By Gigi Engle
‘Does bisexual mean you like both genders 50/50 or what? Have you had, like, 500 threesomes? Does this mean you aren’t into monogamy? Are you OK with only getting penis/vagina for the rest of your life when you also like women/men/all people?’
This is just a smattering of the questions that nearly every bisexual person has been asked. I know I certainly have, and I cannot think of a single bisexual person I’ve known who has not. Many bisexual people often face an onslaught of intrusive questions from various people in their lives. However, they can be especially jarring to hear when they come from someone you’re dating—whether seriously or casually.
If you're the inquisitor, you likely mean no harm. I’m certain the questions you ask are likely in good faith and curiosity. With so many of us having grown up with very little sex education—and almost certainly being taught nothing about queer relationships—it’s no wonder people are so puzzled by the bisexual identity. Even the LGBTQIA+ community has been known to alienate bisexuals at times, and we have a B in the acronym!
Invasive questions we bisexual folk hear a little too regularly run from the state of our sex lives, via our current relationships, to solicitations for threesomes or group sex. It can be very difficult for a bisexual person to be viewed in this way, leaving nearly no room for their humanity and making them feel like a strange freak of nature who is deeply misunderstood.
That said, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Increasing numbers of young people in the UK are choosing to abandon the label ’heterosexual‘ for something less binary, but still, it’s productive to illuminate a damaging situation that does still exist so we can help bisexual partners feel safe and secure in romantic and sexual relationships.
Education is the way, pals. Feeling like you can trust someone is a key part of being able to experience sexual pleasure, so don’t ruin a good thing by asking any of these questions if you’re dating a bisexual person.
Am I just a phase for you?
There is a depressingly popular ‘theory’: bisexual people are still just trying to figure out which gender they like and, eventually, they’ll pick one and stick to it forever.
This is not how it works, babe. Being bisexual is completely valid and it is most certainly not just a phase. This question is rude and pejorative. Even when a bisexual person declares their identity loud and proud, many still feel uncomfortable. This stigma exists in both the queer and straight communities. I’ve yet to encounter a bisexual client who has not been questioned, put down, or had a partner have almost constant doubts about whether or not they’re ‘actually queer.’
Treating a person’s identity as a phase is not only damaging to the person you’re questioning, but also to your relationship with them. Don’t do this.
Did I make you straight/gay?
Questions of the same nature include: ‘How can you be bi if I’m your girlfriend/boyfriend?’; ‘How can you be bi if you’re dating women/men now?’; ‘You used to be bisexual, but you’re gay/straight now because of me, right?’
This is the same as looking at the bisexual person you’re dating, someone who you should be treating with kindness and respect, and screaming, ‘What are you?!?!’
Just because a person happens to be in a ‘straight’ looking or ‘gay’ looking relationship, doesn’t automatically mean they’re straight or gay. Being bi is being bi. Your relationship status doesn’t change your identity. Bisexuality is complex, as are all forms of sexuality. If you can’t handle it, maybe this isn’t the right relationship for you, my dude.
Are you OK with a monogamous relationship? Don’t you need to be with men and women?
This is a pretty common question bisexual people are often faced with. I’m married to a cis-man and I’m still regularly asked intrusive questions by random people I barely know about our level of openness. (Hint: It’s none of your business, sweetie).
Being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender. It does not mean you’re necessarily monogamous, open, poly, etc. These things are not the same.
This question comes from a dark, tragic place: the pervasive and highly damaging notion that bisexual people are ‘greedy’, ‘insatiable’, and ‘can never get enough sex/romance’. Some bisexual people are monogamous, some are not.
Look, asking someone if they’re monogamous, open, poly etc., is all ok. This is a part of getting to know someone. There is no reason to tack on an uneducated addendum to this conversation based on a person’s identity. It’s wrong and it will likely mean you won’t be getting another date.
You say you’re bisexual, but you’ve only dated X people, so are you really bisexual?
Let’s be very, very clear here: Bisexuality is about sexual attraction, not experience. You can be bisexual and have never had a same sex or opposite sex experience. A bisexual person doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone to feel what they feel.
It’s ridiculous to assume that you know more about someone’s identity than they do. We bisexuals are not jumping on some queer bandwagon to get attention. We know our own minds and being comfortable with who we are has taken hard work. The last person a bisexual needs to hear this bullshit from is someone they’re intimately involved with. Got it? Great.
You’re, like, 50/50 into dudes and girls then, right?
There is a common myth that bisexuality means an even split between male and female genders. Not everyone is 50/50. In fact, most people are not.
It may seem like an innocent question to ask, but it implies that a person is obligated to be attracted to people in a certain way—specifically to you and your gender identity. That isn’t how attraction works when you’re not on a the straight heterosexual binary.
Bisexuality means that you have the potential to be attracted to men, women, non-binary folk, trans people of either gender, etc.
Have you had a ton of threesomes?
This question goes hand-in-hand with soliciting a bisexual person for the threesome you’ve been dreaming of yourself. While it isn’t gender-specific, usually bisexual women wind up fielding this question from new lovers.
Threesomes can be a fun and interesting way to explore sexuality. The bisexual you are talking to may be very into the idea or have experience with threesomes, group sex, etc. It’s nice to have conversations about someone’s sexual history and for you to share yours as well. Again, this has nothing to do with being bisexual—it’s about what someone is into trying.
Be respectful when asking someone how they feel about this. Hey, if they’re on Feeld, you’ll probably know pretty quickly what they enjoy. That’s why we’re here, after all: to explore sexuality in a safe, kind, and consensual way.