Coming out as bisexual is something that I’ve only really felt comfortable to do in the last year or two. And although now, I discuss it quite openly among friends and the occasional group of people, I’m still wary of the reactions that it can sometimes receive. Most of them, due to the misconceptions that surround bisexuality, which I hope to address here.
The official definition of bisexuality is ‘an attraction to both males and females’, coming from the of prefix ‘bi’ meaning ‘two. However, many people have since argued that bisexuals can still be attracted to those that do not see themselves as fitting within the gender binary. Usually, this is termed ‘pansexual’, but many bisexuals feel that this still applies to them. Personally, I find that it is more about which term you identify with most. I feel more comfortable using bisexual, as pansexual is still not a widely recognised term, although I can’t rule out attraction to nonbinary people, etc.
Since coming out as bisexual, I’ve been asked some pretty shocking questions, some that have offended and even upset me. However, I have found that this is not uncommon for a bisexual person to experience. And so, I have decided to answer some of them here, in the hope that at least one person will feel a little more informed.
Does that make you more likely to cheat?
Being bisexual does not make you more likely to cheat on your partner, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a monogamous relationship. Plenty of straight/gay/lesbian people cheat on their partners, so already you can start to see why this question is pretty redundant.
Yes, bisexuality does open up the pool of people that you may potential be attracted to – with potential being the key word. Bisexual people are not attracted to every person of every sex, just as straight people aren’t attracted to everyone of the opposite sex.
But most importantly, someone’s sexuality does not influence their morals.
So are you, like…half gay?
Bisexual people are not half gay or half straight. What we are, is 100% bisexual. There’s no concrete way to define it, some bisexuals are more attracted to one sex than the other, some experience equal attraction, it could go either way.
But the way that one of my friends described it to me is this: if you mix blue and red, you get purple. You don’t get blue/red, or half-blue-half-red, you just get purple.
Sure, you’re in a relationship, but who else are you interested in?
Don’t confuse bisexual with polyamorous. Again, someone who is bisexual is perfectly capable of being in a monogamous relationship. Of course, there are plenty of bisexual people out there who are polyamorous, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Bisexuals can commit to one person just as easily as anyone who is straight, gay, etc. Equally, they may choose not to, but this is not part of their sexuality.
Why can’t you just pick one?
Simple: because I’m attracted to both.
Someone who is straight can’t choose to be gay, and someone who is gay can’t choose to be straight. So asking a person who is bisexual to choose to be either of these things is equally as pointless.
The main problem I have with this question, is why? Why do I need to just choose one? I can’t see why I should have to limit myself to only loving certain people because of something as unimportant as their gender. When you love someone, it’s about who they are as a person, how they make you feel, whether you can make each other laugh. Why would you want to miss out on that just because someone else says you have to only be attracted to one group of people?
It’s neither greedy, nor indecisive, it’s just what I’m attracted to.
How do you know you’re bisexual if you’ve never been with someone of ____ gender?
Being a bisexual woman in a relationship with a man, I dread this question. I myself have never been with anyone of the same sex, but I know that I’m bisexual. The easiest way to answer this is this: how does a heterosexual person know that they’re heterosexual if they’ve never been with the opposite sex? This is the same question, and yet we would never ask it of a straight person. Because we just assume that they know.
So why is it any different if you’re bisexual? You know who or what you’re attracted to, you’re the only person that does. And regardless of what other people say, it doesn’t matter whether you act on it or not. That attraction is still there, and is completely unaffected by experience.
But you’re with a boy/girl, does that mean you’re straight/gay now?
Nope, still bisexual.
Oh, so you’re in your experimental phase then?
Bisexuality is not a phase. It is just as real as any other sexuality, however, it just so happens to be highly sexualised and trivialised by both the media and porn. It is portrayed as something exciting or erotic, only for secret boarding school liaisons or bad fanfiction, when really, it’s just as mundane as any other sexuality. And also, all you’re doing by saying this is demeaning somebody’s sexuality, so please don’t. Bisexuality is already vastly misrepresented, and questions like this only add to that.
But all women are a little gay though, right?
As much as many lesbian and bisexual women out there wish this were true, they can tell you better than anyone that it’s definitively not. Where this misconception possibly arises from is the more fluid attitude towards women’s sexuality. In fact, women are almost encouraged by the media to be more fluid with their sexualities, mostly because it is considered to be more erotic for men. Either way, women are seen to be much more open with their sexualities, hence this misconception, as it is encouraged more.
Men, however, are encouraged to fit into one of two tight little boxes: gay or straight. And if a man does come out as bisexual, he is often told that he is just “secretly gay”.