“My experience of Bisexuality”

I am not sure if bisexuality is the right way to describe my sexuality, and I think this is the experience of many people who end up carrying the label of bisexual. Because I have relationships with men and with women I will always be labelled by society as bisexual, whether or not I think of myself in those terms. For the purposes of this, I will refer to myself as bisexual, although it is a word I use intermittently and reluctantly to describe myself otherwise. I am certainly part of the community of people who are neither straight nor gay.

So if I have relationships with men and women, why do I not consider myself to be bisexual? Because being bisexual implies that I ONLY want relationships with people who define as men or as women and that I find those two genders equally attractive. People don’t come in just two genders (might be a good place to put a link to the trans section?) and some of the people I have had long term relationships with see themselves as somewhere in-between. I am also not equally interested in men and women, for most of the time I have been single I have considered myself a lesbian and for the most part I am exclusively attracted to women, however I have found a few men who were special enough that their gender wasn’t enough to stop me fancying them, and a couple of these blossomed into long term relationships. I think that because my presentation is very feminine I come across to most people as straight which is why I have generally had more luck with men. This is a description of a single complex sexuality which is put in the box of bisexuality, every person who uses that label is unique, and relatively few of them will want relationships with only men and women, and want them equally often.

As a bisexual woman, I don’t feel completely at home in straight or lesbian female circles. Straight female friends and colleges often view me with suspicion, thinking that I must be sexually interested in them, this ties into the stereotype of being promiscuous which I will go into later. However I also don’t feel like I fit in among lesbian women, the celebration of the ‘gold star lesbian’ (a lesbian who has never slept with a man) often means that bisexual women feel that they are seen as inferior. I feel that as soon as some lesbians finds out I am bisexual rather than ‘gold star’, they see me as second rate, and not somebody they would ever consider having a relationship with. I have been told by lesbians that they would never consider dating a bisexual woman as they would be worried they would run off with a man.

Bisexuals are constantly met with disbelief when others find out about their sexuality. I am consistently told that it’s ‘just a phase’ and I will soon go back to being straight, or that I am only pretending to be bisexual to get more attention from men, or that this is just a stepping stone to me coming out as a lesbian. The idea that bisexuality might be an identity legitimate in itself, the endpoint of a voyage of sexual discovery, not just a confusing part in the middle, is inconceivable.

As soon as a bisexual person enters into a monogamous relationship their sexual identity ceases to be respected. When I date only a woman I am described as a lesbian and when I date only a man I am described as straight. The longer this relationship lasts the less I am considered to have a sexual identity separate from my partner.

Bisexual people are seen as more promiscuous than anyone else. As I like men and women there is no way I could ever be happily with only a man or only a woman. I am judged as more likely to cheat than anyone else. The media almost always represents bisexuals as pursuing short term sexual relationships with many people, never just as happy with one person. In this way I sometimes feel ashamed that I am actually not monogamous and do pursue several relationships at a time. I know a huge number of happily monogamous bisexuals and I feel like I let them down by fulfilling a stereotype. This is despite the fact that I don’t think not being monogamous in itself is a bad thing at all. It is completely possible to love more than one person at a time, and be honest with and respectful of all of them. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for this behaviour but I do because I feel like I am playing up to the stereotype.

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