It Just Is What It Is

Do you want to watch this? I asked her after flipping through the Netflix page under the heading Documentaries. I’d stopped the cursor on Bi the Way, a movie about bisexuality in America. Sure! she replied, much more enthusiastically than I would have expected her to. Her open-mindedness was rewarding for me, her mother, to witness; she wasn’t even sure what the film was about.

It’s about bisexuals, I said. I further clarified, Bisexual people date people of both genders. Like heterosexuals date the opposite gender and gay people date the same gender, bisexuals date whomever they are attracted to, and that could mean the opposite or the same gender. It all just depends.

WOW! She was riveted. And she remained riveted through most of our impromptu, Saturday night screening.

Weeks ago we’d had an intense talk on the subject of sex, where the basic mechanics were discussed – how men get erections and why, how women get aroused and why, and how the two of these situations might co-mingle to create what is known as intercourse, sex … fucking. That, while babies can be made in this manner, most people have sex purely for pleasure. That there are other ways to have sex, too. That men can have sex with each other, that women can have sex with each other and that more than two people can have sex at one time … but that those were topics for another discussion.

But I realized as the film began that I might have left out a whole segment of the population when we’d had our numerous talks about sexuality. I’d previously hit all the main points – she knew what it meant to be lesbian, gay, transgendered, and hetero – but had I left out bisexuals? Watching her eyes widen and witnessing her increasing enthusiasm about the concept of this, the most fluid of the sexual identities, where loving someone completely regardless of gender is the quintessential hallmark, led me to consider that I hadn’t mentioned it before.

Bisexuality as a reality positively astonished her. She became philosophical,

How cool that you don’t even have to make a choice! It just is what it is. This precocious observation brought tears to my bisexual eyes. Exactly, baby. It just is what it is.

And during the hour or so that we spent together, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, no fewer than four times I happily beheld the sweetly gratifying sound of her heaving breath, the enlightened exclamation of Huh! each time the film’s narrator or one of the subjects themselves made pertinent points about being bisexual. Points about sexual identity not needing to be so solidly defined. About how monogamy isn’t always a viable option and how that relates to bisexuals. How having sex with more than one person doesn’t have to carry so much emotional weight. And how being bi isn’t wrong or perverted, or opportunistic or lazy … it just is.

And while we didn’t watch the entire thing, she is a ten-year old with a ten-year old’s capacity for documentaries after all, we both extracted exactly what we needed from it. We fast forwarded through some possibly graphic footage of a couple at a swingers club, although not before my daughter thoughtfully questioned, Why shouldn’t there be places where people who want to can all have sex with each other?

And to that I agreed. To each his or her own … on all the sexual fronts.

Because it just is what it is.

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