Seven myths about bisexuality that are totally trash
Let’s bust some harmful stereotypes for bisexuality awareness week
Written by Jamie J. LeClaire
If there is one thing I’m tired of (well it’s a lot of things) it’s ALL of the crappy stereotypes, myths and misconceptions that exist about bisexual people. Bisexuality is a valid sexual identity, yet it’s one that gets called into question the most, one of the ones that most often gets erased from the queer community and the one that is proven to suffer higher rates of depression and other disparities. These disparities are often a direct result of the impact of harmful narratives perpetuated about bisexual people by the general public and from within queer communities themselves.
Some of these you may already know are completely false, some of them you may still believe yourself. By the end of this article, hopefully you’ll understand why all of these are total myths, and how harmful they can become when turned into jokes and stereotypes.
Myth 1: Bisexuality is “just a phase”
There is a narrative often perpetuated about bisexuality itself: that it is simply a phase. There are countless examples of this in pop culture. For example: when a woman's bisexuality is reduced to a phase in her college years, with the person ultimately living a cisheterormative life and marrying a man. For men, bisexuality is often only ever seen as a stepping stone to coming out as gay
. Both are ridiculous assumptions that rest on the idea that we eventually “have to choose” and that keep so many bisexual people in the closet about their bisexuality.
Myth 2: Sexuality is never allowed to evolve
While bisexuality must be seen as a valid sexual orientation and not just a phase, it’s also important to note that sexuality can evolve. People can feel attracted to one gender most of their life and then begin to develop an attraction to another. Many bisexual people used to be gay, many gay people used to be bisexual. Maybe someone's attraction for a different gender only lasts for a short while. Sexual attraction has no hard and fast rules and many bisexual people are bisexual in part due to their attraction to a person, not a specific gender.
Myth 3: Bisexual women are faking it for attention
Wow, if this isn’t an outdated narrative. Similar to men thinking all women dress up and put on makeup to impress them (they actually do it for each other and because it feels good) this narrative just further perpetuates the male gaze and the idea that all women's sexuality and sexual expression is meant for the consumption of cisgender men. It’s 2020 for goodness sake's. We can do better.
Myth 4: Bisexual people can’t commit
The idea that bisexual people being promiscuous and more likely to cheat has been around for as long as I can remember. There’s this idea (stemming from jealousy and ignorance) that bisexual people will never be satisfied by being with one gender for potentially the rest of their lives. Fact: Bisexual people are actually no more likely to cheat
than the general population.
Myth 5: Bisexual people all want to be a part of a threesome
Listen, couples, we get it, you want to try opening up your relationship. But you just can’t assume every bisexual is interested in threesomes! It’s a pretty wild leap to make if you ask me. Unless a person on a dating app mentions they are looking for threesomes, or have the unicorn emoji
, it’s best not to approach bisexual folks looking for one. Many times, if someone is interested, they will have it somewhere in their bio that they are explicitly NOT looking to be approached by couples, which should tell you all you need to know about how often it happens and how weird it is.
Myth 6: Bisexuality is half gay and half straight
Nope, we’re 100% bisexual! This kind of language is outdated and invalidating. It leads people to asking questions like “which do you prefer,” or “who do you think you’ll end up with,” trying desperately to find a preference, which is invasive and harmful. Reducing someone's sexual attraction to rigid unmoving percentages and preferences is useless and limiting and can lead to all sorts of emotional trauma.
Myth 7: You’re not truly bi if you’ve only been with one gender
Our sexual orientation and attraction can manifest without actual in-person sexual exchanges. Our actions, our past relationships or sexual experiences, they do not define our sexuality, we do. We don’t need to prove our queerness, although we are often made to feel like it, both by straight people and gay and lesbian people alike. This keeps people feeling left out of the queer community and feeling ostracized by straight folks as well, which has real, long-term mental and physical health damages.
The bottom line
It’s these narratives that keep people in the closet, it’s these biases that keep queer people from getting the sex education they need, it’s these attitudes that contribute to the truly alarming rates of depression and anxiety. They need to go, and it’s up to us to make sure we don’t continue them. Call people out when you hear them making biphobic jokes or assumptions, watch positive depictions of bisexual characters in media and support and validate your bisexual friends and family members!