How to date a bisexual person

Finding love can be especially difficult for bisexual individuals.

This post was co-authored by Perrin Robinson, M.S.

Do you know – or only think you know – the sexual orientations of the people you care about?

People’s dating and sexual behaviors may not always reflect their self-ascribed sexual orientation (Silva, 2017; Wu, Marks, Young, & Beasley, 2019). Some people know from a young age that they are attracted to people of more than one gender but may adhere to heterosexual norms in their dating behaviors, at least at first. Individuals who identify as a sexual minority may wait years to come out to loved ones.

Coming Out as Bisexual

Bisexual people are less likely than gay men or lesbian women to be fully out to important people in their lives (Pew Research Center, 2013). One reason is the social stigma of bisexuality known as biphobia. Biphobia is “prejudice, fear, or hatred directed toward bisexual people” and includes jokes, side comments, or gossip that spread myths about bisexual people that invalidate bisexuality (Human Rights Campaign Foundation, n.d.a).

Bisexual people are often told “it’s a phase,” “you just want to experiment,” or “you haven’t decided yet” (Wandrey, Mosack, & Moore, 2015). These biphobic statements can adversely affect bisexual individuals.

What Is Bisexuality?

Bisexual activist Robyn Ochs (2015) defines bisexuality as “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.” Bisexuality shares a conceptual similarity with pansexuality, the orientation in which one can experience attraction to a person regardless of gender.

How people understand orientation labels has developed in recent years as research on gender has expanded to include gender non-binary, agender, and other gender non-conforming people. In other words, many individuals no longer define bisexuality as “attraction to both men and women.” Some individuals find that the bisexual label fits their experiences, while others connect more with pansexual, and some avoid these labels all together (Wandrey et al., 2015). Despite variations in labels, many people who do not identify as heterosexual, lesbian, or gay share similar experiences.

Why Do Some People Avoid Dating Bisexual People?

Biphobic misconceptions and stereotypes, such as “bisexual people are more likely to cheat,” “bisexual people are selfish,” and “bisexual people are confused” exist in queer and straight/cisgender communities alike (Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2019). Additionally, many people assume that bisexual people in a different-sex relationship are straight, and that bisexual people in a same-sex relationship are gay or lesbian. These assumptions remove the identities of bisexual individuals, a process known as bisexual erasure (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, 2016).

The pressures of these misconceptions are not without consequence. The minority stress that bisexual people experience is associated with higher rates of depression and suicidality (Human Rights Campaign Foundation, n.d.b). Emerging research suggests that strong social connections (i.e., less loneliness) may counter the negative impacts of these stressors (Mereish, Katz-Wise, & Woulfe, 2017). However, the same stigmas that cause the distress can also keep bisexual people from potential romantic relationships that could mitigate loneliness. While straight and gay men do not show the same bias with dating profiles, straight women find bisexual men to be less attractive and less masculine than straight men, and are less likely to date or have sex with bisexual men (Gleason, Vencill, & Sprankle, 2019).

Reducing Stigma & Helping Out

While media representation has increased in recent years, positive bisexual representation lags behind gay and lesbian representation (Johnson, 2016). TV shows such as Orange is the New Black, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine all feature bisexual lead characters. On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Rosa Diaz (played by bisexual actress Stephanie Beatriz) came out as bisexual in season 5 and has since dated both men and women on the show (Benz, 2017). Perhaps more shows and movies will follow in these footsteps, and create more, accurate representations of bisexual people that could help decrease the stigmas and misconceptions.

Despite the stereotypes, relationships with or between bisexual, gay, or lesbian individuals are likely more similar to heterosexual relationships than most people think. Evidence has, for example, identified that relationship quality is predicted by the same factors, regardless of sexual orientation (Kurdek, 2005). Further, bisexual, lesbian, and gay people are no different in the extent to which they’re attracted to consensual non-monogamy (Moors, Rubin, Matsick, Ziegler, & Conley, 2014).

Yet, many of us, consciously or subconsciously, hold on to misconceptions that hurt bisexual people and prompt many to hide their identity or attractions. In addition to hurting others, we may even be cutting ourselves off from a satisfying relationship. Ask yourself: “Do I have any misconceptions about dating a bisexual person?” “How can I fix these misconceptions?” Challenging stereotypes about bisexual people reduces the minority stress that they experience, and allows you to open yourself to more romantic possibilities.

Benz, P. (Director). (2017, December 5). 99 [Television series episode]. In Brooklyn 99. Los Angeles, CA: Fox Broadcasting Company.

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (2016). The B in LGBT: Bisexual Identity, Erasure, and Invisibility [PDF]. Retrieved from…

Gleason, N., Vencill, J. A., & Sprankle, E. (2019). Swipe left on the bi guys: Examining attitudes toward dating and being sexual with bisexual individuals. Journal of Bisexuality, 18, 516-534.

Human Rights Campaign Foundation. (n.d.a). Bisexual FAQ.; Health Disparities Among Bisexual People; Human Rights Campaign Foundation (2019). Bi+ Youth Report.

Kurdek, L. A. (2005). What do we know about gay and lesbian couples?. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 251-254.

Mereish, E. H., Katz-Wise, S. L., Woulfe, J. (2017). Bisexual-specific minority stressors, psychological distress, and suicidality in bisexual individuals: The mediating role of loneliness. Prevention Science, 18, 716-725.

Moors, A. C., Rubin, J. D., Matsick, J. L., Ziegler, A., & Conley, T. D. (2014). It’s not just a gay male things: Sexual minority women and men are equally attracted to consensual non-monogamy. [Special Issue on Polyamory]. Journal für Psychologie, 22, 38-51.

Ochs, R. (2015, October 11). The definition of bisexuality (according to bi organizations, activities, and the community) – Tumblr mobile edition [Blog post].

Silva, T. (2017). Constructing normative masculinity among rural straight men that have sex with men. Gender & Society, 31, 51-73.

Wandrey, R. L., Mosack. K. E., Moore, E. N. (2015). Coming out to family and friends as bisexually identified young adult woman: A discussion of homophobia, biphobia, and heteronormativity. Journal of Bisexuality, 15, 204-229.

Wu, A. K., Marks, M. J., Young, T. M., & Beasley, M. A. (2019). Predictors of bisexual individuals’ dating decisions. Sexuality & Culture, 1-17

How to date a bisexual person

In queer and poly+ spaces, bi-poly folks – that is, bisexual people who are polyamorous – possess a unique identity. There are many reasons why bisexual individuals lean towards polyamory also and why you’ll come across them on any given poly dating app.

Bisexuality and polyamory have a complex relationship. They share several stereotypes evident in both heterosexual and LGBTQIA+ communities. To illustrate the prominence of bisexual individuals in the polyamorous scene, consider that in one survey of bisexual women by William Burleson, 61% identified as polyamorous. Another report by Heidi Bruins Green showed that 21% of the participants were currently in polyamorous relationships, and 40% identified as polyamorous.

Let’s unpack the reasons why bisexual individuals sometimes feel compelled to participate in poly relationships regardless of their initial stance on polyamory.

Polyamory reaffirms bisexual identity tangibly

In Margaret Robinson’s article “Polyamory and Monogamy as Strategic Identities,” she argues that poly relationships (which are commonly gender-blind), may help stave off the “bisexual erasure” bisexual individuals feel in bisexual and queer communities.

Unfortunately, bisexuality suffers from stereotypes similar to the ones polyamory is subject to. This includes being labeled promiscuous and expected to only be able to form non-monogamous relationships. Additionally, others view bisexuality as a fleeting chapter in someone’s sexual or identity journey – up until they find either a person of the same sex or one of the opposite sex, according to Linda Garnets and Douglas C. Kimmel’s 2003 book, “ Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Experiences .”

In other words, others see bisexuality as a stopping point before individuals eventually choose to be gay or straight. When bisexual individuals lean towards polyamory, however, they can refute the misconception that bisexuality is only “. a sexual and behavioral phenomenon rather than as a social political identity.” (Garnets and Kimmel, 2003).

Like Robinson asserts, polyamory and monogamy should be considered strategic identities , which “. serve a political, social, or interpersonal function and are adopted by in-groups living under the surveillance of powerful out-groups.” There is a lot to unpack here, but here is my main takeaway from her work.

When many people still regard bisexuality as an invalid orientation that belongs to neither heterosexual nor gay category, it makes sense that bi-poly individuals find the welcoming spirit of the poly world a refreshing change.

If a bisexual person has a monogamous relationship with only one person of a specific orientation or gender (for instance, a bi woman with a straight, male-identifying partner), then they feel their bisexual identity is overlooked. This results in a mental conflict about their true identity and how they can reconcile being in a monogamous relationship while signaling to the world that they are indeed bisexual.

Looking at the situation in this way, it’s easy to see why bisexual folks are attracted to polyamory, then. Being able to connect with multiple people of multiple genders is a visible way of actualizing and living out their true identity as bisexual. Additionally, this bi-poly identity allows them to feel part of an accepting group that may share their social and political perspectives.

Benefits of being in a bi-poly group

In Geri Weitzman’s “Therapy with Clients Who Are Bisexual and Polyamorous ,” several benefits of being in a bi-poly community arise. First is the opening of relationship doors – whether that’s finally finding partners who are also bi-poly or finding partners who have no gender preference.

Second is the freedom to express one’s innermost desires or fantasies without feeling judged. The third is the possibility of forming triads or quads with no gender limitations. Fourth is the feeling of acceptance. It’s no surprise that the mainstream is unkind to unconventional ideas and lifestyles.

Alienation and prejudice is an all-too-common experience for anybody who strays from compulsory heterosexual monogamy, and it’s even more common in bi-poly folks who might get shunned from both bisexual and heterosexual communities.

How to avoid a social faux pas with bi-poly folks on poly dating apps

Like I mentioned above, there are stereotypes that bisexual people fight daily. If you practice polygamy, chances are you’ve probably come across these stereotypes, too. In short, we mustn’t discriminate when it comes to courting bi-poly folks on dating apps or websites.

First, not every bi-poly individual wants to have wild, erotica-novel fantasies with multiple people of different genders at once. Each person is different, and the key is establishing comfort levels, respecting boundaries, and meeting needs.

Second, not every bi-poly individual wants short-term, casual encounters. This stereotype that bisexual people cannot thrive in long-term, committed relationships is harmful and disrespectful. It’s rooted in the idea that bisexuality is a constant push and pull struggle where the bisexual individual is never satisfied staying with one gender. Of course, every person signs up to poly dating apps like Sister Wives with different intentions – it’s up to you to determine whether a relationship will work out or not.

Third, don’t try to “convert” a bisexual person. Whether you’re a man speaking to a bisexual man and trying to convince them that they’re gay or you’re a woman speaking to a bisexual man and trying to convince them that they just haven’t found the right woman yet, this line of thought is completely inappropriate and tinged with biphobia.

Fourth, don’t assume that a bi-poly person is completely out to their friends and family. A person’s coming out experience should be determined by them and them only. The specific time, location, and conditions should be in their power, not yours, to respect their agency.

I’ve given you four basic tips on how to unlearn any misconceptions you may have about bi-poly individuals, but the truth is, every relationship is different. Moreover, every person is different, and one’s identity is never set in stone. In short, it’s impossible to cover every single scenario.

However, that’s why I take pride in our poly community – we live our truths unashamedly, and welcome others with open arms who wish to do the same.

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    5 Places to Meet LGBTQ+ Friends Online

    How to date a bisexual person

    There’s nothing more affirming than having a group of LGBT friends.

    How to date a bisexual person

    Whether you’re in a small town or a major city, there are other LGBTQ+ people near you. The hard part is just actually finding them. There’s nothing more affirming than having a group of queer friends, but if you’re struggling to meet people (or are, you know, stuck inside quarantining because of an ongoing global pandemic), try finding friends online!

    1.) Find friends through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr

    One of the easiest ways to meet LGBTQ+ people online is through Facebook. It’s still possible for people to conceal their identity or present a false identity through Facebook, but it’s a little harder, and there are usually more red flags (an empty profile, no pictures, no friends). Search “LGBTQ” + [Your City/Closest Large City] or Queer Exchange [Your City] to find groups of queer people in your area.

    Tumblr can be a mess. Tumblr is usually a mess. But if you start following LGBTQ+ blogs you like, send a message. There are even some Tumblr blogs dedicated to finding LGBT friends. Most Tumblr users are in their teens and early 20s.

    Twitter can also be a good place to meet LGBTQ+ friends of all ages. Search tags you’re interested in, follow a group of people with common interests, and search for online/virtual meetups in your area.

    2.) Meet up with can be a little hit or miss, but try searching terms like LGBTQ, queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender to find groups near you. You’ll find queer book clubs, hiking groups, improv groups, softball teams, foodies, bar hoppers, and more. If you’re not in school and you’re not meeting people at work, it’s a good way to find a group of LGBTQ+ people with common interests! (And there’s a whole bunch of virtual, online Meetup options available to people during this era of social distancing!)

    3.) Try dating sites and apps

    A lot of people create dating profiles for the sole purpose of making friends, while others are open to new friendships and dates. State that you’re looking for friends in the first line of your profile. The dating app Her is geared toward lesbian, bi, queer, and trans women and non-binary people. OkCupid has the world’s greatest feature—”I don’t want to see or be seen by straight people.” OkCupid focuses a lot on compatibility questions and a lengthy profile, and has a wide selection of options for gender and sexual orientation.

    4.) Get out there with Empty Closets

    Empty Closets is an online forum for ages 13 and up, with a chat room for members who apply. The forum covers a ton of topics, from entertainment and media to coming out later in life. I’m always a little iffy about chatting with people who are essentially anonymous in real life, so if you’re doing a virtual meet up from Empty Closets, add someone on Facebook or get some proof they are who they say they are first.

    5.) For ages 13 to 24, try TrevorSpace

    TrevorSpace is a monitored youth-friendly site where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth ages 13 to 24 can connect with other young people throughout the world, and can get involved in their local LGBTQ+ communities.

    This image was removed due to legal reasons.

    Bisexuals make up the third letter of the LGBT(Q) alphabet soup. But sometimes they feel a bit left out.

    In case you were unaware, bisexuals (the “B” in LGBTQ) are “family,” too. Men and women who love both men and women fall within the rainbow umbrella, but for some reason they don’t always feel the love.

    New York magazine recently profiled the “four most desirable people on OKCupid.” There were two women (one lesbian and one straight woman) and two men (one gay and one straight). If they’re going to stick to those binaries, the least they could do is include two bisexuals, amirite?

    Despite the criticisms of its lack of inclusion of diverse gender and sexuality options, OKCupid touts that it is the “best free dating site on Earth.” Indeed, it’s known for being one of the trendiest dating sites. It also provides various features to keep “the gays” from “the straights” which is an added layer of protection for women who love women, and who have no interest in men and their invitations for threesomes. But even bisexuals have a hard time looking for love on the site.

    Here are the five biggest misconceptions that make it hard out there for a bisexual who’s in the pursuit of love:

    1. You’re greedy … and freaky!

    This image was removed due to legal reasons.

    Being bisexual means you want to have your cake and eat it too … right? How could you ever be satisfied with just one person if you identify as bisexual? People like Ani DiFranco seem like a myth when it comes to negotiating bisexual identity. But, really, it is possible.

    Bisexual means “kinky and into threesomes … right? All of those gay/straight couples may want you to help them spice up their boring relationship.

    2. You’re just experimenting.

    This image was removed due to legal reasons.

    People of the same sex that you’re interested may think you’re only pretending to be bi. I mean, bisexuals can’t commit, right?

    There’s a prevailing myth that being bisexual means that you don’t want—or are unable—to commit. Obviously no one wants to be cheated on, but for some, there’s an extra sting when their lover cheats with someone of a different sex from them. Men feel like they can’t give you what a woman can and ironically women feel they can’t give you what a man can. Bisexuals bring out insecurities in everyone!

    3. You’re really just gay!

    This image was removed due to legal reasons.

    Bisexuals—especially men—are often questioned about their sexual orientation. The term “sexual orientation” (a natural sexual attraction) vs. “sexual preference” (like having a taste for a salad instead of a sandwich) makes all the difference here. As someone who “likes both,” it can be hard to convince people of your identity. If only people understood that we can’t control our sexual desires, right?

    And there’s a double standard, too! A lot of men who like women truly believe that any woman could be into them (regardless of her sexual orientation). But when it comes to a bisexual man, many women see them as gay.

    How to date a bisexual person

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    How to date a bisexual person

    How to date a bisexual person

    Lighthouse therapist Deanna Richards offers advice for monosexual people in relationships with a bisexual partner.

    Bisexual people often occupy a challenging space between gay, lesbian, and heterosexual communities. Despite research that shows monosexual identities — or the attraction to only one sex or gender identity — are becoming less common, bisexuality is frequently written off as “just a phase,” or a stop on the way to coming out as gay or lesbian. And it’s not just straight people who are to blame: research shows that gay and lesbian individuals still hold negative perceptions of bi people as well.

    So what happens when a bisexual or pansexual person enters a closed relationship with a monosexual partner, or comes out as bi or pan after they’re already in the relationship? We sat down with Lighthouse therapist Deanna Richards to discuss how both partners can communicate clearly and overcome the challenges that accompany dating someone of a different sexual orientation.

    The Double Threat: Overcoming Jealousy with Your Bisexual Partner

    Jealousy and insecurity can arise in any relationship, but may pop up more frequently in relationships in which one partner is non-monosexual. This paranoia, says Richards, is typically a product of biphobia, or ingrained assumptions that bisexual people are more promiscuous than monosexual people, which is just one of many myths associated with bisexuality. “There’s this idea that non-monosexual people just don’t have any boundaries,” says Richards. “This can seem scary to partners — there’s a sense that you can’t trust someone without boundaries, and jealousy naturally arises from that.”

    Those same feelings of jealousy and inadequacy can fuel attitudes of bi-erasure in the monosexual partner. For instance, if a man who’s in a relationship with a woman comes out as bi, his heterosexual female partner might suggest he’s gay as a means to minimize perceived threat and absolve herself of responsibility or feelings of failure. If he only likes men, the logic goes, then there was nothing the female partner could do to prevent the male partner’s interest in opening or leaving the relationship to explore relationships with other men.

    Ideally, the bisexual partner will be open about their identity from the get-go. But many people may not feel safe enough to come out as bi — or even the realization that they might be bi — until they’re well into a heterosexual relationship. “When it comes to exploring bisexual identity,” says Richards, “Women are typically given more room to explore, particularly when they’re in a closed relationship with a man. But when a male partner suggests he might also like men, many women feel scared of the fact that there’s a whole group of people who can offer their partner something — a literal, anatomical something — that they can’t.” The same goes for same-sex female couples in which one partner expresses interest in men.

    Monosexual Partners: Practice Compassionate Curiosity

    When jealousies or bi-related anxieties arise, Richards suggests that both partners engage in open and honest dialogue. “The monosexual partner should examine their ingrained assumptions about bisexuality and try and turn those assumptions into questions,” says Richards. “Avoid minimizing, avoid invalidating, and above all, avoid thrusting your partner into another identity.”

    Richards also suggests that the monosexual partner engage in conversation about the topic outside of the relationship, either with a mental healthcare provider or with communities of people who may be experiencing something similar. It can be overwhelming for the bisexual partner to be the sole source of education, and there are other avenues through which monosexual people can learn about bisexuality. Above all, it’s important to practice compassionate curiosity with their bisexual partner — wherein the monosexual partner does not attack or judge, but simply asks questions about their partner’s identity.

    Bisexual Partners: Be Honest And Patient

    If you come out as non-monosexual well into a relationship, know that it will take time for your partner to learn about this new facet of your identity. Be patient and honest, and let your partner know that you are there to work through their process of acceptance. “It’s important to be supportive, but also to take space for self care,” notes Richards. “Going to meetups, therapy, or even just talking with friends can help with self-esteem and patience in the context of the relationship.”

    If you come out as non-monosexual in the early days and are already comfortable in that identity, you’ll likely have a better idea of what you’re willing to help a monosexual partner work through. “Be straightforward and honest as you’re able to,” says Richards. “While it’s important to be patient and supportive, be wary of partners who make you feel as if you should apologize for your identity.”

    How to Move Forward

    Just because someone comes out as bi or pan within the context of a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean they want or need to act on it — but they might, and the monosexual partner should be prepared to have that conversation. “It’s important for the monosexual partner to ask themselves, ‘how can I support my partner in the context of this relationship — what does that look like moving forward?’” says Richards. Rather than immediately alienating your bisexual partner or jumping to the worst case scenario, ask yourself whether you’re receptive to the idea of an open relationship. Alternatively, if you’d like to stay monogamous, consider using fantasy as a way to create an intimate space for your partner’s bi identity. No matter what course of action you and your partner decide to take, don’t immediately shut down the idea of changing what your relationship looks like.

    Embracing Non-Monosexuality

    Research shows that monosexual identities are becoming less common, especially among younger generations. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, only 48 percent of teenagers identify as completely straight, and over a third of those surveyed expressed an identity ranging between 1 and 5 on the Kinsey scale, indicating different levels of bisexuality, or non-monosexual identities. This increasing normalization of non-monosexual identities will contribute to reducing biphobia and bi-erasure in the coming years, and minimize the widespread anxieties surrounding bisexual identities.

    That said, monosexual people still have a long way to go in eschewing misconceptions that surround bisexuality, and working to understand the experiences of bisexual friends and partners. One way to prioritize honest communication in your relationship is by visiting an LGBT friendly therapist with your partner. To book an appointment with Deanna Richards, click here. To visit her website, click here.

    By Ben Hunte
    LGBT correspondent

    23 September 2019

    Bisexual Visibility Day has been celebrated on 23 September for the last 20 years.

    However, at a time of seemingly wider LGBT acceptance, is society actually accepting of the “B”?

    Some people who identify as bisexual have told the BBC of issues they regularly come across when trying to live openly as bisexual individuals.

    They have experienced abusive relationships, disrespect in the workplace, and discrimination on dating apps just because of their sexuality.

    The Trades Union Congress has released a report highlighting that about one in five bisexual people (21%) reported they had been sexually assaulted at work.

    ‘It scares me how people will react’

    Matt is a graduate trainee living in Cambridge. He has struggled to maintain relationships with both men and women, and says he now has to lie about his sexuality in order to date people.

    “It scares me how people will react,” he says. “It feels like I have a dark secret that I haven’t aired fully.

    “One girl I was dating suddenly said that the thought of me being with a man made her physically sick. Then she blocked me on everything.

    “When I date people, and mention I’m bisexual, the relationship ends. When I lie to people, and hide my sexuality, it lasts. I still don’t know whether I should reveal it from the start, or wait, because the longer I wait the more anxious I get, but I don’t want any relationship to end.”

    “I feel like if I end up in a straight relationship, I’ll look like I was just experimenting all these years, but if I end up in a gay relationship people will say I was never actually bisexual. Then if I don’t have a monogamous relationship people will say I’m just greedy.”

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    Nichi Hodgson is a writer who lives in London. She says she came out “late” as bisexual at 26, and had trouble exploring who she was because of society’s pressures to be either gay or straight.

    “It’s a wild ride because of people’s misconceptions,” she says. “People still can’t get their heads around bisexuality.

    “I would have to hide that I’m bisexual online. I would have a straight profile, and a gay profile, but having a bisexual one created serious problems. Some people think that bisexuality is kinky and code for BDSM. It’s like you’re up for anything. There’s a real stigma.

    “My ex-girlfriend used to joke that she’d have to bleach me before she could sleep with me because I’d been with guys before. I was really disturbed. It’s deeply hurtful.

    “I have heard people say that bisexual people don’t get married – they just go straight and get married. There’s a real social pressure to go straight rather than being bisexual.”

    In the TUC survey – conducted by ICM Unlimited using a sample of 1,151 LGBT people in the UK – 30% of bisexual workers said they had experienced unwanted touching at work, for example hands being placed on their lower back or knee.

    And 21% said they had experienced sexual assault, such as unwanted touching of the breasts, buttocks or genitals, or attempts to kiss them, and 11% said they had experiences sexual assault or rape while working.

    TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the results reveal a “hidden epidemic”.

    “Bisexual people should feel safe and supported at work, but instead they’re experiencing shocking levels of sexual harassment,” she said.

    “Sexual harassment has no place in a modern workplace – or in wider society.”

    ‘People are comfortable with their biphobia’

    Lewis Oakley is a bisexual activist and writer who lives in Manchester and is currently in a relationship with a woman.

    He says his girlfriend is judged for being with him, with people warning her that Lewis will cheat on her with a man.

    “It seems like it’s socially acceptable to be honest about your bisexual discrimination. Nobody has ever turned to me and said: ‘Eww you’re mixed race, I couldn’t possibly date you,’ but I always hear that my bisexuality doesn’t fit with people’s needs.

    “A lot of gay men came out as bisexual themselves in order to come to terms with their sexuality, but they fail to realise that whilst for some people bisexuality is a stepping stone, for others it’s a destination.

    “When bisexuals come out, they are immediately putting off people they could be with, because both gay and straight people reject them.”

    For more stories like this, follow the BBC LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte on Twitter and Instagram.

    How to date a bisexual person

    Just like Anna Paquin, who tweeted about her bisexuality and marriage for Pride Month, I am a bisexual woman, attracted to both men and women, and I am proudly married to a man who’s only attracted to ladies*. So what’s it like? Awesome, predominantly. Being bi and married to my dude is a wonderful and fulfilling situation, mostly because he is excellent and accepts all my parts, including the bits that like another gender. But together we have discovered that, through no conscious fault of our own, we confuse people. Frequently. Deeply. Sometimes in a way that ends with strange girls trying to break into our room at parties. (More on that later.)

    Much of this confusion seems to come from two sources: preconceptions about bisexuality and how it works, and preconceptions about marriage and what it’s for. When our relationship is viewed from the outside, these ideas sit atop it like an incongruous cheap baseball cap and affect how we’re perceived.

    Here are the four ideas about marriage and bisexuality that I regularly encounter, and why they’re wrong:

    We Are All About Threesomes

    More than one person has assumed that bi-hetero relationships must involve threesomes, regularly. In the same way that straight relationships involve, I don’t know, Chinese food, or fighting over the remote. My husband gets fist-bumped rather a lot.

    Cute, right? Except that it meant that a drunk girl at a party we both attended, who’d never met me but who had heard that I was bi and therefore “must be up for it,” tried to force her way into the room where we were sleeping for an unexpected menage a trois. Obviously there are many things wrong with that situation. But the underlying assumption, that threesomes are regularly on the sexual menu, isn’t too uncommon. It defines “bisexual” as “can’t be satisfied without both sexes at once,” which is another, entirely different sexual identity.

    It also overlaps with the stereotype that bi people are sexually insatiable and will seek out anything with a pulse to satisfy their raging libido. “Is it breathing? Can it consent? Sweet, it’s macking time.” This is. not true. I am not Lord Byron.

    It’s The End Of My Queerness

    Committing to a lifelong heterosexual relationship when you’ve been a part of the queer community can cause conversations like this:

    “Why didn’t I get an invite to your Pride party this year?”

    “We just. thought you wouldn’t be interested. Now, I mean.”

    Yep. Bi people are in a particular bind when it comes to their dating pool: If they find a partner of the opposite sex, they run the risk of being accused of queer treason. Having a legally married dude partner means that, for some very lovely LGBT friends, I have sadly lost all my gay points, copped out, thrown in the rainbow-colored towel, and can no longer take part of Pride activities because I’m too busy being committed to male genitalia.

    It’s also frankly frustrating when anybody, straight or gay, assumes that I have been magically, permanently cured of my (very real) attraction to boobs by prolonged exposure to my dude’s heterosexuality, like it’s musky anti-LGBT radiation. Sexuality is fluid, and it can change over time, but assuming this in another person is a good way to get something thrown at your head.

    And then there are the people who decide I was never actually REALLY queer at all, that I was either a L.U.G — Lesbian Until Graduation — dating women because it was fashionable and edgy or because I was just confused.

    Nobody’s actually congratulated my dude on “turning me” or “helping me make up my mind” — yet. But I have had a few comments about how relieved I must be that, like Jessie J’s, my experimental phase is over. Nope. Nope nope nope.

    People can be very uncomfortable with the concept of bisexuality as a permanent identity rather than a ‘holding pattern’ while you choose which gender you REALLY like. Evan Rachel Wood, who is bisexual, told a journalist for Out magazine, “People like things black and white. It’s less scary. Grey areas make people uneasy.” Marriage seems like a definitive choice, like you’ve FINALLY chosen one team over the other, which is obviously pretty uncomfortable, since I’m still firmly in that grey space.

    Mawwage! Twu Wuv! Cop Out!

    The LGBT community and marriage have a very fraught relationship, with a legacy of “traditional” gender roles and inherent historical patriarchy to battle. Taking advantage of a right that many gay people still can’t have — and aren’t sure they want — can put a big wedge between yourself and your queer identity and community.

    Putting on the dress and the ring and legally binding yourself to a person of the opposite sex can wreak havoc not only on your gay credentials but on your own self-perception. Is this really true to who I am? Am I turning my back on the struggle of a minority? Am I — gasp — taking the easy way out?

    Quick answer: No. I’m not. Marriage is never an “easy” decision, regardless of sexuality, and if I’d fallen in love with a lady, I would have married a lady. If anything, the ease with which I could get hitched to a dude, and the sheer happiness that accompanied that act, makes me even more conscious of what it means to deprive other queer people of that right.

    Bisexual People + Monogamy = Disaster

    And then there’s the concept that a lifetime with only one set of genitals for company is inconceivable for bisexual people. INCONCEIVABLE.

    I’ve had some very concerned dialogues go something like this:

    “But how can you be happy with just one gender? Forever? Won’t you always be thinking about the other one? Aren’t you unfulfilled? Won’t your partner think there’s a little bit of you he can’t satisfy? IS YOUR MARRIAGE DOOMED?”

    Welcome to a contradiction of bi-and-married existence. Critics treat you as if you have taken one of two paths: either you’ve relinquished your bisexual identity, and so seem to have abandoned queer struggle to take refuge in the safe familiarity of the patriarchy, or you’ve kept it and are seen as incapable of dealing with the structures of state-sanctioned monogamy. Whee!

    Here’s the thing — monogamy doesn’t mean that your genitals are programmed only to want your partner’s genitals forever more. Attraction to others, regardless of orientation, doesn’t cease because you put a ring on it. That’s a conversation that modern society is only just learning how to have: that commitment to one person is a continued choice, and that it’s OK and healthy to think other people are cute.

    I don’t feel any mourning for my access to breasts, any more than I mourn for my access to other dudes. They are, after all, still in the world. If I felt any urge to still be out squeezing them, I would not have walked down that aisle. Being bi and married doesn’t mean perpetually thinking wistfully that the grass is greener elsewhere; it means really, really loving your patch of garden, and working on it ardently. The gardeners are a little out of the ordinary, but the flowers sure are beautiful.

    *I don’t refer to my dude as “straight” because he doesn’t like the word. He prefers the term “heterosexual,” or, if you want to be precise, a male-identifying person who is female-attracted.

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    No Men’s Land: When Women Won’t Date Bisexual Guys

    How to date a bisexual person

    How to date a bisexual person

    A while back, I was casually scrolling through Twitter on my company-mandated 10-minute break at my second job. While I was sitting there, minding my own business, just trying to see what was new with Kerry Washington, I came across some disturbing statistics.

    A tweet from my pal Nicole Kristal over at #StillBisexual, told me that Glamour Magazine recently conducted a sex survey with their readers, with one result sticking out in particular:

    How to date a bisexual person

    Upon first sight, I was shocked and saddened by this information. However, after composing the perfect response to send to Nicole, I thought more about it and realized something pretty terrible — I wasn’t surprised. Not at all, in fact.

    This idea is one we’ve all heard before, right? It goes along with that strange belief that somehow it’s more acceptable for women to be sexually fluid than men.

    Seething, and with my protective instincts raised for my bisexual brethren, I went back to work and asked my best work friend, (a straight woman) if she would date a bisexual man. I phrased the question like the answer was obvious: “You’d totally date a bi guy, right? Like, if you met a guy who was awesome and you really liked him, finding out he’s bi wouldn’t change anything, right?”

    Imagine my surprise when she said “Well, I don’t know. Maybe. That’s a tough one.”

    A “tough one”? Seriously? Here I am pitching this idea that the perfect man could come along and offer her the life and relationship she’s always dreamed of, and she’s saying she might turn it down if it also happens that he likes having sex with people who are not cis women like her?

    I quickly changed the topic so as to not have a fight about sex and relationships loudly where customers could hear, and I put the conversation out of my mind until my drive home later that night.

    Once safely in my car, I began to have an epiphany; a sad, disillusioning epiphany, but an epiphany nonetheless.

    I realized that there were only a few possible explanations here.

    Explanation one: Society is steeped in internalized homophobia and masculine ideals, and we create rules for ourselves and the people in our lives accordingly. We admit that a woman being with another woman is fine, but get weirded out by a man being with another man. Why? Because of the twisted belief that a man being with another man is somehow — hilariously — “unmanly.”

    And since we’ve all heard insane rules about what it is to “be a man,” how boys need to “man up,” and how straight/bi women should only want “real, manly men” or “guys’ guys,” anything that is considered “unmanly” is a huge no-no.

    Fun tidbit: This is why when bisexuals are asked who is faced with more challenges and stigma, bisexual men or bisexual women, a lot of us will say bisexual men. (Examples: 1, 2)

    Explanation two: The false and tired belief that being with someone who is bi/pansexual/omnisexual means that they will cheat on you or that you have more competition.

    Explanation three: Hypocrisy and Biphobia

    When I got home from work, I looked up the very article Nicole was referencing and saw that the study also found that 47% of women surveyed admitted to being attracted to another woman at some point, and that 31% say they’ve had a sexual experience with another woman.

    Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Ph.D., director of the Sex & Gender Lab at Cornell University was quoted in the article as saying that the report of women not wanting to have sex with a man who’d been with other men suggested “that these women hold on to the view that while women occupy a wide spectrum of sexuality, men are either gay or straight.”

    So women are allowed to be bisexual, or at least more sexually fluid, but men are not? It would appear that there’s a common idea that a man who has sex with another man is gay, and therefore a woman shouldn’t want to be with him because it’s a waste of time. He’s gay, so why bother, right?

    To any woman who has had/does have feelings for a man who has had sex with other men: Turning down someone because of perfectly valid sexual preferences and/or behaviors is ridiculous. Your man having past involvement with other men does not mean he is any less manly or that he is on the “down low.”

    All it means is that in addition to being with you, he also happens to like having sex with men. And hey, there’s something you have in common. Congratulations.