Just how many bisexual women are around you – do you think you can say? Probably more than you think. Surveys conducted during the last three years revealed that about 4% of the population in the United States come out as bisexual; since women constitute approximately half of the amount, we could safely conclude that around 2% of American females are bisexual.
That comes to every fiftieth woman or almost 6 and a half million in the whole country, so you have to know a couple – or maybe more – without being aware of it. That’s because so many bisexuals are not ready to manifest their sexual proclivities and feel wary – you know, they have good reasons for being reticent.
We are all striving to achieve true equality, but the habit of coming down on polysexuality dies hard. Those who can react sexually to pheromones of both sexes are often regarded adversely by the gay and straight communities alike. What’s more, they are branded as a type of people they really aren’t. Since they are neither straight nor gay, they don’t belong with either of these groups, both of which are inclined to look upon them as someone unable to finally decide what they want and tarrying in some transitional phase.
Consequently, many people believe implicitly that bisexuals are nothing more than promiscuous individuals who are too fond of sex and ready to give up their partners in search of fresh pleasures. Of course, these are but examples of stereotypical thinking which is not true, yet many people still embrace such cliché beliefs.
The worst thing is, if you don’t have a cut-up and worked-out attitude to bisexuality, you can remain unaware that your interaction with bisexual women would be tinged with these preconceptions. While you don’t mean to be offensive, some minor aggressive behaviors are sure to slip out and act as put-offs. Since you don’t want to produce a negative impression and discourage them, but maintain comfortable and healthy relationships with the bisexual women in your environment, you would be well advised to allow your behavior to be regulated by some important points about bisexuality.
They are not threesome-minded
This one is the commonest example of preconceived thinking: if one knows that a person has hots for both men and women, one jumps to a conclusion that the best thing for them is to have a man and a woman in bed at the same time! Most women don’t take to threesomes gladly, and the same goes for bisexual ones. By the way, this is what scares them off dating apps – there are so many couples who assume easily that such women are always open to this kind of propositions. Dating apps aside, if such a woman hasn’t set down firm rules among her friends, they are also likely to fall into stereotyped thinking and propose threesomes to her. The worst of it is that bi men are not plagued by these propositions as often as bi women!
If you’re thinking that there are bi people who are quite happy with threesomes – of course, there are, but that doesn’t mean all of them are. Some of them don’t go for it at all, so if you know that one of your friends is bi, and it keeps you wanting to approach her with the suggestion to share a bed with you and your girlfriend, you’d better desist.
Don’t look upon it as a passing phase
You can’t imagine how often LGBT people hear the admonition that their gender identity is something they will get over some day. When they are still in college and are generally believed to be experimenting and enjoying their “slutty time,” they must have it hurled at them practically every day. Yes, many girls can get involved in sexual adventures in their college days, and explore various kinds of sensations, up to dating other girls; it may end up in their realizing that they don’t like it as much as they thought before and start them off dating men. This kind of experience doesn’t make them bisexual, even temporarily – an attempt is just an attempt, the wish to find out what one wants more. It may be all right at college, but less right when they land a job and find themselves with a company they want to make a career in, but where such liaisons are frowned upon. So, while some women knuckle under because they were never serious about it, with others it’s a way of life.
Bisexuality is a thing in itself
Prevalent opinions hold that bi people are those who can’t – or won’t – pin themselves down and define their sexual predilections. But no matter what others say, bisexuality is a phenomenon that exists separately from other kinds of sexuality. It becomes quite clear when we stop looking on sexuality in a black-and-white light: you are either on this side of the fence or on the other side and if not, then you are an in-between person who is supposed to stick to one thing eventually. But that is not the case. There are no hard-and-fast rules one is bound to stick to, there are no choices to be made – you feel like you feel, that’s all. While one kind of people finds only one sex attractive, others recognize attraction in particular people, their gender notwithstanding.
Likewise, the fact that both straight and gay people can temporarily date both sexes trying to decide what they want best is absolutely true; so they believe that it is the case with everyone else, they are just choosing. Not at all, there are people who will remain like this throughout their lives.
Bisexuality isn’t an excuse for cheating
Stereotyped thinking says that bisexuality opens the door to cheating – that’s what it may look like from the outside. If you believe it, stop and tell yourself that bis are ordinary people with the same mindset; if they are the cheating kind, they will cheat, and if they’re not, they won’t. There is no evidence that bisexuals are all given to cheating. Those who are attracted to one sex only admit that they often feel insecure in relationship with a bi, for they keep having misgivings that sooner or later their date will be attracted to someone of the opposite sex. Strangely enough, straight men are not afraid that their bisexual girlfriend might go away to another man, nor lesbians have fear lest the girl they love will prefer another woman to them; it is always the opposite sex they are suspicious of. A bisexual person is not the one who has an urge to love both sexes simultaneously; they are not what is termed polyamorous, but a different proposition altogether. Straight men dating straight women and lesbians dating other lesbians run the same risk of being cheated on just like if they were dating a bisexual woman. Cheating and sexuality are not inseparably linked.
They are more vulnerable to assault
Sadly, statistical data shows that bisexual women run a very high risk of violence and rape. According to the CDC’s survey of 2010, the rape percent for female bis comes to 46.1% – it’s higher than with straight women by 2.6 times and higher than with lesbians by 3.5 times. The coercion risk was found to be even greater – 74.9%, again higher than with straight women and lesbians, respectively by 1.7 and 1.6 times. Almost half of the bisexual women have been registered to report violence on part of their partners, and over 60% of them have suffered rape, assault and were subject to stalking.
A rather remarkable difference, that. The reason in their being subjected to violent behaviors lies in another preconception – that such women are hypersexual. In many cases their partner or a sexual criminal subconsciously expects to take advantage of this imaginary hypersexuality – and is enraged when they fail to get it. Many of these assaults are collective, based on the presumption that a bisexual is a warped personality that can be set right by having “normal sex.” Also, their partners who, as we found out, are often afraid of falling victim to their “cheating nature,” can be assertive and violent in an attempt to gain dominance and feel more secure through that.
Despite their being bisexual, there are bi women who tend to date men and those who tend to date women. There are those who go for bis preferably, and those who are attracted to trans. There are ones who like straight men and ones who prefer to have relationships with other bisexuals. Bisexuals can be found who can love people no matter what they are like, although this kind is rare. Everyone is living in a world of their own, and you can’t judge a bi by other bis you know well. You can even find a bi who can’t figure out her preferences yet. They come in all shapes and sizes, so if you itch to know whether she dates only girls, don’t do it – it’s impolite. You may come across a bisexual who is not loath to discuss her preferences with you, but still, it remains an improper topic that may get bis enraged. You have fallen for a bisexual woman and you feel you have to know her predilections in order to have a clue how to proceed best? Your best strategy would be to share your emotions and expectations and allow her to take it further as she likes. By the way, it works well with all kinds of women – again, bisexuals are no exception.
The bisexual are not necessarily polyamorous
These are two different groups altogether – they may overlap in some cases and they may be poles apart in others. Bisexuality means that a person can be attracted to people of either gender. Polyamory means that a person can maintain a relationship with two or more people simultaneously. A straight person, a gay, a lesbian, a bi – all of them can be polyamorous. It’s just that many non-bi people somehow come to assume that a bisexual doesn’t want to be monogamous by their very definition. Of course, it’s wrong: “bi” stands for two sexes, but not two partners, so they are not set apart because they are non-monogamous. Let’s put it like this: if a man likes both blondes and brunettes, it doesn’t follow he will be dating a blonde and a brunette simultaneously. He can go for a brunette having parted with a blonde, or he may go for another blonde – a preference isn’t an obsession. Should you happen to know a polyamorous bisexual, don’t go around telling all of them are this way – it’s not true.
Their partners feel secure
It seems that once a bisexual gets involved in a monogamous relationship, an almost inevitable question crops up, people start inquiring: “What does your partner feel about your sexuality? Does he/she think it’s okay?” The same happens when people get to know that one of a monogamous couple is a bi – they start wondering about the other partner’s attitude to the union.
Now the logic is clear: if your bi friend can tell you what you want to know, they must have felt equally free to discuss it with their partner. As we know, a bi is not necessarily polyamorous, and if not, there is no question of them wanting to bring in another person for more carnal fun. So, the partner is likely to know that, whatever the kind of sexuality, they are going to stay loyal to their partner and remain a family. So questions like whether their partner is going along with their type of sexuality really sound like: “How come you settled down with a regular kind of family and are not sleeping around?”
Suppose a straight guy starts to date a girl; are her BFFs instantly keen on knowing if he is all right with her being straight, or the guy’s friends put the question to him the next time they see him? If bi is dating a man, she is no more going to chuck him for a girl than a straight girl is going to chuck her boyfriend for another man.
A bisexual remains a bisexual even when dating the opposite sex
When a bisexual begins to date a person of the opposite sex, they just can’t dodge being asked: “What, have you gone straight?” or something of the kind. It sounds as if somebody’s sexuality changes depending on the kind of relationship they enter into. It doesn’t happen to straight people, right? They remain straight dating girls; a gay remains gay. It is only logical that a bi will remain a bi no matter who their current partner is. They don’t become straight with a straight man, nor they become a lesbian with a girl. They simply date someone they’ve fallen for. Some people may believe that a bi would be dating all kinds of people for no reason but that they are bis – although no-one is going to think the same about a straight person, a gay or a lesbian.
They are not the only polysexual type
Polysexuality means that a person is attracted to all genders. So, bisexuality comes into the category, since bis like more than one sex – and all bisexuals are, consequently, polysexual. But the opposite is wrong – not all polysexuals are bis, some of them are pansexual. The distinction lies in the fact that bisexual reflects the two opposites of the gender binary, male and female. Yet after a while sociologists decided that the term bisexuality doesn’t include people who are non-binary or gender-fluid; another term had to be produced, and they came up with the word “pansexual,” covering all possible genders. Sometime after the term has been established the bisexual community issued a statement that bisexuality shouldn’t be understood as an attraction to male and female sexes alike; it can be taken as an attraction to more than one sex. Yet, not all bisexual people can define their attitude clearly, each of them can feel a little differently about his or her position. There are bis who will agree to be labeled as pansexual, but others may feel that attraction to cis males and females is a good enough definition.
Also, polyamorous people can belong with polysexual ones, though many of them are quite happy with being categorized as polyamorous.
They don’t like being asked how much they are gay
People who haven’t given it a thought tend to believe that a bisexual is a part straight and part gay – which is a completely false notion. Straight, gay and bisexual are all different things. Still, many straight people are curious whether they feel half straight, or probably they are gayer/less straight, or vice versa? They won’t be able to answer such a question for the simple reason: they don’t know. They are totally bisexual, and there is no percentage about it. Moreover, people who ask this question hardly know what they really mean by it. Yes, besides being a rude question, it is a silly one. Those questioning bis about their “percentage” show that they view the situation in black and white and don’t realize that sexuality cannot be pinned down like that and brought down to percentage. Bisexuals are in a category by themselves, they are not made up of other notions.
Some bis define themselves differently
There is no cut and dried definition of bisexuality. Initially, it was clear that bisexuals are those who can enter into relationships with either cis men or cis women, but as time introduces a more complex understanding of sex and sexuality, definitions require to be reviewed. While the old definition still stands for some, in other cases bisexuality begins to imply the ability to form an attachment to more than two genders and not only to cisgender people. Some bis don’t go for men but are excited by women, non-binary people, and gender-fluid people. A number of bis claim that they only take to cisgender people. For others, there are no such bounds and they can feel attraction to practically anyone. All these kinds are absolutely valid, none of them is better or worse, proper or improper; whatever your bi friend’s predilections are, they are nevertheless valid bisexuals enjoying the sort of relationships they are comfortable in.
It’s not a way to draw attention
Many bisexuals, especially the younger ones, have to listen to multiple assertions that their behavior is meant to attract attention to themselves. Those around them, parents, first of all, tend to believe that someone coming out as bisexual is doing it to annoy, rebel or make people sit up and take notice. There have been, and there will be, youths whose coming out was a rebellious occurrence; nevertheless, bisexuality is not a stage of growing up, something you get over and leave behind you. Only those who are laboring under preconceptions can think that bisexuality is a temporary phase, an experiment that will come to its end in due time. It is not a claim for attention, nor is it a bad cover for being promiscuous; it is a state that shouldn’t be dismissed easily instead of embracing it. Bisexuality is here for recognition, both on part of the person himself and of those around him.
It may look too sexy for words
Discussing sexuality can be a very difficult thing to do for many women, and coming out even more difficult. The woman can’t be sure how it will go down, what reaction she will have to face. The best thing for her is to hear that her friends aren’t biphobic, yet many men find this particular orientation very exciting, inviting thoughts of fetishism and hypersexuality. Their reaction to a bi woman would be something like, “Oh, you are bisexual? How hot!”
But for a bisexual woman that is hardly counted as a compliment. They know that this attitude hides the notions of fetishism, hypersexuality and other things they don’t relate to. If this woman reveals her sexuality to you it means she thinks she can trust you and considers you to be a faithful friend. Oversexualizing her would be a betrayal of this trust. So, if you hear from a friend of yours that she is bi, don’t tell her how you take it and how you understand her situation – just be supportive.
Are they queer?
You can hear bisexual people call themselves “queer”. Although this word was initially used by homophobic people in a derogatory sense, nowadays most of the LGBTQ+ crowd accepted it as a term describing everyone who is not straight. A lot of members take pride in their being queer and consider it an apt word to define those who are not yet sure of their sexuality.
So, straight people shouldn’t use this word if they mean to remain within bounds of politeness. “Queer” sounds like a deliberate slur and will go on being taken for one for years to come. That means when a woman refers to herself as “queer”, it does not follow that others are free to call her “queer” too. Your non-straight friends may tell you they are quite happy with the word, but other people like them may take offense notwithstanding. That is because not all LGBTQ folks treat this term in the same way, and while some are comfortable with it, others will definitely consider themselves abused.
No watching allowed
There is a thing about watching girls together – as can be witnessed by a lot of girl-on-girl adult videos around. Curious people seem to understand they are just a put-up affair, and the real thing is vastly different. So there is an idea hovering in the air that one could ask their bi friend to let them watch her doing it with another woman. Don’t do that. Ever. Even though there may be some girls who don’t mind being watched, they are a minority – most women would never agree to allow other people to watch her in bed with another woman, no matter whether it be a long-term relationship or a one-night stand. So please refrain from asking and stay on the polite side.
Is a gay “gay”?
It has become somewhat customary to categorize those belonging to the LGB community as “gay.” Just like with the word “queer”, “gay” has stuck within the community partly due to its simplicity, for explanations like “I’m non-straight” or “I think that people can be attractive no matter what gender they belong to” can sound unnecessarily long and detailed. So, while non-straight people can use this word among themselves, it’s not quite right for people outside their community to call gays “gay.” No grave offense here, but the habit of calling all non-straight people “gay” is too indistinctive; it’s comparatively rare to hear the word “bisexual,” and when it is used, it is likely to be played down or oversexualized. Remember Orange is the New Black where Piper Chapman was clearly bisexual – and other characters regarded her as confused and said she didn’t want to definitely commit herself.
A bisexual calling herself “gay” means that she belongs to a non-straight community; straight people calling her “gay” misunderstand or confuse her identity.
There’s nothing exotic about it
Bisexuals still come across as “exotic” for straight people – if it ever was a kind of a compliment, it no longer is now. Agreed, bisexuals are in minority compared to heterosexuals, but they aren’t exactly visitors from overseas or from another planet! They are here, and, if anything, there may be more of them around you than you guess. So, when you come to know that a woman of your acquaintance is a bi, refrain from reacting like, “Oh, are you? How exotic!” You will sound a bit uninformed and not abreast of the existing state of things.
Another issue with the use of this word is that “exotic” carries sexual implications – it is often used as an introductory word to saying that all bis are kinky and ought to be in for threesomes. When told that she is “exotic”, a bi woman expects to be asked further (silly) questions about her sexual life. So, be more sophisticated and don’t tell your female friend who has come out that she is exotic – don’t even think so.
Coming out takes courage
By this entry, you have understood how difficult it is for a bi woman to come out. Bisexual people have to face so many preconceived ideas and clichés that coming out is greatly embarrassing and may even be dangerous. It looks much easier to keep mum, conceal your sexual preferences and avoid flak. It’s not informing people that you are slightly different – more like admitting that you gave yourself away and half anticipate to be treated by other standards. Coming out requires a lot of trust and boldness, and for this only it deserves some respect. Such respect could better be shown by calm acceptance rather than by throwing silly and cliché questions at the person who came into the open.
Talking to understand
You know what not to say to a bisexual – are you now at a loss for what to say? Don’t get too embarrassed, remind yourself that she is a normal woman in all respects, open to talking, socializing, open to approach too. She doesn’t expect her straight friends to grasp the fact about her sexuality at once, yet she may be quite willing to discuss some of its aspects with you – especially as long as you don’t begin to inquire about her assumed fondness for threesomes. Marriage and children is always a fruitful issue which can be uppermost on her mind as well, and you might have a very enlightening conversation. Needless to remind that boundaries should be observed and any wish for lurid revelations rejected. If you are afraid that any question might be offensive, it probably is, so forget it and think of another one. And it’s never out of place to voice support!