According to a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more and more women and men are saying they are bisexual. It could be that the long-held stigma against LGBTQIA individuals is diminishing due to advocacy initiatives — which makes it easier for people to openly discuss. The survey included 9,000 people ages 18 to 44 in the United States.
Related-ish: 10 Struggles Of Being A Woman With A High Sex Drive
It turns out that 17.4 percent of women had sexual experiences with other women, and that’s just what’s being reported in this survey. But bisexuality gets a bad rep — it’s either deemed “fake” (i.e., something done in porn or at parties to turn guys on) or is seen somehow as less queer (especially when a bi woman is dating a man). Thus, the bi identify is reduced and erased, which is no fun for anyone. Because we are who we are. So, I wanted to ask women who had sexual experiences with women to speak out and speak up against obstacles they face as bisexual women.
I knew I was bisexual when I was ten or eleven — now I feel like my sexuality is erased because other gay people don’t acknowledge it as real and straight people think it’s weird.
“I’d had crushes on people across the gender spectrum. It wasn’t until I hit puberty and began thinking in terms of sex and romance and dating that I had to reconsider if I was bisexual, which was when I was 13-15. I knew for sure I liked women, but it took me a few years to adopt the bisexual label instead of gay. A lot of people don’t think bisexuality exists or it doesn’t matter if I’m bisexual because I’m in a relationship with a woman. It’s like my attraction to men doesn’t matter, because I’m not currently acting on it. But it does matter! Bisexuality is so often erased, even in LGBTQ* spaces, where people want to box my girlfriend and I into the gay label, even though we’re actually both bisexual!” — Alaina, 23
I identify as queer since I find people of any and all gender identities sexy, not just people who are solidly male or female.
“I don’t think bisexuality was even a concept that was presented to me until late in high school when I realized several of my friends were bi, and then realized that I probably was, too. I thought of it as purely sexual, with romantic interest in women not on the table. At some point, however, I stopped reining in my hots for women and started acting on them, and that was that. These days I identify more as queer than bisexual, since I find people of any and all gender identities sexy, not just people who are solidly male or female. I do currently have a cis male life partner, but also a few female sexual partners. Thankfully, said cis male partner is very understanding and open and actually is somewhat exploring his own gender identity. ” — Dena, 30
If my religious family Googles me, they’ll find out I’m bisexual, which I knew I was at the age of 12 or 13.
I’m perfectly capable of being in a monogamous relationship with a guy, but I have to be able to express who I am without judgment and jealousy.
“I’m always going to be bisexual, even if I end up spending my life with one person. Being with a man won’t make me straight; being with a woman won’t make me gay; I’m me – perfectly queer. My partner’s very supportive about letting me explore women. We have so many rules, there are limits, and occasionally it gets complicated but it’s an arrangement I love. When I was married, my ex-husband (who knew my sexuality, well before the marriage) suddenly became increasingly uncomfortable with my sexuality. I went back into the closet for a long time because of the heaps of shame dumped on me. It fucking sucked. After, my divorce I busted right back out of that cramped little closet. I’m far happier out here.” — Jessie, 35
Because of how women are raised, I find it hard to be a pursuer of women, even though I’d like to.
“I present as pretty solidly, obviously queer. I do find it tough to act on my queerness pretty often. As a cis female who was raised in the world, not only do I find it difficult to take on the role of the pursuer, but I also find that most women tend to fall into the role of the pursued, and it’s hard to know whether my advances would be welcomed or even tolerated. In terms of being open about it, everyone knows — although I’m not sure if my family knows. I never told them in explicit terms, though I’m pretty sure it’s obvious from my… well… self. I guess the family stuff is the tough part for me.” — Dena, 30
I am a bisexual women who dates women primarily, though sometimes I have sex with men — and they always think I’lll have a threesome with them somehow.
“My sexuality isn’t for fun. I happen to like men and women. I tend to date women more, though I’m sure one day I’ll date more men. It’s fluid. But it’s not an invitation to share partners. Like, I’m the same as anyone. I just like breasts and penises and the person themselves. Not necessarily all at once. If you’re a straight lady who likes blonde muscular men and frail, artistic dark-haired guys, would you have sex with both at once? Probably not.” — Ali, 29
As a queer woman who’s still somewhat femme, it’s very easy for me to not acknowledge my queerness and just “get away with it.”
“I admit that I take advantage of this privilege to avoid confrontation, and that’s kind of crappy. But the life I live has put my very old-fashioned family through so much already, I’ve never had the heart to drop this other bombshell on them.” — Lindsey, 30
Catholic School taught me that homosexuality was wrong, so at around 9 or 10 when I started having bisexual feelings, I was horrified.
I’m so sick of my straight lady friends thinking I’m a sexual deviant for being bi — or acting like I’m checking them out.
“I don’t check out every single guy in the room, why would I do it to women? And why on earth would I sexualize my friends? I mean, I do have friends I hook up with, but that’s a different thing. I’m not like eye-fucking my friends’ tits just because they’re women. That’s such a dumb idea. Also, please stop telling me that I want too much being attracted to men and women. Like, I date one at a time. I’m not at an advantange. In fact, I’m double-disadvantaged by my own monogamy.” — Marie, 31