Some people mistakenly believe that sexual orientation is binary, i.e. you can only be gay or straight. This flawed assumption makes it especially difficult for people whose identities don’t fall neatly into one of two categories. The truth is, there is a wide spectrum for people who identify as somewhere in between.
If you think you might be bisexual, this guide will take you through everything you need to know!
The term bisexual refers to people who experience feelings of romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to people of more than one gender. It is not simply an attraction to both men and women – you can be attracted to women and non-binary folks, for example, and still consider yourself bisexual.
Am I Pansexual Or Bisexual?
Many people get confused between bisexuality and pansexuality – and understandably so! The terms are somewhat interchangeable, and many people who consider themselves “bisexual” may also consider themselves “pansexual”, or vice-versa.
Traditionally, bisexuality used to mean attraction to both men and women. However, now that our understanding of gender identity has come to embrace gender non-conforming and non-binary folks, the label doesn’t exclude attraction to any of these.
On the other hand, pansexuality is often defined as attraction to all genders or attraction regardless of gender. This is in contrast to bisexuality, where you may have preferences or not feel attraction to certain genders. In fact, some people identify with the term “bisexual” rather than “pansexual” specifically because gender plays a role in who they are attracted to – for example, being much more attracted to women than men.
So, which term best describes you? That’s easy! Whichever one you’re most comfortable identifying with.
How Do I Know If I Am Bisexual?
If you aren’t sure where you fall on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, here are a few signs that you might be bisexual.
You’re Attracted To Multiple Genders
If you’ve been daydreaming about a hot guy and girl on your way to school or work, you could bisexual! Your attraction to different genders doesn’t necessarily have to be equal – for example, you may be primarily attracted to men, but every now and then, a woman or non-binary person will get you hot under the collar. Bisexuality comes in many shapes and sizes and it’s all equally valid!
You’ve Been Taking Online Tests
While an internet quiz isn’t the best way to define your sexual orientation, it can give you insight into what you might be feeling. If you’ve taken an “Am I Bisexual” quiz and all signs point to yes, this can prompt an even deeper examination of your bisexual identity.
You Relate To Bisexual People
While only you can decide your identity, spending more time within queer spaces can help you come to terms with your orientation. Do you feel at home within the bisexual community and feel like they’re “your people”? This could be a sign that you are bisexual, too!
Myths About Being Bisexual
Exploring your sexual orientation can be challenging due to widespread myths and misinformation. Below we’ll bust a few common myths that you might’ve heard about bisexuality.
It’s Just A Phase
The most common myth you’ll hear about bisexuality is that you are just confused and will eventually come out as gay or lesbian. “Am I bisexual or gay” or “Am I bisexual or lesbian” are actually some of the most common questions you might ask yourself while figuring things out!
In some cases, bisexuality is a stepping stone for people who are still discovering who they are. Sexuality is also fluid, which means that someone who identifies as bisexual now may identify as something else later on. However, for many bisexuals, it’s not a phase – it’s a lifelong identity.
You Are Half-Gay, Half-Straight
You are not “partially” gay or straight – bisexuality is its own identity, with its own unique experiences and challenges. You don’t have to feel attracted to guys and girls equally!
You’re Only Bi If You’ve Had Experience With Men & Women
Many people falsely assume that you are only bisexual if you are dating or have dated someone of the same sex. The truth is that no person is defined by who they are in a relationship with. In fact, you don’t even have to be dating anyone!
Bisexual People Are More Likely To Cheat
Being bisexual does not mean you’re greedy, or selfish, or promiscious. It also doesn’t mean you are more likely to cheat on your partner because you have a “wider set of options.” Ultimately, your sexual identity – whether straight, bisexual, or queer – has nothing to do with how likely you are to cheat.
Bisexual Men Are Gay In Denial/Bisexual Women Are Straight In Denial
There are two things that these myths have in common:
- They both insist that bisexual people can’t be real.
- They both assume that attraction to men is the default.
It’s important to believe bisexuals when they self-identify as such. It’s also possible that someone may identify as bisexual now and something else later. This doesn’t mean they were in denial before – sexuality is fluid!
All Bisexual People Are Into Threesomes
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the answer to “Why am I bisexual?” is rarely “threesomes”. While there are plenty of bisexual people who enjoy the occasional menage-a-trois, there are plenty who don’t. Similarly, engaging in group sex with people of different genders does not automatically mean that you’re bisexual.
Where To Get Support
Sometimes, it can be hard to come to terms with your sexuality, especially if you don’t receive the support you deserve from friends and family. The good news is, there are many available resources that can help you better understand your journey.
Some people refrain from attending support groups because they consider it a “bad thing” or associate it with “needing to get better.” However, support groups are an excellent way to have a conversation with like-minded people in an environment that doesn’t judge or shame. You can easily find a support group through the Bi Resource Center.
A person who is coming to terms with their sexuality might sometimes become depressed or experience anxiety. If you are developing negative thoughts, experiencing suicide ideation, or even if you’re just confused about how to identify, you can always talk it out with a queer-inclusive therapist. These professionals are equipped to handle queer-specific problems and can even provide medical advice.
Exploring your sexuality doesn’t always feel good. As a matter of fact, it can sometimes be a stressful experience, especially if you lack the resources to understand what you are going through. Fortunately, many online resources can help you come to terms with your sexuality.
The Bi Resource Center is the biggest online community for individuals who want to connect, exchange information, and donate to LGBTQ causes. Other groups include the student-run Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA) and The Trevor Project for crisis intervention.
The Bottom Line
If discovering your bisexuality has made you feel isolated and alone, don’t worry – many people feel the same way. With the right resources and support, your self-discovery journey can be enriching and exciting. Remember, there is no wrong way to identify!