LGBTA-Q Resource Center

Bisexual Resources

I Think I Might Be Bisexual...

Topics:

What does it mean to be bisexual (bi)?
Bisexuals are people who are emotionally, spiritually, physically, and sexually, attracted to and fall in love with other individual regardless of gender. Everything else you have heard is just myths and stereotypes. It is not necessary to be equally attracted to men and women, to be involved in multiple relationships, or to be obsessed with sex. You can be celibate and still be bisexual. It is all a matter of who you find attractive.

How do I know if I am bisexual?
You may not know what to call your sexual feelings or whether you feel sufficiently attracted to multiple genders to consider yourself bisexual. You do not have to rush and decide how to label yourself right now. Our sexual identity develops over time.
How you see yourself is the key to a sexual identity. Many people engage in sexual activity with both females and males, yet do not identify as bisexual. Other people engage in sexual relations with only one sex partner, or do not have sex at all, yet consider themselves bisexual. There is no behavioral "test" to determine whether or not one is bisexual.

Am I normal?
Yes, you are normal. It is perfectly natural for people to be attracted to more than one gender. When Dr. Alfred Kinsey studied sexuality at Indiana University in the 70s, he discovered that nearly half of the people he interviewed had a history of sex with both females and males during their lifetime.
Many people push away their attraction to one gender due to social or peer pressures. They present the appearance of being homosexual or heterosexual despite their multiple attractions. It is normal and healthy to be yourself, whether you are bisexual, gay, or straight. What really matters is that we learn to like ourselves the way we are.

What is it like to be bisexual?
There is no "right" or "wrong" way to be bisexual. Because of society's stereotypes about bisexuals that we have all grown up with, you might think that you have to be a certain way to be a bisexual. But bisexuals come in all shapes and sizes, from all occupations, and with all levels of educational, racial, and cultural background.
Because of homophobia and prejudice, some people do not accept bisexuals. Bisexuals suffer from discrimination and violence, just like gays and lesbians. That is why so many gay and lesbian organizations now include bisexuals in their work for civil rights.
Unfortunately, you may also experience some prejudice from lesbians and gays, based on old myths and stereotypes about bisexuals being unreliable, sex-crazy, not queer enough or, whatever. Just do your best to educate them the way you would with any person who is judging people from a position of ignorance.

Learning to like yourself:
All people have a right to feel good about themselves. We are all valuable human beings. Developing self-esteem is very important for young people. It can be hard for bisexual, lesbian, and gay youth to feel good about ourselves because all around us are people who believe that we are sick, or perverted, or destined to live very unhappy lives.
It can help to say to yourself every day, "I am bisexual and I am OK." And try to find someone who is bi-positive to talk to. Remember, it is normal and natural to be bisexual, just like it is normal and natural for some people to be homosexual or heterosexual.
But it is crucial to be honest with yourself. Just as self-denial costs you, coming out pays off. Most people who accept their sexuality say they feel calmer, happier, and more confident.
It takes a lot of energy to deny your feelings, and it can be costly. You may have tried using alcohol or other drugs to numb yourself against these thoughts. You may have considered suicide.
If so, please contact the BGSU's Counseling Center at 419-372-2081 and they are open Monday & Thursday 8:00 am-7:00 pmĀ and Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm.
If it is an emergency, call the police (419-372-3246 or 911). There are alternatives to denying your very valuable feelings.

Emergency Contact Numbers:

Who should I tell?
Coming out is the process of accepting yourself as bisexual and deciding how open you want to be about your sexual orientation.
The first step in coming out is to tell yourself that you are bisexual and say, "That is OK." Later you may want to tell someone else - someone you trust to be understanding and sympathetic. You might choose a friend or a mentor. You will probably want to meet other bisexual, lesbian, or gay people for friendship, support, and more intimate relationships.
Some bisexual people are able to come out to their families. You need to decide whether or not to tell your family, and to choose the right time. Lots of people, including parents, simply do not understand bisexuality and are difficult to come out to. In the beginning, be cautious about whom you tell.
You may wonder if you are normal. Perhaps you worry about people finding out about you. Maybe you avoid other people who might be gay because of what people will think. Working this hard to conceal your thoughts and feelings is called being in the closet. It is a painful and lonely place to be, even if you stay there in order to survive.

What about HIV/AIDS and Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs)?
All sexually active people need to be aware of HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted infections. Being bisexual does not give you HIV/AIDS or STIs, but certain sexual practices and certain drug use behaviors can put you at risk. HIV/AIDS and some STIs are incurable, but are preventable.

Here's how to reduce your risk of getting HIV/AIDS:
Do not shoot up drugs. Sharing needles is the most dangerous behavior in terms of getting HIV/AIDS. Avoid anal intercourse or other direct anal contact without the use of a condom. Anal intercourse transmits the virus very efficiently. If you do engage in anal sex, use a condom every time.
Use condoms whenever you engage in anal or oral sex (or vaginal sex if you have sex with women). You should choose latex condoms that are fresh and undamaged. Store them away from heat (your wallet is not a good place to keep them). Use a condom only once. Try to choose condoms with water based lubricants and condoms that have reservoir tips and be sure to squeeze out the air from the tip as you put it on. Hold on to the condom as you remove your penis; sometimes they slip off after sex.
Choose sexual activities that do not involve intercourse and still as fun: hugging, kissing, talking, massaging, wrestling, or masturbating (on unbroken skin).

Aren't people really either heterosexual or homosexual?
No. It is well recognized in medical and psychological circles that bisexuality is a very real and genuine orientation. Many bisexuals can attest to this.

Is bisexuality just a phase?
No more than being heterosexual or homosexual is.

Is not being bisexual a process of making up one's mind whether to be homosexual or heterosexual?
Do not make the mistake of assuming there are only two options to choose from. There is a wide spectrum of feelings and identities people experience, not just straight or gay. Bisexuality is an option in its own right. Some lesbians or gay men may "come out" as bisexual first, but most bisexuals remain bisexual for the rest of their lives. A lack of information about bisexuality is probably the cause of most of the confusion.

Why would someone not want to identify as bisexual?
Some people think being heterosexual is more "normal," and identifying as someone who is LGBT is still not accepted in all social realms. So if someone is still attracted to members of their same sex, it is easier to just say, "I am straight." Others, for political and social reasons, may wish to identify with the lesbian & gay communities. Also, bisexuals often feel ostracized from both straight and gay communities because they are "in the middle."

To be bisexual, does a person have to be with a man and a woman at the same time?
Absolutely not. Just because someone has the capacity to be attracted to more than one gender, does not mean they are involved with more than one at any given time. Monogamy is no different to bisexuals as it is for anyone else.

Suppose I have had some feelings for both genders - does that mean I am bisexual?
Strictly speaking, maybe. But what you call yourself is up to you. Some may feel the attraction they feel for one gender is not enough to call themselves bisexual. Others look past gender when considering a deeper relationship. There are many reasons for why people identify the way they do.

Why aren't bisexuals more visible?
No one walks around with "bisexual" stamped on their foreheads. It is very easy to miss them. If you see two people of the same gender kissing, you do not think to ask if they might be bisexual, but they might be. Similarly, if you see a man and a woman kissing, either or both of them might be bisexual, too.
Also, there is a lack of information about bisexuality in our libraries and the media. And there are few organizations that specifically address bisexual issues. Some bisexual people have felt as if no one knows they even exist.

Where is the bisexual rights movement?
Historically speaking, bisexuals have been part of the lesbian & gay movement right from the beginning and they are still there now. They are fighting the same sorts of issues: discrimination based on who they love.

Acknowledgements -

Some information on this webpage was adopted from a brochure written by Kevin Cranston and Cooper Thompson, with help from members of BAGLY, Boston Area Gay and Lesbian Youth. Organizations and individuals are free to reprint and distribute this brochure with written permission from The Campaign to End Homophobia. Write to us at P.O. Box 819 , Cambridge , MA 02139 .

Also, information was adapted from the Bisexual Resource Center , P.O. Box 1026 , Boston , MA 02117-1026 . (617) 424-9595. (www.biresource.org, or email at brc@biresource.org).