There are many myths surrounding bisexuality. The most damaging is that we do not exist. This myth posits that bisexual behavior is a mere phase and that those who initially identify as Bi will ultimately turn out to be straight or gay.
The fact that this myth has gotten so much traction is the reason so few Bisexuals come out (28% in the most recent Pew research survey). There are times when myths can be dispelled out of hand. Existence is an easy one. I exist; therefore, Bisexuals exist because I am a Bisexual. Easy Peasy, right? There other myths are a little more complex in nature and not always black and white. Bisexuals have ‘grey area’ for many reasons but one of them being bisexuality is fluid. Our attraction to humans of our own or other genders can ebb and flow over a lifetime.
Let’s take a look at the most enduring myths and stereotypes that exist about bisexuality.
Bisexuals are sexually ‘greedy’ or, to use the much overused word, sluts.
- First of all, let’s examine the idea of being sexually greedy or ‘slutty’. What does this mean, exactly? Prudery seems deeply involved/enmeshed in using this type of language. There is nothing wrong with having multiple sexual partners as long as you behave ethically (safe sex/consent/communication) and to suggest otherwise can perpetuate stereotypes that should simply be dismissed out of hand Polyamorous or promiscuous Bis should not be considered ‘less than’ Bis who are in monogamous relationships. Wrongly emphasizing that in order to be considered a ‘good’ Bi you cannot be sexually voracious seems to play into outmoded societal mores.
Bisexual women only ‘do it’ to turn straight men on.
- There is so much wrong with this stereotype but I will try to unpack it as best I can. It implies that female sexuality is solely for the male gaze and that all female sexual behavior is simply to obtain the ultimate end result a male heterosexual partner. Simply put, all roads lead to cock because that is what all women desire. Nope Nope Nope. If bisexual woman have sex with each other in order to obtain male partners why are lesbians doing so…kinda blows the idea out of the water. Bisexual women have sex with other women to enjoy it. End of subject.
Bisexuals are confused.
- No. The only people who seem to be confused about bisexuality are straights and gays. While there are Bis who go through a period of self discovery and questioning the same could be said for most gays and lesbians. That journey does not mean you are confused it simply means you are trying to ‘find yourself’ as they used to say when I was young. The worse thing about this ongoing narrative is it can make a young person feel their sexuality is not valid and that is dangerous for their physical and mental health. Many moons ago, I had a lesbian tell me this same thing when I was around 19 years old…she just told me I was a lesbian who had not come to terms with my sexuality. I knew exactly who I was (and who I remain at 59) and so I asked her if she might be confused and would ultimately realize she was straight. That went over well. Bottom line: Bis are no more confused than folks of any other sexual orientation and this hackneyed trope causes significant damage.
Bisexuality is a ‘phase’.
- This one amuses me no end. I am 59 I am #stillbisexual. I think the worst thing about this is if anyone were to question a gay man or lesbian in the same way they would immediately be branded a bigot but for some reason this does not hold true for Bis. The coming out process can be just as traumatic and difficult for bisexuals as it can be for gays/lesbians/transgender folks and to suggest that someone would go through that to simply say something that does not feel deeply important and authentic to them is both demeaning and diminishing.
Everybody is Bisexual.
- This is simply not true. Again, this discounts the Bi identity…an identity which far too many struggle with and sublimate due to society’s rampant bi-phobia.
Nobody is Bisexual.
- See above.
Bisexuals cannot be monogamous.
- I have been married for 32 years so this is just wrong. However, many folks (bi, straight, gay, lesbian) have a hard time with monogamy. It may be that it is not a very natural state for most of us and there is nothing wrong with that. Holding Bis to a higher standard is unfair and discriminatory.
Bisexuals love threesomes.
- Again, unless you are a prude this should not really be a problem. Judging by Ashley Madison website lots of straights like threesomes, too. And, frankly, why not? Consenting adults who are doing others no harm should not be judged for any sexual variety they choose to indulge in…so, some Bis like threesomes/foursomes/etc and some don’t and it should not be an issue one way or the other.
I think the most important thing to address is that all Bis are not created alike and just like any other community there is infinite variety. That is the beauty of it.