For the first large chunk of my adult life I enjoyed serious relationships with men and not-so-serious relationships with women. I had boyfriends and even a husband or two – all guys. I’ve also had a few friends with benefits – male and female – and I never considered it an issue. I never even identified as bisexual. Not because I was ashamed or embarrassed by the women I dated, but simply because I just didn’t think about it much. It wasn’t until I found myself actually wanting a relationship with women that I began to think of myself that way and I began to notice more and more the strange and sometimes insulting things people would assume about me because of that fact. I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling and so I’ve created a list of the 10 most common misconceptions about bisexuals in order to help everyone understand that bisexuality isn’t some fashionable sexual accessory label or a way to explain away just wanting to have fun – it’s a part of who we are and something no one should ever feel ashamed about.
1. We’re not all into threesomes…well, not any more than the rest of you perverts.
This is perhaps the biggest misconception about bisexuals. Somewhere along the line people got the idea that if you enjoy sex and relationships with both men and women that means you’re down with going to Pleasure Town with anyone who asks. Whenever I was faced with this I felt torn. On the one hand, I was glad someone would at least ask about it so I could set the record straight. But, on the other hand, I was left wondering “Where the hell do you come up with this shit?” It’s like they all think bisexuals have to act like their 1970s porn star actress “I-Just-Came-to-Take-a-Shower-and-Now-We’re-all-Having-Sex-With-the-Cable-Guy” counterparts.
2. We (usually) don’t have a TRUE favorite.
Having Sex with men and women is very, very different. Night and Day different. So it’s pretty impossible to say I have a favorite gender when it comes to sex. There are aspects of sex with a man that are amazing and there are equally amazing aspects to having sex with a woman. It’s not a competition. I’m sure there are people who identify as bisexual and who also have a distinct preference of one over the other, but it’s not the standard and, more to the point, it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask someone unless you’re really, really close.
3. Just because I date a man then, later, a woman, I haven’t “gone straight” or “gone gay”. I’M BISEXUAL!
When I would go out with a guy or bring him to a party, most people didn’t bat an eye. Change things around and bring a girl I’ve been seeing? Suddenly everyone’s pulling me to one side and asking if I’ve gone “completely gay”. The whole point of identifying and coming to terms with being bisexual is accepting that you find both sexes genuinely attractive in their own right. It’s not about choosing sides.
4. No, we don’t have all the secrets to the opposite sex.
Guy friends always used to ask me to decode what their girlfriends were saying and my female friends would ask the same stuff about what their boyfriends really meant by a text or a conversation. Look, being bisexual doesn’t imbue us with all the secrets of the universe. We’re just as confused about how the minds of men and women work as the rest of you. Sorry!
5. You can’t tell, really? Isn’t that true for MOST PEOPLE?
I never got it when people would say something like “You don’t even look gay” when I’d introduce them to a woman I was seeing. Is there a look for bisexual people? Is there some sort of Basic-Bisexual-Starter-Kit I’m missing out on?
6. Bisexuals care about LGBT issues too.
While the LGBT community is, by and large, incredibly inclusive and welcoming, there’s a prevailing feeling among bisexuals that we’re seen as tourists or something. It’s as if we have one foot in each world and so we sometimes end up feeling isolated from both. This is especially true when it comes to issues like marriage equality and the right for ALL PEOPLE to create a family and a life for themselves. While the truth is that I DO have a personal and vested interest in these issues since I’m married to a woman, I’d care about those issues anyway even if I was straight because, you know, I’m a good human being. I also feel passionately about helping the working poor and bringing up the literacy rate in America, although I’m neither living below the poverty line not illiterate. So while there may be people within the LGBT community who have a more intense story or who feel they “tick more boxes” than I do, don’t assume that my road has been easy or that I am incapable of fighting passionately for hat I believe is right.
7. Stop Saying I Can “Pass as Straight”.
There’s a perception that bi people have it easier since we can “pass” as straight if I were so inclined. In a way I get what they’re saying, some gay and trans people do have a certain look that has become the stereotype and that can make them more vulnerable to verbal or physical attacks. But for the most part, people of any sexuality look just like (gasp!) regular human beings. So please don’t tell me – or anyone – they could “pass for straight” as if it’s some kind of compliment because what you’re really saying is “It’s way easy for you to lie about who and what you are” and I’ve got no time, energy or space for that in my life.
8. It’s Not All About Sex.
Bisexual is not a synonym for ‘nymphomaniac’. Sure, the sex is great but I didn’t ‘decide’ to become bi just to up the pool of available sex partners. In fact, the only decision involved in the process was my decision to just accept myself for who I am.
9. No, I’m not ‘confused’. It really is possible to like BOTH SEXES!
Romantic and sexual relationships with men are different from relationships with women and each offers huge advantages as well as unique challenges. There are certain things you can get from women you can’t get from guys and vice versa, so it’s not about being confused about which gender is right for me, it’s about accepting that the way I fall in love has more to do with the aspects of a person’s character than what’s going on below the belt.
10. My sexuality isn’t the most important thing about me.
This one is true about everyone no matter how they identify sexually. I don’t want to be known as ‘that bisexual girl’. How about instead I’m that girl with a ridiculously large book collection or the clumsy chick who is eternally apologizing to the inanimate objects I bump into daily or even just how about Kelly – wife, mother nerdy friend.