This one has been a long time coming.
I am a bisexual woman. Many people seem to be very unclear about what this means. Let me help clear up what it doesn’t mean:
1. I am not greedy.
Bisexuality is not the same as polyamory. It means quite simply that I am sexually and romantically attracted to people of both genders. This does not mean that I want both at the same time, or that I need both a man and a woman to satisfy my needs. It means that I like women and I like men, so the partner I choose could be either a man or a woman. I’m an equal opportunity dater.
2. I do not like threesomes.
This kind of goes back to number one, but I have to stress this. After a seriously bad breakup, I used the online dating service OkCupid. Now, I’m not going to lie about my sexuality so I clearly stated that I am bisexual. I cannot over-exaggerate how many straight couples contacted me to be the “other woman” in their bedroom fantasies. No. If that works for you, more power to you as long as you’re all consenting adults. Bisexuality does not mean I’m a card carrying escort for hire into your relationship that needs a little spicing up.
3. I’m not going to “choose” one or the other eventually.
If I were to date someone – anyone – I would not “change my mind” about my sexual orientation and somehow decide later that I prefer only to be with men or only to be with women. I have never dated a lesbian for this exact reason. A common belief in the LG community is that bisexuals are just “halfway out of the closet” and sooner or later they’ll choose one or the other. For bisexual men, the assumption is that they will end up gay. For bisexual women, the assumption is that they are with women for attention, and are actually straight.
Both of these misconceptions are unfortunately attributed to bisexuals because of the society we live in: many men do claim they are bisexual as a baby step towards accepting their sexuality, and many straight women do seek male attention by fooling around with girls. This is not the fault of any bisexual person, and I’m sick and tired of being lumped into a category or an assumption because of it. If I am with a woman, I’m with a woman. I am a monogamous person by nature. The same goes for if I am with a man. I will not change my sexuality out of thin air. I was born this way.
4. You cannot watch me kiss a girl.
I am not a sideshow porn for your amusement. I kiss someone when I am interested in them and for absolutely no other reason. Put your dudebro away and leave me alone.
5. Do not ever tell me you’re also bi when you’re drunk.
Bisexuality is not something that only comes out when you’re inebriated, it is part of who you are. Yes, there are many people who get more touchy-feely when they are drunk, but that does not make them bisexual. Reducing my sexuality – part of my identity – to some sort of temporary condition that is induced by mind-altering substances is an insult to me, plain and simple.
6. I am not confused.
I was confused for a long time, when I was interested in both boys and girls but people who found out I had been with a girl would call me a lesbian. They said it in such a hateful way, it had to be bad, or so my adolescent self thought. I didn’t even know bisexuality was an option. I have been interested in women for as long as I can remember. My first kiss was in preschool with a girl whose name I can’t remember. We were hiding underneath a ramp on the playground. My preschool “boyfriend” saw us and threw rocks at me.
I was sexually intimate with a girl before I was sexually intimate with a boy. My relationships with girls were always secret, always hidden under the premise of “experimentation” or “friendship.” It was more than that. I just couldn’t come to terms with it. Until my 20s. After struggling to come to terms with my own sexuality for over 20 years, I can safely tell you that I am not confused. I love men and I love women. That’s it, and it’s real, and it’s legitimate.
Bisexuality is different depending upon the person, but I know many other bisexual men and women who are sick and tired of these misconceptions, stereotypes, and labels being slapped onto them by both the heterosexual and homosexual communities. We say LGBT all the time, but there are certainly times I don’t feel accepted within my own community. There are certainly times when I feel like I’m not being taken seriously by my allies. It’s a shitty feeling.
So here’s the bottom line: a person’s sexuality is completely individual. To group them together under a label and make assumptions about their lives based on said label is wrong, and it does a disservice to both you and that person. If you have to ask the stereotypical questions, I will grit my teeth and educate you, but stop being a jackass about it and pretending like you already know.
We need to stop trying to control what happens in peoples’ bedrooms by vilifying or condemning different sexual practices. In my book, as long as the activities are being performed between consenting adults, anything goes. It’s none of my business. It might not be my thing, but more power to you. I think the world will be a better place when we can all stop obsessing about the sexual lives of others, and focus on our own.
Amelia Shroyer is a native Texan who moved abroad in a fit of fearlessness in 2011 and works in online marketing and translation. She is into writing, painting, playing classic adventure rpgs, and revolutionary art. She writes regularly for her blog Pay My Rant. She also sings in a band called Fort Knightly. She has a background in political science and French, and lives in Berlin with her partner and her cat Dakeeti.