September 21, 2018
A Bisexual Couple’s Story
What is the bisexual double-standard? How does erasure affect bisexuals? And how does bisexuality work in the Swing Lifestyle? Angelique and John join Jess to discuss their experiences as a bisexual couple.
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This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
A Bisexual Couple’s Story
Welcome to the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast. I’m Jess O’Reilly, your friendly neighborhood sexologist. And today we are going to be talking about bisexuality, the double standards, the erasure and the myths. Before we get started, let me shout out to our sponsor, Desire Resorts, an all inclusive, clothing optional couple’s paradise with two locations on the Mayan Riviera. Be sure to check them out at Desire Resorts on social media. Joining me today is Angelique Luna, a certified King aware professional relationship and sex coach, educator, entertainer and sexual abuse advocate, as well as her partner, John, who was an entrepreneur, author, professional educator and software developer. Welcome to the program. How’s it going? Hello. Yeah. Happy to be here. Glad you’re here now. September 23 is Bisexual Awareness Day. So our timing is perfect. I thought we could jump in just starting with some definitions. So what does it mean to be bisexual? From your perspective, that’s a good question, because lately the word coming up pan sexual is what I hear a lot, and they’re very close, but different. But to us, bisexual means we’re attracted to both men and women. Personally, I go by bisexual because it’s more well understood than trying to understand pansexual, but it doesn’t mean I’m not included. I’m not attracted to transgender. And again, other sexes. Okay. And do you both identify as bisexual? Yes, we do. We do have child, too, which surprised us when she’s like, okay, I’m bi. I’m like, what the heck? Well, it’s interesting because the data around bisexuality is on the rise. So more people are identifying as bisexual, and there are differences by gender, with more women reporting same sex contact than men. There are differences by race as well. So, for example, in the United States, fewer Hispanic women report being bisexual than white women and fewer black women than white women as well. Although the number is closer. But the latest research that looked at over 9000 people aged 18 to 44 and asked them about their sexual experiences, their attraction and how they identify found that this trend stood out. And this is why the headlines ring out. People love a headline that says bisexuality, even if they don’t dig a bit deeper. But more women reported having had sexual contact with other women than in previous years, 17.4% in the current survey, compared with 14.2% in the 2006 to 2010 survey, and more women and men identified as bisexual, five 5% of women and 2% of men, compared with three 9% of women and one 2% of men in the last survey. So what do you think about this trend? I think the younger generation is they’re fighting everything possible that they’re getting to the point that they just don’t care. They’d rather be their authentic self than fitting into a mold. And we’re seeing that a lot with kids in high school and even the I don’t know if the millennials would be that, but the younger, like 20 to 25 crew. They are much more confident in themselves, and we’re raising them to have a lot more self awareness. I also see a lot of men and women in their 40s now who have either married or divorced and starting to rethink their sexuality. And I’ve actually met a lot of men that now that they’re in their forties, they’re coming out to their wives or girlfriends as bisexual. And I think a lot of that has to do with social acceptance. It wasn’t accepted ten years ago, nearly as much. And it definitely wasn’t accepted 30 years ago. But there’s still a lot of pushback on it. It’s not so much for bisexual women, but I think for bisexual men, there’s a lot more pushback on it, and it has to do with an American definition of masculinity. Yes. So I think we have to look at the way gender intersects with sexual orientation. And I thought that we could chat about something that we talked about just the other day casually, we were all together at Sex down south in Atlanta. Okay. Yeah. It was amazing. And we had talked about in the lifestyle. So you’re in the swing lifestyle. Is that correct? That’s actually how we met. We actually met at a swinger’s meeting, greet a couple of our friends were trying to get us together for the longest time, and it just finally happened that way. Amazing love. Okay. So you’re in the lifestyle and both in and out of the lifestyle, there exists a bisexual double standard. And this is the notion that women are expected to be by or at least by curious, and men are dislowed and really treated like pariahs if they experience or express any attraction to other men. Is this something that you have run into in the swinger lifestyle? Absolutely. About six years ago, with the support of my wife, I decided to come out as bisexual. Before that, I knew I was, I admit, because of professional reasons because of my job, because again, family again. There’s lots of reasons I knew I was I had been with men, but it was definitely something I didn’t ever bring up or talk with anyone about. But that was one of the deal breakers with us that you told me right off the bat when we were dating, that you were bisexual, and I totally accepted that. Right. But although I told you, we still never publicized, it was about six years ago. We were active in the swinging community. I basically came out, did the whole post Facebook social media stuff and said, hey, I’m bisexual. And the amazing thing is, we lost several partners in a very short period of time. Couples we had been with and had played with. And again, we were all naked in the same room all of a sudden just disappeared or had other things to do. And we found that very odd because it’s not like I was going to pull someone in the closet all of a sudden, now that I came out as bisexual and had this epiphany, I was the same person I always was. But again, six years ago, there also wasn’t a whole lot of resources for bisexual. What I find is there’s lots of resources if you’re gay and lots of clubs, if you’re gay again, man or woman, and they’re straight clubs and bars and whatever. And when I go to a gay bar and I hang out and I talk with guys and I get picked up or hit on guys, and I mentioned a wife. They basically tell me to stop kidding yourself, get a divorce and come to our side. And I’m like, I don’t have to make a choice. This is who I am right there’s this notion that you’re either straight gay or lying exactly. And so in the lifestyle. So if you’re not familiar with the swing or lifestyle, there is a ton of play between women. It’s almost percent almost required. You’re required to be a bisexual female, and even that you have to do whatever they think it is. And I’m like, look, there’s certain sexual acts that I will not do because that is my preference. And they said that I’m not bisexual. I’m like, I do everything else. I kiss, I make out. I use toys just because I don’t do a certain ex does not disqualify me as being bisexual. So here we are, Angelique, you’re not bisexual enough. And, John, you’re too bisexual. Exactly. I never heard of quite phrased that way, but that sums it up. It’s very interesting. So there are two issues here. One is the compulsory bisexuality of women within the lifestyle, and I have some very strong feelings about that. To me. It frames the lifestyle as a straight male fantasy. It’s what we see in porn. Women are all making out with each other, shoving their fingers inside of each other. And the men are kind of just sitting back and enjoying it. Is that how you see it or what’s your take on why women are expected to be bisexual? Well, I think there’s this and I almost say, like a classic attitude of a woman’s body is beautiful, and a man’s body is what it is. Not in every case. But I do see a lot of couples with a very beautiful wife. And again, the swinger community does range in age, but there’s a lot in the 40s, 50s and 60s and the guys that can be a typical American beer belly, the dad bot, the dad bot. There we go. And I don’t know, it’s kind of fetishized the two women together. So it’s not saying that the orgies don’t happen. And I’m not saying there’s not swapping going on. The men do get involved. They don’t always sit back and do nothing. But the swords do touch eventually, there, especially when you’re going from one. But it’s not spoken about. I know it’s not spoken about, but that’s what aggravated me the most, because I’m like they touched you went to in me. Come on. It is definitely a double standard, so the penises can touch as long as you don’t enjoy it. Is that the double standard? I would say it seems to be. Yes, but there was two penises in my vagina, and that was okay. The minute you said you were by then it was not okay. Yes, which is a very weird double standard. Extremely. This is something that’s always bothered me. The swing lifestyle often touts its approach to sex as so open minded and freeing and sex positive. And I hear from couples who say that sex is, in fact, the secondary appeal of the lifestyle. What really appeals to them is how open the community is to one another and to diverse perspectives. But this approach to bisexuality is certainly at odds with this self proclaimed openness. I will say it may be regional. We are in the Southeast of the United States, and we do travel quite a bit. We found Miami, which over the last ten years has a very much a Latin population. It was actually much more accepting and opening, and we’ve spent some time up in Toronto in a club up there, and they actually had a by mail night. Was that Oasis? Yes, it was. Yeah. Oasis is amazing. So Oasis is an example to me that I think they can take to the world or at least to the rest of North America because I don’t think it’s the same in Europe. I’m talking in a North American context here. Oasis is a sex club. And so they have swinger nights, and they have trans women’s nights, and they have female only nights, and they have student nights and they have by male nights. As you said, they are better at embracing diversity. I’m not going to speak so much for the club owners, because again, it all depends. They do cater to their clientele and the Southeast. I have to say we are on the shining buckle of the Bible belt. Definitely. It tends to have more of a cultural straight, heteronormative feel. It is right on the back end of Disney. I’m going to throw that out right back there the area. So the fact that it exists at all is pretty much a miracle, and it’s a nice place and things probably have changed over the last five years. We’re still the silent beach. We are such a very gay friendly, lesbian, trans, but we still don’t talk so much about the bisexuality here in the Southeast. You’ve created a group for bisexual males, and that’s been challenging, trying to get attendees because of the location. So earlier this year, I started looking for some support and started searching for bisexual males, bisexual men. And the only groups I found was a defunct group out of Miami, and then the other nearest group was an active group in Atlanta, which is an eight hour drive away. So I formed a group specifically for bisexual men to come talk, and it was one of those everyone’s welcome. Sometimes we do have girlfriends and wives come over, but it’s just to discuss that issue. That just because a man is by doesn’t mean a he’s promiscuous, he might be or B, he’s going to explore stuff because we had two cases where the men were in their 40s, early 50s came out to their wives as bisexual. They assumed that meant that the wife thought it meant that they wanted a divorce. And that wasn’t the case. It was just realizing their true self and wanting to share and open that with their partner. Right. And that’s a very vulnerable moment. Extremely. It takes a lot of courage to come out on a topic. It takes a lot of courage to come out as gay, I assume, or trans or any of these. It’s a moment where you’re basically making a wager and putting your life on the line, because if it goes bad, everything in your life is going to change. You may lose your family, your job, your friends, your career is the coming out process different for bisexual folks. Do you feel like you have to keep coming out over and over again? So, for instance, your primary partners and you happen to be assist man and assist woman. So people are going to look at you and assume you’re straight. So do you constantly have to come out to people in order for them to understand you? That’s a good question. I think. Yes, due to the fact of that whole bisexual fear because we’re way too old to deal with high school drama. So we just laid all our cards on the table and say, this is what we’re into. This is a negotiation. Just let us know your boundaries because it’s still a negotiation process. But at the same time, I’ve come out as bisexual, and the funniest thing I ever heard was I thought you were like an accountant, and I’m like, what does that mean? He goes, Well, you look very conservative, and I’m very far from being conservative, not just on the political spectrum, but on the sexual spectrum. But again, it’s the appearance we give that, I guess, for anyone we’re judged by. Right. And now you happened to be in the swing lifestyle. So you’re in a consensually, non monogamous relationship. But certainly bisexual people can also be monogamous. And I’m sure you’ve been monogamous at times in your life as well. And you might find that you are again in the future. Can you comment on that? Because there is this notion that if you’re by, you must have multiple partners. I like to know where that comes from because we could barely have any extra partners. Well, I admit, one of it has to do with our schedule. We are very busy doing a podcast raising a child doing full time jobs and holding on to another relationship, whether it is a friends with benefits, weekend thing or anything more, it takes a lot of time. But in all honesty, for the past going on about five years, we really haven’t maintained regular partners now, and it’s just because it’s honestly been the availability and being able to find them, right. And people who are open to both of us being by that’s always the challenge, because they’re okay if I’m by, but not you, and that just annoys me. But if you tell us the guidelines or rules what you expect and play that we can respect that. But just making the assumption that you’re just going to put them underneath the covers and have your way with him, right? You can be bisexual and managed to resist touching another penis. Correct. It’s not an irresistible magnet. I do have the ability to go and stay away. Actually, that’s a really good message. Your penis is not an irresistible magnet. If we could get that point across, there’d be a lot less Dick pics flying around the Internet. Oh, Lord, Lord, I got some of those this morning. Yeah. Okay. So tell me in the lifestyle, do you feel like you’re pariah? Do you have trouble meeting people? Have people been overtly rude or discriminatory toward you? Because John is by Luna. Sorry, Angelique. We know that it’s okay that you’re by, because that’s again, this compulsory expectation. But how have you been treated or do you have specific stories that illustrate the climate that you’re facing? Yeah. Like we said earlier, it’s regional because here in Orlando, we did get, like, the Frigging cross black leather blacklisted. Yes. Blacklisted that I was just like, are you pretty kidding me? And we went to other clubs down in South Florida, in Atlanta, and they embraced it and they were fine with it. But going specifically and we’re going to go back probably two years because, remember, it was a Craigslist thing where we responded to an ad and it was a couple and they were attractive. We exchanged pictures, we talked for a little while and it came up fantasies. We started talking and I just said, hey, I’m just throwing it out there. I’m bisexual. I hope this isn’t a problem. And very quickly, the emails went within a few days to a few of them. I guess they were just kind of inquiring to see how much of that was going to be to just ghost it. And ghosting is a new term. I hear more and more, but it’s not nice. No. How does it feel? Well, I gotta admit, if I had come out, we’ll say many years ago in my twenties, I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to shrug it off as I do now. Yeah, it’s just become the fact of I do want to find people who accept me for the way I am. And it doesn’t mean they need to participate in everything I’m involved with. We’re also fairly active in the BDSM community. We do a lot of roping FIREPLAY bondage now. Again, just because we’re swinging doesn’t mean the paddles are coming out. So it’s that kind of same thing. Just because we’re swinging doesn’t mean the bisexuality is coming out. I won’t say compartmentalized, but we don’t have to do everything at once. It’s not like one night to fulfill your fantasy. Go right. And of course, if every experience is underscored by consent, you don’t have any interest in having sex or touching somebody who doesn’t want to be touched, regardless of gender. Exactly. It’s just like we like to respect each other. I mean, one of my rules when we started dating. It’s like I won’t get involved with a couple who hasn’t been in the lifestyle for less than a year. For me, it’s like you got to be in a year. So that way, I know you worked out your games. Do you know what your hard lines are? Soft lines, what it is that you want. So that way, when we start communicating, saying, what is our game plan, our desires, then everyone’s on the same page and no high school drama, right? Yeah. You don’t want to be somebody’s teacher, and that’s okay. Yeah. So how about the kink lifestyle or that BDSM lifestyle? Has your experience been that they’re more welcoming to bisexual men? In the Dungeons I’ve been to on the East Coast, I would have to say yes, they are much more respectful, not just for your sexuality, whether it be by or trans or gay, but they are more physically accepting. And what I mean is in the swing community. No, not everyone has the California gorgeous body, and there are bigger men and bigger women. But one thing I’ve always seen is they kind of split up into groups.
Sorry. It almost feels like high school that there’s all of a sudden the jocks. And then there’s the computer geeks over here and the drama club. And sorry, the jocks are all the super fit. And I’ve found in several clubs, not just in Orlando. It does kind of happen. It gets creepy. Very much so in the Fetish community, the BDSM community I’ve seen it is such a weird mix because it’s not just sex. It’s skill. So if you’re looking to get roped or you’re looking to get firecupped or you’re looking to get flogged, or maybe you want to learn whipping or whether you’re top or bottoming, there’s a skill involved that it’s almost a teacher mentor type interaction. And one thing I will want to put out there straightforward BDSM does not always mean sex. It may be sexual. It may be enjoyable, but in most of the Dungeons I’ve been to sex is not allowed. So we see a lot more mixing between those. What would be clicks from the swinger community. More in the BDSM community. Yeah. And a more diversity of bodies I have found in some swinger communities. The aesthetic component can be a very determining component, and it’s interesting for me because I’m a little bit younger, I would say, than the average. And sometimes younger couples have come up to Brandon and I Brandon and my husband and felt entitled to us because we’re young. They’ll say things like, oh, we’re the only young ones here or people will say, like, oh, I want to hang it with people who are just into the same things as me, like fitness. And they come to us and I’m saying, I’m not into my fitness. Let me tell you, I may look like I’m into my fitness, but what you’re saying is you want someone who looks a certain way and you’re not coming out and saying that you’re saying like, no, it’s just the priorities of going to the gym. Well, I haven’t been to a gym. I think I had a gym membership in 2006, and it was like the worst financial investment of my life. But there is a real focus on the way people look. There are even parties that don’t allow you to only allow people to attend based on the photos they submit. Yes. There’s definitely private parties around here where it’s almost like a speakeasy of. Yeah. You need to look a certain way, be dressed a certain way, know certain people or you don’t get in. Right. And I wonder. And I don’t know about this because I’m more on the fringes of the community as an expert, not someone who’s necessarily participating. But is there a greater emphasis on the way a woman looks than a man? Like, if you have a really hot wife, I mean, there are different types of hot. But if you’ve got a magazine hot wife, and perhaps you’re not so magazine hot, do you still get invited? Yeah. I’ve seen that a lot, especially here in central Florida. Well, no, I’ve also seen it in Miami. Again, I said Miami does have a huge Latin population, and I do see a lot of husbands being 20 years older than their wives. Right. And, yes, a hot wife or a hot girlfriend is a ticket into a club in many places, right in and out of swinging. Oh, yes. And when you look at these issues, you can see the roots of patriarchy in the double standard of bisexuality. Much of that is rooted in homophobia. And it’s interesting again, like this double standard of homophobia, where women are meant to play with one another. And I can’t escape from the belief that that’s because these men who view things this way and women see women’s bodies as they are for the pleasure and entertainment of men. To an extent, I can’t disagree with that. And this is a really scary thing in a community that is supposed to be so subversive and so empowering and so sex positive. And I think it’s something that needs to be called out and discussed. And the other thing that we’re seeing, maybe outside of that community. And I don’t know if you’ve had to deal with this, but is bisexual erasure altogether? Studies even continue to attempt to demonstrate that bisexuality doesn’t exist, right? There was a team of psychologists who measured genital arousal patterns in response to images of men and women. So they’re looking at blood flow in the genital region. And what they concluded is that men who identify as bisexual are in fact, exclusively aroused by either one sex or the other, usually by other men. So what they’re saying is these are just closeted gay men. They don’t want to admit it. They’re measuring attraction by blood flow alone, which is totally incomplete, because if we were going to measure arousal or attraction by blood flow alone, what we would find is even people who are being raped and sexually assaulted have blood flow to the genitals. That doesn’t mean that they’re aroused in a subjective sense. That doesn’t mean that they’re attracted to the person. That simply means that there’s blood flow. So this type of erasure, especially when science jumps on board. How do you respond to this? How does it make you feel and how does it affect you? Well, I’d have to really jump on and say, shouldn’t they be looking more at the brain than the genitals? Exactly. It’s that false science just to prove that the silent B doesn’t exist. And it just really irks me a lot because they’re always doing all these scientific studies for all the other types of gender. But when it comes to bisexuality, they just rather it doesn’t exist. You’re just confused now. It doesn’t mean that someone may not have a preference. I don’t think bisexuality is a 50 50 split. I have dated men. I have dated women. They have different benefits. I have different emotional connections. It is a difference. But it doesn’t mean that there’s not an attraction to both of them. It just might be different. The best way to put it is, you may love both your children. It doesn’t mean you love them in the same way. No, you love the eldest more. Speaking from my eldest children. Kidding. But not really. Yeah. There’s this notion that if you’re not 50 50, then you’re not true. By if you don’t have sex with a specific gender as much as you have sex with another gender, then you’re not true. By. I appreciate that you mentioned the brain as opposed to the genitals. And I’d also really like to emphasize that if you feel something, you feel something, your feelings are valid. If you feel an attraction, it doesn’t have to necessarily be represented in blood flow. So, for example, even with issues with erection, right. You may not have the blood flow or the blood may not trap properly, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not attracted to your partner or to whatever is arousing you at the time. And I’m actually glad when we brought that up. You brought up rape because there are cases where women felt guilty because they orgasm during rape. It doesn’t mean they were enjoying it. Absolutely. Yeah. And we’ve seen in the reverse that when men are sexually assaulted, they can get erections. And that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a full assault. And we make a joke of men being sexually assaulted, but it also occurs. It most definitely does. It was Terry Crews was the first man to come out during the me, too movement over the last year, year and a half of being sexually assaulted. And I’m so glad he did, because for those of you who don’t know, he’s the guy who does the Old Spice commercials, the very muscular black man. And he’s in Brooklyn, 99. He’s a former football player. Yes, he is. I love the actor Deadpool tool. He was amazing. But to see someone that masculine come out and say sexually abused as opposed to someone who we would think of as more feminine or more weak coming out of sexually abused, it kind of put it in the faces of those who say men can’t be sexually abused and kind of say, hey, here’s the proof here is someone who is, by definition, as masculine as you can get being abused. Yeah. And it actually speaks to the role of power in abuse. So it’s not just physical prowess because Terry could probably fight off most people. But the way power plays a role in a workplace abuse, I’m surprised that case didn’t get more coverage. I know that they sent him for a psychological evaluation, and he was Instagramming and tweeting about it because it was such a joke the way they treated him. Yeah. And that happens a lot with males because they try to push it underneath the carpet. That’s like, oh, no. Men never get sexually assaulted. And I’m like, no, they do. And it’s like, we need to talk about it. And we need to accept the fact that every sex gender doesn’t matter get sexually assaulted. Absolutely. And you actually work in sexual abuse and sexual trauma in supporting the family members of those who are assaulted. Is that correct? Yes, we do, because that’s one thing we discovered during ours because our daughter is a sex abuse provider by her paternal grandfather. And when we were going through our healing process, there was a lot of resources for the survivor, but not so much for the parents and the caregivers. So for us, it was like, okay, who’s going to help us to tell us what to do what we need. And that’s why we kind of started advocating for that selfcare getting mental health treatment for yourself as well as your survivor knowing the law, because so many cases are just rushed through the system that you don’t know what options you do have, and you’re trusting the legal system to do what’s best for your case, and they don’t. And that’s what happened in ours. And I’m like, no, you’ve got to find the right support team for you as you’ll be in the support team for your survivor. Where can people find out more information about the support you provide to survivors families? They can find us on our website at liveinfxpositivelife. Com, and they could reach us directly there anywhere on social media. I’m Miss Angelique Luna. I’m listed as John C. Luna under all the social media sites so they could reach out at any of those locations directly to us. And we’ll be more than happy to help. Awesome. And just to close up because we only have a minute left. What can we do? What should we be doing? Better to increase awareness of bisexuality and, more importantly, be supportive of our bisexual friends and family. Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up. I wanted to say we’re not against the swinger community. We are a member of it. We liked it. We would love to enjoy it more. Just try to be a little more patient and welcoming and understanding that we are the same person that we were when you thought we were straight. And just because we come out as by doesn’t mean our attitude towards you, our personality or sexual advances to you are going to change. We’re still respectful, most of us. I can’t speak for everyone, but just be more accepting out there that we are real. We do exist and we would like to meet more of you. And I think that applies in and out of the swing lifestyle. I don’t want to say pick on, but I was critical of some of the double standards that exist, and I think that critique is very important because I value and honor and appreciate that community as well. And I think that the critique only helps the community to evolve in a really positive way. Now, finally, you have a workshop coming up on September 30. Men’s Pleasure 101. Where can people find out more info or access that workshop? Oh, you can find more about that either on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages. It’s going to be down in Orlandofl at Fairvillet High Drive location and they’re entitling it. What is it? Pleasure of men. We subtitled it from a penis owner. I own a penis too. I mean, 50% by marriage by marriage. Joking. I don’t own his body. He lets me own it sometimes, but I don’t. It’s on lease. It’s on lease. Thank you so much, Angelique and John, thanks for being here. Thank you very much. We appreciate it very much. And thanks to everyone for listening. Thank you also to at Desire Resorts. Be sure to check them out. You know, I’m heading down in just a couple of weeks in October as well as for International Swingers Month in January. Wherever you’re at have a wonderful week. We’ll be back again next Friday with a whole new episode. Have a great one.