How Coming Out as Bisexual To My Husband Allowed Me To Live Out My Queer Fantasies
If you’re reading this right now thinking it’s “too late” to come out or you’re going to go to the grave one day never getting to explore your sexuality, just know, you’re not alone. I was right there with you and while not everyone will understand this journey, I see you and I am you. This is my story of coming to terms with my bisexuality after marrying the love of my life.
First things first, as a white, cis-woman in a straight presenting relationship, I recognize my privilege in being able to write about my sexuality at all. I do not take it for granted and I am continuing to educate myself about the countless LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC folks who paved the way for me to be able to live my life authentically today.
With that being said, while I do have immense privilege, being married to a straight, cis-man as a bisexual woman comes with a lot of invisibility, isolation, imposter syndrome, internalized biphobia, and more. But alas, it’s not all negative, I promise. I’ve learned that it can also come with incredible communication, analyzing the traditional views on marriage, and most importantly, queer joy.
So how did I get there? Let’s time travel back to middle school and high school for a moment, which for me, was in the 2000s and early 2010s. While that doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, when it comes to how we look at LGBTQIA+ folks as a society, it feels like a lifetime. When I was in middle school, before my friends and I kissed boys for the first time, we made out with each other for “practice.” Maybe for them it was just practice, but I remember thinking I liked kissing Rebecca just as much as I liked kissing Noah later that night. I never really wondered if I could be bisexual back then because I didn’t have the terminology and there were no bi examples in any shows or movies I had watched. Then in high school, whenever the “popular kids” called me and my basketball team lesbians (many of them did eventually come out as lesbians later in life), I got defensive and leaned heavily in the other direction by dating boys, because I knew I liked boys too.
Dating boys as a 14-year-old girl in 2007 was easier because it was what society (and the kids at my school) thought was “right.” Did I have girl crushes? Yes. Did I think that everyone had crushes on people of multiple genders? Also yes. While there were a few openly gay boys at my high school, there wasn’t a single “out” girl at my school of over 2000 students. So not only did I not have examples in the media I was consuming, I didn’t even have any examples within my community. Funny enough, two queer pop stars Hayley Kiyoko and Zolita were classmates of mine. Sometimes I look at Gen Z now and envy how much things have changed and how I wish Hayley and Zolita could’ve been the lesbian icons they are now back when we were in high school. Would have made life a lot easier for all of us!
After high school, I went on to college where I kissed as many boys as I could. I still had my “girl crushes” and in hindsight, I had some friendships that I thought of as more romantic than my friends did. I would get jealous when they would hang out with their boyfriends and I would want to hang out with them way more often than they wanted to hang out with me. I didn’t think much of it at the time though, because I just thought I was a REALLY good friend.
Eventually, I met my college boyfriend and we dated for four years. While he was a great boyfriend, I think I had a boyfriend to avoid having to face the truth about myself. Who knows what exploring my sexuality would’ve looked like in 2011. I was living in Wisconsin and it really was a different time in terms of LGBTQIA+ acceptance. Sure, Hilary Duff had already put out her “That’s So Gay” anti-bullying PSA and celebrities had all posted their pictures for the NOH8 marriage equality campaign, but homophobia still ran rampant within my communities.
As someone who loves looking for Easter eggs in Taylor Swift’s music and is a self proclaimed master at identifying foreshadowing in my beloved romance novels, I sure as hell missed a lot of bisexual foreshadowing in my own life. During college I became obsessed with Orange Is The New Black, which was the first show I’d ever seen that portrayed Sapphic love in such a positive light. That year for Halloween, my best friend Kayla and I dressed up as Piper Chapman and Alex Vause, an iconic queer couple from the show. Piper is married to a man named Larry outside of prison, but dates Alex in prison. This was the first time I’d seen a bisexual character that wasn’t just portrayed as “slutty” or for the male gaze. I made my boyfriend dress up as Larry while I dressed up as bi-con Piper and Kayla was my lesbian lover Alex. We had a whole photoshoot of Kayla and I kissing and holding hands, saying was all “part of our costume.” It was surely not just part of a costume for me…
After I graduated college and my boyfriend and I split up, there were a few moments when I questioned my sexuality and considered dating women. I remember my parents telling me that I could date whoever I wanted, but if I were to date a woman my life would just “be harder.” I know they didn’t mean anything negative by that comment, but it stuck with me. For them, that might’ve been true, but times were changing. I remember celebrities like Cara Delevingne, Laverne Cox, Kristen Stewart, Lady Gaga, Keke Palmer, Demi Lovato, and more all started talking openly about their sexuality. But my parents’ comment about life (which can already be hard) getting “harder” rang loud in my head.
Eventually, I met my now-husband Johnny. He and I met on a dating app and he immediately felt different than other men I’d dated. He made me feel safe, loved, protected, and most importantly seen. Funny enough, early on in our relationship we talked a lot about my “girl crushes” and even discussed wanting to have a threesome with our friend Brianna, who was openly bisexual. That never happened, but the bisexual foreshadowing was hard to miss.
In 2021, Johnny proposed to me and while we couldn’t have been more in love, leading up to our wedding day, I felt a major sense of anxiety. And this wasn’t your normal bridezilla or COVID-bride anxiety. I had this feeling of sadness and grief that it was officially “too late” to ever explore my sexuality. At the time, I couldn’t figure out what this anxiety was or where it was coming from, I just felt *gay panic* about the permanence of my straight marriage.
After the first few months of being married, I went off my hormonal birth control pill that I’d been on for 15 years (despite countless doctors encouraging me to stay on it). We weren’t trying to get pregnant, but something inside me felt called to feel more in touch with my body and how it cycled. I expected to have some physical symptoms when going off artificial hormones, but I didn’t expect the emotional rollercoaster that followed. Aside from the typical mood swings, break outs, and weight fluctuations I experienced when going off the pill, I started to think about and obsess over my sexuality. It felt like when I was on the pill, questions about my sexuality were quietly there, but after going off, those questions got so loud I couldn’t ignore them anymore. What was once a whisper, suddenly became a scream. The way I described it to my husband is it felt like I finally put glasses on and could see/feel more clearly now. It’s not that I couldn’t see or feel beforehand, but I started to feel like I felt things fully, rather than just partially. I am still not completely sure if going off the pill allowed me to fully acknowledge my sexuality or if it was a coincidence in timing. I may never know, but either way I am grateful I went off when I did.
When I first started acknowledging my bi-curiosity, I was resentful and wished I had addressed these feelings sooner. I found myself feeling extremely jealous when seeing bisexual characters on TV living their lives authentically, like Ava in the show Hacks. And while for a long time I couldn’t quite put a finger on why I felt these kinds of feelings… It finally hit me. I knew — and realized I have always known — that I am bisexual. Now, while this was an exciting feeling to finally put words to, it also came with a lot of imposter syndrome and it was very isolating. I found myself constantly asking myself how I could call myself bisexual if I’d never dated a woman and was married to a man. Major shout out to Capri Campeau whose TikTok videos got me through this dark time. Capri often discusses how sexuality is about attraction not action and you don’t need to “do” anything to prove that you’re bisexual. I remember writing down everything Capri said in their videos in my journal and re-reading it over and over again.
Eventually, I worked up the courage to come out to my husband, which I recognize is also a major privilege. Not everyone would feel safe enough in their relationship to come out to their straight male partner and I am eternally grateful Johnny made me feel comfortable enough to share. His response surprised me at first. I remember sitting on our couch and saying, “I think I’m bisexual” and he goes “I know.” My jaw almost hit the floor because I was just figuring this out about myself, how could he know?! We talked about how I had always openly discussed my attraction to women with him and we even looked back on our conversations about having a threesome years ago (spoiler alert: threesomes are inherently queer). He took the news about my sexuality so well and for that, I am so very lucky. But I couldn’t help but think, now what?
I started attending queer yoga classes, I read books by queer authors, and I even went to Pride events by myself. I tried to find ways to make myself feel “bi enough” without actually dating anyone. Unfortunately, for me, that was only fulfilling for so long. I looked at my friends in queer relationships and envied their ability to experience what I thought I never would. I decided to download a queer dating app and just see if there was anyone else out there that was in a similar situation to myself. I wanted to feel less alone and was craving connection with other queer women.
Johnny and I stayed up all night that night talking about what it would mean for me to explore my sexuality and if he would be comfortable with me having intimate experiences with someone else. To my surprise, he encouraged me to date women and told me would be comfortable with me doing whatever I needed to do to feel more valid in who I am. He not only supported me in exploring my sexuality, but he advocated for it. In this moment, I knew more than ever that I chose the right partner to spend my life with. During his vows he promised to love me unconditionally no matter what, and in our first year of marriage he was already exceeding any expectations I had of what that could mean.
That weekend, I went on my first date with a woman. I was beyond nervous for my first queer dating experience and potential queer sex experience. I hardly slept in the nights leading up to meeting my date and I would lay awake Googling “how to have queer sex” until 3 a.m. The date ended up going really well and it was easily one of the most validating experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. I left her apartment that night and immediately texted my friend saying, “Yep, I’m definitely bi.”
That first girl date was over a year ago now and I’ve since dated a few women, and my husband and I even dated someone together. I’ve also slowly started to meet more and more queer friends. In my marriage, we feel freer and more alive than either of us ever thought we could. I have always been such a rule follower, so being non-monogamous has its challenges, but we are making our own rules and doing what works for us. And that, my friends, is queer love. Queer love doesn’t only have to feature two queer people. For us, queer love just exists outside norms and traditions. We are thriving and both of us believe that these experiences are only making our marriage stronger.
I used to worry what people would think about us and our marriage if they found out about these experiences, but the older I get the less I care what other people think. The love we have is so special, vulnerable, and deep that I don’t expect anyone else to get it. Our love story is ours and isn’t necessarily for others to understand.
If you’re reading this wondering if you will ever be able to get to a place where you can find ways to discuss and explore your sexuality while in a straight-presenting relationship, I really do understand. I want to note that non-monogamy is not for everyone, so even if you never date another gender, you are still queer enough and you are 100% valid. I know what it feels like to be in the depths of imposter syndrome and I know how exhausting that can be, I still feel it all the time. And if your partner is open to having these kinds of conversations, be patient with them. Johnny and I still have these discussions every day, our chats about our relationship structure, other partners, and my sexuality are all ongoing. I never thought we’d be in a place where my husband would be my number one supporter in me living my best bisexual life, but here we are and we’ve never been happier.
(To protect the privacy of certain individuals the names in this essay have been changed.)