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Today’s Bisexual Thoughts:  Revisiting the Down Low

21 Mar

http://www.queerty.com/on-the-dl-straight-identifying-men-speak-candidly-about-their-sexual-relationships-with-other-men-20160319
Cityman and I talk about the emergence and visibility of bisexual men and he provided the above link as part of our ongoing discussion, which you are cordiall invited to read, but the short version is that 9,000 men and women were studied and it was found that 6.2% of them had a same-sex experience and/or identified as bisexual.  One of the first things I said to him about this number is that there are a hell of a lot more bisexuals than can be quantified.

Some bisexuals are out but many – and I mean this in the grandest sense you can think of – are covert in their same-sex dealings, preferring to handle this bit of business on the down low which, these days, is better known as that den of depravity where bisexual men go to have sex and it occurred to me that the DL has gained much bad publicity these days for an area of our society that’s been around for a very long time.

I mean, seriously, where do you thinks folks were going to do their dirt and away from the scrutiny of others back in the Victorian Age of Sex… or even before that?  The Isley Brothers had a record some time ago where the DL was featured; “Mr. Big’s” (Ronald Isley) old lady was creeping in the DL with another man – great song and if you’ve never heard it, go find it.  So, no, the DL isn’t some new construct and that there bisexuals inhabiting it isn’t new, either; way back in the day, gay men pretty much owned the DL, given how dangerous it was for them to be discovered by the public at large.

Cityman feels, and I tend to agree,math at if we – society – can get rid of the angst against anyone who isn’t straight and kinda ensure that those who come out would be safe from persecution, more bisexuals would raise their hands and say, “Hey, over here!  Yeah, I’m bisexual!”  A friend of Cityman’s said that the world isn’t ready for this level of honesty and since he’s essentially correct (with a twist I’ll get to in a moment), the DL is a necessary evil for anyone who wants to engage in things sexual and without incurring a lot of risk – and that’s opposed to trying to do one’s dirt in plain sight, something that some folks do but, ah, it’s not exactly recommended as our moral social contract loves to point out.

Okay, the twist I mention.  Cityman’s friend is right… but just because the world isn’t ready for that level of honestly does not mean shit where reality is concerned.  Consider this, if you will:

“I ignored the evidence of my own eyes and clung to dogma instead of adapting to new understanding.” (Captain Ishmael Wang talking to Tai Chi Master Margaret Newmar, in the book, “In Ashes Born,” by Nathan Lowell)

This is about where we are about bisexuality; we doggedly cling to the dogma of our morality while ignoring the evidence and adapting to a new and better understanding… and because we, on the whole, aren’t able to do this, well, that’s why the DL continues to exist and why there are a lot of bisexuals inhabiting this shadow part of our morality.  We maintain that heterosexuality is the way things are supposed to be – it’s the preferred way of doing things – while doing our level best to ignore the evidence that, nope, heterosexuality isn’t the only way to get things done in life and as obviously evidenced by the fact that bi- and homosexuals have always been around.

Indeed, even with the news that, hey, there are more bisexuals (and some rather famous) than we knew of, we cling to the dogma that bisexuals don’t or can’t exist, that bisexuals are really homosexuals who refuse to accept the truth of their homosexuality… but this isn’t the truth that’s really failing to be accepted, is it?  Now, if you will, also consider this:

In another conversation between Captain Wang and Sifu Newmar, she said to him, “Look beyond what you think you know. Look beyond what you’ve been told. Look beyond the hundred degrees and find the reality where it lives.”  Okay, I need to explain the hundred degrees thing; in this book and on the planet this conversation was taking place, because of an atmosphere denser than the one here on Earth, water boils at 102 degrees Celsius – 215.6 degrees Farenheit – but everyone is taught and uses the Earth standard that water boils at 100 degrees C – 212 degrees F no matter where they are, including time, days, etc..

What you’ve been taught, what you think you know, indeed, even what you believe, may not be the same as reality; even here on Earth, water doesn’t always boil at 100 degrees C everywhere on the planet, does it?  This same thinking can be applied to the issue of bisexuality and why the DL becomes that necessary evil, why the study mentioned could only get 9,000 men and women and why, in this study and many others, the percentage of people admitting to being bisexual are consistently low… because no one wants to face being shunned by a society that can’t believe the evidence of their eyes and adjust to a new understanding.  Is the number of bisexuals higher than 6.2%?  You bet your bippy it is… and it’s higher than society is ready to accept.

The reality here is that there have always been bisexuals but because of the lack of acceptance, the DL is maintained out of necessity and I’ll add that the DL just isn’t about sexual things; it’s the place for anything you do that you don’t want anyone else to find out about so, yeah, even bisexuals who aren’t out and aren’t having the sex can be on the DL if no one other than themselves know what’s going on in their head.  Our sense of moral righteousness says the DL shouldn’t exist and that no one should ever have a reason to visit the DL… but the reality says otherwise, doesn’t it?  You, dear reader, may feel, think, believe, whatever, that being on the DL for any reason is wrong… but just because you say it’s wrong doesn’t really mean that it is wrong and, honestly, if you were 100% correct in your assessment, the DL wouldn’t exist because no one would ever step outside of our moral contract… and if you’re laughing, well, join the party because I’m laughing at this myself.

To believe this is naive and is in direct contradiction of the reality we’ve yet to accept.  Oh, we’re getting there, slowly but surely, but until we adopt a new understanding about bisexuality, well, there’s always the DL because everything has to exist somewhere; if you can’t be all out in the open with what you do, you gotta be able to do it somewhere and, again, even if only your thoughts are on the DL.

Whew, this turned out to be a bit more than I was originally thinking about!  The moral majority says that bisexuality is wrong but that doesn’t mean that the majority is always right even though dogma says we accept “majority rule” as a given; likewise, the customer isn’t always right.  Five hundred fifty-eight out of nine thousand people admitted to being bisexual; does that mean that eight thousand, four hundred forty-two people weren’t bisexual… or were some really on the DL and had reason not to speak the truth out of fear of social persecution?  Oh, the numbers don’t lie… but people do and it is to note that the referenced article did not provide numbers for what was really going on with those eight thousand, four hundred forty-two other folks; what’s the story with the other 93.8%?

Sheesh… time for more coffee…

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 21 March 2016 in Today's Bisexual Thoughts

 

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One response to “Today’s Bisexual Thoughts:  Revisiting the Down Low

  1. Cityman

    22 March 2016 at 12:21

    Thanks for the shout out! I think it’s safe to say that the 6.2% represented here is grossly underreported, and that we may never know the actual number with accuracy – though I anticipate that more and more folks will come forward as the stigma relaxes. Now, I’m not one of those who believes that everyone is a little bisexual, but I do think that there are widespread curiosities and that same sex activities are preferable to no sex at all (hence gay sex in prison).

    It makes all the sense in the world that humans would be built with a certain degree of inherent flexibility for a host of evolutionary reasons, but as you explain, people would rather defer to dogma and what was deemed to be appropriate behavior a couple thousand years ago than to accept the evidence that exists before their very eyes. That monosexuals are still so reticent to acknowledge the existence let alone the viability of bisexuality tells you all that you need to know: it exists, it’s widespread, and it scares the crap out of them because it threatens the very dogma in which they’re so invested.

    Liked by 1 person

     

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