Ten bisexuality myths that need to die

When I first came out publicly as bisexual in 2010, I was prepared for the onslaught of biphobia that I knew would follow. What I wasn’t prepared for was the mind-boggling things some people believe about bisexuals. I’ve been asked questions and had accusations levelled at me that truly beggar belief. What follows is a list of ten myths about bisexuality that I have, at some point in my life, had presented to me as though they were actual fact.

1. Bisexuals can’t be monogamous

I have yet to have someone properly explain to me why this is supposedly the case. As far as I understand it, the logic is that bisexuals are attracted to both men and women, ergo they must want to be in relationships with both men and women at the same time.

I wish someone had told me this two and a half years ago. I could have had a boyfriend AND a girlfriend for ages now! (Alison Brie, call me!)

Seriously, though, while monogamy isn’t for everyone, bisexuals are just as likely to be monogamous as monosexual people are. I mean, think about it – are you in a relationship with everyone you find attractive? No? Then why would I be?

2. Bisexuals are more likely to cheat

Brought to prominence by poorly-scripted television and bitter men’s rights activists, the idea that bisexuals are all cheaters is an annoyingly pervasive one. Again, I have to ask – if you don’t cheat on your partner with everyone you find attractive, why would you assume that I would?

If anything, being openly bisexual has made it easier to have honest conversations with my partner about my attractions to other people. I’d say there’s a good deal more transparency in my relationship than in many other people’s. Turns out bisexuals can be open, honest communicators too! Cheating has nothing to do with sexual preference and everything to do with making the decision to cheat, and it turns out that that’s one particular decision that monosexuals are just as capable of making.

3. Bi girls will make out with other girls for your pleasure

A bi girl is every boy’s dream girlfriend, am I right, fellas? Not only do you get to have sex with her, but you also get to watch her have sex with other ladies! Bonus!

Yeah…not so much.

Some bi girls are into group sex. Some aren’t. Some enjoy making out with girls at parties (with their partners’ blessings, if they have partners), some don’t. Some bi girls have girlfriends and aren’t really interested in inviting male voyeurs along for the ride. And, you know, some bi girls just don’t think about sex all that much at all, which leads me to the next myth…

4. Bisexuals have really intense libidos

All right, all right. Guilty as charged. I think about sex approximately a million times per second (yeah, my brain works that fast), and I rarely ever turn it down when it’s offered. But not all bisexuals are that way. Our libidos run the gamut from always-on to totally absent. (Yes, there are asexual biromantics, that’s a thing!) While TV tends to present us as sex-crazed fiends who will do anything to get laid, in reality, we have standards just like pretty much everyone else does, and if you’re the creepy guy at the bar winking at me when I mention that I’m bi, you probably don’t meet them.

5. Every girl’s a “little bit bi”

Thanks, exploitative creators of Girls Gone Wild! Because what women really needed was even more assumptions about their sexualities.

Some girls are bi. Some girls are gay. Some girls are straight. Well…most girls are straight, actually. I’ve met straight girls who’ve identified as bicurious, but they’re not nearly as common as you think. Stop pouring drinks for college girls in the hope that if you get them drunk enough, they’ll suddenly realise they’re into ladies too. Almost 100% of the time, that’s not how it works.

Interestingly, nobody claims that every boy’s a little bit bi, probably because the straight dudes who come up with this stuff aren’t all that excited by the idea of two drunk guys making out. Pity, huh?

6. Bi people just can’t pick a side

Yes we can. We “picked” bisexuality.

This one is particularly hurtful because it comes from both straight and gay people. I’ve had straight people tell me I’m “only doing it for the attention” (only doing what, flirting with girls while in a long-term committed relationship with my partner? you got me!) and gay people tell me I’m “bi now, gay later” and that I need to come out of the closet (despite my deep and abiding love for sex with attractive and interesting men). To monosexuals, the idea that someone might be attracted to more than one gender is apparently so foreign that they have to rationalise it by assigning some kind of motive to us – we’re attention-seekers, we’re scared of coming out, we just don’t know ourselves well enough yet.

Personally, it’s straight people I don’t get. Straight dudes, how can you not want to sleep with Idris Elba? That man is sex on a stick. You are missing. out.

7. You can’t know you’re bi until you’ve dated both men and women

The weird thing about this one is that nobody says this to straight people.

Take a straight virgin. They’ve never had sex with anyone. So how do they know they’re only attracted to people of different genders? Surely they should have to get empirical proof of their attraction, or how else can they know for sure that they’re straight?

If that sounded ridiculous to you, that’s because it is. And yet, it’s something people say to me all the time. I’ve only ever been in relationships with men, so how can I know that I’m attracted to women and would be interested in having sex with them? What if I just find women aesthetically attractive but wouldn’t actually sleep with one given the chance?

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you see someone you think is hot – that little rush of blood that’s your body’s way of telling you that you would definitely be interested in seeing that person with fewer clothes on?

Yeah, I get that when I see a woman I like. That’s how I know, genius.

8. Bisexuals are attracted to everyone

I love my mother to bits, I really do, but she’s a bit clueless about things sometimes. A while back, she confided in me that she didn’t know if a bi classmate of hers was inviting her out for lunch as a friend, or because she found my mother attractive.

“Are you attracted to every male friend of yours?” I asked, to which she answered that of course she wasn’t, because that would be preposterous. No straight person is attracted to everyone of the opposite sex.

“So why would you assume that just because she’s attracted to women, she’d be attracted to you?”

Oh. Yeah. Guess that’s kinda silly, right?

Like everyone, bisexuals have taste preferences. I personally love tall, dark-haired girls with a wicked sense of humour and a sultry voice like something out of a classic noir film. If you’re a petite blonde who sounds like Reese Witherspoon, I’m sure you’re swell, but you’re just not my type.

Don’t take it personally. I’m notoriously picky.

9. Bisexuals are greedy

“Best of both worlds, eh? Couldn’t just settle for one or the other!”

Yes, because that’s absolutely how sexuality works.

Bisexuality isn’t about greed – it’s about being able to feel sexual attraction to people of both your own and other genders. I didn’t choose to be bisexual – I was born like this. When I like someone, I just don’t care that much about their gender. Call it greed if you want – I call it the way I was made.

10. Bisexuals will never be ready to “settle down”

Ah, the roving bisexual – always hunting for something better, something their current partner can’t give them. A bisexual will never settle down because whether they’re with a girl or a guy (or someone of another gender entirely), there will always be something they want that they can’t get from the person they’re with.

Some day, I will meet this mythical insatiable bisexual and ask them how they do it. It sounds exhausting.

Like most people, bisexuals are perfectly capable of making a commitment to one partner (or multiple partners, if they’re poly) and sticking with it. Ask yourself – would you leave your partner of a different gender every single time you came across someone who could offer you something they couldn’t? Probably not, right? After all, you presumably love the person you’re with for who they are and are willing to accept, like all rational beings, that no one person can ever be completely perfect.

No, my partner doesn’t have the things I like in women. But he’s got a lot of the things I love in a man, and that’s more than enough for me. Might there presumably be a girl out there who would satisfy me in ways my current partner doesn’t? Sure. Would she be able to satisfy me in all the ways my current partner does? Probably not. Am I so tormented by “what I’m missing” that I’ll some day leave my partner to in search of someone who can satisfy me in different ways?

Let me just say that you wouldn’t be asking that if you knew how great this boy was in bed. (Love you, baby!)

When it comes down to it, bisexuals are just…people. They tend to like what most people like, dislike what most people dislike and want the same things most people want. Our sexualities don’t make us special – they’re just a part of who we are, the same way your sexuality is. Yes, there are bisexuals who are poly, bisexuals who cheat, bisexuals who will do anything for great sex, bisexuals who will never settle down, bisexuals who will later come out as either gay or straight – but there are monosexual people who do all of those things as well. These aren’t sexuality-exclusive behaviours – they’re just human ones, both positive and negative and in between. That’s because at the end of the day, bisexuals are human. And the funny thing about that is that it means we tend to act like other humans do.

Strange, huh?

(You’re right about one thing, though – we are way more fabulous than you.)

15 thoughts on “Ten bisexuality myths that need to die

  1. i’m just really confused but i am 60% sure i am bi… but i can’t talk about it with anyone, because nobody i know personally would ever understand me, heck people are sometimes just so close-minded to things that they hadn’t dealt with… BUT a midst all of these chaos in my head and in my heart, i was quite relieved reading this article because it feels like someone finally understands what is running in my head… that i am not alone in this experience. so thank you.

  2. Someday in the future, our descendants will react with the same eye-rolling to these prejudices that teens today use when I tell them that in my lifetime, marriage between blacks and whites was illegal in many US states. They will marvel at the monumental arrogance that made some people assume that the way THEY are is the way everyone SHOULD be made, and that to deviate is a sin against the God who, hello, created us all the way we are. Keep on standing up for yourself, although it must get tiring to face the same tired stereotypes so often.

  3. Pingback: A Little Something on Sexuality | Make A Wish

  4. Perfect! I have also expetienced people making most of these asdumptiond. Another one that I get a lot especially because I’m in college and came out fairly recently is that it’s “just a phase.” And some people in my life, particularly family members, also view my interest in women as less real than my interest in men.

  5. Hi. I’ve read some of your posts I’ve been thinking. You said it yourself that you haven’t figured yourself out. I’m sure that in response to this, you will say something like “you can’t judge me” or “you don’t know me better than I know myself” but I’ll say it anyway. I don’t think you’re bi. Every thick-rimmed female hipster has been calling herself queer/pansexual. You seem to like Idris Elba. As a 6’4 mesomorph, he is about as far from androgynous as a man can get. Yet you like women too and it seems that you like the tall/somewhat masculine types who can be considered slightly androgynous while still being considered completely female. And then you like those in between. So either you are not attracted to physical features and you’re instead attracted only to a masculine energy/attitude in any gender (a lack of attraction to physical features makes this fall under pansexual), or you are only actually attracted to one of these physically very dissimilar types and you’re mistaking admiration for actual physical attraction. This is very common. Some lesbians think that they are sexually attracted to men. They enjoy sex with men, relationships with men, etc. and consider themselves bi. But they are not actually aroused by male features, other than an erect/ejaculating penis. They are actually empathizing with the man and, in a way, getting off to themselves. So in conclusion, you are either pansexual or a flexible lesbian/hetero, but not bi. Being attracted to contradicting male and female physical features is not possible. You may say it is, but all of my experience says it is not and at this point, I cannot believe you if you say you like both. Someone is either aroused by a wide jaw, or a thin jaw; a prominent chin, or a recessed chin; wide shoulders or thin shoulders; long torso or short torso. Some features may fit an overall face/body better, but it’s the overall look that counts. And there is a difference between appreciation and attraction.

    BTW, as a non-white man who’s experienced quite a bit of racism even before 9-11, I can say you definitely have a limited view on the world, white privilege, etc. White people destroyed the rest of the world, but they do not control it anymore. It is easy to gain institutional/political/economic/media power as a minority woman. You just haven’t done it.

    • um…lol?

      If you know anything about me at all (which you don’t seem to), you know that my type when it comes to women are femmes. Hard femmes, yes, but femmes. Femmes with amazing cleavage and hips that sway when they walk and legs for miles and full lips painted red and dark eyes with a little wicked spark in them. Jessica Rabbit in the flesh, Carmen Sandiego come to life. My dream wifey is Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect, dude. I know what I’m into, and what I’m into definitely includes ladies.

      Sorry to disappoint you, but you really suck at knowing my sexuality better than I know it myself.

    • Can we have a future law that states: no straights are ever allowed to tell non-straight persons what they’re truly attracted to? Also, since when are bisexual women obligated to be attracted to only androgynous men? Why don’t you fess up and say right away you’re a piece of shit homophobic dickweed and save us all the trouble.

    • You are so wrong. I consider myself bisexual or pansexual (I’m not that into labels) because I can be attracted to all genders inculding men woman and transgendered people or whoever else. I like woman who are very girly with beautiful curves and long hair, girl who’s are petite and pretty with very girly features and faces. and I can also be attracted to more masculine chicks sometimes too. And in men I’m attracted to very masculine types, with big arms and hairy chests and beards very manly men, rough and hard, the kind if man who comes home from a hard job all sweaty and dirty and sexy. Tall and handsom with very masculine fefeatures. I’m not as attracted to more feminine type men but I have been attracted to gay men that occaisonally dress in drag. And I’m also attracted to gender queer people who are very adrongynous, so much so thay sometimes people see them and don’t even know what sex they are. And I’m attracted to both men and women in drag. I’m attracted to PEOPLE. I love different gender types and different features. I love the girly features of a womans body and the hard features of a mans and everything in between. And I couldn’t possibly be lying because I’ve had sex and strong feelings for both men and women and I promise you that I really enjoy all of them. I fanatsize about men and women. And I love how different they are from each other. So… you see, you couldn’t be more wrong. And may I ask your gender and orientation, just out of curiosity.?

  6. Love this! I am bi too. The thing I got the most when I came out – besides people not believing it exists – was, “How can you know?!” Sometimes I’d lay it out real plainly for people if I found it necessary. And I’d say, “How can you know you’re straight?” It was super frustrating. It took me a long time to realize I am bi, so once I figured that out about myself and got over self-stigma, it was aggravating that people denied it.

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