Marina Krleža: Becoming Aware of My Innate Bisexuality at 31

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Writing my novel Female Robot in 2009, at one point I thought all people were bisexual. I was 31 at the time. That thought was induced by the fact that the chapter in which the main protagonist Eva, ends up in a one-night stand with another woman, quite by accident, kept me at it for a long time.

Besides the fact that it was very exciting for me to write about sex between two young women, I started to wonder whether I was bisexual and since when. The interesting thing is that I had never asked myself or been aware of my sexual orientation until that moment. Until then I thought that I was heterosexual because 99% of people around me were heterosexual, or at least that was implied.

In my thoughts I went back to a period a couple of years ago, then to my late and early youth, then to adolescence, and finally to childhood. In each of those periods I would find the existence of sexual affection towards women: from sexy scenes in some films (domestic and foreign) that were arousing me, through photos of naked women, that I masturbated on from time to time, to sexually liberal older women from everyday life, who made me wonder about what they looked like when they were having sex with men.

Let me get it straight from the beginning – I was not attracted to lesbians, but exclusively to heterosexual women. At the same time, I was considerably more attracted by men (my ratio has always been 20:80% in favour of men), but sexy women have always interested me and I have always wanted to know more about them.

How has my bisexuality expressed itself since early childhood? By stopping on pages with female models in underwear while I was flipping through my mother’s fashion catalogues and magazines (The BurdaThe Croatian World, The RakamThe Practical Woman). If women were in see-through lingerie with their nipples and hairs slightly visible (yes, for all younger readers’ information, hairy was in vogue at that time ☺ ), I would get so aroused that I would masturbate on those women. I was not bothered to think whether it was normal or not. I had never discussed it with anybody else; since I thought, it was normal that women get aroused by other women. The only thing that was different was that I did not look at it through the prism of concept/definition of bisexuality, but as a kind of adventure to the unknown.

On the other hand, in my early youth, as I was growing up with sexually liberal MTV, I saw that more and more Western women declare themselves as bisexuals, or, that, more and more women who were born in the 70-ies and 80-ies admit that they at least kissed another woman. It was becoming an increasing “trend”, although I consider calling anything concerning sexuality a trend awkward because it has all been in existence since forever, except that it was not talked about openly.

Very soon after that, at 2003 Video Music Awards, the amazing kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears, that the entire world was buzzing about, followed, and proved that heterosexual or bisexual women kissing would cease to be a taboo. Several years later, in 2008 exactly, Katy Perry became globally famous with the song “I Kissed a Girl“. You can say whatever you want, but the world became more beautiful and gentler place then.

”[Our sexual orientation neither determines what kind of person we are, nor whether we are happy or sexually fulfilled.]”

Let us get back to me in 2009. When I wondered what impelled me to write about bisexuality in my novel, as a topic that until that time practically nobody had ever written about, I realized that I had been in love with my girlfriend for several months and that one of female characters that I had created was inspired by her up to a large extent. That was the first time that I fell in love with a woman, and not only sexually fantasized about her. Until then, I would mostly fantasize about unknown porn actresses or some celebrities. It had never been a real person that I personally hanged around with.

As of the moment I realized that I was in love with her, I stopped looking at her through the eyes of a friend and understood for the first time how men feel when women physically attract them. For me the feeling was different from falling in love with a man. Somehow tenderer, I dare say more intimate. I was looking at her by eyes of a potential lover. I was thinking about how to become physically attractive to her (because the intellectual chemistry definitely existed) and get her to bed. I visualized the things that I would do to her and the way in which I would do them, how she would react, whether it would be possible to develop friendship, relationship, and even true love after going to bed with her. Any of given scenarios was an option to me.

Today, when I think about what it was that attracted me to her and why did it happen, I come to the following conclusion: she was (and still is) smarter than average, well-read, curious, vivacious, feminine and empathic. I dare say that her intelligence exceeds mine, so it was more of a challenge to communicate with her on all levels. Naturally, I told her that I wanted to be with her. And naturally, it was a pleasant surprise for her. She was, of course, afraid of realizing it. Maybe partly because she was in a relationship. Maybe because she was strictly heterosexual, though I do not believe in strictness of that concept, particularly when it comes to women.

Those who have followed my public addresses and me on social networks until now, have had the chance to hear or read that I am bisexual. I admitted it for the first time publicly in July of last year by my Facebook cover photo that I recreated from one of my favourite films – The Lobster  and confirmed in interview for Playboy in March of this year.

I do not think that my confession is something special, but I do believe that Croatian society needs to know that there are bisexual persons who are not ashamed of being different from the majority. I have not come out in the open to boast about it or to be sexy to somebody. Somebody should have been the first one to do it, which will eventually get the others to do the same.

The concept of bisexuality is quite unknown to Croats, since heterosexuality is the most common and practised sexual orientation (one can find the reason for this in Christianity). When I drop the topic of bisexuality in company of others or while having coffee somewhere, people mostly feel embarrassed to talk about it. Particularly women. However, just like with the open relationships, things in our country slowly change, particularly since the period of millennials and later.

Not only that I think that bisexuality is unconscious for most of the people, I think that in Croatia there are few declared bisexuals, who very rarely decide to have a relationship with same sex partners. Everything remains within four walls, exclusively in the domain of sexuality. At the same time, nobody pays attention to love. I was really in love with several women in my life. I did not want to have only a relationship with them, I wanted to hold their hand, spend time with them and love them. For me it is important to love the human being, and not his or her gender. I also feel that it is important to be loved by another being, and not by his or her gender.

I was with a woman in sexual sense, of course, but not that often or with the women that I wanted to. The problem when you are flirting with women in Croatia is that not only they are not open towards relationships or same sex experiences, but also they are not aware that they want it, let alone that they could enjoy it.

During seven to eight years that I was working in education system and while working on preparations for the school leaving exams (from 2009 to mid of 2015), I was not able to talk about my bisexuality in public, let alone in the work place. It is not that I wanted it so badly, but there were several situations when, during some classes, an opportunity would arise. It would not bother me if I had been the first person in a school to publicly declare herself bisexual, so that pupils and fellow teachers could have considered it normal in the future, and maybe come to awareness that they were like that as well. However, I refrained from it. Which is the reason that I do not refrain from it now. I know that some of my former pupils are going to read this and I would like to use this opportunity to send them my warmest regards.

Health Education Curriculum that was supposed to be introduced in Croatian schools in school year 2014/2015 caused a debate about the disputed part concerning homosexuality that was not approved by tides that are more conservative in school system. These structures have been dominant since the establishment of Croatian state (hence, for more than two and a half decades). Bisexuality was not even touched on in this context; therefore, it could not have been a matter of dispute in anybody’s wildest dreams.

When I was teaching French symbolists in senior classes of secondary schools and love affair between Paul Verlain and Arthur Rimbaud would be mentioned in the textbooks, I would always refrain from mentioning that besides homosexual relationship, bisexual one was also something that should be tolerated as an option by society. It was mission impossible since most of students (particularly boys) condemned homosexuality, or kept quiet about it, at most.

While men find the possibility that all women are bisexual quite interesting and arousing, women are neither aroused by the fact that all men are bisexual, nor interested in being attracted to another woman. Women in Croatia do not allow themselves to be bisexual.

When I posted that I thought we were all bisexual on my private Facebook wall in 2012, one of my friends pointed out to me that it had been established a long time ago by Alfred Kinsey. It made me happy because of two reasons – firstly, there is a person out there thinking along my lines of thought, and secondly, it is a world acknowledged expert, who was a pioneer in the field of sexology.

I will let you in on an interesting secret. The best minor effect of bisexuality is when a beautiful woman passes by you and your boyfriend. Not only has he turned around, but you as well. Isn’t it pleasant to look at a beautiful lady butt or wonderfully shaped breasts? Furthermore, if your man wants to fantasize about a woman, that knowledge can turn you on as well. Strangely, all women that would turn on my men were attractive to me too, although they were not necessarily my type. If he told me about some of his sexual experiences with his ex-girlfriends (at my proposal, of course), we loved to fantasize about it during sex, and I, myself, would very often project their sex sessions during masturbation.

If you wonder what my ideal woman looks like, she is between 27 and 35. I have never been attracted by women younger than 27 because I think only few of them are aware of their sexuality until that age (including myself), about which I intend to write in one of my future columns. Regarding those older than 35, I could always be with, say, Robin Wright who is awfully sexy in 50-ies as well.

I love intelligent women that emanate sex appeal. If they are self-confident, too, the look is not that important to me. Besides Robin Wright, currently I consider sexy Amber Heard, Bella Hadid, Megan Fox, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Alessandra Ambrosio, Blake Lively, Adriana Lima and one and only Angelina Jolie. Because of her perfect face and dirty mind, I could be her slave or servant doing to her whatever she wanted. If any of female public persons helped me to release my own sex appeal in youth, it was definitely Angelina, equally by her films, as by her public appearances and lifestyle.

Naturally, there are some women in Croatia that I find attractive and would gladly have sexual experience, or even relationship, with. Nataša Janjić, Zrinka Cvitešić and Bojana Gregorić are the first ones that come to my mind. However, I cannot but mention one of the most beautiful and sexy women in Croatia and ex-Yugoslavia ever, namely Doris Dragović – woman that could have compared to the most beautiful women of the world with her elegance, body, beautiful face and sex appeal when she was at the top of her career.

Let us get back to my ideal woman. For me it is important that she is about 1.70 cm tall, the colour of her playful and curious eyes is irrelevant, her hair should be of medium length or long. I prefer dark-haired women, but sometimes a blonde-haired woman can be sexy to me. Hard butt, breasts B or C, well-built legs, fuller lips, stronger libido and the most important thing – that she is a lady at every moment. I like it when women are sophisticated.

I described such a woman in a short erotic piece when I was studying. Therefore, if you feel like reading my story about having sex with a woman before you get the chance to read my novel that is about to be published, here is the link.

In the end, I only want to add that our sexual orientation neither determines what kind of person we are, nor whether we are happy or sexually fulfilled. I do not think that bisexuality is in any way better than heterosexuality or homosexuality. Everything is right and everything is human, as long as you are honest with yourselves and people around you.

In sexual honesty with you,
Marina