Lesson 301 – Bisexuality Introduction
This first video is the introductory section of a talk on bisexuality given by Dr. Vanessa Schick at a PFLAG meeting. Dr. Schick discusses what it means to be bisexual and how a person may determine which sexual orientation label to use.
The number of individuals that identify as bisexual is similar to or equal to the number of individuals who identify as gay or lesbian; it is a significant number of the population. Yet, the number of people who self-identify as bisexual is most likely lower than the number of people who have bisexual attractions or behavior. Some people prefer to identify as heterosexual to avoid the bisexual stigma.
The word non-monosexuality is introduced as the equivalent to the term bisexuality. A bisexual individual is defined as a person who is attracted to people of more than one gender.
What characteristics other than gender determine who we are attracted to? For those that are bisexual it may be that gender doesn’t matter as much.
Can you remember what characteristics have attracted you in a relationship? Hair color, a personality trait, sense of humor? What if you lived in a culture that made hair color the defining trait for who you should be attracted to? What if you liked someone with a different hair color and were called a “bi-hairist?”
Bisexual people can be attracted to either gender because for them, gender is not the most important characteristic in a relationship. They care more about who the person is, is he or she: loving, funny, smart….?
Bisexuality: Labels and Terms
Many people do not like to label themselves because they feel the labels are limiting or they fear being stigmatized.
Some people choose labels that are less constrained like: hetero-flexible, transromantic, questioning, pansexual, piromantic, fluid, bicurious, panromantic, polysexual…. Many people resist a label because they do not feel it describes them adequately or because they do not want to be stigmatized.
Bisexuality is the sexual orientation that carries the most negative stereotypes.
Some of the most common stereotypes about bisexual people are:
- Bisexual women are sexual with other women to please men.
- Bisexuals are hyper-sexual.
- Bisexuals are unable to be monogamous.
- Bisexuals have a high rate of sexually transmitted diseases.
An added misunderstanding is that sexual orientation is based on who the person is with. A bisexual person who is in a relationship with the opposite gender does not become straight. Just as a heterosexual person who is not in a relationship does not cease to be heterosexual. We do not lose our sexual orientation when a relationship changes.