“Oh, you’re bisexual? So, you’re more likely to cheat.”
Celebrate Bisexuality Day
“Bi, huh? You’re just being greedy.”
“I’d love to watch you with another girl, maybe even join in.”
In Pew Research Center’s 2013 surveyof LGBT Americans, 40% of respondents said they were bisexual. A few years prior, a 2011 analysis by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that bisexuals accounted for about 1.8% of the total U.S. adult population.
Even with these stats, there still is not a lot of understanding of bisexuality and bisexual people. We may not have widespread visibility, but we do exist, and we are valid.
I’ve been bisexual all of my life, though it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I had the language to describe my orientation. I’m also kinky and polyamorous – I don’t exactly fit into society’s neat and tidy expectations.
When it comes to dating bisexual women, there are a lot of myths and stereotypes that need busting. A study published in Prevention Science found that people who identify as bi often face discrimination from both the heterosexual and gay and lesbian communities.
Being bi is a little more complicated than Katy Perry’s lesbian anthem, “I Kissed a Girl” would make you believe. That said, it’s never too late to explore who you are and what you want.
In honor of Bisexuality Awareness Month (September) and Bisexuality Day (September 23), I put together a quick list of things you need to know if you want to date someone like me:
My Bisexuality Is Not a Phase
My bisexuality is perfectly valid and deserves to be seen. I’m sure there are plenty of people who use bisexuality as a baby step in coming out. Or, maybe a try-before-you-buy situation while sorting out their sexuality.
That’s OK. As long as you are kind to others in the process, stumble, fall, and go as slow as you want to figure out what works best for you. But for a lot of people, like me, bisexuality is an orientation and calling it a “phase” is harmful.
I’ve liked all the people my entire life; it’s always been a part of my sexual makeup. Nothing has changed, and well into my fourth decade, I’m pretty sure it won’t. Please trust that I know what I want and what’s best for me. And if it doesn’t work for you, no harm, no foul – you can always walk away. (Just don’t ghost me, because that’s the worst.)
I Belong in Queer Spaces
Social gatherings geared toward LGBTQ+ folks are my fav. Give me BurlesKaraoke, a Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and a glitter and rainbow-filled Pride Parade all day long. But sometimes, I go to these events and feel like that cisgender bisexual woman, who sometimes dates cis men, and I’m not quite queer enough.
I think these feelings of illegitimacy boil down to the fact that bisexuality is pretty much non-existent in the representation of queer communities, so I often feel like a fraud. Say it with me: I am bi enough.
I’m Not Bi for the Attention
There’s a super pervasive representation of bisexuality in pop culture that portrays women showing attraction toward other women to gain the attention of men. These perceptions are harmful.
I get that bisexuals and lesbians are often sexualized in the media for the male gaze, but no penis is going to sway my deep, sweet love of pussy.
This Isn’t an Either-or Dynamic for Me
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “Do you see yourself marrying a guy or a girl? If you really had to choose.” This isn't gym class, and I'm not picking teams. Nor is it appropriate to ask which gender I like more to sate your curiosity.
People don’t ask heterosexual humans just how straight they are, amirite? When it comes to my sexuality, I consider myself fluid, and my attraction to all genders ebbs and flows. To quote Bjork: “I think choosing between men and women is like choosing between cake and ice cream. You'd be daft not to try both when there are so many different flavors.” I want to play on all the teams.
If You’re Experimenting, Please be Upfront About It
Conscious sexual experimentation was (and is) key in figuring out who I am. If you want to dip your toes into the bisexual pool, please be considerate when engaging with other people’s hearts, minds, and bodies.
Like in any dating or relationship dynamic, if you’re not kind, there will be casualties. My advice? Start by surrounding yourself with queer friends. Ask a lot of questions. And if you’re brand new to exploring same-sex dynamics, please, let me know. I’m happy to be part of your awakening and totally get that a new kind of sex can be intimidating, but I need to be aware of the learning curve.
Ask potential partners about what they like and don’t like, and be straightforward about your boundaries. Sexual encounters are always better when there’s honest communication about what exactly is going on and what’s about to happen.
I’m Not Afraid of Commitment
In addition to being bisexual, I’m non-monogamous and polyamorous. Sure, I may date men and women – simultaneously – but that’s not what bisexuality is all about. It’s about not limiting attraction based on someone’s sex.
It doesn’t mean I’m not committed to my partners. I very much am. The degree of communication and sexual frequency may vary, but I care about all my partners and am very much open to and capable of love. Commitment has never been an issue for me.
In Some Scenarios, I Love Being a Third but Don't Assume I Want to be Your Unicorn
Just because I’m a unicorn, aka the hard-to-find bisexual fantasy who’s DTF, don’t assume that I also want to sleep with your boyfriend. Dating a bisexual woman isn’t an automatic, no-strings-attached BOGO deal.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking a threesome or group sex, but a lot of times, couples looking for a “third” treat women like a plaything, instead of an actual person and sexual equal in the sack. If you’re OK playing in that dynamic, by all means, go for it. I absolutely love threesomes, but it's never an automatic.
Lesbians, Pretty Please Date Me
Just because I like dick, please don’t disregard me. If I fall for you, it’s because I’m hot for you. Penis-havers may still find me desirable (and vice versa), but I fall in love on a human-by-human basis.
I am just as sexually attracted to women as I am to men (and often, even more so), so I beg you, please give me a chance. Monogamy may not be my thing, but you very well might be.
To learn more about bisexuality, check out the Bisexual Resource Center.
Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.
She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says