First, for those who are open about their bisexuality, we are met with unfair assumptions that we will be more promiscuous and inclined to sleep around or that being in a relationship with one gender isn’t fulfilling enough. We will cheat to be fulfilled. And for men, our identity puts our women at risk of contracting an STI.
I’ve always wondered how bisexuality was assigned connotations of promiscuity and cheating when people of all sexualities indulge in these things. I was a bisexual virgin before I was a bisexual non-virgin.
Even now, as a thirty-something, I have gone a year as a celibate bisexual man as opposed to an active bisexual man. While our sexuality does allow us to be attracted to different types of people, sexual health is a conversation that impacts everyone who is active.
Still, the burden of disapproving stereotypes exists to a higher degree for bi folks dating outside our orientation. Thus, bisexuality may get sanitized to be seen as valid. The people who have numerous sex partners or are working through character issues like cheating are forced into other closets. They may also decide to participate in sanitizing their experience of bisexuality to appease the possibility of a date.
2. Second, it is not uncommon for bisexuals to be met directly with comments regarding “paranoia.” Sometimes people will use the word “paranoia” or the phrase, “I’m too paranoid to date a bisexual,” as a “nicer” way to reject.
“Paranoia,” in some cases, politely implies sexual disgust. Some homosexual people make insensitive jokes about how gross it is that a bi man may have engaged with [insert the body part] or how they are scared of [body parts]. Heterosexuals may respond with disgust at the thought of dating someone who has sexually engaged with [insert the body part].
But the essential issue here is that bisexuality is always seen as performative instead of experiential. Bisexuality inherits compulsive promiscuity, non-monogamy, and character flaws instead of inheriting what it actually is — the only orientation and identity with the capacity to take a non-discriminatory approach uninhibited by expression. And what if I am polyamorous and have multiple partners?
Some heterosexual women believe that “men cheat” or have “wandering eyes,” which heightens their sense of paranoia toward a bi-identified man. I have also heard gay men state that their paranoia derives from not having a vagina or a womb to produce children to please their partner in the long term.
I was recently on a podcast with Dr. Overstreet, a clinical sexologist. Dr. Overstreet asked me how I feel as a bi-man about men that have sex with men but identify themselves as straight. She stated that a lot of her male clients enjoy sex with men but identify as straight.
I’m an artist — songwriter and author, but I’m also bi (in real life), so when asked about visibility issues, I share my thoughts as I bring my whole self into my art and hope to help someone (like me) who may be facing suicidal thoughts over their bisexuality.
I responded that I am not the police and commissioner of how people identify, and it is apparent there is a huge disconnect between identity and performance in society that hurts bi people.
3. Third, some people see bisexuality as a code for ‘kinky.’ Many bi girls discuss this fetishization of their bisexuality by straight men online, but it also exists for bi men from gay men, and yes, even straight women.
One gay man once told me that the sheer thought of me having sex with a woman made him more interested in me because of my perceived proximity to being straight. I’ve also had a woman unknowingly bring a strap-on to a hook up expecting that was what I was into.
On the surface, many people struggle to comprehend bisexuality as its own standalone, functioning identity with a host of interests, preferences, and ideas about sex just like any other identity.
Some bi people are interested in kink. Some are vanilla. Some like threesomes and toys. Some fall asleep doing missionary on a Thursday.
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