As a child of the early eighties, I’ve been fortunate to see a huge improvement in equal rights for members of the LGBT as well as a large drop in the ignorance surrounding human sexuality. Frankly, I couldn’t be more proud of our collective advancements as a society. While this is amazing, I can’t help but wonder why bisexuality is still so misunderstood?
However, at a time when trans advocacy, gender play and gay rights are at an all-time high in this country (not that there isn’t education, acceptance and awareness that still needs to be spread, because there clearly is) I can’t help but to stop and wonder– where do my bi brethren fit into all of this new age of social justice and equal rights?
Stop me if you’ve heard some of these insulting misperceptions before:
“Just pick a team, already.”
“She’s just a dirty switch hitter, I only date golden lesbians.”
“He just can’t decide if he is gay or not.”
“I’m totally a straight guy, but I sleep with a lot of men and women.”
“You’ll never find a nice girl to settle down with if you keep dating men.”
“It’s a phase you’ll grown out of in time.”
“That’s sexy. Let me watch you kiss and then I’ll take you both home with me.”
“You just haven’t met the right man yet.”
And the ultimate– the one I hear more than any other,
“So… are you gay or are you really straight?”
As if no other options exist.
Anyone who has been bullied, harassed or dismissed because of their sexual preferences (or lack thereof) knows exactly how awful this can feel.
Personally, I came out to my parents when I was very young, around eight years old, when I realized I had a romantic crush on a neighborhood girl. During an opportune moment in a discussion about homosexuality, I asked why my mom didn’t believe what I was saying. My mom insisted, “But you’ve always liked boys!” Yes, mom, that’s correct– but I also REALLY liked the girls who were chasing them. Like, deep in my loins kind of liking them.
Even at age eight, having never heard the term bisexual, I knew that’s what I was. My sexual identity. But, to my mom’s defense, she is from a different era– one less willing to tolerate what they consider to be abnormal desires, particularly ones that don’t fit into a nice little neat package– gay, straight, lesbian, asexual– all cut and dry, well-defined terms.
And, even as I write this, in the back of my mind I wonder is she will somehow read this article and still not believe me. Mom, I swear– I am attracted to male and female forms and I won’t hide it or apologize for it. I know who I am, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s completely natural and as much a part of me as my eye-color or height.
It’s well documented that we’ve been around since Grecian times. Hell, even some penguins are bi!
I am on a mission for my bi brothers and sisters. We will not be pigeonholed or erased! It’s high time for some understanding about this topic which is normal to me, but foreign turf for others. So, to help dispel some of the hazy cloud of confusion which hovers above the term bisexual, and to educate anyone who cares to learn more, I have come up with this countdown list of the five most common misconceptions about bisexuality:
5. Bisexuals are all dying to have a threesome…
…especially with you. Get a grip, people– we’re not trisexuals!
Got a threesome fantasy? Go on Craiglist, FetLife, Meet N Fuck, Tindr, Grindr, OKCupid (again, there is no Bindr app made specifically for bi folks– it’s all gay or straight) or any other kind of hook up service or just watch some pixelated trios going at it and masturbate hands-free.
Real life mixed-genital threesomes are not only incredibly rare, they can also be wrought with post-sex and relationship drama and can give everyone involved an increased risk for both unintended pregnancies and/or STIs, so it’s not the wild and uninhibited free for all you might imagine. In fact, extra safety in the bedroom is a must– with multiple condom changes,separate toys for each partner and orifice and so many dental dams– whew. It’s a lot of work and can result in a lot of consequences.
Have I had one personally? Honestly, yes. Once. I was very young and it involved a straight man and a lesbian. Was it sexy? No. Did anyone orgasm? No. Was an unintentional and insane love triangle quickly created? Yes. Compared to all my other explosive sexual experiences, this one certainly didn’t make my spank bank. I’d have been much better off just being with one or the other, or just going home to my emotionless Stubs Wave silicone dildo from Spicy Gear instead of trying to be with both parties and ending up in a trio of sexual frustration and blue balls.
But, if you’re bi and you want to have threesomes everyday for the rest of your life, please be my guest! My point is that many bisexuals have no interest in a threesome, have never had one, don’t want to have one, or they have had a threesome and they realized it’s not for them. So, assuming that everyone who is bi would be really into the idea of a threesome is pretty preposterous.
4. Bisexuals are not very active in the LGBT community.
Wrong! We put the B in Be Proud! And, we’ve been there since day one, advocating for all of us to receive fair and equal treatment. Some of the first public speakers for gay and trans rights were bi folks and even what have become our modern day pride parades were spearheaded by a bisexual female (as mentioned in “A Brief History of Gay Pride Parades“). So, kindly treat us as part of the gang, y’all. We all want the same thing here– total acceptance.
3. Bisexual women greatly outnumber bisexual men.
Are there more male bisexuals in real life than what’s represented in the media? Absolutely.
Sadly, there aren’t a whole lot of facts and figures regarding bisexuality out there. I couldn’t even find one on female bisexuality! The only definitive finding I could unearth was from famed Dr. Alfred Kinsey himself, whose studies indicated that 46% of males had engaged in bisexual behavior. And, this was way back in 1948.
Calling all sexologists– we need some numbers! Consequently, this observation is purely from my own life experience and from my professional life doing marketing for phone sex lines, online sex chat services, condom distributors and Spicy Gear.
Female bisexuality is so popular in the porn industry and amongst straight males in general, this can lead to the notion that all women are secretly bi, when clearly they’re not.
In fact, porn isn’t even called bisexual porn if two women and a man are involved– it’s just called threesome porn. But if two men and a woman are involved, and the men are touching each other? That’s classified as bi porn. Confused yet? Join the club.
In my own life, male bisexuality seems to be a much more prevalent than female bisexuality (I personally know way more bisexual men than women), yet in comparison is a much less media exploited and therefore profitable type of sexuality. This is called bisexual erasure.
Male bisexuality is also much less talked about, which sadly makes them the hushhush sect of bisexuality. However, I have seen quite an upswing in the amount of widely available male bisexual pornography in the past six months– even on mainstream streaming sites like PornHub.com, so that’s a big step towards raising awareness.
2. Bisexuals turn gay or straight depending on who they are dating.
The only reason I end up dating straight or bi men most of the time is because, in my experience, they are more accepting of a bisexual woman than the people I’ve encountered in the local lesbian community. Seriously, it’s a bit nutty. I had an easier time getting with girls way back in high school.
Which brings me to the point of bi women defaulting into long term relationships with males, even though they may find women to be more attractive, physically. I know I’ve done it. With a lack of other openly bi women around and what can feel like a shunning from the lez side, there aren’t many other alternatives when it comes to finding that human connection.
Does this mean we’ve magically turned straight when dating a male? No. No, it doesn’t. It means we found someone who accepts and loves us, and they happen to have a penis. Believe me, I’d love to find the the same level of tolerance from someone with a vulva.
Furthermore, bisexuality doesn’t imply a 50-50 attraction to either gender. It can be 60-40, 20-80, you get the idea. There’s even a scale to determine these numbers called the Kinsey Scale. Want to know more? Sweet! Read up on the origins of human sexuality terminology and the Kinsey Scale in “Categorizing Sexual Orientation: The Terms and Origins.”
1. Bisexuals are unable to be monogamous or commit to one person.
Boo! I hate this one! What a cringe-worthy way of thinking. Look– cheating has NOTHING at all to do with sexual orientation. Anyone can cheat or not cheat. It really has more to do with trust, loyalty and ethics than what kind of genitals you do or don’t prefer.
The assumption that bisexuals MUST be with both genders at the same time to be satisfied is simply absurd. Being attracted to more than one gender does not make us wishy washy and unsure about what we want or into polyamory. Like some other bisexuals, I am perfectly able to commit to a loving relationship without being unfaithful.
I’ve never cheated in the past and I don’t plan on starting anytime soon. Any assumption otherwise is more than likely an indication of infidelity in the accuser’s past, and it has much less to do with my lust for both vag and peen– but blaming bisexuals for cheating more than other kinds of folks? Please don’t, ’cause it sure does sting.