A person who is sexually attracted to and engages in sensual or sexual
relationships with people of either sex. A bisexual person may not be equally
attracted to both sexes, and the degree of attraction may vary over time.
What Causes Bisexuality?
Some people believe that a person is born heterosexual,
homosexual, or bisexual (perhaps due to prenatal hormonal influences) and
that their identity is inherent and unchangeable. Others believe that sexual
orientation is due to socialization (e.g. imitating or rejecting parental
models) or conscious choice (e.g. choosing lesbianism as part of a political
feminist identity). Others believe that it has to do with all of the above.
Because biological, social, and cultural factors are different for each
person, everyone's sexuality is highly individual, whether they are bisexual,
or lesbian, heterosexual, or asexual.
The value placed on one's sexual identity should not depend
on its origin. Many people assume that bisexuality is just a phase people
go through. In fact, any sexual orientation can be described as a phase.
Humans are diverse. Individual sexual feelings and behaviour change
over time. The creation and consolidation of a sexual identity is an ongoing
process. Since we are generally socialized as heterosexuals, bisexuality
is a stage that many people experience as part of the process of acknowledging
their sexual preference. Many others come to identify as bisexuals after
a considerable period of identification as gay men or lesbians.
A recent study by Ron Fox of more than 900 bisexual individuals
found that one out of every three had previously identified themselves
as lesbian or gay. Bisexuality, like homosexuality and heterosexuality,
may be either a transitional step in the process of sexual discovery or
a stable, long-term identity.
Who Are Bisexual...
There is no right or wrong way to be bisexual. Due to
pre-programmed expectations that stem from our upbringing, we expect bisexuals
to look a certain way and behave in a certain manner. Yet, bisexuals
come in all shapes and sizes, from all occupations, from all levels of
educational, races, and cultural backgrounds.
Due to homophobia and prejudice, some people refuse to
tolerate bisexuals. As a result, bisexuals suffer from discrimination and
violence just like gays and lesbians. This is why so many gay and lesbian
organizations now include bisexuals in their work for civil rights.
Unfortunately, stereotypes about bisexuals being unreliable,
sex-crazy, and not queer enough are more myth than truth. However, changing
the minds of those who have determined to stay closed on the subject is
a challenge that is ongoing.
Common or Rare?
It is not easy to determine how common bisexuality might
be since little research has been done on this subject. Most studies
on sexuality have focused on heterosexuals or homosexuals. Based on research
done by Kinsey in the 1940s and 1950s, as many as 15-25% of women and 33-46%
of men may be bisexual, based on their activities or attractions.
Bisexuals are in many ways a hidden population. In our
culture, it is generally assumed that a person is either heterosexual (the
default assumption) or homosexual (based on appearance or behavioral clues).
Because bisexuality does not fit into these standard categories, it is
often denied or ignored. When it is recognized, bisexuality is often viewed
as being part heterosexual and part homosexual, rather than being a unique
and complete identity within itself.
As a result, bisexuality is perceived to threaten the
accepted way of looking at the world by calling into question the validity
of rigid sexual categories. Furthermore, it encourages acknowledgment of
the existence of a diverse range of sexuality. Since there is not a stereotypical
bisexual appearance or way of acting, bisexuals have begun to create their
own visible communities to combat misconceptions.
Many misconceptions about bisexuality are perpetuated
in movies, television, and magazines. The media has a tendency to trivialize
bisexuality, presenting it like the cheap pornographic fantasy of a man
involved in a sexual threesome.
This is related to the myth that bisexuals are fiendishly focused on sex
and must have lovers of both sexes to feel completely fulfilled. However,
many bisexuals remain celibate. Other bisexuals are very capable of maintaining
monogamous relationships. They are still "bi" no matter with whom they
commit to spend their lives. As with people who are gay or straight, the
decision to be celibate, monogamous, or polyamorous
rests with every individual.
Along with the myths of bisexuality can come other complications.
The difficulty of calling oneself "bi" is sometimes exacerbated by a fear
of stigmatization and discrimination from both the homosexual and heterosexual
communities. Bisexuals are sometimes viewed by members of the gay community
as blurring the issues and weakening their organized movements. However,
attitudes are changing and the communities are learning to live in harmony
Mainstream society also seems to be taking the cue about
changing attitudes. A new kind of bisexual chic is taking over as America
realizes the public emergence of this sexual identity. The mention of bisexuality
in written publications has tripled in the last decade in comparison to
the previous one as the ever changing American social conscience develops
a love affair with this take on sexuality.
It seems now that, with the changing values of our society,
more and more people are open to sexual experimentation and exploring their
long suppressed bisexual feelings. The orientation which once proposed
a serious challenge to the gender polarity involved in sexuality is now
coming of age while disputing former boundaries and causing the more established
views on sexual preference to redefine themselves.
|What About Bisexual
Like all people, bisexuals have a wide variety of relationship
styles. Contrary to common myth, a bisexual person does not need to be
sexually involved with both a man and a woman simultaneously. In fact,
some people who identify as bisexual never engage in sexual activity with
one or the other (or either) gender. As is the case for heterosexuals,
gay men, and lesbians, attraction does not involve acting on every desire.
Like heterosexuals and gay people, many bisexuals choose to be sexually
active with an exclusive partner for the purpose of enjoying a long-term
monogamous relationships. Other bisexuals may be involved in open marriages
that allow for relationships with same-sex partners, three-way relationships,
or a number of partners of the same or opposite gender (singly or simultaneously).
Again, there are no set rules. This sexual preference
can demonstrate itself in many different ways. It all depends on
the individual. Once more, right or wrong, bisexuality is as old
as the human race and, no doubt, is here to stay. How well we do
as a society in dealing with the subject will depend upon the attitudes
of all those who live in it.
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The mission of this not-for-profit website is to promote clear insights
and toleration regarding the many variations of primary relationships that
exist in our world. We ask for neither acceptance or approval but
hope that each visitor who reviews the pages of this site will leave them
with a better understanding of the numerous cultural, historical, preferential,
religious, sexual, and sociological approaches to coupling that have always
existed and will continue to exist as long as there are at least two human
beings living on this planet. If the effort put into creating and
maintaining this site results in others coming to the realization that
the basic human need to love and be loved takes on many forms which are
accepted by those who practice them, whether right or wrong as determined
by the personal belief system of others, then it will have served it's