The media misrepresents bisexuality. Outdated stereotypes and jokes seem to make it the butt of comedy far too often. Because bisexuality can be ambiguously defined, people tend to not take it as seriously as other sexual orientations. This occurs for no other reason besides the fact that bisexuality doesn’t fit in any predetermined box. I want to share some common misconceptions about dating someone who is bisexual, but first, a few definitions to clear up any confusion:
Bisexuality Definition #1: Someone who is attracted to more than one gender.
Bisexuality Definition #2: Someone who is drawn to emotional and/or sexual relationships with different genders, although terms relating to bisexuality run the gamut and can include descriptors such as pansexual, queer, ambisexual and omnisexual.
Bisexuality Isn't Real
Among American adults, 4% identify as bisexual, compared with only 2% identifying as either gay or lesbian. Despite being the largest part of the LGBT community, they still have people doubting their legitimacy—which hurts. As Cracked puts it, “in the collective consciousness, [bisexuals] exist as the mythological fusion of two extant creatures, like a mermaid, instead of a real combination that exists, like a spork.”
The reason why so many people don’t believe in bisexuality is due to its changing definition. Because bisexuality exists on a continuum and because bisexuals often have a fluid definition of their own sexuality, this ends up confusing anyone who thinks in binaries. It makes people uncomfortable when someone doesn't choose a “side.” But this discomfort is not a good enough reason to say that something doesn't exist when in truth, it does.
If you’re dating someone who identifies as bisexual, be supportive and don’t challenge their sexual identity. They know what they like better than you do.
Bisexuality is a Phase
One of the more patronizing misconceptions, calling bisexuality “just a phase” is demeaning and it’s a refusal to acknowledge the complexities of sexual orientation over a person’s lifetime. Bisexuality is misrepresented as a period of experimentation (often in college) where people try to figure out their “true” sexual orientation.
To debunk this myth, a University of Utah study, conducted with a sample of 79 women over 10 years, showed that that bisexuality was not a transitional period. Only two of the woman who had identified as bisexual in adolescence changed their identity to either straight or lesbian by the end of the study. Which means the majority of women who had previously labeled themselves as bisexual were consistently sexually fluid over time, maintaining attractions to both genders to varying degrees, over the course of a decade.
So don’t worry that your bisexual girlfriend or boyfriend is going to change their mind and stop being attracted to your gender—it’s statistically unlikely.
There is the assumption out there that bisexuals have fidelity issues, which is rooted in nothing factual at all. Some people assume that if a bisexual is with one gender, they will always crave the other gender and vice versa. And while this may or may not be true, the reality remains that many people (regardless of sexual identity/gender) have kinks and types of people they lust after. But attraction doesn’t automatically equal infidelity.
Just because a bisexual person could theoretically feel attracted to more people than a straight or gay person doesn’t mean they’re going to act on it. So have some faith in your bisexual partner—they picked you for a reason.
To move on with our lives, it’s really time for these myths to be put to bed.
Yes bisexuals are real, yes they are everywhere and yes it is possible to have a fulfilling, trusting relationship with someone who identifies one. I believe that being open to thinking beyond the binaries will only enrich your life.