As a bisexual woman, and in honor of Bisexuality Awareness Week, I thought it important to share some basic facts about bisexuality and to clarify and correct common stereotypes and assumptions.
It is important to note that although the term “bisexual” is used in this article, “bisexual” can be swapped for the term “pansexual” or “queer” as desired, as all three terms are used to identify people who do not experience a strong sexual preference toward one gender over another, but rather experience fluidity in sexual attraction.
To learn more about the subtle differences between these words, please click here.
7 Basic Bisexual Guidelines
1) Being bisexual (bi) isn’t a choice. I am sexually and romantically attracted to both men and woman. I’ve felt this way as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I had crushes on both girls and boys and as an adult, I’ve been married to both a man and a woman. I didn’t choose to fall in love based on gender. I fell in love with each person for various reasons.
2) Bisexual doesn’t mean polyamorous. Although some bisexual people prefer polyamorous relationships over monogamous relationships, being bisexual doesn’t automatically mean that we want to have a relationship with more than one person at a time. I have been in a monogamous lesbian relationship with my wife for ten years, but I am still sexually attracted to both men and woman. Like any married person in a faithful relationship, I don’t act on my attractions, but that doesn’t mean that the attractions don’t exist.
3) Transgender people can also be bisexual. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two very different identifiers. As defined by the HRC, gender identity is “one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves,” whereas sexual orientation is “an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.” Transgender people can be attracted to men, women, or people who identify outside of the binary.
4) If we come out to you as bi, it doesn’t mean we want a threesome. I can’t count the number of times I’ve disclosed to a man that I am bisexual only to receive a sly grin in response, as if I had offered an invitation to a sleepover party. Men, if a woman shares that she’s bisexual, it doesn’t mean that she and her partner want to hook up with you.
5) We aren’t “greedy,” “confused,” or “unsatisfied.” We don’t want it all, we know exactly who we are attracted to, and if we have an emotional connection with an intimate partner, we are plenty satisfied. Please don’t use these stereotypical terms. They’re offensive.
6) Being bisexual can be lonely. Bisexual people are more likely to suffer from social isolation than their gay and lesbian counterparts, as the bisexual community is often stigmatized by both the homosexual and heterosexual communities.
7) This is not a phase. Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t attracted to more than one gender as a means to get attention, or to temporarily figure things out. Some of us may decide that we’re attracted to one gender over another after openly identifying as bisexual, but many of us, myself included, have and will always be attracted to more than one gender.
To learn more about Bisexuality Awareness Week, click here.