Bisexuality is quite often referred to as the redheaded stepchild of sexuality. Being one, you aren't straight enough for straight people, not gay enough for gay people.

But more and more, people are identifying somewhere in the middle as far as sexuality goes, especially in rising generations. With it has come a barrage of questions and comments bisexuals are tired of hearing.

“Just pick a side.”
“I actually had a girl in high school tell me that I was either straight or gay and to just choose,” says Valencia Q., a 22-year-old automotive repair receptionist in Cloverdale, California. It was her senior year of high school when she came out to friends and family. She's spent years defending something she was born with.

Grace W., an avid runner and barista from Boston, Massachusetts, has had similar experiences. “Once, a gay friend told me that he thought bisexual people hurt the cause of LGBT rights and that they should either pick being a lesbian or gay or straight,” she says.

Grace adds that she's always known she was bisexual, and has always been open with it. Her parents have always been really supportive of her and her siblings’ sexuality, too. Her friends, not so much. 

“You're not really bisexual because you're with a guy.”
“I had a boyfriend for almost a year in high school,” says Anna G., a 19-year-old college student at Florida State University. She came out in her freshman year of high school, but says most people didn’t believe her because of who she was dating. “Most of my friends and family seemed to think that meant I was actually straight. But I'm not.”

Unsurprisingly, others opened up about this long-held myth, too. Grace, the barista from above, confirms Anna’s story with her own. “Just because I have a girlfriend, I'm not more or less bisexual than anyone else who identifies as no,” she says.

As most of the respondents explain, there are plenty of "normal" reasons someone may date or marry. Comparability of goals, similar belief systems, sense of humor, interests, and likes, are just a few examples that have nothing to do with appearance or gender. These are some of the reasons bisexuals choose a partner, not just on gender.

“Would you ever (insert sex act) or will you tell me about your sex life.”
“Some people treat me like someone who is a porn star or sex toy, especially when I tried online dating,” says Allison J., a nanny who lives in Longmont, Colorado. She says she was well aware of her sexuality in middle school, but didn’t come out until after high school. “A lot of guys, especially, seemed to want to know if I would or have had threesomes or had made out with friends,” she adds.

“Guys ask sometimes if I've done certain things that seem like a fantasy for them, like slept with my best friend or had a threesome,” adds Anna.

“It's kinda weird,” Valencia says. “There are boundaries. It's one thing to ask partners about sexual history or even talk about sex between friends. But some people just cross lines.”

“You're just bisexual to get attention from guys.”
Sexuality is not an attention grabber, they all say. It's an element of someone's identity and sense of self.

“A girl actually told me once that she thought I was only bisexual to get guys attention,” says Anna. “It was really hurtful because it seemed dismissive of who I am.”

“My dad insisted when I came out that it was just because I'd been seeing a couple of guys casually and it was to get them more interested in me,” Allison adds.

All the women agree: bisexuality is part of who someone is. It's like saying someone is double-jointed or naturally blonde for attention. It's a trait none of them say they can control.

“We could have a threesome!”
“I've had threesomes and really liked them,” Grace shares, “so I'm not going to say you should never tell a bisexual woman that. But when you're describing a really intense fantasy on the first date, you've crossed a line.”

“I'd consider a threesome,” admits Valencia. “But a lot of people bring it up in creepy or offensive ways.”

“A girl I knew from a class project told me that we should have a threesome; me, her and her boyfriend, because I wasn't as pretty as her so she wouldn't get jealous seeing her boyfriend bang me,” Anna says.

“Being bisexual is so trendy.”
“My sexuality is not a trend,” Allison says. “And it's really offensive when people act like it is.”

“I hate when people suggest that I'm only bisexual because it's popular,” Grace says. “It makes my sexuality seem like it isn't taken seriously.”

Allison adds that it was hard enough for her to come out after high school, even more so because everyone just assumed she was doing it because it was considered “trendy” at the time.

Saying anything condemning or judgmental …
“My dad thinks I'm going to hell for being bisexual,” Allison confesses. She also says that she's heard extremely judgmental things from family who simply don't understand. “My uncle always asks if I'm still bisexual and tells me I should see a doctor to ‘fix it,’ like it's an illness or something.”

All say bisexual women aren’t objects for sexual fantasies, aren’t all porn stars and don't exist only in a bedroom in lingerie as things like PornHub would have everyone believe.

What most would want everyone to remember, is that sexual boundaries are a social construct built for a reason over many centuries. To go against that, is like tubing in rough open waters.

Allison adds, however, that she wouldn't change anything even if she could. “I am bisexual,” she says. “I didn't choose it. But even if I could change, I wouldn't. I love the way I am and I love being attracted to men and women.”

“If you don't know what to say, just don't discuss our sexuality or say something genetically supportive,” says Grace. “Or even just, ‘Okay, you're bisexual.’ Just accept it and move on.”

[originally published January 10, 2018]