August 5, 2014

The conundrum of the monogamous bisexual.

Larry King is very old and he asks questions, often (and quite successfully) from the dumb guy perspective, but his simple, conversation-advancing "Are you a non-practicing bisexual?" and "But you were bisexual?" — asked of Anna Paquin — moved Amanda Marcotte to tongue lash the elderly interviewer.
Your sexuality may exist inside your head, but most people are going to judge your orientation by who you’re partnered with. And so monogamous married people tend to “read” as gay or straight, but some may actually be bisexual. “When you're bisexual or pansexual, but you're in a long-term relationship, your bi/pansexuality can become invisible,” Greta Christina, the author of Coming Out Atheist and expert on all things coming out sexuality-related or not, explained to me. “People often assume that you're gay or straight, based on who you're involved with now—and it kind of eradicates your history and your identity.”

This is a problem because, as the gay rights movement has shown, visibility helps—a lot. There are many myths that proliferate about bisexuals, including the myth that they are oversexed and can’t be monogamous, a myth that King was pushing with this line of questioning whether he intended to or not....

Inevitably when you start having discussions about this, someone feels the need to pop in and say, “Why do we need labels at all?” But the problem of bisexual invisibility shows exactly why we need labels and how much good they really can do. Naming a phenomenon makes it visible. Populating that name with examples that people can relate to makes it understandable. People who are putting their face out there and declaring their bisexuality are helping demystify it. Though it would be nice if they could do it without being peppered by a bunch of rude questions from Larry King.
I think it's rude to say that Larry was rude. Also to call him dumb. Though it's kind of complimentary to characterize his questions as a peppering. I'd thought he was considered maddeningly bland. But good for Larry that anybody still cares what he might be implying and for getting reasonably relevant pop culture characters to receive a peppering of his old-man questions.

As for bisexuals married to opposite-sex partners, do they have a special exception from the usual rule that a married person ought not to talk about his or her sexual attraction to persons who are not his or her spouse?  If they do, is it because we think they have a more persuasive argument that there's something they want that they're not getting from their spouse, or is it the seemingly loftier goal of increasing visibility for a group that monogamy would otherwise erase? 

And I suspect half my commenters are about to write something along the lines of: Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?

81 comments:

Big Mike said...

Amanda Marcotte needs to be hit in the face with a whip cream pie.

MayBee said...

“People often assume that you're gay or straight, based on who you're involved with now—and it kind of eradicates your history and your identity.”
=======

Isn't that what being in a committed relationship is supposed to do?
Although I really balk at the combination of "history" with "identity". Your identity is your identity. It's you, who you are and it really can't be eradicated.
But your history....whether you were chaste, promiscuous, gay, slept with your partners' best friend....that is all stuff that people don't want to hear about anymore after you've committed to another relationship.

Wade Calvert said...

I had my comment all prepared in my head, and then you had to go and ruin it.

MayBee said...

And is there really bisexuality invisibility? Women on women sex is everywhere in popular culture. It almost seems like there's now *pressure* on girls to have an adventure with another girl.

khesanh0802 said...

"Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?"

Thanks, professor.

B said...

As for bisexuals married to opposite-sex partners, do they have a special exception from the usual rule that a married person ought not to talk about his or her sexual attraction to persons who are not his or her spouse?

How many openly bisexual men are in healthy monogamous opposite-sex relationships? Let's be frank, bisexuals in this context means women.

Salamandyr said...

Line from one of my favorite books.

"You know he's bisexual don't you?"

"He was. Now he's monogamous."

I find people who derive their identity from what they do with their genitals to be strangely puritanical. Where does this urge to categorize come from? They're only words.

Rob said...

It may be rude to say that Larry King is dumb, but let's face it, he's too dumb to care.

Fernandinande said...

Naming a phenomenon makes it visible.

Where do they dig up these geniuses?

Michael The Magnificent said...

I once dated a bisexual woman. She used this as a rationalization for cheating, so I dumped her.

I have a cousin who is also a bisexual woman. Her and her husband have an arrangement where she can get some female attention on the side. I asked her if the arrangement also allowed him to get some female attention on the side, and she said no.

Having been through it once, I will never again knowingly date a bisexual.

richard mcenroe said...

"Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?"

Because your sexuality must be publicly known so we can properly pigeonhole, pamper or persecute you properly. It is a demonstration of social and political power to be able to force you to declare what should be by every reasonable standard a private matter.

Chuck said...

Half of your commenters might indeed say that sexuality is nobody else's business. (Which might raise the question, why should the state be getting involved in same-sex "marriages," simply for the sake of a very small and very narrow interest group.)

But the other half of your commenters might say, "We've paid far too little attention as a society and as a nation, to issues of morality, and family stability.

My choice for the next superstar of the punditry world is Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon fellow at the Heritage Foundation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWIhZ5xJJaQ

Gahrie said...

"You know he's bisexual don't you?"

"He was. Now he's monogamous."


Bujold. Cordelia's Honor.

Great author.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Bisexuality accounts for that computer-generated pr*n where beautiful women have enormous penises.

Ann Althouse said...

"Thanks, professor."

For what? Saving you the trouble of having to write that? Of having to read multiple examples of that?

Or do you imagine that I think everyone should shut up about their sexual orientation?

I think talking about the legal and social problems of persons of various sexual orientations is a good idea, and I think it's often appropriate to talk about one's sexual feelings and relationships.

Larry Nelson said...

And I suspect half my commenters are about to write something along the lines of: Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?\


That's because half of your commenters have common sense and perspective.

MayBee said...

" I think talking about the legal and social problems of persons of various sexual orientations is a good idea, and I think it's often appropriate to talk about one's sexual feelings and relationships."

I think it can be, but I really hate the way we are supposed to be outraged if someone gets it "wrong" somehow. If someone doesn't know what the current trend in allowable thought is.

Also, if someone is married we can assume they may be attracted to someone else at some point in their marriage, but commitment is commitment. That should be true regardless sexual identity, no matter how special you consider your own to be.

Freeman Hunt said...

As for bisexuals married to opposite-sex partners, do they have a special exception from the usual rule that a married person ought not to talk about his or her sexual attraction to persons who are not his or her spouse?

No.

No one wants to hear about some married person's lustful thoughts about other people. That kind of talk only makes listeners assume that the talker is boring and self-centered. Hard to imagine a conversation I would want to end faster.

"Oh, you're a human being who thinks about sex a lot and hasn't yet mastered that part of your mind. Fascinating," said the Willy Wonka photo meme.

n.n said...

It takes a confused harem to feel sexually fulfilled.

RAH said...

I agree the push on sexual identify is boring and narcissistic.
So I reiterate Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?"

Clayton Hennesey said...

The only bisexuals are those hot college chicks who'll do threesomes. All the rest are either gay or straight.

Smilin' Jack said...

Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?

The obvious solution to this "conundrum" is that bis should marry trannys. And then shut up about it.

glenn said...

Once upon a time I had a girl friend with whom I was in a "serious relationship" . My Grandmother overheard a remark I made to my Dad about, never mind. She smiled and sad "Young man, you aren't doing anything your Grandfather and I didn't do. We just spent more time doing it and less time talking about it"

traditionalguy said...

A bisexual is an opportunist, and that alone has to make for a bad romantic experience for any partner.

IMO a bisexual woman is just a lesbian. When she is with a man she is still as much a tobacco addict as a chain smoker that is trying to quit for a few weeks or until life's stress gets the better of them.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Bob Ellison said...

"I think talking about the legal and social problems of persons of various sexual orientations is a good idea, and I think it's often appropriate to talk about one's sexual feelings and relationships."

It's really getting old. The handcuffs in my night-stand are not interesting to my local pimp. The goat in my meadow does not care about the nearby llama's preferences.

Fen said...

Bisexuals are the reason AIDs vectored into the heterosexual population.

Pianoman said...

Remember the current rule of sex/gender: You are what you say you are at any given time.

So if a person is married, and only engages in heterosexual relations, that person can still be bisexual if they *say* that they are. The determination of sex/gender doesn't belong to society or the law; it belongs to the individual.

If you keep that rule in mind, all of this commentary makes a lot more sense.

tim maguire said...

do they have a special exception from the usual rule that a married person ought not to talk about his or her sexual attraction to persons who are not his or her spouse?

I'm not in the habit of discussing with my wife any sexual activity that does not involve her regardless of whether the person I'd like to do it with is male or female.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Pansexual?

Revenant said...

I'm trying to think of a way in which a pundit could be a worse human being than Marcotte, but nothing is coming to mind.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough the increased competition from the other half of the population never bugged me when it came to bisexual girlfriends. They fact that they all turned out to be fairly high on the crazy scale was a killer each time. Childhood sexual abuse also seems to be another commonality.

Hunter said...

I suppose the question is, does it matter that a person is bisexual once he/she has married and agreed to to the "forsaking all others" clause? It seems to me that if you forsake all others but your spouse, you are by definition forsaking anyone of a different sex from your spouse. You have, in a manner of speaking, picked a side.

As a straight married man, I do of course continue to notice attractive women around me, but that shouldn't be anything more than a passing thought -- not translating into active interest, nor action. A bisexual person would be in the same boat, except they'd notice attractive people of both sexes and not do anything about it.

Two ways out of this: 1) you are going to be getting action on the side, which feeds into the much-maligned stereotype of oversexed bisexuals who can't settle for just one partner or 2) you don't really mean marriage/commitment to last for life, only until you get thoroughly bored etc. which unfortunately is a view of marriage shared by many people regardless of sexual orientation.

cubanbob said...

Larry King has been old and senile for fifty years and Amanda Marcotte should be beaten publicly simply for existing but other than that what conudrum is there? Yes you maybe attracted to both genders but most people will get upset if their SO plays on the side so wanting more than flavor is something you one at a time.

Mark O said...

Be careful with that "elderly" stuff.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

It's sort of like having a tattoo with the name of an old boyfriend or girlfriend. Aren't you going to have that tattoo removed?

Gahrie said...

I think it's often appropriate to talk about one's sexual feelings and relationships.

Of course, you do...you're a woman.

William said...

I'm also an old man and somewhat befuddled about modern sexual mores--although to be honest I've been befuddled since puberty. Anyway, if Ms. Paquin wishes to be open about her sexuality, shouldn't that same openness allow one to ask the obvious questions about how one negotiates bisexuality in a marriage......Anna Paquin is a hot chick and Larry King is an old man so there's a subtext of creepiness to the interview, but the questions were within bounds and not really prurient.. He didn't ask whether they had any threesomes, which I would think would reallycement the marriage with a bisexual Hollywood star.

Hagar said...

"Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?"

Yayh!!!

Sam L. said...

“People often assume that you're gay or straight, based on who you're involved with now—and it kind of eradicates your history and your identity.” The Horror! The horror... Not to mention, "Oh! The humanity!"

Mike the Magnificent: Your cousin is so selfish! All that sauce for the goose/gander stuff...

Gahrie, I don't recall that line in Cordelia's Honor. Guess I'm due for a reread. An aside on Authentic Western Gibberish, have you seen Riders In The Sky? Too Slim plays Sidemeat, their old camp cook, who specializes in gibberish with a side of "biscuits that are the hardest substance known to man".

Anonymous said...

TNR just ran an article wondering why we're not moving past monogamy yet.

The Professor can (and should!) post and write about whatever interests her. What's strange is how much attention political figures are pouring into the lives and problems of, generously, 5% of the population. The next time some slimy little politician wants to grandstand about LGBTQIA and how many more laws we need to pass for LGBTQIA problems, the response should be: "ok. is there anything more important you can think of going on right now?"

Anonymous said...

"Or do you imagine that I think everyone should shut up about their sexual orientation?"

I imagine you think everyone should shut up about telling others to shut up.

There is now smoke coming out of my ears trying to understand the consistency of that.

Mr Wibble said...

And is there really bisexuality invisibility? Women on women sex is everywhere in popular culture. It almost seems like there's now *pressure* on girls to have an adventure with another girl.

Every woman is bisexual after three appletinis. :D


But seriously, bisexuality is basically a way for upper-middle class white soccer moms to be countercultural. Claiming to be bisexual allows them to embrace pretty much everything the radical left sneers at (marriage, children, stay at home parenting, etc) while claiming to be a little bit radical.

I've also heard the polygamy movement described as basically being for the benefit of bisexual women. They get a husband and a girlfriend as well.

Gahrie said...

Gahrie, I don't recall that line in Cordelia's Honor. Guess I'm due for a reread

It orginally occurred in Barrayar and then that book was reprinted along with Shards of Honor as Cordelia's Honor. The scene takes place at the Emperor's birthday celebration, in a converstion between Count Vordarian and Cordelia.

jr565 said...

Michael Magnificent wrote:
I have a cousin who is also a bisexual woman. Her and her husband have an arrangement where she can get some female attention on the side. I asked her if the arrangement also allowed him to get some female attention on the side, and she said no.

your cousins's husband should say he too is bisexual and then seek out women who identify as men but haven't had a sex change. He could say that they are women, but gender is just a social construct and so she should forgive the trespass because he like her is in a gay relationship.

Brando said...

"Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?"

Or better yet, everyone can define themselves however they want. It's none of my business if someone identifies as bi, or trans, or pre-op, or whatever. I won't try to get in the way of them doing what they feel so long as it doesn't harm anyone else. That seems fair enough.

That also goes for furries, leather or latex fetishists, bronies, dom-subs, polygamists, and any other adult-consensual relationship. I'd rather all these people do their thing than have them repressed and doing things like ban Uber or expand rent control.

Tank said...

Revenant said...

I'm trying to think of a way in which a pundit could be a worse human being than Marcotte, but nothing is coming to mind.

You could be the Hamas spokesman who says that Jews use Arab blood to make matza. Yeah, that would be worse.

Salamandyr said...

That I'm married (or in a relationship with someone) is a fact that other people have to deal with. That's information they need. Who or what I find sexually attractive isn't a fact other people need to know. How does it obliterate my identity for people to make assumptions? Can I no longer find a naked Hugh Jackman a little dreamy because someone assumed I'm fully heterosexual?

I don't trust Marcotte, because what she's really doing is using a narrative of oppression as a subterfuge to her real goal of controlling what other people think. By claiming victim status for other people's assumptions, she arrogates to herself the right to retaliate against people for their private thoughts. She is, in short, attempting to create another area of Thought Crime.

Forbes said...

Why anyone cares what Amanda Marcotte has to say on any subject is a mystery to me. She appears to be one of the most confused people on Earth. Her writing shows it.

tim maguire said...

exhelodrvr1 said...Pansexual?

I knew a pansexual once. When I asked what that meant, I was told he liked to fuck everything. (One possible alternative that would have been sad indeed for him was not meant--that he was attracted only to creatures half-boy/half-goat.)

David said...

"And I suspect half my commenters are about to write something along the lines of: Why does anyone need to talk about the orientation of their sexuality? How about everybody shutting up about it?"

Everybody is not going to shut up about it. But individuals can make that choice. Larry can ask the questions but the interviewee does not have to answer them.

It's called choice. And as readers/listeners we can choose to ignore those who do want to discuss the subject.

ALP said...

"...and it kind of eradicates your history and your identity.”

SIGH. ANOTHER chick giving people too much power. That is the issue I'd like explored. Why does she think an assumption made about a person carries that much power - HISTORY eradicating power!? Don't YOU have a shred of power over your identity? Why so weak?

How can your identity be this thing you can define for yourself...AND something someone else can "undefine" so easily?

Lucien said...

Absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, I assume that an adults knows whether they are sexually attracted to one gender, or more than one -- especially when they have had the occasion to experience sex with multiple genders.

So it seems pretty easy to just take such people at their word as to who they are attracted to.

n.n said...

The conundrum people suffer is with the archaic concept of monogamy. It is only relevant in procreative relationships, whether natural or clinical. Otherwise, it is an artifact of a conservative culture.

Anthony said...

I'm going to cheat on my wife with another woman and explain it all away as a momentary lapse in sequestering my inner lesbian tendencies.

Yeah, that'll work. . . .

Fen said...

They fact that they all turned out to be fairly high on the crazy scale was a killer each time.

I'm so glad I found a woman to marry. When I started, I had 3 criteria

1) smart
2) funny
3) easy on the eyes

But after the first year I realized I need another qualifier

4) sane

I don't know if its their emotional swings or all the hormones they get from birth control pills, but finding a woman who wasn't a raving nutcase wasn't easy.

YoungHegelian said...

If I ever get caught doing anything extra-marital my wife will smack me upside the head with a very large cast-iron frying pan.

Does that count as a "pansexual" relationship?

Unknown said...

Don't know if it's "Cordelia's Honor," but it's in "Barrayar." One of the bad guys is trying to poison her relationship with her husband with the revelation, that's her response. And it's pretty much spot on for this thread. We read momo, hetero, bi, etc. etc. etc. as some kind of identity that predetermines behavior and it's not. Attraction is not action. (If it were, I suspect a lot of people would be in trouble with their wife and someone else's husband for adultery, or at least attempted adultery.) Exercise (or lack) control is a choice unless you are deeply psychotic, including in sexual realms.

And BTW, my favorite section is the sequence where she orders the head of the usurper cutoff, then carries it back to home base and drops it on the table during negotiations for surrender of some of the usurper's supporters.

Naut Right said...

Obsession over holes and poles and who likes to play with which. As if the rest of the person could vanish for all these conversationalists care.

The Godfather said...

I've had quite a few Gay friends who were in long-term relationships. I had no trouble understanding their relationships or why they (most but not all) wanted to marry. They felt about their same-sex partner the way I felt about my opposite-sex partner.

I have a harder time, as a straight man, empathizing with bisexuals. I'm not being judgmental here, I'm just saying that it's easier for me to understand that someone plays on the "other" team than it is to understand someone who wants to play on both teams.

In the Book of Common Prayer, each party to a marriage declares that he/she will "forsake all others". As far as I'm concerned, that's fundamental to what marriage is. If you can declare that before God and your community, then you can be married. If not, not.

BDNYC said...

Larry King has a knack for asking the question so stupid that the viewer laughs out loud, but at the same time so interesting that the viewer watches closely so as not to miss the answer.

I remember one time he was interviewing an FLDS polygamous family. I almost died of laughter when he asked them about orgies.

BDNYC said...

Here's the transcript.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0612/08/lkl.01.html

Ctrl-F "orgies"

Anonymous said...

Once you realize that Marcotte and her ideological ilk seek control as much as truth, and power as much as 'empathy,' you can choose not to play, and to push them away from positions of power accordingly. They're not fit for it.

Those who want to control words should be judged accordingly.

John said...

I'm having a lotof trouble wrapping my head around the concept of "monogamous bi-sexual"

The only thing I can think of that makes any sense is Jamie Lee Curtis' husband. Assuming the urban legends about JLC having both male and female equipment are true.

To me, monogamous means hooked up with a single person. If a man and woman, heterosexual. Girl/girl or boy/boy homosexual.

In any event, if they are monogamous, they are not having sex with anyone else of either sex.

I think this whole idea of "being" straight, gay, bi or something else is BS. It is what you do. Diddle both guys and gals? You are bi-sexual. If you don't, you aren't.

John Henry

John said...

Fen said:

Bisexuals are the reason AIDs vectored into the heterosexual population.

We have been hearing about heterosexual AIDS for 30 years now. It is going to break out into the heterosexual community any moment now.

Hasn't happened.

Has it?

(Don't get me started on African AIDS, diagnosed without HIV testing)

Any stats?

What I am seeing is that it is still confined mostly to needle sharers and gay men.

John Henry

Revenant said...

Bisexuals are the reason AIDs vectored into the heterosexual population.

I hope that claim wasn't HIV+, because it just came straight out of your ass.

Paul said...

There is no such animal as a 'monogamous bisexual'. 'Bi' is defined as two and mono is defined as one.

Just like the Catholic Church allows 'now practicing homosexuals' to be Priest under the logic that 'non practicing heterosexuals' are also allowed to be Priest.

Unfortunately some of those 'non practicing homosexuals' decided to practice on young boys in the Church.

jr565 said...


Don't really get why bisexuals couldn't be monogamous.just because you are attracted to both sexes doesn't mean that you couldn't settle down with one.

Space Cowboy said...

"And BTW, my favorite section is the sequence where she orders the head of the usurper cutoff, then carries it back to home base and drops it on the table during negotiations for surrender of some of the usurper's supporters."

Button I saw once: "My mother went to Vorbar Sultana and all I got was this bloody shopping bag."

buck said...

Amanda still suffers with the knowledge that Rielle's baby could have been hers.

Brian Macker said...

"Anna Paquin is a hot chick and Larry King is an old man so there's a subtext of creepiness to the interview"

So you can get past a bisexual, but just can't handle an age difference in a hetero relationship. That's creepy in and of itself.

Maybe we need to add some more gender definitions so you can wrap your mind around it. What shall we call a younger male into older women, perhaps a cougarsexual? How about a young woman who likes older men, a seniorsexual? Let's also add terms like patrasexual, matrasexual, fraternasexual, etc. for all the forms of incest.

This way no one will be creeped out.

Revenant said...

There is no such animal as a 'monogamous bisexual'. 'Bi' is defined as two and mono is defined as one.

By the same logic, there is no such thing as a monogamous bicyclist.

Jason Lee said...

Bisexuality is a tricky problem for the left. This lib vs. lib skirmish illustrates shows how tricky it is.

The concept of "marriage equality" is based on the idea that everyone has a right to get married but no one should be forced to transform or repress his or her sexuality in order to take a spouse. E.g., a homosexual man in Texas has the right to marry -- a woman -- but that's not true marriage equality because he cannot consummate the marriage without repressing or contorting his sexual identity. Within the confines of a monogamous marriage with a woman, a homosexual man is unable to have sex that falls under the penumbra of his innate sexual orientation.

Quel dommage!

Amanda Marcotte flipped out over Larry King's line of questioning because the old man inadvertently revealed the intellectual flimsiness of this marriage equality argument.

By making an innocent observation -- that marital monogamy transforms a bisexual into "a non-practicing bisexual" -- King accidently highlighted an example of a marriage in which monogamy precludes a woman from having sex that falls under the penumbra of her innate sexual orientation.

Let me hasten to emphasize that arguments in favor of homosexual marriage have leaned heavily on the assumption that homosexual attraction is programmed at birth for those who experience it, and it is simply cruel to withhold the benefits of marriage from those who cannot live a happy life without lots of monogamous gay sex.

But "monogamous bisexuality" illustrates the fact sexuality is versatile, and at least a few people can repress or transform own sexuality for the sake of having a monogamous marriage. I.e., their sexuality is a choice. *GASP*

Glen Wishard said...

Other people can "eradicate my history and identity"? Because of what they THINK of me? I scoff at their telekinesis.

LordSomber said...

It's odd how "That's none of your business" has now changed into "That's none of my business."

TMI, y'all.

George said...

Since there is no such thing as a male bisexual, Amanda is trying to expand the playing field for Team Woman.

Fen said...

Bisexuals are the reason AIDs vectored into the heterosexual population.

"I hope that claim wasn't HIV+, because it just came straight out of your ass."

Suck it up, its true. Bisexual Males barebacking and then taking the HIV home to their wives.

Fen said...

Did I hit a sore spot Rev?

A simple "that can't be true, source?" would have sufficed.

But noooooo, you had to be bitchy about it. Why? Too close to home I imagine. You should have used a condom.

Jim Daniels said...

Marcotte makes garage mahal look like Rhodes scholar.

Revenant said...

Did I hit a sore spot Rev? A simple "that can't be true, source?" would have sufficed.

Asking you for a source when I knew you made it up would be silly. :)

Virtually all of the infected heterosexuals in the western world were infected via tainted needles or infected blood transfusions. Bisexuals aren't a significant contributor -- SEX isn't even a significant contributor.

Plus, of course, HIV started out in the general population (in Africa) before vectoring into the homosexual population in the first place. It is possible that bisexuals were responsible for *that*, I guess; we'll likely never know.

John said...

Revenant said:

HIV started out in the general population (in Africa) before vectoring into the homosexual population in the first place.

That may not be true of HIV. One of the big problems with African AIDS is that it may not be AIDS at all, at least as we know it.

In the US, Europe and much of the rest of the world diagnosis of AIDS requires testing positive for HIV. No HIV+, you may be terribly, even terminally sick, but it is not AIDS.

Africa has had problems doing HIV testing since day one of the epidemic. Cost, logistics, politics, culture have all made HIV testing very rare.

Instead AIDS is diagnosed using the WHO Bangui diagnosis. IIRC, diarhea, weight loss, temperature for several days is enough for an AIDS diagnosis. Of course there are many tropical diseases endemic to Africa that cause similar symptoms.

I've not kept up on this for the past 10 years or so but I think they are doing more AIDS testing. Still not enough and they still use the Bangui diagnosis. There seems to be an inverse correlation between what we hear about African AIDS and the amount of HIV testing.

That is just my impression as I have not followed it closely of late. Perhaps someone else has more current info?

Anonymous said...

As a 50 y/o bisexual who has been out since birth, I balk at bis who enter life-long monogamy contracts. Life-long contractual monogamy is an invention of patriarchy, and if we erased all the religious morality, the peer pressure, the social expectations, everyone would be free to experience sexual intimacy with any individual, no matter their sex. It disappoints me when my gay friends advocate for patriarchal social structures, but I find it even sadder when my bi peers do so.
Let's blast monogamy to smithereens, and let us all enjoy sexual freedom on a day to day basis. Everyone would be much happier.
Us bis do not belong in the gay movement, we are the antithesis of the homo/hetero binary.