The first time I heard the phrase “bisexual” was within the now-infamous episode of “Sex within the City” the place Carrie Bradshaw is relationship a bi dude. In the episode, Carrie sees the person’s queerness as a red flag, and a giant one which she does not know she’ll have the ability to ignore.
“Isn’t bisexuality only a pit cease on the best way to homosexual city?” she asks, her completely groomed forehead furrowed with concern.
“I feel that is subsequent to Ricky Martinville,” Miranda Hobbes says, and everybody on the desk laughs. Bisexuality wasn’t only a purpose not to date somebody: it was a punchline.
“Because our sexual orientation is usually assumed by others primarily based on who we’re with, bisexual individuals get put on this homo or heterosexual field. It’s like we’re continually having to come out.”
This wasn’t the primary time I’d heard bisexuality described in a damaging mild. On the long-lasting tv present “Friends,” Phoebe Buffay sings a track about how bisexuals are simply kidding themselves (which is ironic, as a result of she’s positively the queerest of the “Friends” characters, IMO). When a pal at summer season camp advised me she thought she was occupied with each women and men, I raised an eyebrow and questioned: How? Up till that second, I used to be satisfied I had to choose a gender and keep it up — a mindset that will, sadly, comply with me till after faculty commencement.
That’s not to say I did not hook up with ladies (I did), however I at all times tried to disguise my bisexuality, to title it as one thing else. I satisfied myself that I solely attached with women once I was drunk, that I used to be “bicurious” or “heteroflexible” or “experimenting.” As somebody who grew up vacationing on Fire Island and was obsessive about musical theater, I used to be no stranger to the queer group: I simply did not assume I was the queer group.
Even once I did ultimately come out, I nonetheless contemplated what it meant to be a bisexual particular person. For so lengthy, I had checked out sexuality as this black-and-white factor: you are both straight or homosexual. But in the previous few years, I’ve realized that sexuality is much extra nuanced than that. And whereas I’m nonetheless doing the work of difficult my very own internalized biphobia, I’ve begun to break down what my bisexuality does (and doesn’t) imply to me.
Bisexuality Does Not Mean You’re More Likely to Cheat
One of the most typical misconceptions round bisexual individuals is that we’re extra doubtless to cheat. I suppose that is as a result of individuals assume since we’re attracted to a couple of gender, we’ll be *considering* about that different gender. But it is common to develop crushes or expertise attraction in any monogamous relationship, no matter your sexuality — it does not matter which kind of individuals you are attracted to, what issues is the way you deal with it.
“Bisexuality has completely nothing to do with dedication,” says Lindsey Cooper-Berman, LMFT, a therapist who specializes within the LGBTQIA+ expertise. “And your sexual orientation has nothing to do with whether or not or not you are going to cheat.”
Cooper-Berman additionally notes that people cheat for a variety of reasons, none of which is an individual’s orientation. Infidelity — or an individual’s proclivity towards monogamy, ethical nonmonogamy, or polyamory, for that matter — is totally separate from an individual’s sexual orientation. “If a accomplice expresses concern over their accomplice’s bisexuality, it normally has to do with an insecurity, not their sexuality,” Cooper-Berman says.
Bisexuality Does Mean Having More Sex-Positive Conversations
When I advised my present accomplice (a cisgender man) that I used to be bisexual, he was extra curious than the rest and requested how I assumed I would categorical that inside our relationship. The preliminary dialog was respectful and calm and led to frequent, open, and informal conversations about intercourse and sexuality. We now pleasure ourselves on our communication expertise, and I feel plenty of that’s as a result of we bought into the behavior of getting an open dialogue very early on in our relationship.
Similarly, a lot of my mates know that I’m a superb particular person to come to for a intercourse speak. Because I labored so onerous to perceive my sexuality, I turned higher at speaking about intercourse basically.
Queer persons are type of compelled to handle their sexuality head-on. And whereas this could generally really feel like a ache, I do assume it lends to having a usually more open attitude about sex. It additionally turns into simpler to talk your wishes or fantasies, finally main to a extra satisfying intercourse life and more healthy relationships.
Bisexuality Does Not Mean Being Transphobic
There are some of us who mistakenly consider bisexuality means adhering to the gender binary and excluding anyone who doesn’t fit into those boxes
“The language we use to describe bisexuality may very well be extra correct,” says Cooper-Berman, referring to the prefix “bi” (that means two) that is connected to the phrase bisexual. “But our understanding of gender identification and gender constructs has dramatically modified over the previous few years, and so has the definition of bisexuality.”
Bisexuality Does Mean Serving as a Bridge to the Queer Community
When I first got here out as bisexual, I struggled to slot in with each the queer community and the straight group. I felt like I wasn’t “homosexual sufficient” to completely be thought of queer, however I additionally felt misplaced once I was with my straight mates, a few of whom have been confused about what bisexuality really meant. And whereas that “in-between” feeling was irritating, I finally discovered that it may very well be a power, and I might assist educate my straight mates extra in regards to the LGBTQ+ group.
Over the previous few years, I’ve been far more vocal about my bisexuality, which has helped educate my straight mates and make wonderful bi mates. And better of all, I’ve had a number of of us (together with strangers) come to me and share that they are additionally bisexual, and that my being so open about my sexuality gave them the motivation to discover their very own queerness.
Bisexuality Does Not Mean You’ll Eventually Have to Pick a Side
Loads of of us (queer individuals included) consider that for those who’re bisexual, you ultimately have to choose a aspect. But saying that our sexual identification is totally predicated by our companions completely invalidates the bisexual identification.
“My coronary heart breaks once I hear individuals assume this, as a result of the concept of ‘selecting a aspect’ is such a common question,” says Cooper-Berman. “Because our sexual orientation is usually assumed by others primarily based on who we’re with, bisexual individuals get put on this homo or heterosexual field. It’s like we’re continually having to come out.”
Bisexuality is not one thing that adjustments simply because your accomplice occurs to be a sure gender; you are bisexual regardless of who you’re dating. And on that observe, you do not want to do something to show your queerness. So even for those who’ve by no means dated or attached with somebody of the identical gender, that does not imply you are not bi. You’re bi since you say you might be.
Bisexuality Means Sometimes Being Confused — and That’s OK
If you expertise any kind of imposter syndrome or not feeling “queer sufficient,” congratulations: that is an enormous signal that you simply’re bisexual! It’s completely regular to not really feel “queer sufficient,” however it doesn’t suggest you are not legitimate in your queer identification. For bi of us who grew up with biphobic messaging (aka all of us), it may be actually complicated whenever you’re coming to phrases together with your bisexual identification. For instance, you may undergo a part the place you are attracted to one gender greater than the opposite. This is regular.
“You do not want to ever show your sexuality,” provides Cooper-Berman. “It’s an extremely distinctive and particular person factor.”
Remember: when it comes to your sexual identification, an important factor is what it means for you. You get to resolve how bisexuality reveals up in your life and the way you categorical your bisexual self. For some, this may very well be reading books by queer authors, constructing a queer group, and even one thing so simple as donning a bi pleasure bracelet. Try not to get wrapped up in what bisexuality “ought to” imply — embrace no matter it appears to be like like for you.