The Journey of Accepting My Sexuality, Including My Bisexuality
I actually wrote most of this back in May right after Janelle Monae released the emotion picture for ‘Dirty Computer’. I wrote and shelved what words came out…maybe because of fear?
I will elaborate more on what was written here and hopefully you all will follow along the journey of me coming more in to myself. Hopefully this will inspire courage for someone else.
*TRIGGER WARNING: PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT RAPE & ABUSE ARE TALKED ABOUT HERE*
Let’s start here.
I remember thinking that I was going straight to hell for the first time in math class in 7th grade because I found myself staring at one of my teacher’s behind. Not even in a sexual way, but in an observational way (I was still totally sure that was a “sin”). I remember the second “I’m going straight to hell” thought when I lost my virginity the summer before I went to college.
See, I grew up in a very Jamaican, Seventh-Day Adventist household. Christianity, for the most part, was all I knew. I knew about sex and how babies were made since I was 3-4 years old, but that was pretty much the extent of the sex conversation. I was always told just to abstain from it or to hold on to my virginity or that boys will say anything to get in your pants. There wasn’t really a healthy or open conversation surrounding sex nor sexuality (like wtf was that).
Something that I have only told a few people was that I knew about my clitoris and its magical powers since I was about 4. I learned from a female cousin (who was a couple years older than me) as we played house. We took turns being mommy & daddy…and mommy & daddy had sex. I would go home and go to town with pillows & stuffed animals alike. I thought this behavior was actually quite normal because having orgasms feel MAGNIFICENT.
Things started to take a turn when my mother decided to go back to church (we had been SDA for about the first 5 years of my life then we stopped going to church until I was 8, I believe). The church HEAVILY frowned down upon basically everything that I liked, Harry Potter, zodiac signs, jewelry/pierced ears (I was particularly pissed about this because I had gotten my ears pierced a few months before we went back to church & I had to take them out), & you guessed it…SEX, outside of marriage, that is. I didn’t understand how something that felt so natural and literally so good could be deemed “bad” or “a sin”. Sex felt like heaven in my body, but when I went back to church, there was so much shame surrounding it. When I would self-soothe, I would imagine God, my angels, & even deceased loved ones “in heaven” looking down on me with disgust. You can see how this gets confusing and complicated.
Through the shame, I continuously pleased myself. Looking back, that was one of the few things in my life that truly caused me any kind of pleasure. I am pretty sure depression/anxiety started at 13 & I definitely would use masturbation as a coping mechanism, imagining myself with whatever cute celebrity was out at the time.
As puberty hit, my hormones went out the damn roof. The problem was, I was the nerdy, skinny Black girl, that almost no one wanted. *cues more masturbation* There did come a time when I suppose I became attractive because I was finding myself doing sexual things with boys whenever I had the chance…& that was usually on the Sabbath, occasionally in a church, because that was essentially the only time when I could have an opportunity to do freaky shit. You want to talk about guilt then? I knew I was for sure going to hell, but at that point I gave it the Kanye shrug because my “sins” were pretty racked up by my sweet 16. I managed to keep my virginity until I graduated high school (a promise I made to myself), but I did almost everything that would come before full out vagina/penis intercourse.
I went to college & it broke me, in almost every way. Within a few months, I was raped by an upperclassman. I didn’t want to have sex, because I had only done it once before. I was so used to doing the more “minor” sexual acts, kissing, fondling, head, fingering, that I didn’t expect sex…but clearly he did. I said, “No”, but I guess I didn’t sound convincing or strong enough. Either way, that lead me to, for some strange psychological reason, keep dealing with & messing with him for two years. I felt he had power over me. He made me have sex with his fraternity brothers as he watched, even though I had asked for it just to be us. When I wasn’t around him, I would have sex with who I wanted…but when he found out, he would get FURIOUS (apparently I was only allowed to have sex with other men under his watch/supervision). I remember him even getting mad at me at a party because I was flirting with a woman who was a lesbian. The woman & I ended up making out & whatnot & he literally snatched me up. I suppose he didn’t like the attention I was giving her nor the fact that we were both thoroughly enjoying it.
After all of the shit, I used sex as a drug, in combination with marijuana & alcohol. See, during all of this, I was FOR SURE dealing with daddy issues. While dealing with these daddy issues & extreme insecurity, I noticed myself using men as they used me. It was a horrible time of my life that was filled with so many heavy emotions. What made it worse was that as I was going through abuse, there were SO many people on campus talking about me. It hurt my feelings so much. Only 3 people knew the true circumstances of my situation. Yes, I was having a lot of sex (who wasn’t though? I knew everyones explicit sexual details), but 90% of the time that I was “having sex” I didn’t want to be doing it. Who would have truly believed me had I told the truth about EVERYTHING. All of the ridicule + rumors on top of the rapes & depression was too much for me. That was the first time that the thoughts of suicide came to me. Even though I wanted to end my life, I still wanted to have sex.
I dropped out of college and for the next few years, my curiosity in regards to my sexuality & my sexual preferences opened up (for numerous reasons). I found myself being attracted to both sexes. I found myself in situations with men, women, and both of them together.
I remember feeling so conflicted because naturally I felt like a very sexual being, but the religion I was in deemed me a heathen & FULL of sin that I constantly had to repent for (yeah, I was still going to church through all of this). I went up to so many altar calls, hoping to pray the “temptation” of sex away, hoping to pray the demons & sin out of me...but it never worked, sex felt good (for the times that I consented to it). I was feeling conflicted because I thought that God was love, but all of the things that genuinely felt good were shunned until marriage or shunned in general (like, no jewelry, piercings, or tattoos??)
Even outside of the church, I had a partner who would shame me for wanting to sexually explore with him. He made me feel dirty and whore-like for not wanting to do “regular/normal stuff”.
What is interesting to me is that the women I had sex with never looked down at me or shunned me. We enjoyed our time together & that was that. There are a lot of events that happened between college and 2016, but that could be a whole book. Just know that I dealt with some shit men and had sex with beautiful women.
I know I questioned what “label or title” I would fit in/under, but I never had an answer. For most of my life, sex was a “bad thing”, something that I should be ashamed of. Sex with women, same thing, but if it was for the consumption of men then it is fine (that’s so weird, right?). I experienced many years of conditioning and trauma surrounding sex, so I had to strip & release them intently and intentionally.
This year, I remember sitting in a cafe and explicitly saying “I am bisexual” to my partner. He looked at me, nonchalantly and replied, “I know.” I just looked at him, kind of in shock. That was the first time those words ever came out my mouth (at 27 years old) & he took it like it was nothing. I don’t know why I expect people to argue me out of it, but it was refreshing. Maybe 15 minutes later I talked to my friend, who is a married lesbian woman with a child, and I said the same thing, perhaps testing if someone would get upset. She was so happy for me and honored that I would share my truth with her. She helped me feel better about admitting the nature of my sexuality with myself and with others. It made me breathe a little bit easier.
At this point in my life, I am grateful to be in a partnership with the man I am with because of our openness + his balance of masculine and feminine. We have discussed our sexual past, what works for us, & what does not work for us. We have discussed possible sexual experiences that we would like to have together & luckily, our “fantasies” align with each other’s. It’s also fun being able to marvel at a beautiful woman with my partner, just saying. On top of all of this, the relationship with my partner is the first healthy relationship that I have been in. This is the first relationship where I can rawly express myself and there is not one ounce of shame or disgust felt between us. He allows me to be and be free. It is literally the BEST feeling in the world.
Currently, I completely embrace that I am a VERY sexual being. This does not mean that I want to have sex with EVERYONE. I believe that consensual sex with the right people can bring forth so many beautiful things. I will also not be shamed nor objectified for loving sex and pleasure. I believe that both women and men are beautiful + necessary, I will honor them both.
I am not so much hung up on titles. I know that I am very much so attracted to both sexes. I love the curves and softness of a woman and the strength and hardness of a man. In the same breath, I always knew that I wanted to be in a relationship, marry, & have children with a black man (I was never fond of the idea of being in a whole relationship with a woman). I don’t know IF there is even a title for what I feel I am, but bisexual will cover it for now.
Although there is still a bit of fear surrounding admitting to the world that I am bisexual, I guess this is me officially and publicly “coming out”, but I more so feel like I am simply sharing my story. It took me a while to even admit my sexuality to myself and also convince myself that there is nothing morally or mentally wrong with me. I don’t think my story is too out of the box, while at the same time, there isn’t a box to put me in. I just follow my gut & how I feel. So here I am with my truth, simply being in my body, & fully understanding who I am & what I am attracted to.
Lastly, in relation to what I had posted in my Instastory, it dawned on me today that I have so many female friends that are queer. I didn’t intentionally seek them out, but I am grateful to have so many women surround me that acknowledge who the are in this body, in this life. They continuously inspire me and give me courage to keep being and sharing my most authentic self.
I would love to hear your thoughts & comments on this subject or on this article. I hope you enjoyed!