Dan Savage: Biphobia 

A bisexual questions the root of hypocritical thinking.

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I'm an 18-year-old female. I'm cisgender and bisexual. I've been in a monogamous relationship with my cisgender bisexual boyfriend for about a year. I'm currently struggling with a lot of internalized biphobia. I don't know if I'm projecting my own issues onto him or if I'm just being bigoted toward bi men, but either way, I feel truly awful about it. But when I think about the fact that he's bi and is attracted to men, I become jealous and fearful that he will leave me for a man or that he would rather be with a man. (I've been with men and women in the past; he's never been with a man.) We have a very engaged, kinky, and rewarding sex life! But I worry I'm not what he really wants.

This situation is complicated by the near certainty that my boyfriend has some sort of hormonal disorder. He has a very young face for an 18 year old, a feminine figure, and not a lot of body hair. He orgasms but he does not ejaculate; and although he has a sizable penis, his testicles are more like the size of grapes than eggs. He struggles a lot with feeling abnormal and un-masculine.

I don't want to contribute to him feeling abnormal or bad about himself. How do I stop worrying that he's gay or would be happier with a man? I feel horrible about myself for these anxieties considering that I'm bi too, and should know better.

— Anonymous Nervous Girlfriend Seeks Tranquility

"Many people who encounter us Bi+ folk in the wild just project their insecurities onto us with impunity and then blame us for it," said RJ Aguiar, a bisexual activist and content creator whose work has been featured on Buzzfeed, HuffPo, Queerty and other sites. "As someone who's bi herself, I'm sure ANGST know this all too well."

So if you've been on the receiving end of biphobia — as almost all bisexual people have — why are you doing it to your bisexual boyfriend?

"This hypothetical so-and-so-is-going-to-leave-me-for-someone-hotter scenario could happen to anyone of any orientation," said Aguiar. "But maybe because the potential 'pool of applicants' is over twice as big for us Bi+ folk, we get stuck with twice as much of this irrational fear? I don't know. But here's what I do know: most Biphobia (and jealousy for that matter) is projected insecurity. Built into the fear that someone will leave you because they 'like x or y better' is the assumption that you yourself aren't good enough."

And while feelings of insecurity and jealousy can undermine a relationship, ANGST, they don't have to. It all depends on how you address them when they arise.

"We all have our moments!" said Aguiar. "But we can turn these moments into opportunities for open communication and intimacy rather than moments of isolation and shame. That way they end up bringing you closer, rather than drive this invisible wedge between you. The key is to understand that feelings aren't always rational. But if we can share those feelings with the person we love without fear of judgment or reprisal, it can help create a space of comfort and intimacy that no piece of ass will ever be able to compete with — no matter how hot they are or what they may or may not have between their legs."

As for the reasons you're feeling insecure, I'm not going to lie to you. Your boyfriend could be gay (some people who aren't bisexual identify as bi before coming out as gay or lesbian), and/or he could one day realize that he'd be happier with a man (just as you could one day realize that you'd be happier with a woman). But your wonderful sex life is pretty good evidence that your boyfriend isn't gay.

And now I'm going tell you something you no doubt already know: Very few people wind up spending their lives with the person they were dating at 18. Stop worrying about the next six or seven decades of your life — stop worrying about forever — and enjoy this time and this boy and this relationship for however long it lasts.

Finally, ANGST, on the off chance your boyfriend hasn't spoken to a doctor about his symptoms, I shared your letter with Dr. John Amory, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington.

"An 18-year-old male with testicles the 'size of grapes' indicates an issue with testicular development," said Dr. Amory. "The reduced testicular volume, in combination with the other features such as his feminine face and sparse body hair, also suggest an issue with testicular function."

It could simply be delayed puberty, or it could be something called Klinefelter syndrome.

"Klinefelter syndrome occurs in one out of every 500 males and is associated with small testicular volume and decreased testosterone," said Dr. Amory. "This diagnosis is frequently missed because the penis is normal in size and the men are normal in most other ways, although about half of men with Klinefelter syndrome (KS) can have breast enlargement (gynecomastia) that can be seen as feminizing. Bottom line: Small testes at age 18 means it's time for a doctor's visit — probably an endocrinologist or urologist — to take a family history, do an examination, and consider measurement of testosterone and some other hormones. This should help him understand if he 'just needs to wait' or if he has a diagnosis that could be treated. There is a real possibility that he has KS, which is usually treated with testosterone to improve muscle mass, bone density and sexual function." 


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