The Treatment Of Love Island's Curtis Prichard Proves That, When It Comes To Men Discussing Their Sexuality, People Do Care Who We Sleep With

People should be allowed to figure themselves out and should only put a label on their sexuality if they actually find one they feel represents them, writes Lewis Oakley.
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For years I’ve spoken openly about male bisexuality and of all the TV interviews, radio discussions and panel events I’ve taken part in, one recurring comment is by far the most infuriating – “No-one cares who you sleep with, stop bringing attention to it.”

Well, this week the nation proved that comment couldn’t be further from the truth when Love Island’s Curtis Prichard revealed he wouldn’t rule out dating men in the future.

Twitter was set alight, with news sites and TV shows all rushing to report the news that a man might actually be attracted to men and women. Far from no-one caring, Curtis was summoned to the Good Morning Britain desk to clarify his comments in front of the nation in what veteran reporter Kate Garraway referred to several times as a ‘bombshell’.

Props to Curtis for being strong on not ‘putting a label on it’ in the face of intense pressure from the presenters, who viewers accused of trying to force him to come out as bisexual. People should be allowed to figure themselves out and should only put a label on their sexuality if they actually find one they feel represents them.

Bisexuality is also not easy to define, some bi people are virgins, some have only had sex and relationships with one gender, some are attracted to people and some are attracted by gender – basically, bisexuality is a spectrum of attraction and experience.

YouGov recently found 43% of young people identify as being on this spectrum, not seeing themselves as entirely gay or straight, while bisexuals account for 52% of the entire LGBTQ community. Yet bisexuality, particularly in males is an issue that often lags behind.

But this isn’t a discussion about if he is bi or not – it’s a discussion about the public’s attitude to a man not being monosexual (gay or straight) and for all our preachings of liberalism, how society actually feels about people who don’t neatly fit in to boxes.

The Good Morning Britain interview was a realistic depiction of what these men face. Particularly Kate Garraway’s question “Does Maura [Higgins, his Love Island partner] know about this? How might it affect her?”

As a man who identifies as bisexual and has been in a relationship with a woman for three and a half years, this reaction is typical of how much my girlfriend and I are questioned. People want to know if my girlfriend has to use a strap-on? (she doesn’t). Could one person ever be enough to sexually satisfy me? (she is). Why would a woman want to be with a guy that has also had sex with men?

It is these attitudes that need to be tackled. For the endless conversations about toxic masculinity, we never discuss how women reinforce it. Only 19% of women say they would date a man who had had sex with men. And usually this has a lot to do with what women perceive as ‘manly’.

Curtis is a man who has my respect for not rushing to throw labels on his attractions, and his treatment in the media proves it’s time we started to discuss male sexuality more openly – but let’s just hope the next time a guy says he’d be open to dating men, he won’t be summoned to explain himself in front of the nation.

Lewis Oakley is a writer and bisexual activist.


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