Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post: Un-Erasing Bisexuals in Erotic Romance- "Torn in Two" by K. Piet

Un-Erasing Bisexuals in Erotic Romance- "Torn in Two"

That's right, everyone. The wait for more bisexual fiction is over for the time being! Storm Moon Press just recently released an anthology devoted to male bisexual characters. Torn in Two contains three great short stories by authors Kelly Rand, G.S. Wiley, and Lee Cairney, all of which are written in a contemporary setting.

When editor S.L. Armstrong and I (K. Piet) were brainstorming anthology calls, as we do every few months, the one theme that we instantly agreed upon for a possible anthology was the broad sub-genre of bisexual erotic romance. As active seekers of fiction representing all facets of the QUILTBAG, we've always been eager to get more fiction that draws attention to the facets of sexuality that go beyond the popular G. Now, don't get us wrong, we love having gay erotica and erotic romance submissions coming our way, but we have a little mission to do everything we can to encourage authors to write bisexual characters!

When it comes to bisexuality in society, there are a lot of mixed opinions across the board. The problem a lot of bisexuals face when they come to terms with their identities is that there is opposition coming not only from straight individuals, but also from gay individuals. Some believe bisexuals are just greedy, that their desires have little to do with being attracted to both men and women and more to do with the desire for gaining attention no matter the source. Some believe anyone identifying as bisexual just "isn't ready to admit they're gay/a lesbian". There are even those who break it down by sex and/or gender as well. If you ask them, they state that, while women are capable of being bisexual due to being "wired toward intimacy", men are incapable of it and don't have any middle ground. Bisexuals are painted as straddling the fence and told they need to just choose a side and get over it. They're either gay or straight. End of story. Bisexuality doesn't exist. At the very least, not when it comes to men.

And that's when we all call bullshit.

Bisexuals do exist, and, if we go by the Kinsey scale, the majority of people likely fall into varying degrees of bisexuality rather than being at the two far extremes of exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual. Bisexuals are quite common, but society has a way of restricting the visibility of them, of telling them they need to give it up and pick which of the two sexual orientation boxes they fit inside most. As if it's just a matter of making one's mind up. This erasure is so very harmful! It plays into all the same narrow-minded views that the gay and lesbian community has tried to combat over the years. Bisexuals don't fit easily into the binary of "gay or straight", and that makes some people uncomfortable on both sides of the proverbial equation, as it forces them to re-evaluate the way they define sexuality and expand their number of possibilities.

At Storm Moon Press, however, we're all about expanding the number of possibilities! It was the erasure of bisexuality from fiction that we wanted to combat by creating our Torn in Two anthology, which was even named after the concept of being pushed and pulled by opposing sides of the binary. What we asked for was quite simple—stories starring bisexual men in which their bisexuality is shown, rather than alluded to—and it left authors with plenty of options in the way of writing in the genres they preferred. It was by chance that the three stories chosen for the anthology all ended up being contemporary. Looking back, however, it's a wonderful happenstance. What better way to weave in the themes of bisexual erasure and the conditioned splitting of binary sexual orientation than to set stories in the world we currently live in? It brings the bisexual element of the story home in a way that we thoroughly enjoyed at the press, and we hope lovers of bisexual erotic fiction will be pleased with the three stories we've compiled in this anthology!

It is often said that bisexual men are 'torn in two' by the opposing expectations from society. They are often accused of being confused or riding the proverbial fence between gay and straight. To many others, their attraction to men makes them 'not straight', while their attraction to women makes them 'not gay'. It is this conflict that sets them apart and often ostracizes them from both communities. Torn In Two is a collection of short stories highlighting bisexual men, including their relationships with both men and women.

On the rebound from an ended relationship, Daniel visits his old friend Jude looking for some direction in his life. Jude and his wife Celeste offer him solace in their arms, and the comfort of Songs from Devil Lake. Then, in Syncopation, Jonathan Tager's budding music career is thrust into the limelight when scandal reveals his bisexuality. Everyone from his management to his new female soloist seems to have an opinion about it, too, but the one opinion that matters to Jonathan belongs to Peter Merritt, a British single father who has everything to lose if he gets too close to such a controversial celebrity. Finally, Phillip Farrell accidentally makes two dates on the same night—one with a woman, and one with a man. When the scheme inevitably falls apart and he has to come clean, he learns first-hand why "to assume" means to make An Ass Out of You and Me.

Torn in Two – Now Available from Storm Moon Press for just $4.99 (ebook) and $9.99 (print). Get your copy in time for the holidays!


  1. Hmm. I guess for me I don't think about it much because I just focus for most people on the here and now. If you are dating a man does it really matter that you used to date a woman? I don't really care what you did in the past, or the future, I'm just focused on who you are with at this point in time. Now I suppose knowing would lessen my confusion if six months down the road you are dating a woman, but I don't need to know who you are attracted to generally speaking.

    I do find the concept that bi people HAVE to have both sexes to be content annoying (and I have read a couple of books like that).

    1. Oh, I completely agree that bisexuals don't necessarily HAVE to have a partner of each sex to be content. That's one of the tropes I've also seen, and it's so limiting! While I'm all for bisexuals feeling like they can have that if they want it (assuming all parties concerned are cool with it and communicate what level of a poly kind of arrangement they'd be comfortable with), I definitely don't see it as a requirement the moment someone identifies bisexual. ^_^

      Thanks for your comment, Tam!
      ~K. Piet

    2. The problem with being focused only on who someone is with at the time is that you deny them any autonomous identity. What you're saying is "if you're a man with a man, you're essentially gay; if you're a man with a woman, you're essentially straight". So what are you when you're single? Asexual?

      No! A person's sexuality is NOT defined by who they are currently fucking! And to deny their individual identity like that is the CORE of bisexual erasure. Luckily for you, you don't have to "think about it much", but bisexuals, especially bisexual men, are in the position of constantly defending themselves against statements exactly like yours.

      I get that by saying it doesn't matter to you that you think you're being an ally. But ultimately, it just means that you are subconsciously boxing people into gay or straight based on their current relationship so that you don't HAVE to think about it.

      The fact that you say you'd be "confused" if you saw the same person dating multiple genders is evidence of that. As in, "You're dating Beth? I thought you were gay!", which is just a way of saying, "I never bothered to ask your sexual identity; I only made an assumption based on the relationship structure I previously observed." You wouldn't have immediately gone to thinking they were bisexual; they'd have to confirm it for you.

      I'm trying to be polite and understanding in this response and avoid the P-hammer, but I do urge you to question your default assumptions of people based solely on the relationship you're observing.

  2. A more-than-worthy mission--one very near and dear to me. ♥

    1. Glad you're onboard, Katey! :D We love our bisexuals at Storm Moon Press. Here's hoping we can put out a lot more fiction representing them in the future!

      ~K. Piet

  3. It was a deliberate decision to make my character Derrick bisexual. I suppose it qualifies as being "alluded to" in that his one other relationship (with a woman) is in the past, but he does make a point of clarifying the matter a couple times--once to the woman in question when she says he's gay and he corrects here, and another time when explaining his inclinations to Gavin. He'd fall somewhere between a 4-5 on the Kinsey scale, or as he explains to Gavin, there was LeeAnn and a few others who occasionally catch his eye, but very few women he thinks of that way.

    So those mentions were one way I tried to avoid erasure. Another way was to deal with his previous relationship with a woman in a very forthright manner. She's still important to him. She knows him perhaps better than anyone (in point of fact, Derrick's relationships with ALL the women in his life really are important to his journey) and has ways of seeing into him and getting through to him that no one else does. His relationship with her was not just youthful confusion or a denial of his homosexuality; he discovered (or admitted to himself) his attraction to men while he was in that relationship, but he didn't end that relationship because the discovery of his attraction to men didn't negate his attraction to and affection for LeeAnn.

    However, Derrick is staunchly monogamous. The idea of being polyamorous would never even occur to him, so a menage is absolutely out of the question (my head canon is that he has a good deal of sublimated attraction to Gavin's best friend, Andi, which he'll never allow himself to act upon. /me waits for menage fans to start begging.)

    1. *laughs* I love that you were so bi-positive in the way you handled your characters. It's always comforting to me to see authors who make a point of not erasing the bisexual element, whether the character in question is currently with a person of the same sex or the opposite sex. That your character, Derrick, had relationships with women that helped to shape him is awesome to hear. You're so right that just because he's in a relationship with a man doesn't negate the women he's been with in the past or the impact they've had on him.

      And I completely respect the monogamous nature of your character as well. Not all characters are open to poly, for sure. A lot of menage fiction runs the gamut of poly relationships, from full-on triads to just a no-strings-attached polyfuckery incident that doesn't end up impacting the core characters' otherwise monogamous relationship. I like seeing a spectrum when it comes to relationship types in stories, so having a little of each always appeals to me!

      One of the stories in the Torn in Two anthology, "Syncopation" by G.S. Wiley, involves a character who refuses to have sex with someone who is otherwise attached. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it, but she respects that what she's looking for is casual and shouldn't interfere with the main character's other involvements. It was one of those cases when the author could have chosen to have the main character carry on both relationships at once, but instead, the main character is able to have his monogamous relationship instead. It was a contrast to the other stories, which have more of a menage vibe to them, and I loved that there was a bit of variety. ^_^


Go ahead and talk to me!