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talking about bisexuality

This involves thinking about who you can trust. You may be pleasantly surprised.

It is not true that if you “come out as bisexual” to a person you are interested in they will not be interested in you any longer. There are many ways of communicating that you are or have been attracted to and/or had experiences with people of more than one gender. Using humor and referring to past experiences in a non-threatening way can be a good approach. One often learns that those around us have also had similar experiences.

It is not true that bisexuals always need both men and women to be satisfied. Just like straight people, lesbians and gay men, bisexuals are all different. Some of us prefer to date many people, and others are perfectly content with just one person. And some people prefer not to date at all. And what we want can change over time.

Why Bi?

Bisexual people are often asked, “Why do you call yourself bisexual?” Whether spoken aloud or present but unvoiced, the question usually implies that identifying as bisexual is unusual, unnecessary—or worse: an act of treason, a sign of immaturity, “just a phase.”

Often the question accompanies a personal attack: “Why do you call yourself bisexual when you are committed to so-and-so? When you never date men? When you haven’t had sex with both men and women? When you’re celibate? When you’ve never had sex? When all your partners are women? When all your partners are men? When you don’t feel 50/50?” All of these questions use stereotypes and misinformation to put down bisexuality. Or they are close-minded or based on someone else’s personal definitions, which may be very different from your own.

Which brings us to a more interesting question: why do so many people embrace their bisexuality in the face of overwhelming negative pressure? After all, they confront not only an overwhelming lack of openly bi role models, or people who are open about being attracted to more than one gender, however they identify. The presumption is that everyone with the same label experiences sexuality in the same way. But we are all different. And that is fine.

By contrast, the bisexual community engages in a healthy and active discussion of these very topics: What does it mean to call yourself bisexual? What do you gain or lose when you embrace this word and this aspect of yourself? Tools such as the Kinsey scale and the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid aid the discussion. Above all, these questions are critical to our self-identity and expression.

One of the most common attacks is the declaration that bisexuality doesn’t exist. But bisexuals most certainly do!

Many bisexuals will explain that they are attracted to people of more than one sex or gender, but even this simple definition includes those drawn to all genders and those to a select few.


Indeed, many people declare their bisexuality to claim their personal history. They don’t want to erase previous lovers (or crushes, or even a really hot fantasy) or parts of themselves to buy acceptance.

Others respond to the question, “Why bi?” by affirming the many benefits of being bisexual. Many people find a deeply rewarding, sometimes spiritual wholeness in looking beyond gender in their partners, lives and imagination.

Others enjoy actively engaging with gender and experiencing its range. Many bisexuals also find their lives enriched by the bisexual community, the larger LGBT community, or both. They make strong friendships, find a sense of purpose, and credit the deeply diverse and welcoming atmosphere of bi-inclusive communities with aiding them and broadening their lives. Still others see power in the act of naming themselves. They claim their bisexuality as part of a larger mission of making the world a wider, more expansive place, in which people with diverse gender and sexual expressions are welcome.

But How Do I Know If I Am Bisexual?

You – and only you – can answer that question. You are a unique person with unique feelings and experiences, and no one knows better than you the contents of your own head and heart.

Still not sure? Remember: Identity development is a journey. It’s OK to question. And it’s OK to change your label if, as you learn more about yourself, you realize that a different word is a closer fit. This is true not only for youth, but for people at any age.

Make use of resources available. (See Bi Youth Resources page.) There is a lot of support and information out there for you.

And If You Have a Clear and Strong Bisexual Identity:

Stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone else tell you that your identity is not real. If that happens, ask them how they would feel if someone said their identity wasn’t real. Connect with existing bi or bi-inclusive organizations and/or communities, or create a new, safe and supportive space for other bisexuals.

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