MSNBC home page

Graphic: Sex on the Weekend

By Jennifer Kornreich
Jan. 29 —  So, your friend has recently come out as a proud bisexual, but now he’s convinced that you’re bi, too. How do you prove that you’re not? And why should you have to prove that you’re really straight?

Advertising on MSNBC  

  SEX ON THE WEEKEND is our forum for your most intimate questions about sex and relationships. You send in your sob stories, and Jennifer Kornreich, MSNBC’s sex-and-relationship columnist, attempts to dry the tears. Keep in mind, though: Jennifer is not a doctor. When she feels it’s necessary, she’ll point you in the proper professional direction.
How does one prove ones orientation? And why do you think it matters so much to my friend that I be bisexual like him?

       I am a 21-year-old straight male. One of my best friends, J., has recently come out as bisexual, but he’s been dogging me ever since with remarks about my own sexuality. J. claims that everyone is truly bisexual and that if I would only come to my senses, I would realize that I’m bi, too. Lately our conversations all turn toward the same topic: my latent bisexuality. J. is convinced that I am either hiding my bisexuality from him, hiding it from myself or a total bigot who hates bisexuals.
       I’ve tried explaining to him that I am interested in women. I’ve tried flippantly answering that I am, in fact, a trisexual transsexual. And I’ve expressed many times that I harbor no ill will against people of other orientations, that I care more about the inclinations of a person’s heart and goodwill, than those of their hormones and their genitals.

       This has snowballed into an increasingly difficult situation for me. How do I handle this without hurting our friendship any more than necessary? How does one prove one’s orientation? And why do you think it matters so much to my friend that I be bisexual like him?
       — So What If I’m Not?
       My condolences on having such a pain in the neck in your life. As you are learning firsthand, there’s nothing more joy-draining on this planet than a proselytizer. Look, it’s real nifty that J. has not only accepted his true sexual orientation but is out and proud about it. Buy him a drink to celebrate. But for him to harass you about your own orientation is not only as annoying as hell, but also as inconsiderate as all those ignorant hets who pester non-heterosexuals about the validity of their sexual preference.
       How would J. like it if you responded to his revelation of bisexuality with, “Oh you’re not really bi. You’re just in denial. It’s just a phase — it’s so chic to be alternatively oriented right now”? It would insult his intelligence and trivialize his sexuality. Frankly, I’m surprised that he would resort to a blanket statement about the world’s collective bisexuality. It’s the flipside to the bogus, unfeeling contention — made by both heterosexuals and homosexuals — that there is no such thing as bisexuality, which is really just sitting on the fence. Well, just goes to show you that the recipients of bigotry and ignorance can give as good as they get.
While I agree with J. that sexuality lies on a continuum i.e., nobody is 100 percent heterosexual or homosexual hes delusional if he believes that people cant be solidly one or the other.

       While I agree with J. that sexuality lies on a continuum — i.e., nobody is 100 percent heterosexual or homosexual — he’s delusional if he believes that people can’t be solidly one or the other. After all, 97.4 percent homosexual is pretty damn gay, and you’d be hard-pressed to convince a woman who’s 89 percent straight to give lesbianism a whirl. So it is possible to be heterosexual without being a prejudiced jerk or deep in denial.
       I know of no way to “prove” one’s orientation. I can tell you that I am hopelessly, mundanely heterosexual, but you’d have no way to determine whether or not it’s lip service. Sexual partners don’t necessarily prove anything; and certainly decades of marriage don’t either. What I know is that there is no earthly need to prove one’s orientation. Why does J. need proof of anything about you? Hello, he’s supposed to be your friend! Even if you were closeted, a true friend would respect that boundary and not press the issue.
       There are a couple of possible reasons for J.’s badgering. The first might be wishful thinking. I’d hate to play into the highly erroneous myth that gay and bisexual people hit on their straight friends, but perhaps it is bugging him that you’re not hitting on him — obviously, it’s very important to him that you hit on some men, or he wouldn’t be bothering you. I’d like to believe, however, that his repugnant behavior is due to leftover insecurity about his orientation. Sometimes, when someone joins an unpopular or marginalized camp, they like as many friends in their ranks as possible.
       J. may also feel defensive about his newfound sexuality and mistakenly believe that the best defense is a pre-emptive offense: the more obnoxious and militant, the better. Hopefully, as his lifestyle becomes more organic, J. will understand that someone who is truly at ease with his sexuality does not need to make converts — or to make others uncomfortable.
       You are only fueling J.’s arguments with your increasingly shrill insistence that you are straight. He senses weakness in you every time you protest. Why the hell do you care if this puerile nudnik believes you or not? Let him think what he wants. But stop wasting your breath: Tell J., one last time, that you are uncomfortable neither with his sexuality nor your own, but rather with his need to make sexuality the focus of every single conversation. It’s a topic that really has nothing to do with why the two of you became friends in the first place. You accept and respect J.’s preference, and you’d like the same from him. But even if he can’t reciprocate, you’d appreciate at least a moratorium on the hard-sell.
You are only fueling J.s arguments with your increasingly shrill insistence that you are straight.

       If J. is indeed a worthy best friend, he’ll knock off the concerned-guidance-counselor act and relate to you like a normal human being (which is not dependent on orientation). This isn’t to say you can’t ever talk about each other’s sexuality and who each of you bagged last night — that’s a big part of your lives. You simply won’t try to make each other “play for the other team,” as they say on “Seinfeld.”
       If J. can’t comply to these minimal signs of respect and friendship, you may have to distance yourself from him. Of course, he’ll read your withdrawal as vindication of his suspicions. But at least you’ll be rid of the pest, which is what I’m betting J.’s current squeezes will wish for soon enough. Before, only half the population had to fear crossing romantic paths with this jerk. Now he’s going to inflict himself on both women and men. Great.
       P.S. The “trisexual transsexual” thing isn’t funny. Leave the jokes to me, straight boy.

       Jennifer Kornreich, a New York-based free-lance features writer, is the sex columnist for the Long Island Voice. Her Sex on the Weekend column for MSNBC is published every Thursday night.
       If you’re burning for some astute, saucy answers to your latest emotional or sexual crisis, or if you just want to drop us a line, Jennifer’s all ears.
Send your questions and feedback to

Would you recommend this story to other viewers?
not at all   1  -   2  -   3  -   4  -   5  -  6  -  7  highly

  MSNBC is optimized for
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Windows Media Player
MSNBC Terms,
 Conditions and Privacy 1999
  Cover | Quick News | News | Business | Sports | Local News | Technology | Living & Travel | Health
On Air | Opinions | Weather | MSN | Comics | Find | About MSNBC | Help | Index | Cool Tools
Jobs | Write Us | Advertising on MSNBC | Terms, Conditions, and Privacy