Hey kittens, it’s Throwback Thursday and ALSO Bisexuality Awareness/Visibility Week. So you know we have to look at a vintage piece on double agents. This is from 2009!
Dear Greatest Readership Evers: This week I’ll be responding not to a query, but to a comment posted on a recent column. We here at Sex with Timaree (we being me and the friendly but persistent ants that have adopted my dining room table) adore feedback, even when it’s cranky.
Comment to the Sexpert:
“Bisexuals? What does this have to do with lesbians? Or gays for that matter? The gateway sexual preference? The thing is that homosexuals don’t get to choose, bisexuals do. Thus, did the author of this letter enjoy the taste of semen when she goes down on her girlfriend? Protect yourself. Several times over. The diseases these bisexual men and women pass are large scale.”
Aside from the fact the writer of this statement clearly needs reading comprehension courses (as the original question author was mos def a dude), she also needs a liberal dosing of my patented GrumpyPants Remover, which consists of eating ice cream directly from the carton and watching this video.
But she inadvertently brings up an important and rarely considered topic: biphobia. In an age of Tila “look at ME!” Tequila and Katy Perry selling the AC/DC orientation as a tawdry attempt at attention-getting, it’s no surprise many people find those who go both ways to be shady. There has always been prejudice against bisexuals. And I’ve written on it before.
BACKGROUND ON FENCESITTERS
Freud considered bisexuality to be a normal part of human development; Krafft-Ebing argued it was the original state of all people. Heterosexuality and homosexuality didn’t even exist as concepts until the very end of the 19th century. Kinsey and later researchers would find that anywhere between 2 and 50% of the population would fall under the umbrella title of bisexual. That spectacular non-specificity is due to the fact bisexuality can play out in a bashillion different ways.
TYPES OF DOUBLE AGENTS
There are people who are equally attracted to men and women, who sleep with comparable numbers of people of both teams and who date members of both simultaneously. And then, on the other hand, there are the vast majority of bisexuals.
They come in every shade, shape, size and variety. They may have attractions to both masculinity and femininity, but more to one than the other. They may sleep with both or only one sex. They may have sex with no one at all. They may do it only under certain circumstances or during a time in their life. They may feel love towards one gender but physical attraction towards another. They are in many ways defined by their heterogeneity. Their behavior may not line up with their real attraction or it might perfectly.
A bisexual, by definition, falls anywhere on the spectrum of attraction outside of pure 100% all-of-the-time without-fail unflagging homosexuality and heterosexuality. But the number of people who actually identify as being dual citizens is small.
LET’S WAVE BI BI TO SOME MYTHS
For the record, let’s just rattle these off quickly because some of them are so dumbfoundingly ignorant that it’s a surprise the belief holders don’t collapse from the sheer exhaustion of trying to figure out microwave ovens.
No, not all bisexuals are polyamorous (multiple partners at the same time), although some might be and plenty of straight and gay people are too. Adultery and being on the Down Low may be examples of bisexuality, but not all bi people are closeted cheaters. Bisexuals are not more likely to spread disease than any other group; they are, however, scapegoated for bringing diseases to straight women from gay culture and lesbian women from straight culture.
But sexually transmitted infections have no idea what your orientation or gender is. They just know that if you put something wet into something wet (and they’re both vectors for transmission): it’s go time.
Yes, some people only identify as bisexual temporarily before they decide to settle on another team. But that doesn’t make the entire orientation a phase or reflect on other people who identify as bi. I’m no less a valid New Kids on the Block fan just because most people have stopped caring about them. Jordan Knight can still #getit.
Bisexuals, like many minority groups, are statistically prone to mental health issues, but that doesn’t make them psychos or killers like media representations might make you think. Seeking the approval of men may give plenty of “straight” girls the go-ahead to make out with chicks, but for every big poser who likes the attention, there’s also a girl who’s been harboring secret crushes and loves having the excuse to try out the daywalker experience.
MORAL OF THE STORY
The sexually ambidextrous are not a homogenous group any more than are Blacks, teenagers or musicians. Some come to the title on accident, others by waving a bi flag with all the might their arms can muster. Some keep their dual citizenship forever, others come and go. Some are everyday people, some are unassuming, others are such an embarrassment they ought to be caged.
They’re frickin people, damnit. And biphobia is prevalent in both straight and queer communities because every once in awhile, in the course of people getting their hearts broken, it happens to be by a bi person. But fear not, folks. We’re pretty all right.