided this column should go both ways.
One definition stresses potential: People with the capacity to be attracted
to more than one gender might be considered bisexual, even if they never act on
it, said Loraine Hutchins, Ph.D., a sex educator who co-edited Bi Any Other
Name: Bisexual People Speak Out.
(A National Center for Health Statistics survey in 2002 found 5.6 percent of
males and 12.9 percent of females ages 18 to 44 said they were attracted to both
males and females.)
The other definition looks at people who self-identify as "bisexual" and act
on it. (The same survey found 1.8 percent of men and 2.8 percent of women ages
18 to 44 identified as bisexual.)
And, while some studies now indicate bisexuality isn't a "phase" but is a
lifetime identity, it doesn't mean all teen girls who are feeling attraction to
both males and females are bi, Hutchins said.
"It's easier for girls in our society to experiment. . . . But this girl has
all the time in the world and doesn't have to 'declare,' like it's a college
major," she said. "She should check out where the scared feelings are coming
from . . . perhaps at a Gay-Straight Alliance at her high school. It could mean
a lot of different things. The first time I had an erotic dream about another
woman I was repulsed . . . but then I had other experiences that were more
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
column comments to phillip. email@example.com. You can also hear his
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