When I Am with a Woman, I Want a Man

The following comment was submitted in response to my article “The Messy Realities of Bisexuality”: I am a male in my forties and have explored being sexual with men for about five years. I have a strong attraction to fit, muscular men but also to soft and sensual women. It seems that when I am in a relationship with a man, I think about what I am missing with a woman and vice versa.

Your comment is fairly representative of someone who is bisexual. But this kind of conflict exists for people who are gay and straight as well. Being committed to a relationship does not disconnect our attraction to others. We may still have powerful sexual urges to be with someone else. We just don’t need to respond to every sexual urge we experience.

In economics, the prospect theory explains that when confronted with a decision where the risks and outcomes are both uncertain, we tend to magnify the potential losses and minimize the potential rewards. Similarly, if you wish to find a monogamous relationship, you will need to shut down a response to those urges to have a sexual relationship with someone else. Granted, that isn’t easy to do.

Of course, one can find exceptions. Some people live in committed relationships that allow a certain amount of openness in responding to sexual attraction to another person. Each couple must make their own rules, but what is critical is honesty in the relationship to keep from betraying the other person’s trust.

All relationships require some sacrifice, and not just in the area of sex. If you’re unwilling to make sacrifices, perhaps you’re not ready for a relationship, although your comment suggests that you are. In that case, it means either sacrificing something you desire sexually or finding someone who will accept the duality of your sexual attractions.