What It's Like To Be A Bisexual Woman Married To A Man

Photographed by Winnie Au.
By Hannah
In two weeks, I will celebrate my second wedding anniversary with my best friend on the planet. Our life together is everything I could ever have asked for, and I can’t imagine ever having any regrets or growing old with anyone else. Yet sometimes, when I’m meeting someone new, I cringe a bit to myself when I include him in a story: “My husband and I…”

I was never a particularly feminine girl, and I came out as bisexual pretty much the second I set foot on my undergraduate campus. My career has been partially driven by my passion for queer issues and the push for equality under the law. At the Pride parade after New York passed marriage equality in 2011, I cried.

And then, two years later, I married a man.

My husband and I are polyamorous, and I have female partners as well as male. Sometimes I feel like I bring this up in conversation less out of any particular relevance and more as a defense mechanism — “See, I’m not straight; I like girls too!” Before we began exploring polyamory, I didn’t even dress as androgynously as I do these days — I wanted to, but I was afraid of being accused of appropriating someone else’s culture. Or, perhaps more truthfully, I was afraid I would be appropriating someone else’s culture.

Did I have the right to call myself queer while I benefited from all the perks of living like a heterosexual? I had vague visions of outraged lesbians calling me out and saying I was misleading people, that I was misrepresenting myself, that I wanted credit for something I hadn’t earned. From my conversations with friends in similar situations, it seems like this isn’t uncommon for bisexual or queer women who “marry straight” — the fear of taking the easy path, of “passing,” of not being gay enough to label yourself in the way that feels true to you.
Advertisement

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable in my skin, and am less likely to define myself by other people’s expectations.

Related: What Happens When Your First Gay Wedding Is Your Own Gay Wedding

The issue of “biphobia” is one that often comes up in the media and in queer-centric conversations. Bisexual celebrities continue to baffle media outlets, which refer to Kristen Stewart’s girlfriend as her “gal pal” and tell Anna Paquin, to her face, that she “used to be bisexual” because she married a man. (Props to her, by the way, for shutting that right the hell down. It was a proud moment.)
In my own life, I’ve encountered my share of these attitudes, from straight and gay folks alike. I was welcomed with open arms into my college’s LGBT group — until the day I got a steady boyfriend. I was never explicitly uninvited from anything, but the temperature of my interactions with other members noticeably cooled, and I stopped going to meetings shortly thereafter. In the single-dating days of my early 20s, before I met my husband, I went on more than one date where the woman gave me the distinct vibe that she was testing me. When it became clear that my most formative past relationships had been with men, I could almost watch the women's interest dissipate. Obviously, this attitude isn’t universal, but when you encounter it enough times, as with any other prevalent social attitude, you start to wonder if maybe people are right about you.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable in my skin, and am less likely to define myself by other people’s expectations. I love my husband (and also my other partners) — and how that all works, and what I “consider” myself, isn’t really anyone’s business but ours.

Most days, I’m pretty good at remembering that. I spike up my hair, put on my tie, and head to work, where pictures of me in a long white dress, grinning at my husband-to-be, have a place of honor in my cubicle. Most days, if I were asked outright, I would have no issue identifying as a queer woman — and raising a disdainful eyebrow at anyone who questioned my right to do so. Most days.

But, some days, I still wonder if I’m quite gay enough.

More from Sex & Relationships

This article was originally published on December 18, 2015. According to stereotypes, men are the sexually voracious cheaters and women are the ...
We're great fans of accessorizing in the bedroom. Au naturel stimulation is wonderful, but sex toys can do things that people just can't. The sex toy ...
Even as the sex toy market continues to expand, there remain a few vital "firsts" for the industry to tackle. This week, with the arrival of the Buck-Off...
Amber Rose doesn't do "off days." "I always feel confident," she tells us. "I never allow myself to not feel confident. I wake up and say, I’m going out ...
The Halloween-costume-planning frenzy is officially in full swing, and we still have so many questions. Is our costume idea clever without being obscure? ...
This article was originally published on April 2, 2015 and has been updated throughout. Lube is a little like masturbation. It's a big part of most people...
It would be an understatement to say that a lot of us love superhero blockbusters. Luckily, there's really no shortage of them, but should you ever need ...
(Paid Content) You don't need a degree in common sense to know getting involved with a coworker is a bad idea. Yet, we probably all know someone who has, ...
The following is an excerpt from Asa Akira's recently released memoir Dirty Thirty. Another year of wasted eggs because I chose to whore instead. “Do ...
In the best-case scenario, you go on a first date with someone, and you hit it off. The chemistry is off the charts, and you're never at a loss for what to...
Even if you think you’re not kinky, there’s a chance your brain might be. And when it comes to getting turned on and orgasming, our brains deserve more ...
Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth's, became the first out member of the British Royal Family when he came out as bisexual last week. In ...
Dear Kelsey, My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for almost two years. We met on Tinder — shockingly — and things have been great ever since...
Actress Shailene Woodley has made a habit of saying the unexpected. There was that time she declared that she was not a feminist, or when she tried to ...