In honor of Bisexuality Awareness Day, which was Sept. 23, I want to talk about something that merges two of my all-time favorite topics: queer stuff and sexy stuff. This is a little bit of a deviation from strictly sex talk, but who we’re having sex with is a huge part of human sexuality, and I’d like to address a few things in this article that I think are worth mentioning.
First of all, I’d like to say that I don’t identify with the word “bisexual,” but that I do actually like boys. If we were measuring me on the Kinsey scale right now, I’d probably be a 4, meaning “not quite gay but definitely not straight.” In other words, call me bi if you want, because I guess technically you’d be right. But the reason I call myself “queer” instead of anything else is because of some not-so-awesome responses to my bisexuality in the past.
Bisexuality is, in my opinion, very complicated and very interesting. For one, I believe sexuality is fluid, meaning that basically we’re all on a scale. Some of us are 100% straight. Others are 100% gay. And then there’s everyone in between. (For the purpose of making things simple, I’m going to use the word “bisexual” for everyone that falls in that gray-area—even though there are many other labels available, like pan sexual, demisexual and queer, among others.)
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard the stereotypes. Bisexuals are confused, they’re greedy, they’re just in a transitional phase and will end up either straight or gay in the end. Guess what. That’s all a load of crap. It’s not true. Please get that out of your head right now, no matter what else you take away from this column. Bisexuality is a legitimate identity, and is probably a whole lot more common in people than you think.
The thing that bothers me the most about bisexual stereotypes, though, is how often they coincide with our sexual habits. Probably the most common theme that I hear among bisexual stereotypes is over-sexualization. The words “slutty” and “cheater” come to mind when I think of those types of assumptions, and let me tell you, from the perspective of a bisexual person, that really sucks.
There’s a real-life example I have of a guy I wanted to date when I was 16. He seemed really understanding and cool, until a few weeks in when he texted me with this little gem: “Sarah, I just want you to know that I respect the fact that you’re into girls and I would never want to make you feel like you have to repress that part of you. I would still totally let you sleep with girls while we were dating, as long as it was just sex.”
Needless to say, I didn’t date him because he perpetuated these weirdly sex-obsessed assumptions about my sexuality. First of all, it seems like he thinks my sex drive is double what a straight or gay person’s is. Maybe he thinks I can’t survive on monogamous sex? I don’t know, but I just want to make it clear: if I like you and I like the sex we’re having, I’m not going to sit down and ponder the missing hole in my life because I’m not also having sex with a lady. That’s just not going to happen for me.
Secondly, it’s implied that I’ll feel the inherent need to cheat because I’m also attracted to girls. Cheating is an issue for many people, and it’s possible that your girlfriend may cheat on you with another girl. But that means your girlfriend is a cheater. It doesn’t mean that bisexuality made her a cheater. Completely separate issues.
Thirdly, and this one is a little more subtle, but still there, he makes it sound like the sex I’d have with a girl is less meaningful than the sex I’d have with a dude. (If I had sex with another guy it’d be cheating, but if it was just a girl, it didn’t count.) I can personally attest to the falsehood of this one; I’m having some pretty meaningful sex right now, and it’s with a girl. Surprise.
This is something that actually happened to me in real-life, and it’s something that happens to many people who fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. And that’s a shame. I don’t need anyone else to try to explain the reasons why I have sex with the people I have sex with. That’s really nobody’s business by mine and my partner’s. So, if anyone tries to fit you into a box (a creepy, sex-obsessed box especially), turn your fabulous self away and leave.