When I came out as bisexual a couple of weeks ago, it was in part because I wanted to be able to more publicly write about the issues I face and the way it directly affects my life. Now, more often than not, I don’t really consider my sexuality anyway – it just happens to be an aspect of who I am. When I’ve been attracted to people, it’s always been their personality and character first, and their sex is rarely a consideration. Having said that, the way I interact with men and women when there is an attraction tends to be pretty different. I generally know how to flirt with men if I want to. That’s easy. Women? Not so much. This topic has come up because I was talking to a bisexual friend of mine today, and so I decided to write about it.
I suppose I was most likely destined to be married to a man because I never did really figure out how to pursue women, and they rarely pursued me. Sure, I had the occasional online relationship with a woman, but they always started out as friendships, and I guess those experiences have shaped my lack of pursuit of more women. See, my attraction for women tends to always start out as a friendship. I subconsciously prevent myself from being attracted to straight women because my first girlfriend was straight until we developed feelings for each other, and then she dumped me when she decided she didn’t want to be bisexual. I didn’t want to go through that again. This basically means my attraction develops slightly differently than it does for men, because it’s a lot easier to assume a man is interested in women, though admittedly there are some similarities as attraction grows.
Over the years I’ve become friends with various bisexual and lesbian women. Once I know their sexual orientation, then I can give myself permission to be attracted. I imagine this might not be a common thing that anyone can do, and I can’t really explain how it works like that for me (I once had a psychologist friend ask me how it worked so he could advise his same-sex attracted patients how to prevent themselves from being attracted to straight people). But the problem with this is that I then only develop crushes on friends, and by the time the crush is in full swing, I don’t want to ruin the friendship by trying to flirt and finding out they’re not interested!
On the other hand, I wouldn’t even know where to start with the flirting. I can do it in public forums if I’m just trying to attract attention to myself, but not for anything serious. I can’t do it in private. It’s like I have to ask all sorts of questions first to find out if the woman is okay with me saying something that could be construed as inappropriate. Perhaps that’s because I can react poorly when some men behave in such a way with me. Though I do seem to be more open to flirty comments from friends rather than complete strangers, regardless of the gender.
So I’m going to open up this subject for comments. Do you think men and women flirt/interpret flirting differently? If you’re also bisexual, do you think a person’s sex makes any difference to how you pursue them? And… do you have any tips for the flirt challenged? (It’s worth a try!)