This Week In Bisexuality: We Are All Made of Mega-Slut

HELLO BISEXUALS AND FRIENDS. Have you been keeping up with assertions about us on the internet? Well, luckily we have. First of all, you may have already come across the news that Vivien Leigh, actress who played Scarlett O’Hara in the classic Gone With The Wind, was apparently bisexual. Oh wait, did I say bisexual? Because obvs what I meant was “a hot mess off-screen — a slutty bisexual who battled mental illness for most of her adult life,” and “didn’t give a damn who she slept with.” Sorry, I get those confused all the time.  According to a new biography, when Leigh wasn’t lounging around in velvet gowns with tiny waists, she was having sex with both men and women, including actress Isabel Jeans and “at least two” other women who remain nameless. Presumably the biography expands on the mental illness element, but the article doesn’t, leaving us to wonder whether bisexuality itself is supposed to be the “illness” in question. Also, it would appear that Leigh’s husband’s former wife was a lesbian, which is weird and I don’t even really know how to fit that in. In conclusion, we get that it’s been a slow news week – we’ve been hurting too on that front – but I would argue that titling this article “Vivien ‘Lay,’ Scarlet Woman” was kind of unnecessary.

This internet development was merely annoying until we also stumbled across NYMag’s most recent Sex Diary – this one titled “The Bisexual Production Assistant Sleeping With Everyone Except Her Boyfriend, Who’s A Virgin.” The Sex Diaries chronicle a week in the life of an anonymous New Yorker, and as we’ve mentioned before, they’re usually better than most mainstream media outlets at reflecting the fact that gay/lesbian/queer/trans people also have sex sometimes. At least usually they are?

The thing is that while the anonymous production assistant is definitely bisexual, she doesn’t actually have sex in the entire week she records, not even according to our wide-ranging and generous lesbian definition of what might be considered sex. And, oh, right, she doesn’t have a boyfriend. She makes this point very clearly when she refers to the man she’s been seeing as “Non-Boyfriend” throughout the entire piece.

For SEO and layout purposes, it’s best to keep article titles short, like under 12 words, and so it’s entirely possible that that’s the only thing fueling NYMag’s slight misrepresentations here.After reading about Vivien “Bisexual Slutface McGee” Leigh, however, I was maybe a little sensitive on this issue, and couldn’t help but wonder: was this editing for brevity, or was this about the stereotype of the bisexual as the girl who always does “sleep with everyone,” or as the girl who’s always dating a man and thus calls the authenticity of her queerness into question?

The most hardcore parts of Bisexual Production Assistant’s week are “one instance of phone sex” and another of “heavy petting,” and many commenters on the piece are full of righteous indignation about the lack of follow-through within the article. In fact, most of them are pretty dismissive of BPA’s sex life in general; to me, though, for someone who says she’s not in a sexual relationship, “five acts of masturbation, one act of phone sex, one act of heavy petting, one make-out-and-leave with ex-girlfriend, multiple instances of office flirtation” really doesn’t sound so bad. Do we have higher expectations for bisexuals’ sex life because we expect them to be sex-starved maniacs? Or do I just not get laid that often and I’m way off? I guess that’s up for you to decide judgmentally in the comments.

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And while most commenters were more into putting down Jersey than putting down bisexuality (I guess there’s a reason it’s not NJMag) there were still several who thought the insight that “she decided she was “bisexual” at Mt. Holyoke, and “she’ll be straight again in six months” was both original and funny. To which I can only answer – really? In this article she mentions two male sex/romantic partners, one past sexual relationship with a woman, and one partner of indeterminate gender. Also, she’s 23, which makes it likely she’s been out of school for at least two years. Commenters on New York Magazine articles: what does it take, beyond HAVING SEX WITH BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, for you to buy this person’s bisexuality?  Starring in a major motion picture in the 1940s and then engaging in a string of hush-hush affairs with other international starlets? Because trust me, I’m sure a lot of us would like that too, but sometimes being an underpaid production assistant who has to get up at 5:30 am to commute into the city is the best we can do. For that we apologize.

It’s possible that we’re reading too much into this; the art of taking offense needlessly on the internet is not hard to master, and these are arguably not the most objective or representative samplings of public opinion on bisexuality. Maybe we’re a little softhearted towards Vivien Leigh because she’s pretty and Bisexual Production Assistant because she kind of reminds us of someone we possibly hooked up with a few times. But also, man, you guys! What is your deal! What did we ever do to you?

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. 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 1098 articles for us.

68 Comments

      • I find it interesting when Queer-and-the-like people are surprised/indignant w/r/t judgement within our own communities. It’s like we don’t expect “the gays” to be as petty as the nots.

        Anyway, I’m not judging. Because I’m gay, obvs. Just look at my haircut 😉

  1. Fellow dirty bisexual checking in here. You’re not off base. People (especially internet anonymous people) be crazy sometimes, including when it comes to perceptions of what bisexuality actually is.

    What I don’t get is why it’s such a concern for other people to define me for me. For instance, when I say that I’m bisexual, what’s with the reply that “Oh no, you’re not, you’re this or this or that instead…”? Why do you think you get to determine that? Why do you CARE? Go away. Deal with your own sex life. Humbug.

  2. Bisexual is a trendy, hipster term. You’re gay once you engage in sex with someone of the same sex. Quit trying to blur the line even more.

    I also forgot the unwritten rule that if I say something ridiculous and derogatory on a website, the editors of the website have access to my comment and can edit it as they please, therefore making me look like an asshole. It would be nice for said editors to just let me speak for myself, it would be funnier if said editors were to add a poem to the end of my comment because they feel my point was not made properly in the actual comment itself. So here is a poem about trendy hipster sex that I just wrote:

    I LOVE PUDDING
    I LOVE PUDDING
    I LOVE PUDDING
    HEY-HEY-HEY-HEY
    WHO’S ON DECK?
    REALITY CHECK!
    WHO LIKES TROLLS?
    I EAT PUDDING IN BOWLS!

  3. I just wish people didn’t assume that the bad information they got about us (being nymphomaniacs and all) was somehow actually correct. For some reason, there are those who think that we just hide our obvious “illness” behind a faux sexuality so that we can maintain our sexy images.
    Honestly, I think guys have it worse because you KNOW many straight guys will think, “Oh you put your penis there? Gay gay gay gay gay.”
    Enough ranting. I loved this article. Thank you.

  4. Hey, I’m a slutty bisexual. I like that about me.

    Also, it seems like a lot of these early actresses had post-mortum diagnosis of various personality disorders related to acting out sexually. Histrionic personality disorder, borderline, etc. I think part of that might have to do with what made them originally breach out in to acting in the first place- a desire to be desired, wanted, and sexualized. That may not be the case any more, or at least to a smaller degree, because women are not pigeon-holed in the same ways in Hollywood.
    Just my two cents. 🙂

  5. I was trying to copy my favorite part of this article to paste in the comments, but I ended up with like six full paragraphs on my clipboard.

    I would like to especially thank you for “Vivien ‘Bisexual Slutface McGee’ Leigh.” It took all the work out of Tweeting this post.

  6. Pingback: BiFemLounge.Com » This Week In Bisexuality: We Are All Made of Mega-Slut – Autostraddle (blog)

  7. Another bi here…hang on…

    ok just finished with the girl of the hour.

    I’ve got a few minutes before my all-guy gangbang at 1 and my threesome with the first hot girls I see on the street at 4…

    I am just going to accept that no one will understand me (us) for right now. I just don’t understand how being straight doesn’t automatically equate to slutty. Look at the fb statuses of the average high schooler these days (try lamebook.com)! They will do whatever with whoever wherever whenever, and then tell the world. In my day, you told maybe your close friends about your sluttastic ways, but you weren’t yelling it out the car window (which is how you got messages across before fb statuses, obvs.) Straighties are slutty too. Gays are slutty. Bis are slutty. But not everyone in any one of these groups can be called slutty across the board. Srsly.

  8. Another slutbag bisexual here, just writing in between sexual partners/mental illness check-ups, of course.

    I just have to say, I love autostraddle so much right now. Not that I ever don’t, but it makes me feel so good to see an article written by someone who doesn’t view bisexuals as either closet lesbians or basic sluts. I’ve struggled for years to come to identify as either gay or straight, because being bisexual just felt like cheating. Even some of my most liberal, understanding friends often told me to just, “pick one.” Blergh. Being bisexual is no more a choice than being gay or straight is. I’m just so sick of being labeled a slut or a straight girl “experimenting.”

  9. UCH, i am so sick of explaining bisexuality to people. so sick of it that i’ve stopped claiming it as an identity and have just been sticking with the hippy-dippy “sexuality is fluid, man,” because it fucking is and that’s the whole point of bisexuality. when i’m with a girl i’m gay and when i’m with a guy i’m bi and i guess if all that ends up equaling NOT STRAIGHT i’m cool with it, but when it ends up with some dude i never talk to anymore texting me that his girlfriend wants to have a threesome and he doesn’t and what should he do, since i’m the person he thinks of as knowing about this sort of bisexual conundrum, it’s no longer cool. i’m monogamous, go find someone who’s poly and ask them.

    bisexuality ≠ Slutface McGee (thank you for that).

    • I completely agree. In fact, I found my bisexuality a complete struggle to come to grips with in the beginning because I honestly started to wonder if I was “addicted” to sex instead of just maybe liking girls, too. Then I struggled with coming out because, well, we do get those weird questions from people who make poor, stereotypical assumptions. I’m not even out to my parents… not because they’d shun me or whatever, but because I’m 100% certain they just wouldn’t “get” it. Now, I’m not sitting here and whining “it’s hard to be bi” but I sometimes wished I was either straight or gay because I felt stuck in some sort of Queer Limbo. Then I got over it, because I have loved a lady and I have loved a man, and I guess that makes me (us) sort of lucky.

      ALSO:
      “Sexuality is fluid, man.” This made me chortle for a few immature, inappropriate reasons… and I’ll be sure to repeat it in the near future using a hippy-dippy voice and everything.

  10. The WORST thing (not really, all this shit is the worst thing) is when you start going out with a ‘bisexual slutbag’ (lol) and all your friends are like ‘guuurl she gonna cheat on you so bad, you know she just a bisexual slutbag’ and you’re like ‘stfu, you don’t even know this girl so get your f*ucking nose outta my business and stop being such a douchey mcdouchemeister’. I have GOT to get new friends.

  11. oh damn. is there, like…one of those forms with all of the rules and legal talk that most people just skim and check yes I agree? Is there one of those for being bisexuality? Because I totes missed that part, so I guess I should run out and jump the nearest thing that moves before the slut police takes my bi card.

  12. I agree with (almost) all of the above comments… but couldn’t really quote any of them in argument. They’re not lacking in eloquence or outrage – it’s just that I hear myself saying ‘Y’know, the assumption of bisexual promiscuity is ridiculous. Look at the dissenting opinions… on “Autostraddle”.’

  13. I really want to share in everyone’s righteous “Bisexuals are unfairly shamed!” anger, but I’m too busy building a time machine now that I know I am only about 7 decades away from the opportunity to bang Vivien Leigh.

  14. Some straight people just got fired from my job for having sex in the fitting room. The girl was engaged and the guy has a girlfriend…but no one is calling them slutty! However a few weeks ago when one of my coworkers learned about my sexuality, her immediate question was “How many threesomes have you had?!” Some things just don’t add up.

    • word! 3 people at my work got fired last week in a ploy that went: person 1 – getting a beejer, person 2- giving a beejer, and person 3 – on the lookout for passersby but not for the 1001 security cameras. all of which were managers btw.
      i called in sick to work that day – my threesome kept me up all nite.j.k.

  15. What y’all need is a new word that is so catchy and awesome people forget that word bisexual exists. That way, when the people who can’t let people be people and instead insist on throwing a sandwich board around your neck and labeling you for the world to see, they don’t automatically think of sex.

    ‘Cause, when I try and get into the minds of people I usually try and pretend don’t exist, even my childish mind starts singing ‘Bisexuals? They like boys. They like girls. They like boys and girls.’ I’m sure the rest of the thought pattern is something like ‘They have sex with boys and girls. They must have lots of sex. Sex? LOTS OF THE SEX! Damn, they’re sluts. Too much sex for the bisexuals.’ Y’know… or something.

    My plan was to come up with such an awesome name that everyone would be all ‘YES. THIS!’ But, for serious, all I can come up with is lame made up words. ‘Frunsgen’ is neither catchy, awesome nor cool, in case anyone out there was wondering. (also, goes not exist in the google, a fact I’m weirdly excited about)

  16. Anonymous commenter here to pose th following:
    – what’s with everybody thinking sex-crazed slut = bisexual?? And does it have connection with a huge wave of my friends thinking it was the “new cool-kid thing” to be “bisexual”??
    -I’m bisexual and I just love on my GF and that’s it, am I old fashioned??
    -second post this week where someone thinks homosexuality is a disorder even though all psychology 101 textbooks tell you it’s NOT.
    -flirting at the office is SO different from sleeping aroun, I play-flirt with most of my firebds.
    -I guess the above point is negated by the fact that all bisexuals are sex crazed floozies.
    – a psych 101 book will also inform you of a theory with evidence showing MOST people have the potential to swing either way.
    – people are scared of this theory because it would really fuck up the institution of labelling people. Things that can’t be named are scary.

  17. I remember writing on a facebook post that bi peeps don’t exist, but I was being SARCASTIC and I even pointed this out and PEOPLE THOUGHT I WAS SERIOUS.

    I hate facebook.

  18. I like some girls and I like some boys and I don’t know if I’m bisexual or something else, because people keep telling me I have to be 50/50 to be A REAL BISEXUAL, which can’t possibly be true, but maybe I’m just young and have lots of feelings/time to figure it out, which I wouldn’t even have to do if people didn’t care/hate/assume so much.

    There’s a reason why so many people don’t like labels… no one likes the prejudices, preconceptions and stereotypes that come with them. Not even “label free” gives you a blank slate.

    (I’m about the rant/run-on sentence. Bad day. My best friend is heartbroken over his long-distance, model boyfriend. We have more than enough drama without the world/internet being against us…)

    • ugh, the 50/50 gets to me. Because the world doesn’t work like that. Like, are we supposed to keep a bisexual checklist? “Hmm, my past couple of relationships with with girls, I should find some boys to balance it out!”

      I don’t know, I’ve been pretty hesitant to label myself and just use bisexual as the simplest term, because hey, I like boys and I like girls and mostly I just like people, but there are so many assumptions attached to that. It’s not 50/50 for me, it’s not a bicurious phase, it’s not easing into being gay. But I’m also not going to sit there and explain the nuances of my sexuality constantly. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I know what I like and what I don’t so I guess that matters more than a label.

      I just have so. many. feelings. ALL THIS EMOTING IS CUTTING INTO MY SLUTTY BISEXUAL SEXYTIMES. BRB THREESOME.

  19. So I’ve just recently discovered Autostraddle, & articles like this are why I’m in love.

    I’m also just coming out as bi at 23, and nonsense attitudes showcased by the articles you linked to are a big contributor to why its taken me so long. I am so sick of people assuming that I’m either a slut, or going through a phase, or not gay enough (depending who I’m talking to). Is it actually so difficult to just NOT pass judgment on other people’s lives?!?

    I really, really like Nicole’s idea of coming up with a new word, one that won’t have the immediate assumption of Slutface McGee attached. Now if only we could think of one…

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