“Bisexuality is just an excuse for horny people to have lots of sex.”
“I just don’t see how bisexuals can like both sexes equally.”
“Bisexuals are just people who can’t come to terms with being homosexual.”
…..Okay, where to even start?
To begin with, I thought most people wished they could have lots of sex (good sex that is, and yes that was a joke). Liking and having sex in and of itself is not specific to bisexuals – it’s an inherent trait of some individuals.
That amusing anecdote aside, bisexuality is something frequently misunderstood by all save bisexuals themselves. The first quote is a reaction I hear from heterosexuals primarily, and I get it – there is this misconception that bisexuals somehow exist to deceive and spread disease because we just want sex from whomever we can get our hands on. If religious, societal, or relationship pressures make it so that a person can’t share their sexual attractions with their partner, yes it may fester and cause them to eventually do something devastating to said partner. Their “true” sexual orientation doesn’t matter; just like heterosexual affairs, you have a person willing to commit adultery rather than be honest with their unhappiness in a relationship and call it off, or acknowledge that having attractions doesn’t mean needing to act upon them. And it’s people (no matter their sexuality) who refuse to practice safe sex that spread disease. Bisexuality has nothing to do with a lack of monogamy or ignorance as to how safe sex works, and it never will. Individuals make that choice.
Let’s move on to the last two quotes. Rare is the bisexual “who likes both sexes equally.” People tend to veer towards one sex or the other in some percentage, despite being attracted to or wanting to date both. Yes, that means that YOU are bisexual if you find the same sex (if you’re straight) or opposite sex (if you’re gay) sexually attractive in some fashion. And you know what? That’s totally okay. Doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to pull a 180, leave your partner, and confuse friends and family. Instead, keep an empathetic mind about things, and hopefully in another decade or so no one will care about that website you visit when no one is around.
As for the “lying to ourselves” accusation, there’s this attitude sometimes that bisexuality can’t be something we’re born into – like we truly have to be straight or gay and are just being obstinate to claim otherwise. Unfortunately, labeling yourself one way or the other isn’t going to magically erase your desires for both sexes, even if it makes those around you content. It’s ironic given the “we’re born this way” argument from homosexuals, but I understand their frustrations. After all, our queerness can be hidden when coupling with someone of the opposite sex. We can potentially avoid the discrimination homosexuals still face, and given how appalling that discrimination still is, it’s no wonder we’re eyed with suspicion.
Even so, these semantics about which team we’re really on fail to address that it’s not all about intercourse to begin with. For some of us the attraction lies in finding that special someone, sex/gender be damned. We don’t need to “come to terms” with anything because what a person’s exterior looks like doesn’t matter, and sexual gratification can be found when the person is right, no matter the hardware. I’d like to think it’s a blessing, but with the way the world is, perhaps it’s a curse.
Indeed, it seems as if we get the best of both worlds to many, but in reality, we don’t. It’s hard trying to date homosexuals or heterosexuals because they fear we will inevitably leave them for the “other side”; that our interest in them is only fleeting if we out our true natures. It doesn’t help that popular culture has made “bi” female/female relations something of a drunken party fetish to be exploited for entertainment purposes – it tells people bisexuality is simply a passing amusement, when for the majority of us, it isn’t. You try and hook up in “straight” clubs and bi men are stigmatized for sleeping with men, while bi women are seen as a pornographic fodder; you try to meet the likeminded through friends but all their friends are hiding if they’re bi for all the aforementioned reasons; if you put up a personal ad on the internet, chances are people think you’re threesome material. So many patron queer clubs to form honest relationships since we’re more accepted there. Still, when you show up with someone of the opposite sex (bi or not), familiar hangouts can feel alien as questioning gazes gravitate your way. It’s all tiresome, and inevitably you end up internalizing a part of your being, hoping for the day you meet someone who won’t hold it against you.
I can’t help but feel that if society would stop trying to twist the innate into an arbitrary dichotomy we’d all be better off. Sexuality is multi-faceted, and compartmentalizing it doesn’t do much aside from pit us against each other needlessly. Hopefully in the future we can just drop the labels and accept that all of us are trying to meet people for the same reasons – namely love.
By Alex TwoSpirit