S: “Would you ever marry someone bi?”
P: “Yeah probably?”
S: “Really? Aren’t you scared they’re going to cheat on you?”
The above conversation ensued between two of my best friends toward the end of high school. S had been my best friend for the last ten years – going through all the ups and downs of my sexuality and sexual exploration with me. The exchange hit hard, reminding me of the hidden and usually unspoken taboo against bisexuality.
Just a disclaimer before you read on, I am not saying my struggles being bisexual are more significant than the struggles of any other non-heterosexual or non-cisgendered identities. Additionally, these are just based on my personal experiences, and it definitely does not reflect the plight or experiences of every bisexual-identifying person out there.
Being a bisexual woman comes with a plethora of discriminatory comments, over-generalizations and random people suddenly deciding they’re experts on your sexuality, but for the sake of brevity, I will not go through all my plights.
Telling people I’m bisexual from high school onward usually been met with either acceptance or comments along the lines of, “it’s just a phase” or “I think anyone can appreciate the aesthetic qualities of a beautiful woman”. While those coming out with their homosexuality certainly have faced comments about it being a phase, somehow in my experience, people find it easier to make offhand comments delegitimizing bisexuality. It’s as if their clearly thought-out personal opinion will suddenly enlighten me, setting me back on the right path. Oh, how silly of me to confuse general appreciation of someone’s attractiveness as romantic or sexual desire. I’ve been so lost.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard, or can correctly assume, that bisexual people, especially women, are frequently propositioned for threesomes. This may sound like a mild inconvenience, even hot to some. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good threesome. I’ve had the good fortune of being asked by some very attractive couples and groups, which occasionally stops me from complaining about this for a while. However, it does not negate the fact that bisexual people are very often fetishized and seen as hypersexual or “easy”. It seems to somehow be confusing that a bisexual person might refuse a threesome, just like one would refuse any sexual encounter.
Somehow my boyfriend still thinks it’s acceptable to say shit like, “You should fuck ____ because you’re bi and she’s hot!” First,I’m not attracted to her. Second, just like it would be awkward to fuck a close, very platonic, male friend, it would be awkward to do so with a female friend, too. Finally, my sexuality is not your personal porn show. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you call people out on this behavior, they think you’re being uptight or some sort of hypercritical social justice warrior. Enjoying sex and being bisexual does not equal “I want to fuck every woman I see.”
Coming out as bisexual was both a simple and complicated process for me. My friends immediately accepted it, as they saw it coming for a while now. I’m still not out to my family, after growing up with a slew of comments like, “Bisexual people are the scum of the earth”. For now, I will continue living with moments of awkward laughter when my mom makes me clarify, threateningly, comments like, “Wow, she’s so hot, I’m so jealous of her husband."
To anyone out there feeling conflicted about being bisexual or wanting to come out, this path is yours to forge. Don’t let the above inconveniences stop you from living your full, authentic self. As with going against societal norms, it’ll come with its challenges, but I’m sure you’ll come out of it strong. If anything, I’m always here if you need an ear.