There have been times in my life where I could have easily been perceived as a gay woman. Many more times I would quickly be pegged as straight, or my sexuality not something to consider. The way I performed my sexual identity manifested in a constant evolution of my outward appearance. In my young adulthood I often had relationships or sexual encounters with only women and sometimes only men. Sometimes both.
I experienced my own share of trauma in my early twenties as I came out to my family. I was embraced by a new community at the same time. I considered partners both male and female-identifying to spend my life with. Then I met a straight man who I felt confident was someone I wanted to be with long-term, and we got married some years after that.
Navigating bisexuality after marriage
Now I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my sexual orientation or what my clothes and hair might say about who I sleep with. I think about the daily gamut of raising a toddler while working from home. I think about the challenges of being married and having kids. I think about what’s for dinner.
And then, in the blink of an eye, I’ll find myself missing the feeling of being known intimately by a woman. Not just the physical feelings, but the sensations of being truly seen by someone who can understand what it is to be in a woman’s body. I catch myself longing for the gentleness of female touch and the softness of a woman’s skin.
Occasionally I’ll see a woman I feel an instant attraction to and in that same moment a part of me is unearthed that has long since been buried by time and other commitments. In some ways this feels entirely akin to finding yourself attracted to any person after committing to a monogamous relationship. In other ways, it reminds me of a part of myself that has been hidden or forgotten.
Where do we go from here?
I am exceptionally privileged that the consideration of my sexual identity is largely something I can pick up or put away at will. My relationship with my partner and many of my close friends are also safe spaces for me to be open about those thoughts and feelings. Speaking your truth can keep things that are deep inside you alive.
Will I share this part of myself with my daughter one day? Absolutely. But for today she doesn’t even know or acknowledge my given name, much less my sexual history. For now I am simply, Mama. But I carry a lot of beautiful and difficult experiences around my sexual identity with me, and I want her to learn and grow from that knowledge.
I also want to create a home for her that rallies behind inclusion and compassion for both oneself and others. I want her to feel it is in her nature, rather than language that implies “othering” her, to choose how she defines herself and who she spends her life with.
As for me, I will keep finding women to be the beautiful and incredible humans that they are. And I will keep loving my partner and the family that we are building. I will continue to work to normalize being open about my attraction to people of the same sex. And I will continue to fight for justice and acceptance for every member of the LGBTQ+ community.