And even then, Arran said, "There was a lot of stuff we never did." When Arran told me he was bisexual, I could have just believed him and accepted that he was happy with me and our sex life. The men I was used to dating were easy to please in bed.
And though Arran was initially bashful around the subject of sex, I got the sense he was eager to experiment. Even though lots of straight guys like to be pegged, trying the act brought my concerns about Arran's sexuality to the surface. I wanted intimacy, looking deeply into each other's eyes, and simultaneous orgasms. The more insecure I felt, the more I insisted we experiment. When he suggested I do the same to him, I felt unsure.
Not-always-gentle giants with bad tempers and rough hands, like my father's. (I know that gender presentation and sexual orientation are two different things, but stereotypes persist, and I'm embarrassed to say I believed in them.) On our first date, in New York City, Arran showed up from work wearing a suit.
I had started stripping because I'd been broke—but I had also been sexually curious. "Any guy I date," I gently explained, "would have to understand." I'd grown used to awkward silences after this monologue.
But Arran said he could relate and talked about his own coming out. The most common misconception about bisexual people is that they're indecisive or confused.
I equated things like submissiveness with femininity. I immediately apologized, but it was too late: I had shamed him."If you never want to do anything like that ever again," he said, "that'd be OK." It was a relief to hear. All my life, I had wanted a relationship where both my partner and I were free to express anything and be exactly who we are.
In certain sexual situations, it was difficult not being the center of attention. I was used to being "the girl." But being with Arran challenged what that means. Arran was prepared to give me that, if only I was brave enough to give it in return. That day, I stopped attempting to assuage my insecurities by pretending they didn't exist. It was a new experience for me to love someone so much that I wanted them to be happy, even if it meant going against what I wanted or desired for myself.