I've read multiple biographies of James, and there is no consensus on whether he was bisexual. He had four children with his wife, Ann of Denmark, but he also had many repeated male favorites, some of whom had access through a secret passage to his bedroom. Buggery was a capital offense (though not sodomy). His contemporaries were often uncomfortable with his repeated public displays of affection to his male favorites. The general modern view is that he was gay, groomed by his first ward. Some contest it.

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    Short of inventing time travel and being able to ask him, I don't think there's a way of answering this that isn't conjecture. The royal courts of the period were full of rival factions that used rumour as a political weapon, so it's difficult to fully trust anything that came out of them.
    – Steve Bird
    Feb 8, 2023 at 15:39
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    Documenting preliminary research will improve both the probability of an answer and the quality of the answer(s). Who contests this? on what grounds do they challenge the accepted narrative? What is the source? (Given that he had 4 children with his wife, at least one of his lovers was female, so the only two option are "female only" or "both male and female")
    – MCW
    Feb 8, 2023 at 15:51
  • Ha well that depends if the children were really his. But that's opening a whole new box of spiteful court gossip that we don't want to mess with.
    – Ne Mo
    Feb 9, 2023 at 10:54
  • Antonia Frasier in her biography says that James's homoerotic life began with Esme Stuart Sieur d'Aubigny when James was thirteen. He was praised by multiple English contemporaries for his chastity - meaning that he had no female lovers with whom he could conceive rival claims to the throne. Leanda Delisle in After Elizabeth says it's hard to know how people reacted to gay activity since there the concept of homosexuality didn't exist - though they, of course, recognized that the activity did. Some scholars refer to the Earl of Southampton as someone who did not suffer damage from bisexuality.
    – JamesGee
    Feb 9, 2023 at 16:31
  • Reputational damage - ran out of characters to include that word about Southampton.
    – JamesGee
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:18


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