Monday, January 31, 2011

Myths of Bisexuality

By Mister Curie

On page 11 of the book I recently  reviewed, "Bi America," there is a list of thirteen myths about bisexuality, compiled by bisexuals at a Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Uniting Supportive Experience (BECAUSE).  Here is the list:

1. Bisexuals are easy; they are indiscriminate about whom they have sex with.

2. All bisexuals are swingers.

3. Bisexuals have the best of both worlds and are twice as likely to get a date.

4. Bisexuals are unable to commit to either gender.

5. Bisexual women are all wives just trying to please their husbands, and bisexual men are all  married  guys cheating on their wives.

6. Bisexuality is just a phase on the way to being lesbian or gay

7. Bisexuals are unable to be happy, have low self-esteem, or are mentally ill.

8. Bisexuals are disease carriers.

9.  Bisexuals are a very small part of the population.

10.  Bisexuals are just trying to maintain heterosexual privilege.

11.  Bisexuals can't be feminist.

12.  People call themselves bisexual to be trendy.

13.  Bisexuality is a choice.

Belief in myth #6 is one thing that led me so quickly to adopt the gay label without fully considering the bisexual label previously, along with feeling resonance with stories of others who now identify as gay.

Have you or do you believe any of these 13 points about bisexuals?


  1. Thanks for sharing these, Mister Curie, and for your kind invitation to respond.

    To phrase these as affirmations of my identity, I can testify from my personal experience, essentially from puberty unto this very Monday morning:

    1. As a teenager I had sex once with a male. As an adult I've long ago lost track of how many times I've made love, but all of my lovemaking has been with my wife.

    2. See number 1. I am not a swinger, unless, of course you count playground swings. I still love those.

    3. I sometimes think I have the worst of both worlds because a significant part of me is straight, but some gays say my straight life is phony, and don't believe me when I say I love women (in a sexually-attracted-to-them, NOT in a you're-my-sister sort of way.)

    4. I count 30+ years of marriage to my companion as a fairly strong indication of my commitment to my wife, my family, my marriage and the ideal of monogamy.

    5. see 1-4 above

    6. If it is a phase, it is a very, very slow cycling phase for me.

    7. Although I have had serious bouts with anxiety and depression, those conditions are the result of multiple factors. Bisexuality may be one of them, but it is certainly not the only factor.

    8. I donated blood last week. They test it thoroughly, and they'd have already given me a call, if there were any problems with it.

    9. If you buy into Kinsey, it would seem to make sense that not all of the population would be on the extreme ends of the scale. I do buy into Kinsey because it makes sense from what I have experienced in my lifetime.

    10. I'm not seeking a privilege, I am authentically living the heterosexual part of my life. But yes, I do recognized that there are many advantages society affords to us "breeders."

    11. I strongly support my wife, daughters, extended family and work associates in their educational, professional and leadership achievements.

    12. I seek to be trendy, trouble is I'm always a few decades or more behind. lol

    13. Bisexuality provides some choices that may not be as realistic for someone who is exclusively gay or straight, but, in my experience, bisexuality itself is not chosen. For example, even when I see myself as a 5 on the Kinsey scale, I still find certain women highly attractive. And even when I'm just a 2 on the Kinsey scale, certain men will catch and hold my eye, and engage my imagination.

    Mister Curie, will you share with us, your personal take on the 13 items? And would you convey my request to you beautiful, intelligent and articulate wife to do the same?

  2. I've been very fortunate to advise the local GSA this year and dispel many of these myths talking face-to-face with bisexual friends. I find #6 particularly interesting. I feel like in searching for words for my condition when I was coming to terms with being attracted to men, I grasped onto the word 'bisexual' temporarily. A couple of years later, I see myself as a Kinsey 6 and feel like I contributed to that particular myth.

  3. When I went to an openly gay professional therapist, he quickly corrected me when I identified myself as a "gay man" and said I was "bisexual". I never stayed with it long enough to explore why, but as we talked, he assumed that since I was married and having a sexual relationship (limited as it was) with my wife, I was not "gay enough" to be considered gay, but was only good enough to be "bisexual".

    By this point of my coming out, I had become comfortable in accepting that I was "gay" as my attractions were almost, in not completely, exclusively in the male direction. But, because of a long-term hetero marriage, I guess I'm not "gay enough"...

    I'm a 99%-attracted-to-men man who has occasional sexual relations exclusively with a wife. I used to worry that I don't fit the mold. I'm beginning to be bored with the whole subject.

  4. Ned - Thanks for your response, I look forward to more responses from you, particularly on the topic of bisexuality. Sounds like you are able to refute all of these myths with your personal experience. As I don't currently identify as bisexual (although I am obviously considering the label), I'm not sure I have anything personal to add to any of these points. Several of the upcoming posts will directly confront some of these myths with relatively objective data collected on people who identify as bisexual. It seems that one can immediately dismiss myths that are sweeping generalizations of all bisexuals as bisexuals are likely to be as diverse as any other group of individuals (thus 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12) can all nearly immediately be dismissed. #3 seems like a pithy phrase one might see on a bisexuality pride shirt, but I expect many women who would date a straight man would be unlikely to date a bisexual man and many gay men are similarly hesitent to date a bisexual man. #6 will be responded to below in my response to GMB. #9 probably depends on your definition of small, a significant portion of the population is likely to have bisexual experiences, however it is a much smaller number of individuals who identify as bisexual. #13 - I agree with you that bisexuality is unlikely to be more of a choice than heterosexuality or homosexuality, however, I do think bisexuals may give the impression to some heterosexuals that homosexuality is a choice. Perhaps this is one reason for some of the perceived antagonism toward bisexuals of the homosexual community.

  5. @GMB - Thanks for sharing your experience with #6. I think it is fairly common for gays to initially apply the label of bisexual in the process of moving toward a homosexual identity. That experience may lead many homosexuals to think that bisexuals are simply stuck on the path toward accepting the homosexual identity and can also contribute to myths 4, 5, 10, and 12). It was precisely myth #6 that led me to quickly reject the bisexual label and identify as gay. Accepting the gay label seemed to be the more extreme position and I felt strong for not having to go through an intermediate "bisexuality" phase. Accepting the gay label was my way of affirming my attraction to men. I think now that accepting the gay label was a symptom of my black and white thinking. I am now trying to be more introspective and determine which label actually fits me the best and portrays the intended impression.

  6. @Beck - Sounds like your therapist had a chip on his shoulder. I can see why you were turned off by his attitude. I think that each individual needs to be able to pick their own label. That label will help shape the individuals perception of events and possibilities for the future. Additionally, for each person the label will mean slightly different things. For what it is worth, I think you are gay enough. ;)

  7. I would just simply prefer to be sexual without the label, thank you. Isn't it enough that we are?