Is It Choice?

Yesterday, I had a spirited discussion on Twitter about whether or not bisexuality is a choice and I had a good time participating in it. One person insisted that it wasn’t a choice and I insisted that they didn’t know much about the human decision making process and that choice — making a decision — couldn’t ever be avoided.

While the other person allowed that we — people — don’t have a choice in who we’re attracted to, I agreed with this premise… except choice — the decision to go with the attraction (as in accepting that you’re attracted) — remains firmly in place.

Our social conditioning compels us to be only heterosexual (and a few other things) and if you know why it does, well, that makes sense… unless you’re feeling otherwise and many bisexuals I’ve talked to over the years have admitted shock and surprise to find that they’re attracted to men and women and now they were trying to figure out a few things, like, where this came from and what to do and, even then, fearfully so because they were very much aware of the mandate to be straight… and in the period of time I grew up in, people were very fearful of anyone who wasn’t straight and, sadly, sometimes fatally so.

Their initial question: “What do I do?” starts the decision making process and, after whatever period of time it takes for them to think about this, they make a choice: Ignore these immoral feelings or accept them; they choose to either not do anything about them — read this as having some mad, crazy sex — or to go ahead and take the plunge whenever the opportunity presents itself.

I know a lot of bisexuals who don’t feel as if they made a choice to be bisexual; I’ve been bisexual for 51 of my 60 years and even I don’t feel as if I had or made a choice. However, when I think about how I got on this curious and wonderful path, yeah, I could see choice in action at every turn; I realize that had I not made the decisions I did that fateful day, I might not be bisexual today or, at worse, I would have been a bisexual late bloomer.

The thing I think about is why so many people believe that they had no choice in their, ah, chosen sexuality. Quite a few people have insisted that they were born gay or whatever and, well, yeah — we are all born to have the potential; there is no escaping our biology. What I think they miss is that social conditioning we are all hammered with and it is rather persistent and rife with dire warnings and portents about not going along with the program… right up until someone has a reason to not want to do this. Maybe their feelings of attraction tells them that, nope, ain’t feeling that straight stuff; sometimes it’s an action that “convinces” them that being straight ain’t a good thing for them to be…

But choice is up and running the whole time and it’s my opinion that being attracted is hard wired into us and not subject to the vagaries of choice… but that acceptance of that attraction is choice and even if it’s being made subconsciously. The two things about our existence that I believe we have zero choice in is being born and dying; otherwise, our lives are filled with billions, maybe trillions, of choices… and our accepted sexuality is one of them.

We have a biological imperative to be attracted to each other; our morality seeks to focus that imperative in a singular direction so we can “go ye forth and multiply” and, well, it just doesn’t work all that well with some people, which is pretty damned obvious since not everyone on this planet is heterosexual.

When we say that we have no choice in something, it’s because we see no other viable option — there are no other choices — that’ll work for us in a given situation. I just do not see how choice, when it comes to sexuality, can ever be avoided because, if nothing else, we have to decide to accept whatever we are feeling (or even believing) about this and, yes, one can always choose not to accept our feelings or thoughts in these things… but it’s still a choice.

It’s kinda simple: I chose not to be heterosexual, just like I chose not to be homosexual but I did choose to be bisexual because this is what works best for me. I could have chosen to obey the mandate to be straight despite my feelings — and a lot of bisexuals do this. Via my many experiences, I could have chosen to be gay but, nah, neither of those choices worked for me but being bisexual did. And if you were to ask me why, you’d get quite an earful from me about all the choices I made!

With many folks demanding that bisexuals pick a side and stay there (which is also about making a choice), don’t we choose to stay right where we are? Seriously, what’s so hard to understand about this? If we — those of us who are not straight — weren’t compelled to not be straight, um, wouldn’t everyone who has ever lived, everyone who lives right now, and everyone yet to be born be monosexual?

If you think that’s silly, you’d be right… and denying that choice has no role in our sexuality is, respectfully, just as silly…