6 Lies People Tell You When You Come Out as Bisexual

If you’re just beginning the process of learning about your bisexual identity, I wish my job was as simple and pleasurable as welcoming you to the club, letting you know we go bowling every day, and sending you on your merry bi way.

But unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news: There are a lot of myths, lies, and stereotypes about us that can bring you some serious frustration and heartache – case-in-point: the fact that I had to start a conversation by asserting that we exist.

And when you’re beginning to figure your sexuality out, it’s hard to get past all the inaccurate information about it.

Especially when people turn that false information into judgment against you. Like saying you can’t be faithful, or you’re being greedy, or your bisexuality’s invalid because the gender of your partner makes you gay or straight.

Your identity is totally valid, and society’s limits around gender and sexuality are just plain wrong.

Here’s a popular definition of bisexuality from Robyn Ochs:

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

This definition shows that bisexuality has nothing to do with those judgments.

The most important thing is that your sexuality is your own. But it’s not easy to own your sexuality when you’re getting all kinds of awful messages about it. So here are some biphobic comments you might get and why they’re all wrong about you.

The most important thing is that your sexuality is your own. But it’s not easy to own your sexuality when you’re getting all kinds of awful messages about it. So here are some biphobic comments you might get and why they’re all wrong about you.

1 You’re Just Confused

This myth is all too common because we’re all surrounded by heternormativity – the assumption that everyone is straight.

Which can make figuring out your orientation confusing for anyone who isn’t heterosexual. Add the belief in only monosexuality to the mix, and then people think everyone’s only attracted to one gender – meaning, if you’re not straight, you must be gay.

So even people who think they’re being helpful suggest that “confusion” is what you’re dealing with, because they don’t know that it’s possible to feel attraction to more than one gender.

When I was a little girl, I used to think I could only be attracted only to boys – because heteronormativity says that all girls are. Even when I learned that not everyone is straight, I only learned about what it means to be gay.

So yes, by the time I was sure that I wasn’t gay or straight, I felt confused – about why there didn’t seem to be another option.

When I did learn about bisexuality, what I learned wasn’t good. It all came in the form of snide remarks about bisexual people, like jokes about women “experimenting” in college before they ended up straight, or about guys claiming to be bisexual until they admit they’re gay.

I believed those negative stereotypes, and I didn’t want them to fit me. For a long time, figuring out my orientation was a frustrating effort to pin my identity down as either gay or straight.

It never worked. I’d be lusting after the hero of the movie, convinced that my desire for him confirmed I was straight, and then along came the movie’s heroine to throw that theory out the window when she also set my bisexual heart aflutter.

You can save yourself this trouble. You know yourself better than anyone else does, so you don’t have to try to fit your sexuality into a box that doesn’t feel right to you.

It’s also okay if you’re still figuring things out, if your sexuality is fluid or your identity changes as you grow and learn more about what language feels right. That’s possible for everyone, whether they’re monosexual or not.

But “bisexual” doesn’t automatically mean “fluid”, and it doesn’t mean you’re just trying to figure out if you’re straight or gay. Your identity is as real and autonomously valid as anyone else’s.

2 You’re Immoral

Like many other people, I learned early on that anything other than heterosexuality is wrong.

Even when people said being gay is okay, some of them still believed that there’s something wrong with bisexuality.

I had straight friends who’d adamantly stand up to homophobia, arguing that “homosexuality is not a choice” so it shouldn’t be demonized. But when it came to bisexuality, they’d forget what they believed about acceptance and treat my identity as a choice – and an immoral one at that.

Some bisexual people do make decisions based on gender, and some see it as a deliberate choice to be visibly bisexual. But most of us also understand our bisexuality just like how others see their sexual orientation – it’s not something we chose, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

Advice columnist Dear Prudence recently advised a married bisexual woman to keep her orientation private, treating bisexuality like a fetish that would only make her loved ones uncomfortable.

This terrible advice sends the message that while monosexual people can share their sexual orientation as a defining part of their identity, bisexual people should be ashamed and keep it to ourselves.

You have nothing to be ashamed of. Your bisexuality doesn’t make you a bad person, but you can feel that way when nobody seems to understand you.

That’s why it’s helpful to reach out for bisexual community, whether it’s in person or online.

We’re out here. And so are reminders like this: Your bisexuality makes you pretty rad.

3 You Have to Answer These Invasive Questions to Prove You’re Bisexual

I thought/spent a lot of time thinking about my sex life – that’s nothing compared to other people’s curiosity. For some reason, when I say “I’m bisexual,” people seem to think I actually said, “I’ll answer the most invasive question you can think of.”

And I’ve heard it all: “How do two women have sex?” “Have you ever had a threesome?”

These questions are nosy as hell – and do you know what makes people think they’re entitled to know such private details of my sex life?

It’s the “othering” of bisexual people. It’s one way monosexual people sometimes treat us as some kind of oddity, exotic creatures they can be free to objectify.

Some questions are worse than nosy – they’re also policing your sexuality.

Take the myth that you have to meet certain criteria to really “count” as bisexual. Some people believe that bisexuality means being equally attracted to men and women – “50/50” attraction for each.

So they ask questions to judge how your sexual experience matches up. For example:“How do you know you’re bisexual? Have you ever actually had sex with another man?”

Your sexual orientation isn’t about who you’ve slept with, or whether you have equal attraction to all genders, or any other arbitrary criteria. It’s about who you are. You don’t owe anyone an explanation that your sex life “proves” you are who you say you are.

So when you’re feeling pressure from people who feel entitled to know about your sexuality, it’s totally okay to set boundaries.

Let people know if you’re not comfortable answering personal questions. Your sexual identity is not an invitation for invading your privacy.

You can also point loved ones to resources on supporting you. If you do want to talk, you get to set your own terms, and you don’t have to share anything if you’re not safe, comfortable, and giving consent.

4 This Is Just a Phase

I’d be such a blissful bisexual if I never had to hear this one again.

In spite of our glorious existence, some people still hold the belief that bisexuality isn’t real – so we’re just going through a phase.

For example, those good heteronormative ideas come up again with the idea that bisexual women will eventually settle down with a man and “no longer” be bisexual.

This bisexual “phase” has lasted my entire life – if I were gay or straight, people would refer to it as my sexual orientation, not some experiment.

I shouldn’t have to give “proof”, but scientific studies confirm that bisexuality is a thing.

For bisexual men, a persistent myth says they’re gay men in the closet.

Some people do identify as one orientation before settling on another. For example, when popular columnist Dan Savage was a teenager, he told people he was bisexual before coming out as gay.

Unfortunately, Savage now uses his own experience, claiming that young bisexual men are actually gay like he was.

But lots of proud bisexual men are proving him wrong.

Your existence is enough. You don’t need anyone else’s validation that the attraction you feel is real.

But it could help to learn more about what bisexuality means to you.

For instance, since you’re not limited to heteronormative ideas about who your gender “should” be attracted to, what does attract you to people? It might be fun to spend some time thinking about what grabs your attention.

And learn about the leaders, activists, and celebrities living full lives as bisexual people standing up to pressure to “pick a side.”

5 You’re Just Being Greedy

If I lived up to every myth about bisexuality, I’d sure be busy.

Like the belief that we’re trying to have sex with “anything that moves.” Do they think I have time for all that?

The first thing wrong with this idea is that it’s obviously inaccurate. Not every bisexual person wants a super-active sex life.

Just like you can’t assume that a gay man or straight woman wants to have sex with every man they come across, it’s ridiculous to say that a bisexual person wants to have sex with every person of every gender.

As Eliel Cruz put it, just because you’re bisexual, that doesn’t mean you don’t have standards.

The statement that bisexual people are “greedy” is also really judgmental. Those who choose to be sexually adventurous shouldn’t be shamed for it.

At least, ahem, that’s what a sexually adventurous friend of mine says. What the hell, the cat’s out of the bag – that’s what I say as a kinky, bisexual woman who knows there’s nothing wrong with you even if you do have an active sex life.

Personally, instead of entertaining the absurd idea that my sexual orientation makes me “greedy”, I prefer to think of myself as open-hearted and adventurous.

Which doesn’t mean I’m having orgies every night – but the point is, it’s not fair to judge anyone’s sex life, even if they are having lots of orgies. As long as everyone involved consents, you’re not hurting anyone with sex that makes you happy.

In fact, by calling sexually adventurous bisexual people “greedy”, people insult one of the LGBT community’s most legendary figures: bisexual sex-positive activist Brenda Howard.

Howard was known as the “Mother of Pride” for her role in organizing the first Pride events, and she was also openly polyamorous and involved in BDSM. Her activism shows that having the sex life you want isn’t about greed – it’s about being free.

Whether you consider yourself sexually adventurous, “vanilla”, or something in between, you deserve to find community that won’t judge your choices.

6 You Can’t Be Faithful in Relationships

Here’s another sex-shaming message: the one that says bisexuality and fidelity are incompatible – as if we’ll always cheat on our partners.

Excuse me as I roll my eyes and recall the monosexual ex-partners who have cheated on me.

There is all kinds of information mixed up here. Like the misconception that being faithful is in any way connected to sexual orientation. There are people of all orientations who cheat on their partners, and people of all orientations who are totally faithful.

Then there’s the assumption that because you’re attracted to more than one gender, you want relationships with multiple partners.

Some folks do like having open relationships or multiple partners – that’s known as non-monogamy, and people of any sexual orientation can practice it.

But non-monogamy isn’t cheating. Like monogamy, it requires trust and communication.

And like gay and straight people, bisexual folks are perfectly capable of committing to relationships, whether they’re monogamous or not.

At the end of the day, the only people who need to know about your relationship terms are you and any potential partners – and even they don’t have the right to police your sexuality.

If a partner judges you or suspects you of cheating just because of your orientation, there’s nothing wrong with you – they’re not showing you the respect you deserve.

But don’t give up hope if you want relationships – bisexual people build healthy love and sex lives all the time with partners who respect us for who we are.

Express it however you want to – whether that’s flirting, rocking the bisexual flag, or just being your lovely self and knowing bisexuality is something nobody can take away from you.

Only you can decide what being bi means to you. Rock on with your beautifully bisexual truth.

Being bi isn’t all about shame and misunderstanding. When I think of the ridiculous lies, I remember it’s society that has a problem with bisexuality.

Bisexuality itself is a beautiful thing.