Women Are Dirty Bisexuals, Men Are Just Dirty. Or Gay. Or Straight.


In most respects, this Gawker article surpsingly par for the course as far as mainstream writing on bisexuality goes — it seems to confuse “bisexual female” with “bisexual female celebrity.”

Thanks in part to our famous bisexual women who are married to men, the world seems to think of bi women as ladies who will venture to the Sapphic side for fun or to please a man.

…bisexuals are basically just straight people who like to get a little funky. Just look at Paquin and Mullally* who are both in monogamous relationships with men. Sure, they might think about a little lady love every once in awhile, but they’re basically in the same relationship as every other breeder on the planet. Lady Gaga admits that she’s never actually let another woman ride on her disco stick, and her Sapphic proclivities seem to be a way to bind her closer to the gay community that she fights for and that continues to play remixes of every one of her singles at every one of their social gatherings.

Famous women coming out as loving both peen and vag is kind of nice, in a way. It may be a little meaningless, but it’s like breaking in the public for hardcore homosexuals.

*Well firstly, Mullally is not bisexual, she has redacted officially!

Secondly, there are plenty of bisexual women out there who don’t ascribe to the bisexual-with-a-boyfriend/husband mold embraced by out bisexual celebrities such as Anna Paquin, Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Amanda Palmer, Ani DiFranco, Drew Barrymore, Miranda July, Pink and Amber Rose.

A growing number of bisexual female celebrities either have had or are possibly still having relationships with women: Kristanna Loken, Nicol Paone, Nicole Pacent, Sophie B. Hawkins, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Zolciak and, our favorite person ever, Tila Tequila.

But more importantly, there are a number of bisexual women outside of both Hollywood and the music industry who are having relationships with men or women (“following the heart, not the anatomy,” as not-actually-bisexual character, Alice Pieszecki, said in The L Word). Imagine that: a world outside of Hollywood! Where things are like, not a big f*cking deal! Wheee!

Howevs, once you look past Gawker’s stock photo of two conventionally attractive, skinny, white, blonde women kissing, you’ll see that they do take the time to question something which most mainstream media outlets don’t — where are all the bisexual men?

As the article points out, Vanessa Carlton just came out as bisexual, joining other pretty famous ladies Anna Paquin, Lady Gaga and Ke$ha, but where are their male counterparts? They must be out there! According to the Kinsey Institute, there are totes bisexual men. All the moderately famous and well-liked male public figures can’t be completely straight. Are they just afraid Ramin Setoodeh will write a shitty Newsweek article about them?

Gawker seems to think that, because it’s “sort of meaningless” when women like Vanessa Carlton come out, it shouldn’t be very daunting for the hypothetical famous bisexual dudes who we assume exist.

It’s old data, but here is a handy graph:

We’ve discussed this point at Autostraddle, with Riese arguing that, because she feels most everyone is kinda bi, saying it out loud shouldn’t be such a big deal.

Gawker’s take is a little different, arguing that since Paquin and Carlton are both currently with dudes, they’re basically straight. Which is, you know, wrong. But I think the majority of America agrees with them; so probably if John Krasinski or someone came out while dating a lady — is he dating anyone? Probably, I have no idea — it would be no biggie, right? We’d send him a fruit basket and move on with our lives?

No, actually! That is not true. As Gawker acknowledges, there’s a double standard on this issue, but it’s a little more complex than just that. Remember the Real World D.C., which you only watched because of cute (bisexual!) Emily? There was also a bisexual dude, Mike. The footage was edited so that a hetero storyline was created for Emily, confirming for the viewers what people like to believe about bi women, that they’re “basically straight.”

But the footage of Mike hooking up with dudes WAS included in the show, and guess what? Everyone thought he was gay! Everyone! The other cast members, viewers, everyone — regardless of Mike’s insistence on his identity.

There actually are bisexual men in the world! In the early ’90s, there were quite a few: Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Billie Joe Armstrong, Dave Navarro and Mick Jagger. Also, bisexuality seems to be historically more common amongst artists, musicians and writers over the years: Sammy Davis Jr, James Dean, Lou Reed, Jack Kerouac, Jim Carroll, Brett Easton Ellis and Neal Cassady.

But yeah, I guess that’s not exactly Lady-Gaga-high-profile level. And bad science often perpetuates the idea that all women are bisexual while men are not. So this leads to the commonly-accepted idea that women are somehow more flexible in their sexuality, which is, of course, perpetuated by the media. But the perpetuation itself is a chicken/egg issue. I mean, do we believe that female sexuality is more fluid than male sexuality? Yes. But society has also created a huge double standard with regard to the issue of bisexuality, prompting a perceived difference between male and female sexuality. This issue came up in the Prop 8 trial, too!

To most of the world, man-on-man sex seem scarier than any other type of sex, because it means that at least one man has to be vulnerable, which isn’t allowed. It’s also different because men have penises, which either get hard or don’t, so it’s less likely that they’ll take experimentation very far if it doesn’t excite them, whereas many women are content to rub on the KY for life, while fucking some dude and thinking about chicks.

Basically, the real double standard is that:

1) No matter what a woman says about her sexual identity, it won’t be taken seriously because of the patriarchy, especially if the identity she chooses is “debatable,” like some people view bisexuality.

2) Men aren’t allowed any grey area. They’re either straight like Rambo, or GAY GAY GAY GAY like the gay emperor of Gaytopia.

Bisexual people quickly get used to the idea that almost no one will take their identity seriously, and I think that the hypothetical bisexual men Gawker is wondering about are included in this. Who can blame them, really? Maybe there are dudes out there who really would be willing to come out as bisexual for the cause, but because society would twist it into them coming out as gay, they’re just going to sit this one out until America has grown up enough to understand what words mean.

If Gawker is right that bisexual people are “queer training wheels” for a country that’s still uncomfortable with same-sex attraction, it might take a few more Vanessa Carltons and Lady Gagas before we’re ready to wrap our heads around identities that don’t fit into the cookie cutters we’ve been using all this time. Also maybe a few less articles with skinny blonde white women kissing. Just saying.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Love this, perfect takedown. When I read the Gawker post I looked for something to link in response to it but couldn’t find anything, and didn’t have the energy to write it myself. So thanks for the perfect mix of annoyance, humour, anger and condescension (to Gawker, not us.)

  2. Leah
    Assumed lesbian because of girlfriend
    What about all the past boyfriends?
    “SHe must be confused, it must be a phase, she must have been hiding her gayness all along”

    you’re right, when someone says they’re bi, people just can’t take your word for it. They don’t even know what it means really.

    Ah well, not complaining. I let em call me what they want. Only when someone asks specifically do I then explain me and what I define my sexual identity as.

    • I think it’s not just about the trouble of understanding bisexuality; but also the fact that a bisexual man must certainly be gay, and a bisexual woman must certainly be straight. Yours is the first case I know of of a bisexual woman thought to “really” be a lesbian.

      • No I hear that all the time too. As soon as any of my bi friends enter relationships with women they are automatically gay gay gay gay gay. I’ve heard them defend their sexuality, and I’ve had to defend them too.

        I get that too personally. I’m not sure if I identify as bi or what. This’ll sound like a big old cliche but I wish we could just live without labels. I want to sleep with who I want and I don’t want to have to defend those decisions.

        • My personal definition of bisexual is the mere POTENTIAL to have sex and/or date both men and women. In HS I identified as bi to close friends, and then in college I would tell people if they asked (I was not that girl who ran around yelling “I’m bi!” to excite the boys, promise!). They would always challenge me by saying “but you’ve never even been with a girl” to which all I could say was “but I would!” Then that ‘would’ turned into a ‘want’, and I knew I had to explore this part of myself.
          Now that I have been with a girl for 3 years, they believe me.

        • But if you prefer one gender while liking both, doesn’t that mean “lesbian”? Would you ever settle for the gender you like less? My definition of lesbian is someone who either likes only girls or prefers girls over boys. Bisexual sounds symmetrical and in such cases does not convey all the relevant information. Jmo!

          • Damn, this comment was supposed to be somewhere else, it was a response to another comment… I don’t know how this happened, can someone remove it please? Thank you!

          • In response to your comment (intended or not) I’d like to point out that as a Bi male I prefer regular sex with women, but I love so much (from time to time) a nice hard cock. I don’t think I could ever fall in love with a guy. Maybe, but I feel no real romantic attraction towards men.I do have a fantasy of being a hunks lover for a weekend though….hehe


  3. It might depend on gender stereotypes plus the tendency to conceive of individuals as predominantly “passive”. I mean, the following two assumptions taken together might explain the double standard:

    1. The fact that people are generally seen as “passive” rather than “active” (at least in the old world / Europe) and

    2. The fact that people attracted to men are seen as “passive” and people attracted to women are seen as “active”.

    In short, since the human race is thought to be “passive”, then being attracted to men is much more credible / understandable than being attracted to women.

    Of course I think this is sheer absurdity, I’m just saying it might explain the double standard.

  4. I have known a couple of bisexual guys (mainly in college), but they were afraid to tell most people. I met a bisexual guy on vacation in Memphis in February, he was at his bachelor party. When he found out I was queer he high-fived me and told me he was a “fence-hopper, aka equal opportunity f*cker” but that his fiancée and family didn’t know. I have another (gay) guy friend who just decided he is now bisexual because he is ‘desperate/not that picky anymore.’ I told him that was a bit offensive…

    (John Krasinski is engaged to Emily Blunt.)

    • Oh Elizabeth, thanks for the reminder of Emily Blunt being engaged to Krasinski. Sigh. I’m not sending them a toaster, lol.

  5. I woudl love to make some insightful comment on this subject…. But when I see things like:

    “They’re either straight like Rambo, or GAY GAY GAY GAY like the gay emperor of Gaytopia.”

    My brain turns into a mushy lump of love for autostraddle and I’m left speechless with unrequited romeo like love that doesn’t end in us both dying in a horrible manner with poison making us seizure and froth at the mouth.

    • I second this. I’m reading, appreciating the article and I hit the Gaytopia sentence, laugh, and then it just all goes out the window. It’s like, I have serious stuff to say (!) but now all I want to do is find my secret map decoder ring from my box of Autostraddle-O’s and journey off in search of Gaytopia.

  6. I just realised my closest friends and i have all kissed/snogged guys at least once. But in our defence one out of four of us is teh gay.

    As far as i know i´m straight but i´ll try anything twice.

  7. I think it is very much still the case that those who are bisexual cling to either the gay or straight label, partly out of convenience, and partly because there is still very much an ‘us and them’ mentality between the gays folks and the straight folks. Gay people are outsiders, and that creates a close knit community with certain rules and characteristics that define that community. Being gay becomes the opposite of being straight, and bisexuals occupy a middle ground that is neither us nor them and all our heads start exploding inside our little boxes.

    It’s definitely something I myself struggle with, because I love the community aspect of being gay, but at the same time I think it’s crazy that it becomes so divisive and we aren’t all just seen as people who love who we love. I’ve been a bit of slag lately, and hooked up with two of my friends, both of whom have boyfriends. I’ve justified one with myself by thinking she is genuinely gay, and the other is really straight but just fooling around with me. I definitely find myself indulging in bisexual stereotypes and the whole ‘us and them’ mentality – I’ve refrained from hooking up with a third friend (Gosh what a ho bag :/) because she has a girlfriend – I feel slightly like I would be letting the team down.

    I’m going to try and revise my bisexual stereotypes, because reflecting on it both of the aforementioned friends with boyfriends are probably bisexual, and we all need to stop doing vodka shots.

    My point was, I think, that its the way the queer community is marginalised, and the nature of bisexuality as often preferring one gender while liking both that leads to many people labelling themselves as gay or straight when in fact they are bi.

    • “I think it is very much still the case that those who are bisexual cling to either the gay or straight label, partly out of convenience, and partly because there is still very much an ‘us and them’ mentality between the gays folks and the straight folks”

      This is exactly why we have to keep bi alive! It is a thing and though I do find more acceptance when I say “lesbian” with other gay girls, I know that I am not telling the truth 100%. Out of convenience.

    • “the nature of bisexuality as often preferring one gender while liking both”

      But if someone prefers one gender while liking both, doesn’t that mean “lesbian”? Why would anyone ever settle for the gender they like less?

      My definition of lesbian is someone who either likes only girls or prefers girls over boys. Bisexual sounds symmetrical and in such cases does not convey all the relevant information. Jmo!

      • I do get your point, but its not about settling for a gender you like less. It might be that 6,7,8, or 9 times out of 10 my crush will be a girl, but if I am capable of being attracted to a man I can’t in good conscience call myself a lesbian. Even though I do sometimes… and feel slightly guilty.

        • Sorry I don’t mean to turn the discussion into semiotics or philology nor mathematics, but assuming 9 out of your 10 crushes are for girls, why does the word “bisexual” does not make you feel “guilty”? How can the word bisexual represent your 9/10 orientation better than the word “lesbian”? If the restricted meaning of “lesbian” is 10/10 and the narrow meaning of bisexual is 5/10, how can the latter represent your situation better?

          I’m a bit sensitive to this because where I live the word lesbian has a quite negative connotation and “lesbians” tend to define themselves bisexual as a way of sort of keeping a small hope alive… a small hope of being like everyone else, with no minority stress nor lack of legal protection… they’re like “ok, it’s only 10% but it’s very important because it can make the difference between a normal and a “strange” life… I don’t want to say they’re homophobic but this logic certainly is embedded in a homophobic environment…. also I’m not saying it’s your case, just what your comment made me think of!

          • I’ve never thought of it that way. I have always thought that being a bisexual and calling myself a lesbian would hurt the community more than it helped. I feel that if I call myself a lesbian and one day I have a relationship with a man (because I believe there is chance its possible) it will cheapen the word lesbian for the people who do know know know know know they are only attracted to women. That narrow minded people would think “yeah, I knew it, all women really want is a penis”.

            And the idea that people make it easier by calling themselves a bisexual or straight makes sense, but its not the whole story. I know people that do pretend they are straight and they do hurt the gay community by not being out and proud, but to say that it makes it easy on them is not true either. So many of them are wrapped up in self hate and anxiety and pain. I think its better to hate the climate that has created this mess than the people caught up in it. I mean, we all want the same thing right?

          • @via: I agree with you…I have been in countless situations (many more than the one I described below) where men assume that if you have slept with one man EVER, or are even thinking about it, then you’re straight. Personally, I don’t see myself ever ever with a man again (and have never been attracted to men), but I suppose I shouldn’t rule out that 1% of doubt (though it is doubtful). As I’ve gone through the coming out process over the last 4 years, forced to defend my sexuality as a femme lesbian a LOT, I realized how restrictive these labels are. I have a friend who called herself a lesbian for awhile before realizing that she was actually bi. The epiphany for her was that you can be “not straight” yet also “not totally gay” and that is completely fine.

            @barbara: homophobic environments that make people afraid to declare ANY orientation are sad indeed. It is discouraging when women who are 100% lesbian feel the need to hide behind that 10% because it is “normalizing” for them or how they are perceived by society.

            I think all in all though, human sexuality is far too ambiguous, beautiful, and defiant in its complexity to be quantified in numbers and percentages, and even statistics. The irony is: whether the lesbian community wants to label as straight the girl who 1/10 times will choose a man or the straight community wants to label as straight the girl that 9/10 would choose a woman, these are both seriously flawed assumptions since neither girl in this case is straight. But really, who the hell is?

          • Ok. I just wish the semantic field of these three words were a bit more evenly distributed! Because, we have 3 terms (gay, straight and bisexual), and tens or hundred of different combinations and inclinations. I just don’t get why we save one term for one inclination, another term for another inclination, and the third term for an awful lot of different things! Wouldn’t it be fairer if the connotations were a bit more evenly distributed? The current meaning of bisexual is so confusing that the term itself makes you think / wish these bi guys would get a grip and take a side, and that their state is just temporary, that bisexuality is not “normal” nor persistent.

            Maybe I’m putting too much statistics in here, but if gay meant “the third of the population closer to same-sex attraction”, straight meant “the third of the population closer to opposite-sex attraction” and bisexual meant “the third of the population who sits in the middle between gay and straight”, that would be a fairer description of reality. And would make you think that nuances are a reality and being in the middle is a reality and bisexuality is here to stay.


          • @barbara You’re right. If we could define straight, bi, and gay by a rule of thirds it would legitimize bisexuals once and for all, but there will always be people that straddle the lines.

            @katie word. not-straight.

            And I don’t know if we should be working towards a new definitions of labels or for the rejection of labels all together. I doubt the world will be ready for the latter anytime soon.

          • @Barbara – To be honest, that’s part of why I like and use the term “queer” – it’s mainly because I don’t like the idea that there are only two genders that the term “bisexual” assumes, but it’s also because I recognize that it’s never really as easy as all that.

          • @ Barbara & Via – it’s interesting to think about it as a ‘rule of thirds’. Like Via & Dina said, it’s never a static thing, but I wonder if it’d make a difference – most of the resistance I’ve gotten around being bi is people not believing that I like more than one gender – I’m ‘really’ just attracted to men if I’m dating a man, or ‘really’ just attracted to women if I’m dating a woman.

            It’s the being seriously attracted to multiple genders over a long span of time that people have pushed back on – the terms are secondary (though I do believe the fact that many people ‘pass through’ bisexuality during times of experimentation contributes to people thinking it’s a phase). I feel like I need some sort of merit badge – I got one for 10 years in the Girl Scouts – what about 17 years in the Bi Scouts?

          • Well, the rule of thirds would imply that potentially everyone is bisexual, and it’s just a matter of degree. That degree is zero at the extremes; but instead of being the norm as they are now (and everyone expects bisexuals to approximate to zero sooner or later and thus identify as gay or straight), the extremes would become the exception.

            If you are attracted to both genders to a similar extent, belonging to the “middle third” would be something more precise / accurate than “anything in between to extremes” which is the current meaning of bisexual. And if you belong to either the “lesbian” or the “straight” third, that would mean you are not necessarily attracted to only one gender, but in any case you prefer one.

            Who knows, it might do wonders for the acceptance of bisexuality! Or the acceptance of bisexuality could bring people to give new meaning to these terms. Anyhow, hopefully we’ll get there soon.

      • Barbara, that’s interesting – I define lesbian as a 6 on the Kinsey scale, straight as a 0, and bisexual as everything in between. I accept that people often id as lesbain for political reasons (Cynthia Nixon comes to mind, though I know there’s a slew of others), but to me, bisexual describes everyone who’s not always attracted to one gender only. (I actually prefer the term queer, since it doesn’t imply a 50/50 split between two arbitrarily defined genders, but I generally use ‘bisexual’ for political/visibility reasons.)

        It’s interesting to think about a situation where bisexual *is* an accepted and widely used identity, but from your description, it sounds like people are using the term because they can benefit from perception’s like Gawker’s – straight but frisky. Being forced into that identity when you’re actually a lesbian is still closeting, albeit with a bit more leeway for PDAs.

        Lastly, the idea of ‘settling’ with someone of the gender I like ‘less’ is a red herring for me – I fall in love with a person, not a gender, so a monogamous relationship with a guy cuts me off from sex with women, but it also cuts me off from a whole host of other characteristics that my partner doesn’t have.

        • >>Lastly, the idea of ’settling’ with someone of the gender I like ‘less’ is a red herring for me – I fall in love with a person, not a gender, so a monogamous relationship with a guy cuts me off from sex with women, but it also cuts me off from a whole host of other characteristics that my partner doesn’t have.>>

          This x 2000.

          As possibly the only bisexual on earth who HASN’T had sex with a man, sometimes I wonder what “could have been…” but then, I also wonder what it would be like to date an astronaut! Doesn’t make me regret my decision to commit to my female, IT professional partner.

  8. 1) No matter what a woman says about her sexual identity, it won’t be taken seriously because of the patriarchy, especially if the identity she chooses is “debatable,” like some people view bisexuality.

    Spot on. And I would add that penises, in contrast, are taken very seriously. Meaning that a man can have sex with a ton of vaginas, but one penis can label him as gay and even if a women has had sex with tons of other women, if she is currently with a man, the women are written off or explained away. Because if you got to choose, everyone would obvs choose the penis, duh.

    • That is so true! Society is so penis-centric. I’ve even found it strange how in history the worst punishments for gay men were for those who were “taking it” while some societies didn’t even recognise women as being able to have sex with each other because, like, where’s the penis?!

    • Exactly! It’s the ‘one drop rule’ for sexuality, and it’s crazy how pervasive it is – penises define sex, the rest of us are just passing the time. Chasing Amy all over again.

  9. I’m actually glad to say that I know a few bisexual guys who were loud & proud in highschool, and still are four years later. One is my ex, who happened to be cheating on me with a dude, which I found kinda funny since I was quickly falling for a girl at the time.

    As for me, I’m bisexual, however not everyone takes me seriously since I’m currently dating a guy.

    Also, it might be just me, but I hate the term “breeder”. I feel it’s kind of two-faced to be shouting out about Gay Pride, and fighting for our own rights, and then we turn around and use a derogatory word like breeder. It’s just not right.

    • The whole “breeder” thing shits me too! And it’s inaccurate, anyway. Plenty of lesbians breed! GAYBIES

    • Hello from another not-taken-seriously-because-she’s-dating-a-dude queer girl! Even with my volunteering at queer events and my brief fling with a girl people still assume I’m straight – and a lot of that is because they’re putting a very Western-centric idea of sexuality and gender onto me, who grew up in Asia with very different ideas of what it means to be male, female, gay, straight, bi, etc etc. gwargh.

      I consider myself pansexual or queer, because like someone (Dina?) said upthread I don’t like the implication of two gender identities. Besides, I like PEOPLE; I probably don’t even notice the gender half the time. Just my luck my first and only significant partner is male! (Hurrah for polyamoury and open relationships, which still give me the opportunity to explore other people; not hurrah for very little options.)

      As for bisexual men: I know two in real life, I’m not sure how seriously they’re taken but they don’t seem to have too many problems. (We just people-ogle together sometimes.) As for celebrities – I would have pegged Darren Hayes as bisexual, mainly based on “Love and Attraction”:

      “I want her she wants him
      He wants me I give in
      I want her I want him
      I don’t want anything
      I started questioning the rules of coupling
      This strip of Mobious it’s never ending”

      …but then he came out as Totally Gay with a Husband and so there goes my bi role model.

  10. Excuse me, I’m the Gay Emperor of Gaytopia. Please recognize the sovereignty of my homo crown.

  11. Great article. My best friend and I have had this discussion dozens of times, especially after a close guy friend of ours came out as bisexual, last year. While I believe that he is sincerely attracted to both men and women, she thinks otherwise. See, she had a big crush on him 2 years ago, and after telling him how she felt, he told her that while very flattered, he’d never looked at her “like that”. So she’s convinced herself that his rejection was based on the fact not that he truly wasn’t sexually attracted to her, but that he was secretly, as you so discretely put it, GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY. Anytime I’ve expressed interest in setting him up with any of my girl friends (not girlfriends) from highschool, she’s gotten really tense, and said, “He’s not really into girls, you know!”.

    But we’ve always been a very welcoming group of friends, and having been part of an art program, are totally cool and friendly with people who are GAY GAY GAY. I just don’t believe that he would feel a need to hide it, especially considering how involved he is in the queer community. But that’s just what I think.

  12. So last weekend I was at a hotel pool in Bev Hills with 1 bi girl, 1 straight girl, and me (lesbian) and the three of us were invited to BBQ in Bel Air with a few boys and a straight couple that we met there.

    Everything was going fine until we were all chilling in a hot tub and the straight girl unintentionally outed me and my bi friend. The conversation suddenly turned very awkward. I had mentioned an ex-boyfriend that I had wayyy back in 2004 earlier in the evening and so one of the guys brought this to my attention and with an accusatory tone said, “I thought you liked GIRLS.” Yes, I explained, it is a long process to come out, and for me, I don’t have any plans to go back.

    Then he proceeded to start questioning me about the validity of my bisexual female friend’s orientation, basically disregarding both of our sexualities since we “both look straight and she essentially IS straight.”

    At this point my bi friend had started singing in Spanish and basically checked out of the conversation and I started trying to change the subject.

    THEN the guy began to wrap his legs around me under the water and hang on to me so I had to scoot through the entire hot tub to get away from him.

    When he realized I wasn’t going to bite, he started interrogating me about lesbian sex, again accusing tone, “Well what do you lesbians even DO??? Scissor, I bet, that’s all you do.” I was very sick of him at this point and I said, “Listen up, I haven’t slept with a man in 4 years and I’m perfectly satisfied, is that enough of an answer for you?” It wasn’t.

    He started laughing, nudging his buddies, doing the “Scissoring” hand gesture (thank YOU, South Park) and generally being an overall douche.

    The conversation pattered on for another 5 minutes or so when all of a sudden every guy got out of the hot tub, started drying off, and announced that we all had to leave “very soon.” My straight friend, who had been attemtping to get a different one of the guy’s numbers, was upset by this strange turn of events and my bi friend and I were legitimately confused.

    On the way home, we realized that we had essentially been kicked out because of our respective orientations. There were three of us and three of them, but me and my bi friend (who thought they were complete idiots and definitely not worth her time) ruined the ratio. Gayness = no more BBQ. And we had even offered to chip in for the food and booze (which the boys had refused to let us do).

    The only cool people in the entire situation were the straight couple. The girl was nice and the guy seemed decidedly more evolved than his friends. But maybe that is just because he knew he had guaranteed vagina that night. The girl gave me a decidedly sympathetic look when Mr. Easily Offended made his announcement that the party was over.

    Straight men: If you invite girls to hang out with you, and they accept, this is NOT an implicit “I will sleep with you if you take me to a cool house” kind of deal. Get over yourselves. Not everyone is straight and assumptions are often wrong. We are not required to constantly come out to you and we are entitled to have a good time and accept an invitation to a party without being expected to put out. Furthermore, straight girls won’t always sleep with you either! Some of them have what is known as “class.” But I’m guessing that had we been all straight and all politely declined their come-ons, they would have still been trying to call, or see us again, and in this case not a single one of them asked for our contact information (except the one guy who had given our straight friend his number).

    Ok I’m done ranting, just thought I’d share. Awesome article, you guys.

  13. I feel like the term bisexual is covering so much ground that it suffers under the weight of it all.

    Generally when someone says they’re gay it means they will go out with and want to be with the same sex. If someone says they’re bisexual it might mean they’ll have a drunken kiss in between boyfriends or talk about how they fancy ladies in the press. Another bisexual might be in a happy long term relationship with the same sex. And then you have a whole host of gays who came out as bisexual before they were comfortable enough to come out as gay and so they see it as an in-between phase.

    None of those uses are wrong as such but it makes it hard for a lot of people to paint a mental picture of what “bisexual” means as it so often means different things even to different bisexuals.

    It’s tough though a close guy friend of mine is bisexual but he calls himself gay to most people because he finds that a lot of people just don’t take his bisexuality seriously. It’s one thing for straight people to question your sexuality when they don’t understand it but it’s sad that he finds this problem with gay people as well.

    • I agree. The term bisexual does cover a lot of territory. My sister is bisexual and my mom just doesn;t get it. Many people just don;t get the dual attraction because men and women are so different. I think it’s cool you have more options, lucky you!

      The thing I find annoying with celebs is that many claim bisexuality for cool points with guys and the lesbians. When they have never been with a woman. Just because you kissed a girl drunkenly, once or twice, does not make you a bisexual. I also don;t think its fair to dicredit someone’s bisexuality just because they have a long term relationship with someone of the opposite sex, like with Amanda Palmer and Angelina Jolie. People like Megan Fox I can understand dismissing but we know that AFP and AJ have had relationships with women not just sex i.e. Gaga

      • I don’t think it’s fair to claim that people can’t call themselves bisexual if they haven’t experienced both genders. I haven’t actually been with a woman (well, asides from 4 days online) partly because I grew up in a homophobic and sheltered environment and partly because I’m craptastic at picking up people; does that negate my queerness?

        How do straight people know they’re straight before they’ve dated someone? Hell there are people who go with one gender for half their life and then suddenly declare otherwise. Who are we to judge what or why people label themselves?

        • Yes that is very true but I was specifically talking about people in certain positions such as celebrities. Let’s face being a bisexual woman does broaden her appeal to men and lesbians. It seems like everyone is ‘coming out’. I have to wonder is the world really this gay or is it just pr tactics to get us talking about them?

          I am not trying to judge. But when people claim the term so freely and frequently I think to many people, gay and straight, it looses its credibility or seriousness.

  14. I think there is another layer of complexity to the issue. I know that personally I am still not done struggling with who I am and what I want, trying to explain it to people is still the least of my problems. I wasn’t even burdened by a conservative family or religious upbringing and I still had/have different layers of my coming out. Admitting to myself I was attracted to women and admitting it to friends and family was almost the easy part (even with those who were less accepting). The reality didn’t hit until I found woman I wanted to be in a relationship with. Even today when that relationship is over I wonder what will happen next? What does my bisexuality really mean? Do I prefer women over men? I am certainly thinking about women more often than men these days, will it always be this way? So I don’t even know what to tell myself. Except that I’m probably not straight and that no matter what happens I have very little control over it. I don’t think its about others understanding the idea of being bisexual or gay, but accepting that attraction and identity is complex and a struggle for a lot of people.

    But people hate admitting things aren’t black and white. And it is interesting to dissect the reason behind the double standard. But there have been a lot of instances of double standards like this in history (especially when male sexuality and the ever important penis is threatened) and slowly but surely we’ve over come them. And in the mean time we support those who have the courage to buck the stereotypes. Even the ladies who came out as bi and then got married or got a boyfriend. They can’t help who they’re attracted to and at least they admitted it. Mostly because I hope that my gay friends won’t hate on me if I happen to fall in love with a man.

    shit. ain’t. easy. yo.

    Great article, great discussion. I love this website.

    • Based on this and other discussions I’ve read/had, mostly on AS, I think that ‘The Indetermination’ is relatively common.

      For me, it has proved problematic in several ways; I’m still figuring out if I should come out to my family as a severely homo-inclined bisexual or as a lesbianoid, for example (bisexual lesbian may work as well, I’m still thinking over that one). But, ultimately, I prefer working through those issues than forcing myself into a category that doesn’t feel right. I mean, as the great Naomi once said, “can’t things ever be complicated?”

      So yeah: shit. ain’t. easy. but. shit. seems. widespread. yo.

      Also yeah: “Great article, great discussion. I love this website.”

  15. yeah bisexual is such a broad term that I think the word sometimes scares people. the could be gay factor.

    if you don’t experiment….how do you know what you really like?

  16. This article basically expresses all of my frustration with first coming out at bi to my friends. I got some flack from my gay friends about how it’s just a stepping-stone to gay, and that none of the stereotypes of bisexuals are good ones. That really pissed me off. I think that I also prescribe to the same view of Riese that everyone’s a little bi, because I’ve found myself attracted to men, but I think that the socio-political decision to identify as bisexual is hard to take on, even within smaller social circles, because there will always be judgment placed on that “decision” of your identity.

  17. i think i ve heard it once from somebody saying that sexuality is not who you are sleeping with ,its who you are thinking/fantasizing when you are having sex.. i think its pretty acurate to explain this, could explain why a guy could have slept with so many girls and identifies himself as gay… and could explain if a girl sleeps with girls sometimes or occasionly, doesnt mean she is really gay or bi, she could be straight… but some staight married ppl could be really really gay…

  18. My best friend on the whole wide earth is one of these elusive bisexual males. And we just had to suffer through him coming out to his girlfriend.
    “I’m bi. I thought you knew.” (he really did)
    “You’re gayyyyyyyyyy?” (she has a really whiny voice)
    “No, I’m bi.”
    “Oh my god you’re GAAAAAAAAAAAy!!!!!!”

    She also thinks I’m trying to steal him from her (Yes, the lesbian thing is all an act just so I can sneak that hygienically challenged man-child from you), so we’re not dealing with a real winner but still.
    No matter how hard he tries to explain it to her, she STILL doesn’t understand or refuses to, and now just puts her fingers in her ears whenever the subject is brought up.
    She also cheated on him with a girl, but contends that it wasn’t cheating (cause, like, girls don’t count or whatever) while he feels that it was (cause duh!).
    So they are great example, actually, of problems with male and female bisexuality in couple form.

    …I can’t WAIT until they break up.

  19. My brother is one of those elusive bisexual males (“ambiguously queer” is I think his preferred term these days) and yeah, he’s gotten shit for it. Especially because he’s more attracted to chicks and hasn’t had a relationship with a dude (at least not that I know of!)

    • so is one of my brothers! who most-recently dated a female [sister of his best (male) friend]. aforementioned best friend also identifies as bi and is currently dating my brother’s ex-girlfriend, who is bi as well. so much queer awesomeness. so my drama. #youthtoday

  20. This article is right on.

    In my experience it tends to be extremely difficult to exist openly as a bisexual male. Though men tend to care about it less, I have been told by gay men of all ages there is no in-between. I like that you cited the Kinsey Institute, because they see sexuality is a scale that we are all on. The biggest issue When introducing my sexuality to most straight-laced women I always leave out that I’m bisexual, it just tends confuse them. Those with an open mind seem to always be more accepting. Though I’ll openly admit my bisexuality there is so much gray area for myself, not only because I know I sit further on one side of the fence than another, but because it isn’t always about the sex.

  21. Maybe the problem isn’t gay-straight-bi, but rather monogamy _ and it is just an unnatural state of mind and being. Most guys I know who claim the “bi” label were seduced at a young age by older men, liked it, but later discovered women, and enjoyed them even more. They might occasionally have flashbacks, and may often fantasize about other men, often recalling their early experiences. Women with women, however, is NOT a threatening situation. No other man is involved. In fact, most men I know consider two women together a turn-on, not a threat. I have been in several three-way relationships _ and have never been uncomfortable in them or with other people knowing.

  22. Thank you! I am so sick of people not believing I’m bi because I’m in a long-term relationship with a man. I always have to remind people that there are more straight people in the world, so if I’m not picking a partner based on their sex, I’m just more likely to find a male that’s interested in me than a female. And that’s what happened. It doesn’t mean I’m no longer attracted to women. It doesn’t mean I was straight all along. I just happened to fall in love with a man.

  23. Being bi is being in love with one gender but attracted to both. The bi guys I know prefer women as life-partners and connect with them fine sexually and emotionally. They just enjoy dick too. When the women they love think their enjoyment of dick means that they’re gay, it usually destroys their relationships.

    Its not easy to find a girl like me who likes pansexual men and will validate their bisexuality socially. I find bisexual men very very attractive and bisexual women just passe. They bore me.

    But will my/this subversion becomes fad? If it does, I might not like it so much! LOL

  24. When I came out as asexual, I chose the romantic label ‘bi-romantic’ to describe myself and I still do. For me, once I’d figured out that I wasn’t really into the whole sexual attraction thing with anyone, I figured that gender wouldn’t really matter to me, since I wouldn’t be bumping genitals with any of them, why should I care what genitals my significant other would have? Perhaps ‘pan-romantic’ is more appropriate, but I’ve always had a preference, even if the preference changes

    I’ve been through periods of flicking through pictures of guys and girls with equal enthusiasm, thinking ‘well how could anyone even contemplate women when guys are so hot?’ but also ‘why would I ever want a boy, girls are amazing!’

    Now I have a girlfriend, the first person ever who I’ve felt any sort of proper romantic inclination towards.
    Looking back on my childhood and realising that I was far gayer than I ever twigged. Maybe it’s because I’m quickly falling in love, and I really wouldn’t want to be with anyone except my girlfriend, that men are rapidly becoming less and less attractive to me, maybe because I’ve never even really had a proper friend who’s male, I can’t imagine myself desiring a romantic relationship with a man anymore.

  25. It kinds of sucks how so many people seem to be against bisexual people (not necessarily Autostraddle, because I love this site). But I feel like people don’t take bisexual people seriously. I’m bisexual, and I don’t just switch back and forth or prefer guys. I like both, but I tend to like girls a little more. I think too many people call themselves bi when they don’t really mean it that much, so it kind of gives people who are actually bi a bad name.

  26. I really hate it when straight people try to tell me they know my sexuality better than I do. It happens all the time, especially because of my age. I always hear “it’s just a phase” or “you’ll grow out of it” I wish people could take bisexuality seriously but the term gets thrown around so much by the media and girls who want attention that it just sort of cheapens it.

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