In honor of Pride Month, and as a proud bisexual myself, I thought I’d take this opportunity to demystify some common misconceptions about bisexuality. In 2020, I came out as bisexual to half a million people on TikTok. I learned through that process that many people are confused about what bisexuality actually is and what it means to be bi. So, let’s unpack some of the most common misconceptions I’ve seen in my own comment sections.
Misconception #1: Bisexuality is a choice.
Bisexuality is not a choice; it is a sexual identity. Bisexuals are born that way, just like heterosexuals are born straight and gay people are born gay. While it’s true that a bisexual person can choose to date a man or a woman, they don’t choose to have a sexual or romantic attraction to both.
Misconception #2: Bisexuals are hypersexual.
It’s hard not to take offense to this very common misconception. Many people hold the belief that bisexuals are obsessed with sex and will therefore pursue it with anyone, man or woman. Bisexuals are not sex obsessed. Bisexuality is simply the ability to form romantic and/or sexual attraction toward same-sex and opposite-sex individuals. But sexual activity or desire varies from person to person, and bisexual people are found on the entire spectrum of sexual desire, and can even be asexual and demisexual. Bisexuality is not synonymous with promiscuity.
Misconception #3: Bisexuals are unfaithful partners.
Some people believe that because bisexuals are attracted to both men and women, they cannot be happy, satisfied, and faithful in a monogamous relationship. Like all other sexual identities, bisexuals can have all types of relationship preferences — monogamous, non-monogamous, polyamorous, etc. Bisexuals can be just as interested and capable in monogamy as any other sexual orientation.
Misconception #4. Bisexuals are actually closeted gays/lesbians.
Because of the way that society imprints heterosexuality from a very young age, it is possible that some gay and lesbian individuals may initially identify as bisexual as they navigate their same-sex attractions. However, to assume that bisexuality is just a stop on the straight-to-gay/ pipeline dismisses and invalidates the experiences of bisexuals. Bisexuality is a valid sexual orientation, separate from heterosexuality and homosexuality.
Misconception #5. Bisexuality people are non-binary.
This is a weird one I’ve seen cropping up lately. I think it’s simply a matter of not understanding the definition of bisexuality. But, for the sake of being comprehensive, I’ll include this one, too. Sexuality and gender identity are not the same thing. Sexuality is about one’s sexual and romantic attraction to other people. Gender identity, on the other hand, is about one’s own experience and expression of their gender. The two are not synonymous. Bisexual people are not necessarily non-binary (unless they identify as such), and non-binary people are not necessarily bisexual.
These erroneous belief systems about bisexual people can perpetuate harmful stereotypes that undermine the lived experiences of bisexual people. It is important to correct these misconceptions and dispel these myths so that we can create a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming world for all.
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