Julie Gillis is the co-producer of Bedpost Confessions, a monthly sex positive show from Austin, Texas.
There are many beautiful letters in the alphabet signifying queer identities from Gay to Trans to Lesbian to Questioning and Ally. The “B” in LGBT is a letter that can feel wedged in, an orientation stepchild, a sexuality that’s hard to comprehend.
Simply put, being bisexual means being sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of multiple genders. Of course, nothing is ever really simple when it comes to sex, is it?
Bisexuality can bring to mind outrageous fantasies of hot 3-ways, great sex and overwhelming options for dating. It also carries a great deal of confusion with fears and suspicions that it isn’t even real.
I’m bisexual and I’ve known it since middle school. I was long befuddled about dating and feelings I had for my female friends. I worried if I was normal or not. Luckily, I found the Kinsey Scale when I was older and able to explore my sexuality. I realized that there was a number for me, that bisexuality was indeed real and it was an orientation with misunderstanding and myths surrounding it.
As I’m always one to dismantle myths that keep people from living their sexual lives to the fullest, let’s examine a few.
Bisexuals Are Horny Over-Achievers:
Many myths around bisexuality center around having more options for dating, but that bisexuals take those options as far as they can go. While there can be more options, as you are dating more than one gender, that doesn’t mean you’ll meet more people with whom you have chemistry, who also are open to bisexual dating just like you and who want to date you.
As such, bisexual people may wind up dating less people, especially in areas where LGBT rights and safety aren’t supported.
Frustratingly, many of my bisexual peers have experienced the dynamic that bisexual women are assumed to always be up for 3-ways with their gentlemen friends. There are indeed hot bi babes, but don’t assume they are “up for everything” just because they are bisexual. Just don’t do that.
Bisexuals Are Automatically Polyamorous:
This goes hand in hand with the myth that bi people are sexually greedy. It implies that in order to live bisexually you’ll have to date or partner with more than one person at a time. While it’s true that there are bisexual people who feel drawn to open relationships, polyamory is not a requirement of being bisexual. There are lots of monogamous, faithful bisexual folk out there in happy, long-term committed relationships – both hetero or same-sex.
You Are Really Just Straight Or Gay:
The myth that bisexuality is just a transition to one end of the gay/straight continuum implies it isn’t real. It implies that bi people can’t be counted on in a committed relationship and that they are lying about who they really are and that bisexuality can and will pass. This leads to the belief that people who are bisexual don’t count as full members of the queer community, which limits political power for the whole LGBT spectrum.
It’s extremely understandable that many young gay people would move from culturally approved straightness through bisexuality on their way to fully coming out at gay in a community that makes coming out very hard. It’s also equally true that many people truly are attracted to both genders. This can lead to frustrating feelings for bisexuals and everyone else. The best way to combat this is to encourage bisexuals to keep coming out of the closet. It’s certainly why I’m out and loud about my sexuality and there are great resources out there to help.
Sadly, there are many other myths out there, such as: If you have one bisexual experience it means you can’t be straight. You are likely to be dirty or diseased. You’ll automatically cheat. Thankfully, there are more and more places breaking these myths down, more and more people talking about sexuality, how to live fully, openly, and with strong ethics, health, and honesty.
A good friend of mine, also bisexual, said this to me recently, about orientation and sexuality: “I truly get angry that we even need to explain or define or label or defend or demand understanding from others about who we love, how we love, what we like, how we groove. It’s so primitive politically and spiritually to have to make it an issue, and yet we must or young folks, especially, get confused and shamed and even beaten or worse because they (or others) don’t believe they’re normal. I pray for the day when we’ll all get to just be.”
I do too. Bisexuality is real. We should celebrate this beautiful letter in the amazing alphabet of queer, and by definition human, sexuality.
You can read more from Julie and her column, Advice From Your Aunt Julie, in our Spring 2013 issue of Flurt! Magazine available through iTunes and Pocketmags in April. Ask Julie questions for her next column at firstname.lastname@example.org