We See You: An Open Thread for Bisexual Women Dating Men

Hello and welcome to this feelings atrium open thread situation, which today is dedicated bi or otherwise multi-gender attracted women. Sit down and have some lemon water or perhaps a muffin!

We get a lot of feedback and questions from bi women who date men and/or who are in long-term relationships with men; while there’s bucketfuls of information out in the world about dating men, it’s aimed at straight people and doesn’t touch upon a lot of what comes up in different-gender relationships for bisexual people, and queer women’s spaces tend not to discuss the issue in much depth. Many of our bi staff and writers who date men have the same issues and questions. So many women feel like there isn’t a space to talk about their experiences in this area. So! That brings us here; we’ve tried to make the space we want to see in the world in the form of this open thread. Obviously one open thread is not the be-all and end-all of discourse about bi women’s relationships with men, but it’s a start. We have some amazing bisexual staff members and contributors who will be here throughout the day to chat and commiserate and share experiences! We’ll be here probably until about 8 pm EST/5 pm PST, although maybe people will be able to hang out longer! Who knows!

A few things before we begin:

+ This hopefully goes without saying, but this is a space created primarily for bi and multi-gender attracted women! If that does not describe you, you are welcome to be here, but please don’t make the space about you; you’re here to listen and learn and possibly support, but not necessarily to weigh in. Thank you! If you are a non-bisexual person and your comments are deemed detrimental to the thread, they may be deleted, and you won’t be owed an explanation about why.

+ All that anyone here, both readers and staff, can really talk about with authority are their own experiences — it’s not possible to make sweeping objective statements about things as broad as identity or relationships, so please don’t a) try to make them yourself or b) assume others are trying to do so without good reason! Let’s all walk into this with the best faith in each other possible! Yeah!

+ Unfortunately, it seems like essentially a foregone conclusion that someone will at some point say something deliberately hurtful, instigatory and/or trollish, because this is the internet and a bisexual tree can’t fall in a forest without someone popping up to say “Well my bisexual ex-girlfriend….” When these comments inevitably arise, please don’t engage with them if they don’t seem in good faith, and instead report the comment to us so we can just delete it. To do so, just use Autostraddle Social messaging to contact me, Rachel, or email rachel [at] autostraddle [dot] com with a link to the comment in question!

OKAY THEN let’s go! What’s on your mind? How do you stay involved with queer community, especially when involved in relationships with men? How do these romantic relationships support and affirm you, and in what ways are they challenging? What have you been dying to talk about with other bi women? Tell us everything!


A reminder: this space is primarily for bisexual women. If you’re a non-bisexual person and your comment is deemed unproductive to the conversation for any reason, it may be deleted. Keep this in mind and please be respectful!

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you're able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?

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.

1,196 Comments

  1. y’all, thank you for this, the sheer volume of comments and the fact that all of them are so relatable makes this thread the best thing to happen in my whole week (tearing up while reading some of your thoughts and experiences)

    when i started coming out gradually as bi, then as queer, i was only dating men because i honestly felt scared not to. i felt like my attraction to women wasn’t valid or ok, especially when the boys i dated either got jealous or turned on by my bisexuality (and i still don’t know which is worse). i guess coming from a super homophobic background contributed to how hard it was to accept that part of myself. for a long time i just wanted to be straight, so i could just be a good hetero girlfriend and not have any shame or suppressed feelings.

    but a couple of years went by and i worked really hard on self acceptance and read a lot of queer and feminist literature and found autostraddle and started tentatively going on dates with women. and it’s funny to feel met in so many ways but also somehow lacking in small but vital ways! my relationships with women and non-binary folks have often had this common thread of my feeling or being made to feel “not queer enough,” “not experienced enough,” to the point where i’ve gotten really paranoid that maybe i am just faking being queer to look like a cool feminist or something. i know this sounds crazy, but it has happened. and on the flip side i have had such phenomenal experiences with women that it has made me question if i ever was *actually* attracted to the men i once dated, or if i just didn’t know any better at the time. (i should make a video series called “things that lesbians have asked about my ex-boyfriends.”)

    and honestly sometimes i just have to step back from trying to analyze (what even is attraction? what kind of bodies and genders am i attracted to, anyway? why am i perceived SO differently in different types of relationships?) …….and just take a breath and remind myself that it’s ok, that i can be fluid, that attraction and romance are big nebulous grey areas that most people don’t know how to define anyway, and as long as i am honest with myself and explore any connection that feels genuinely good for me, i can just be open to whatever happens, and it’s ok for my identity to be fluid and undefined because ultimately i am not ever gonna be any one exact thing.

  2. Thank you so much for this. I feel so validated! To celebrate, I have emerged from my lurking to leave my first comment :D

    Looking forward to reading, and to more of these spaces.

  3. Thank you autostraddle for such an awesome thread!

    I have known I was Bi since I was in my early teens and have had long term, committed relationships with both men and women.

    I experienced a lot of biphobia from both lgbt and straight people and try and be as out as I can to try and challenge people’s perceptions of what a bisexual person is and can be. I have found both gay female partners and straight male partners struggle with it at times, vocalising the insecurity at ‘more competition’ – a ridiculous notion Im sure all bisexual women have encountered at somepoint in their lives.

    Often it can feel like you don’t belong to either the lgbt of straight community, especially when you’re with a man, and so I cannot be more grateful to autostraddle for creating a thread which I know is going to really help us Bisexuals feel a bit more included!

    I am also bilingual and am looking at writing a study on the concept of assumed ‘dual identities’ in relation to bilingualism and bisexuality.

  4. So glad of this post! What I want to share with other bisexual women, especially those who date straight cis men, is that for me, getting braver about identifying as bisexual instead of queer was a huge and helpful transition. I feel like queer invisiblizes bisexuality, and that supposedly what makes me queer is my attraction to and relationships with women, trans and genderqueer people. When I date cis men, my queer identity feels like it often gets put on hold, or into question. Like, how many straight cis men am I allowed to date in a row before queer friends start to wonder if I really still need my “queer” card? But identifying as bisexual, every relationship I have, every attraction I feel, they all validate my identity. For me, Bisexuality is a borderlands identity. It’s about having meaningful investment and home-ness in both the straight community and the queer community, and being seen as or sometimes feeling like an imposter/outsider in both. Queer doesn’t get at that. I am honestly and sincerely so proud to be bisexual, and because of that, feel very part of the LGBTQ community indeed. I didn’t feel those ways when I identified as primarily queer, when I felt like my ticket into LGBTQ was the Q. Also, I make fun bisexual pride shirts for pride so go to my website and get one!

  5. I signed up just for this!

    I am so incredibly happy and blown away to read all these comments! This is what the Internet is for damnit! :)

    I am bi and getting married to a man I’ve been with 8 years in September!

    I lost my virginity to a guy and then girl very close together and fell in love with both at the same time in high school.

    I always thought once I got to collage I would have more girlfriends but found My Man pretty quick and never even had a chance ( hard to pick up girls anyways…)

    I’m pretty poly amorous but he really isn’t and has lots of trust issues from previous girlfriends cheating so I didn’t even explore options.

    I had one more lady sex experience a few years into relationship and since he knew i was bi and was trying to be supportive about it, was “ok” with it. It was a one night stand sorta random encounter that never went anywhere after that night (super unusual for me, I fall in love easy). And it made him pretty uncomfortable.

    Now he’s trying to get a threesome together for both our benefit (we have a semi open relationship that he mostly uses to my utter happiness) but it’s hard cuz I think the girls he finds only really want him. And I’m rubbish at trying to find a girl.

    Cuz we need a bi girl haha.

    Overall though, I’ve always felt that I was never splitting my heart when loving two people but having multiple whole hearts to give. And that I fell in love with people, not genders.

    Just happened to find a straight guy.

    I do feel so validated by all your comments about feeling like a bad bi girl and like people think you are over it. It’s nice to be in a group you didn’t realize existed ❤️

  6. Wow, this thread is so awesome and important and necessary!
    Thank you so much autostraddle for creating a non judgmental space where I feel like I can be myself!

    I am also definitely hoping this will be an ongoing thread/discussion although it’s already starting to get a little long scrolling through the comments haha, I haven’t gotten the chance to respond to a lot but I’ve been reading a good part of these comments… Just wanted to introduce myself for now for those who don’t know me yet. I’m Sam and I’ve recently started feeling more comfortable with bisexual being an appropriate label for me, although I despise labels in general.

    With “bisexual” I’ve struggled with fear of adding to bi erasure if I don’t use it and reinforcing the gender binary if I do use it; although I tend to only personally be attracted to cis men or cis women (so far), this is a personal preference and I don’t want my saying I’m bisexual to erase genderqueer, genderfluid, trans,etc folks.. But someone commented bisexual as in same gender than you as well as other genders and I really like this definition.

    As for being in relationships with a cis man, I am not currently but the 2 serious relationships I’ve had were with cis men, and I didn’t start dating women until a year ago. So I relate to all these talks a lot and the struggle of not feeling queer enough when out with a man. Right now I am single and happily going on various dates with both men and women until I find someone I want to get more serious with.

    Looking forward to discussions about all this with you lovelies!

  7. I’m kind of late to the party but I wanted to comment anyway because I’m so, so happy to see this whole thing existing. At some point I stopped using the term bisexual so often as just “queer” because I felt like there were too many additional things to explain, like my gender and the genders I’m attracted to and possibly asexual stuff and whatever. But I’ve always struggled so much with the idea that bisexual or anything like it isn’t queer enough. Usually I’ll go through long periods of only really liking/interacting with women/other gendered people who are not men. But on the occasions that I do actually like men or masculine-identified people, I usually wind up in that gross awful spiral of questioning myself and my identity and my queerness. I haven’t dated any boys since high school and I don’t know if I will again, but I wish I could feel free to do so without the added worry of “people are going to assume we are straight people in a straight relationship and I really don’t want that”. I also spent so long in high school dealing with shitty stereotypes and bad feelings about how I was a bad bisexual or slutty or would eventually “admit I was straight” or that I wasn’t gay enough to fit into the few gay spaces I knew of or whatever that I just…stopped dating men at all. (That also has to do with me not really feeling comfortable dating anyone not queer-identified because I feel like they won’t get my life/respect my gender/etc. but that’s sort of another issue.) Anyway, I don’t know if this comment is making any coherent sense anymore or if anyone will see it, but I’m so so happy to see this space opened up and conversation started, because I so rarely see spaces specifically for bi/queer/multi-gender-attracted people so seeing this was a thing made my night.

    • Shout out from a fellow queer person who finds all the identity explanations difficult & cumbersome! I’m bi-ish, ace, on the aromantic spectrum, and some flavor of nonbinary that I haven’t quite pinned down yet. Sometimes it’s just easier to say “I’m queer” and let people take that how they want. I dream of a world where people don’t assume all these default things about gender and sexuality and they can come up organically in conversation, rather than me practically having to draw up charts and graphs to explain where I’m coming from.

  8. Seeing this discussion and reading through the comments is making me feel so much bi straddler love!

    My one long term relationship (~6 years, somewhat on-and-off) was with a straight, cis man and lasted from when I was 18 until the beginning of this year. When I got involved with him I was just starting to acknowledge that I was not straight and was into girls, but then I kinda pushed that to the side for a bit and assumed I was only going to date guys.

    Over the next few years I started to identify as bi and come out to a few people, but I never saw it as a huge part of my identity. I don’t think it ever occurred to me during college that I might belong in an LGBT space. I think a lot of this had to do with not feeling like I was “out” enough or sufficiently into labels to possibly be accepted in an LGBT community, and I sort of assumed the B was only for bisexuals in different gendered relationships. Then, around three years ago I started to seek out and find more in the way of online queer community, including Autostraddle. I realized that even if I continued to be with a man forever, my bisexuality was an important part of who I am.

    While this as certainly not the main reason things did not work out with my ex, I think there are some unique challenges to being a queer lady in a relationship with a straight, cis dude. Even though he was generally ok with me identifying as bi, there were times that he just didn’t quite get it when it came to sexuality and gender issues.

    Things with him were somewhat on-and-off and not entirely monogamous (and we rarely saw each other in person), so I did go on dates with/ was somewhat physical with other people, but only ever with other guys. I think a lot of this has to do with being read as straight and also being fairly passive when it comes to seeking out relationships (especially when I was already involved with one person I was really into). I also though that straight girls would be super uncomfortable if I flirted with them and assumed other women wouldn’t be ok with my involvement with a man.

    Now that I am totally single, I sort of feel like I should date women in part because I worry that otherwise the disparity between my experience with men and my experience with women will just widen and that will decrease my chances of ever being able to experience anything with a woman. I also feel like that is an incredibly ridiculous thing to worry about, so fuck that.

  9. God. I feel so conflicted with bisexuality. I’ve only talked about this with two other people, but reading this (amazing) thread has left me with so many mixed feelings, I need to process.
    I don’t really know how to label myself, it’s not really important to me anyway (although my label seems to be important to people around me ¬¬). I guess I’m somewhere near pans or bisexual or queer or something.
    Sexually speaking I’m equally attracted to men and women, but romantically speaking I’m so much more attracted to women.
    I’ve been in relationships with both men and women (all of them identified as queer) and my identity was never a problem for me or my friends.
    But then I started dating my ex-girlfriend and I had this weird experience. Her family was supposedly really liberal and open minded, and they did accept me. But I started noticing that they treated her sister’s boyfriends differently. Like they were magnificent and shinny anytime they did something moderately nice for her sister, while I was just barely-adequate-me. That double-standard was also applied to any male friend my ex or her sister had. Then my ex left me for a man, and suddenly she went from a closeted relationship with me to a “straight” relationship, PDA, a magnificent boyfriend her mother obviously loves.
    And that has just left me feeling SO conflicted about my bisexuality. I don’t know if this is normal or I’m the only one, but I feel so guilty and ashamed for liking guys as well. I’m so terrified of falling into any cliches, gender roles or double standards…

    God, that was too long and irrelevant, sorry. I’m just trying to keep that “my comments and opinion matter” feeling going…

    Also, after my last relationship the issue of visibility in bisexuality became extremely important for me. I just want to throw this question out there: are you as outspoken and open about your relationships with women as you are with your relationships with men?
    I am, and it hurts so much when your partner “erases” you from their list of relationships…

    • Ahhh, I wanted to be more visible when I had a girlfriend, the problem is I’m more closeted about being in an open relationship than I am about being bisexual!! I feel like it’s less acceptable. In addition, I live in Florida, where I can be fired for being gay. :(

  10. I saw this last night and I nearly cried. Fell asleep with my phone in my hand reading all the comments. Woke up, remember this post, ninja cutting onions in my vicinity again.

    Seriously now, I love you Autostraddle. I’ve been reading AS for 4 months now and it has fully changed the way I look at many things, including my self and my queerness.

    I am not an out bisexual to anyone, although I did tell my male partner that I would love him if he was a girl too and other small things (like playing lady-loving protagonists in Mass Effect and Dragon Age, my favorite video games). I might tell him directly at some point, but for now, I am not doing anything to hide my attraction for both sexes without making an announcement.

    For a long time I felt guilty that I am passing. I loved a girl throughout my highschool years (in secret and unrequited of course; I come from Eastern Europe and we were both in the Catholic church, not much of a chance for anything there…). In my university years I had various crushes, on girls mostly, but on one or two boys as well, but as I left my country for grad school I was looking forward to falling in love with a girl in a country that was completely new, gay-friendly and where nobody knew me. And guess what, I fell in love with a boy and we’ve been together for 4 years and I am pretty sure he is my soul mate. And I felt so guilty when my parents breathed a sigh of relief that I finally found a boy (I am sure they weren’t considering the possibility that I like girls, but they were quite insecure about my not having a boyfriend until I was 23) because now I am ‘normal’ and I felt like a fraud.

    Throughout the years I’ve come to terms with myself and accepted who I am (thanks also to AS, books and TV shows), although I still don’t feel like I deserve to be part of the LGBTQ community because I pass as straight, which is why I generally only lurk around on lesbian websites.

    Anyways, this has been a long, ramble-y post (the first time I wrote these things about myself) and it probably makes no sense, but I had to put it out there.

    Again, thank you AS for existing. You really make a difference.

  11. Hi all :-)

    First of all, this thread is awesome! I’d love to respond to so many of the comments here but right now, I’d just like to add my own two-penneth. I first “came out” to my family as bisexual about seven or so years ago; only a few months down the line, I verified that I was in fact a lesbian & I have adopted (shall we say?) *that* identify ever since. It’s one hell of a big deal for women; to come out of the closet, especially if their families’ are homophobic. I can’t help but feel I’m now betraying myself (& this community) for, effectively, turning my back on it yet again.

    I’ve always dated women in the past; I love women for companionship & certainly, I’m capable of feeling “romantic” towards women but, and here’s the real clincher, I’m not sexually attracted towards women either. The thought of having sex has always terrified me & I’ve always said that I fear I’ll push somebody away, because I have done so in the past with women. Having said that, I’m not asexual either, because to be honest, I have no real quarms over sleeping with a man either. Confusing, eh?

    It makes more sense, to me, to “come out” as bisexual, rather than “homo-romantic” but I’m still incredibly confused as to where I sit on the spectrum. On the other hand, it’s brilliant seeing so many (bisexual) women who are comfortable in their own skin and who are either in happy heterosexual or homosexual relationships :) ultimately, it shouldn’t matter who we love or which gender; I guess I’m just afraid that if I do say I’m bi, I’ll inevitably receive the “told you so” from my family.

    But you know what, fuck it. Labels should be for cans, not people! Thank you, lovely people, for your stories. Let’s keep them coming! :-D

  12. Thank you Autostraddle ! I’ve been waiting for this for so long on this website.
    Whereas in mainstream media, representations of bi women dating men, and only having casual or not frivolous relationships with women are hegemonous, in gay media such as Autostraddle, there seems to be no voice for us bi ladies in committed relationships with men.
    I love my progressive minded, and understanding boyfriend very much, our poly committed relationship is working fine for now, and I see a future with him. However I still am and will always be bi/pan, and I want full participation in the queer world.

  13. I really wish I’d been online when this was going on! I feel like even though I’m currently not dating a dude I’d still like to talk about FEELINGS.

    Does anyone else find that other people define your sexuality for you based on who you’re currently dating? I’m currently with a genderqueer partner but I get so much bi erasure all the time – weirdly more from straight friends who want me to be a lesbian.

    I know for some people that is their truth, but I still define myself as being attracted to people of many different genders. And I don’t understand why people need to be like “oh you’re a lesbian now”

  14. I am so glad that this thread exist! Finally I can say proudly that I am Bisexual and well I have a boyfriend for almost 4 and half years. I found out that I also liked women an half a year ago and I never feel any validated, because well, I never dated a woman before, because I already am in a relationship. Everyone and their mom thinks I am straight, but nope. And sometimes that leads to awkward situations.
    My boyfriend helped me coming out so I am so proud of him. We have our ups and downs, because let’s be honest, coming out is not what you do on an average basis, but we figured things out and I see a future with him. I don’t feel validated yet in the LGBT community because people judge me for having a boyfriend, and thus think I’m straight. And in the media its all fine and dandy if the woman comes out and dates a woman, but if she chooses a man, oh lord get your pitchforks. And that’s really sad. I am really happy that that are a lot of women like me here telling their story.

    Greets from the Netherlands!!

  15. I came out when I was 15. Two years prior I confirmed myself as a Witch. On top of that I parent two girls who are not biological to me (they are my boyfriend’s kids). Add into that the fact that I’m a survivor of childhood trauma which came from abuse. Otherwise I’m cis and white, and currently approaching upper-middle class although that’s not at all how I grew up. You might be able to imagine the issues with erasure and ‘passing’ I encounter on a regular basis in more than a few ways.

    Being able to find a space that is inclusive of me in all ways is really impossible. I’ve come pretty close with a group I’m a part of, dedicated to Attachment Parenting- I feel very at ease there, and they work to collaborate with all members to be inclusive. The challenge is that I’m into social justice, and support a Black Feminist and Womanist perspective which I work to create in a feminism that is intersectional (wholly supportive of ability, race, class, etc). And even that group, while easily a very supportive place in the forum online that it has created, in person is not as enthusiastically accepting.

    Specifically from the standpoint of being bisexual/pansexual (I don’t mind using those terms interchangeably although I understand some people really like to utilize one or the other), I’ve experienced a lot of erasure. When I came out to my primary caregivers at the time (my grandparents), they laughed loudly and then went into great detail about what ‘lesbians do’ sexually. I think their perspective was that I didn’t know what I was talking about and as soon as I understood the ‘disgusting’ sex acts that went with being gay I would never want to identify that way. Once I pushed back, there was anger. Especially from my grandfather. I got a little flack over the years for not ‘picking a side’, but not as much flack as I got from the males I dated. It was a cycle: first they would sexualize my identity (“you’re bi? that’s hot, I wanna watch”), and then as we got more serious, they would use it as a point of insecurity…somehow because I was also attracted to women, I was not a ‘sure thing’ in our relationship. That didn’t fly with me, and it’s one of the reasons I’m not with any of those schmucks!

    The thing about my bisexuality is that it is complicated. My relationships with men follow the traditional understanding of a relationship- we date, we get serious, we are monogamous, there is talk of marriage…in fact I’m going to propose to my boyfriend now, this summer. And I’m very happy about that!

    My relationships with women have always been something else entirely, when it comes to attraction and romance. I had what I understand now as an on-again, off-again romance with a woman for years, from middle school until after I graduated with my undergrad, through other boyfriends (and one girlfriend). It was emotionally intense, and on some other level than I have investigated with men. I had another relationship that I classified at the time as being my best friend, but looking back on it now (we no longer speak), I was absolutely in love with her. It was also emotionally intense although in a different way, and I just think I was always scared to jeopardize the friendship by telling her how I felt. I guess the best way to put it is that the line of friendship vs. romantic is pretty solid and traditional in regard to men but totally blurs when it has ever come to women I have feelings for. I also have continued to be questioning when it comes to identifying as polyamorous/polysexual. While I’ve never been in a poly relationship, the way I feel and how I invest my emotions is certainly poly. I tend to be actively in love with more than one person at a time, for long periods of time, regardless of where we are geographically or in life. It just happens.

    Recently, like in the past two years, I’ve come to a place in life where I feel far more accepted and affirmed than I ever have before. I realize that part of that is my socioeconomic situation has vastly improved. I feel more secure monetarily, and live in probably the safest city in America (no joke, we don’t lock our doors, or cars, we just don’t worry about that). Part of it is also that I am able to surround myself with people who mostly get it, especially my boyfriend.

    However, it’s still difficult. Again, solely from the perspective of being bisexual, in particular the last two weeks have included some moments of erasure and denial from the LGBTQPIA+ community. I went to a mixer that was for LGBT and Allies last week, and twice I was mistaken for a straight person. One man told me that because I was cute and skinny I came across as straight. The lesbian couple next to me were extremely offended and I felt pretty upset. Another instance involved a professional therapist who was seeing someone close to me. It was relayed to me that this therapist, when told that I was bisexual (it came up during the course of the visit), asked if immediately if I was a ‘swinger’. The assumption there is that because I’m bisexual, I must be having sex with multiple people currently. Another instance involved someone I’m working with on a board. They volunteered to be head of a task force for the LGBTQPIA+ community. I was talking to them about the ‘alphabet soup’ of it all, and they dismissively relayed that it was too hard to remember all of the identities and that they were just going to gear their action toward lesbians and gays. I wonder if this person assumed I was straight, and furthermore that a comment like that was ok. In that instance, I understand if this person didn’t mean it at all and it was just a way to joke, but I felt extremely marginalized and let down in that moment.

    To close out this essay (lol), I definitely encounter a pressure, whether internal or external, to ‘prove’ my bisexuality. It makes things even more difficult, because while I may be poly that doesn’t mean that the best way to move forward with this relationship I have now is toward polyamory. It might be, but the pressure I feel also makes me feel pressured to choose polyamory just so I can prove to myself and the world that I am still bi, that I am a valid bi, and that I have the right to identify as bi. And that makes me sad and angry. It makes me sangry. My boyfriend has been endlessly affirming in all of this. We’ve talked a lot about the possibilities in our relationship, and he reminds me that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. It’s why we work- he gets that!

    There’s a lot more to my story, but that’s a snippet of what it’s like living as a bisexual woman who is in a relationship with a man.

    I also realize that my experience has not included people of all genders, and yet I identify as pansexual. I just wanted to mention that just because I haven’t included those experiences here, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Maybe I’m being defensive, but again, that’s that “I have to prove myself” mentality.

    Anyway, I appreciate this thread immensely. Thanks for having an outlet available to us, to me. It’s easy for me to feel like I have to make myself smaller in order to let others have the spotlight, but I need to remember that my experience is important too. Thanks for that.

  16. This thread makes me really happy! :)

    I feel a lot of pressure, especially as a young queer who has only dated boy (singular intended), to validate my identity somehow? I’ve been accused of ‘not being enough of a lesbian’ and adopting a queer identity to seem ‘cool/edgy’, and this has made me quite nervous entering queer spaces, both online and irl. A lot of online biphobia has made me hesitant to engage in conversations, and as someone said earlier, I felt like I wasn’t like, ‘allowed’ to read Autostraddle because of my f/m relationship and my lack of experience.

    It annoys me that I am automatically classified as a ‘cishet poser’ by some people, either because of my visible relationship or my lack of sexual experience/inclination, and then in the same breath, accused of leading my boyfriend on/employing him as a beard or whatever, because I sometimes ‘look like a lesbian’ – which is itself often employed as an insult, and that also really pisses me off.

    It’s quite frustrating that this makes me really nervous be an active participant in queer communities – because while I really just want to be all ‘fuck you, this is who i am, etc.’ I’m also really quite afraid to do that because of the potential repercussions, and it makes me sad that I need to be careful with that in spaces that logically should actually be accepting?

    I think that this internalised/externalised pressure was partially why it took me so long to realise that I was pan; only in hindsight have I realised all of my (really obvious) queer crushes – although part of that was in realising that you could like someone without imagining them sexually.

    Idk. I’m really happy to be reading everyone’s stories, and I’m really grateful that this thread exists.

  17. Hi, I’m bisexual. I’ve mostly dated men. I’m currently dating a man. I haven’t had the opportunity to date a woman, but I would. I’m sexually attracted to men and women. I like having sex with men and women.

    To me, it’s never felt complicated. I at least can see where the confusion comes from with cis, hetero people, but they actually don’t give me many problems that make me uncomfortable. Most of my discomfort and hurt has come from other queer women. The queer and LGBT community should never make me qualify “I’m bisexual” with “Yes, I like going down on women.”

    There has been thinkpiece after Buzzfeed list after Tumblr post dedicated to how much queer people aren’t obligated to share details of their sex lives with ANYONE. Ever. And yet, sharing those intimate details seems to be the only way people respect my identity as a queer woman, *especially* according to other queer women.

    What if I hated oral sex in general? People don’t seem to think that men are any less attracted to women when they refuse to go down on them (which is practically commonplace), and yet I feel pressured to constantly and emphatically declare my love for cunnilingus every single time I get asked about my identity.

    Does no one else see how fucked up that is? It’s not just identity policing, it’s identity policing by using actual *sexual* policing.

    It’s my sex life. Get your own.

  18. I’ve read so many posts about bi women who are currently in relationships with cis men that are supportive of their sexuality. What about those of us that are struggling with partners that are homophobic/biphobic?

    I was forced out of the closet by my husband ten years into our relationship.

    He reacted badly. Not violently, but super controlling to the point of stalking. I had no privacy or anywhere to turn. It resulted in me having a complete emotional breakdown to the point of being suicidal.

    I went to camp once, but deliberately kept my distance from other campers due to my situation being so messed up. So I don’t really have any friends in the community.

    While all of this was going on, I was also betrayed by a close friend that I had previously confided in. This friend made up a pack of lies in an attempt to make my life worse.

    I’m finding it very difficult that the few people I thought were the closest people in my life used my bisexuality as a stick to beat me with the first chance they got.

    I know that if I leave my current relationship for any reason, husband will see it as a direct result of me being a deceitful lesbian (because I must be gay right? Bisexuals don’t exist) and will attempt to ruin my life. I go through stages of feeling very trapped.

    I am being punished despite having done literally nothing. I was outed against my will.

    To most queer people I feel completely invisible and invalidated.

    It’s literally the worst of both worlds.

    I’m sorry to add this to a mostly positive thread and I know I missed the busiest time anyway.

    I really appreciate the opportunity to been seen. Thanks Rachel and everyone else.

    • I’m so sorry this is happening to you Al! I want you to know that you’re not alone in having this experience, and while it’s great that there are bi women on this thread who have supportive male partners, there are a lot of people in your position. One reason why bi women have such high rates of intimate partner violence is that partners do often use someone’s bi identity as leverage against them — not that this makes your situation better, but at least you’re not totally alone. Are you able to have internet contact with others in privacy from your husband? If so, it may be possible to find other bi women who have had similar experiences who can provide support!

    • My ex-husband was emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive. When we first started dating, my bisexuality was fetishized. But soon every aspect of my sexuality was a weapon against me. It was horrible.

      You deserve to be treated better. Who cares WHY you leave someone who is emotionally abusive? When I left, finally, I made peace with the what ifs. What if I’m actually selfish and cruel and heartless? Well. So what.

      You are being abused. You deserve better. You deserve to be celebrated, embraced, and loved. He doesn’t love you. He wants to own you.

    • I want you to know that I hear you, and this is so real, and it’s terrible that it is so very common.

      If you want support around this, The Network/La Red has a partner abuse hotline (9am-midnight weekdays, 1pm-6pm Saturdays, 1pm-midnight Sundays) for LGBTQ, poly, and kinky people. I am a volunteer, and I can tell you, biphobia and the high rates of abuse experienced by bi people are specifically covered in training and people in situations like yours are absolutely welcomed and encouraged to call (I’ve talked to a few myself). The number is 617-742-4911 (voice), 617-227-4911 (tty). There is also a phone-based support group for people who don’t live near the Boston area. You don’t need to leave or want to leave your partner to access these services, though if you want to we can try to help with that.

    • Al, I’m so sorry to hear that this is happening to you. And yes, it’s happening TO you–it’s not because of you. You in no way deserve any of what your husband is putting you through. You DO deserve to get support and help in getting yourself out of this situation, in any way that you can. And you’re not alone or invisible anymore! :)

    • Thank you for opening up about this. That means a lot, that you trust us in the safe space of this thread. I can’t tell you what to do in this situation. Only you can decide when and if you leave an unhealthy relationship. I know you did not use the words “abuse” or “partner violence.” You may or may not feel like those words describe what is going on. I am guessing there are probably good days and there were good times with your husband before–or else you wouldn’t have married him! It can be hard to give a name to our experiences. What you are describing sounds like more than an unsupportive spouse. It sound like emotional manipulation and emotional abuse. Biphobia, if it is just having outdated views about bisexuals or making jokes that are inappropriate, is one thing. You could talk about that, help someone grow and learn. But when biphobia manifests in the controlling and deeply hurtful behavior you describe, it is totally fair to call that emotional abuse.

      HOWEVER, you may not feel like that word fits. And don’t have to decide whether those words are right. What I want you to know is that there are plenty of people who are here to support you, including the resources other folks offered here. I also want you to know that you have the right to leave and to put your happiness first, above your husband’s feelings and needs. You deserve a partner who not only respects your sexuality, but respects you as a person. I am not telling you to leave right now or that you even have to, ever. That’s your decision. I just want to say that it doesn’t have to be like this and that you are allowed to prioritize your own safety and wellbeing.

      XOXO

      • Thank you everyone for your advice and kindness.

        It helps a lot to hear from others that have experienced this.

        Sometimes I wish he would leave me, as if that would somehow prevent or limit his actions at the relationship ending. But I know that he is likely to retaliate anyway.

        It would always be my fault, regardless of his actions. I am in a monogamous relationship and have never cheated. He has. But I am treated as the one that is inherantly untrustworthy.

        He has said more than once that if he had known I was bisexual when he met me, he would never have started dating me and certainly would never have married me.

        The number of people on this thread that just wanted to stand up and be counted and tell us a little about themselves is incredible. It is astounding how many of us there are – a great deal of us completely invisible to both the lgbt and heteronormative communities.

        I am very glad that Autostraddle is here and that I got the opportunity to hear about everyone.

        I want to join the Facebook group, but don’t know how to hide my group activity/membership from most of my Fb friends. Does anyone know if it’s possible to do that?

    • Umm, if you’re still with your husband, that sounds like a pretty unhappy situation. If he’s controlling and overbearing and loudly anti a large part of what makes you who you are (obviously nobody is characterised solely by their sexual orientation, but in adult life, your sexuality is a very important part of you) – it just doesn’t sound like you’re with someone who is good for you.

  19. I like, many here, am so happy to simply have the validation. I am married to a cis-gendered male and while my my bi-sexual identity is supported and validated in my relationship, I find outside of my relationship that identity is invisible. For those who do know my orientation I find that I am having to defend just how queer I am.

  20. It means so much to see this thread.

    I’ve known since I was in elementary school that I was attracted to girls. They came before boys, honestly! I’m 28 now and all of my serious relationships have been with cis men. I did come out to my mom in hs, she is VERY religious and VERY conservative. She thought it was a phase and I was just confused, because obviously just because I’m friends with a girl doesn’t mean I have to have sex with them! -_-

    Fast forward to now where I’m in a relationship with a guy. I’m 100% sure she thinks it was just a rebellious high school phase, but more and more lately, as I become involved in the community online, I want to be out and be myself.

    I’m more pan- than bi, but most of the time I don’t even bring that up because of the bi hate that goes on. I’m also masculine of center/genderqueer and have been trying to hide that also as to not upset family but I’m done. I finally cut my hair how I want, no more wearing dresses to formal events, as I feel wildly uncomfortable doing so.

    And even though my partner is cis male he supports me 100% going so far as to say if people end up thinking we look like a gay couple, he doesn’t care.

    But anyway I’m off topic now. I’m just having my own reawakening lately that I don’t need or want to hide my sexuality anymore, just because I can in a “straight” relationship, when I’m anything but. You’re all awesome, let’s continue to speak up and show that bi pride!

  21. It’s a strange realm to be in. Until last year, I didn’t really understand that I was bisexual, and when I got a middle school level head over heels crush on a woman it sort of all came together and made sense. But even though I knew that I liked her and was attracted to women, it almost felt like I had to prove it, that I couldn’t be sure I was actually bisexual until I had acted on it. I still haven’t come out to anyone but my sister and a close friend, I don’t know why but it almost feels like it would be easier to come out as gay because at least that’s definitive. Not that it’s easy to come out as gay either, I don’t want to diminish the difficulties of that experience, but since I’m not dating anyone right now it sort of seems like it would be bringing up the issue unnecessarily?

  22. Hola,
    thanks for that AS! Biphobia is still a big thing and bi-awareness ist one of the things media mostly just covers stereotyped.
    I am a queer/bi woman in my early thirties and I’ve been in a wonderful relationship with my boyfriend for nearly 15 years. The first ten years monogamous, since last years more open and poly, which can be hard/frustrating, but also changes things in a positive way.
    I am very glad that I can read and experience the stories of other bi-identified folks here and I hope this gives me the courage to finally come out to my mother. So that is one thing I have never really did (I think she knows). So, I am only partial ‘out’ to friends and some colleagues and I totally panicked the last time I wanted to tell my mother.
    Cheeers!

  23. I can’t thank you lovely humans at AS for this thread. As you know, it is to meaningful and touching to be seen and to be given a space, especially on a queer site! As many of the great bisexual women in this thread have said, it is challenging to navigate these two worlds and often we’re made to feel like we’re unwanted in both of them – that is, when we’re not forced to choose one or the other, or worse, when we’re erased.

    It always hurts me more to be erased or dismissed in a queer space, and so I thank AS from the bottom of my heart for this thread and this chance to share in others’ similar experiences. Please let it be the first of many!

  24. I am just comming to terms with my sexuality. I have been dating a man for a little over a year now, but recently I have had the courage to face what I have always felt to be true. I have always known that I was attracted to both men and women, and it feels amazing to say it out loud (or at least type it out). I cannot begin to describe the emotions I felt when I found this thread. Thank you thank you thank you!

  25. I’m SO happy to see this forum here and to see this community flourishing, especially as someone newly grappling with “going back to men” after years of dating and one marriage to women.

    I actually just wrote a story about my “bisexual freakout” the day marriage equality passed and would love to share it with you if that’s not against comment policy: https://medium.com/@the_valleyvspot/don-t-wanna-be-straight-forever-4d15be816e64

    :)

  26. thanks for this thread and all of your thoughts!

    i’m bi and i find it utterly confusing.

    do i have a preference for men? for women? romantically? sexually? why do i sometimes feel like i only like women, why sometimes only men? where is this going? what am i?

    i’ve been thinking about these questions for +10 years and empirically trying to find answers. yet, i still don’t have a clue.

    • I think sometimes you have to let go of those questions a little bit, surround yourself with people who inspire you (when possible – def. easier said than done) and just tell people when you think they’re cute! They might think you’re cute too. :-)

  27. thank you so much for creating this space and making it a safe space. you are so right that any time bisexuality is brought up online, it just bring out hoards of trolls, ironically making the point the articles are usually citing- we are not accepting in the supposed LGBTQ community. It is perverse the way I read those trolls comments- it makes me feel validated that I am not imagining that I am not accepted in the community while at the same time reinforcing the feeling that it’s not safe for me to be out. I do think it’s getting better, in large part because of Autostraddle and similar sites. But what I hear over and over from gay identified people, is that bi people are riding on the coattails of our gay predecessors, not having contributed anything the the glbtq rights movement. I also hear that most bi people chose to be with the opposite gender. Of course, bi people have ALWAYS been fighting alongside our lgbtq brothers and sisters even if it wasn’t safe for us to come out as bi- we are often assumed in those circles to be gay. And further, it’s easy to conclude that bi people are always with the opposite gender because what happens is this. Bi people make up the majority by far of the community- more than the LG and T combined. But because, thank you, bi erasure, we are almost always assumed to be straight if with opposite or gay if with the same gender, the ones who are visible and bi are those who fight against that- usually they are with the opposite gender and I have a theory for why that is. I have been monogamous with my husband for 24 years. I am still me. How I identify has not changed in all of that time. But most bi women don’t feel safe coming out because there is not much understanding in straight culture (“you aren’t bi now, right? you are with a man….”) and we are not accepted in gay culture. So those of us in same sex relationships often just let people assume we are gay rather than thwart the support of the community by making a point of declaring our bisexuality- partners feel the same pressure for us to not be out as bi. So look around- most of those people you assume are gay are actually bi. It just isn’t safe for them to say so. Or maybe they have and you aren’t getting it. Women like me in relationships with men sometimes just get so sick of being invisible and not having the support of either community, we speak up. thank you!

  28. I didn’t realize I was bi until I was already married to a man, so I never got a chance to be with a woman romantically/sexually, and unless my marriage ends (which I hope it doesn’t, I’m very happy), I probably never will.

    I still consider myself bisexual though, I experience attraction to women, I just can’t/won’t act on it. The thing is, I’ve *always* experienced attraction to women, I just didn’t recognize it as such. I thought, well, all girls must feel this way and it didn’t really mean I was into women in THAT way…I’m attracted to men, after all. And the ways I was attracted to men, am attracted to men, are different than the ways I’m attracted to women, no doubt because of the way I was socialized to interact with different genders.

    It’s so confusing, and without listening to other bi women as an LGBT ally, I never would have figured out that my feelings for women were valid and were real. I’m very grateful to have this more complete understanding of myself, even if it doesn’t have a huge impact on my life. I still don’t feel like I actually belong in LGBT spaces as anything more than an ally. Because I’m with a cishet partner, and am not really ‘out’ as bi to anyone I know in real life, I don’t really feel like I fit in. I’m happy to see this thread though. It’s nice just to get to talk about it with other people who might understand.

  29. What a great thread! I’ve been out as bi for going on a decade, and dating/married to the same (cis straight) man for most of those years. He is ultra supportive of me and my identity both as a bisexual and as a woman (woo intersectional feminism) but it is so frustrating to feel like I don’t ‘count’ as queer. It took me so long to find any queer community because I was made to feel like I was invading someone else’s safe space, or ignoring the privilege I get from appearing straight (I can promise you, conditional privilege is hard to ignore). I finally have some awesome friends and queer community, but it took so long. Hang in there other bi ladies, there are people who wont be terrible people about your orientation.

  30. Oh hi, how convenient that I visited Autostraddle today while waiting for my code to run! It’s so nice to see this space, even if I’m a day late.

    I am bi, some sort of FAAB genderqueer/woman (demifemale maybe? still figuring that one out), and married to a straight cis man for five years. I’m pretty involved in my local queer communities.

    Has anyone else had the experience that in the queer GEEK community, the sci-fi/fantasy/techie world, you see more bi women dating men, more femmes, and more transfeminine people, than in typical urban queer communities? And, unsurprisingly, way less messed up attitudes toward all these groups? In my geeky techie fandomy social circle it’s very common and not stigmatized to be a bi woman dating or married to a man. I step into the urban activist-y hipsterqueer community and suddenly it becomes really fraught, and there’s a lot of queer women bonding around how glad they are to not be dating cis men, that makes me feel very awkward. And even non-monosexual people in that community don’t like the term “bi” or “bisexual,” where in my queer-geek community that’s what the huge majority of non-monosexual people use to describe themselves.

    I know that some people don’t like “bi” because they interpret it as implying a gender binary (a concern that is strangely absent from discussion of labels like “straight” or “gay” that are commonly understood to mean that you’re attracted to “the same” or “the opposite” gender). I see it as meaning that I’m attracted to people of both similar genders to and dissimilar genders from myself.

    One thing I’ve seen a few times even in this thread, that I want more of us to question, is the idea that we have straight privilege when we’re with men and only men at a given time. We have certain privileges around how people (and until all the implementations of marriage equality get ironed out, US government agencies) treat our relationships, yes. However, we (bi women/female-presenting people in general) have drastically elevated rape and sexual assault rates, domestic violence rates, sexual hate crime rates, and PTSD rates, compared to either straight OR gay/lesbian women/female-presenting people. Someone explain to me how it’s straight privilege to be so much more likely to get sexually violated and attacked by partners and end up traumatized? We’re also more likely to be poor than either straight or L/G people, and have certain health disparities.

    We need a better understanding of our own issues, because it seems clear that the rest of the LGBTQ community isn’t going to bring them up or educate people about them. The number of bi women who know any of the things I just said in the previous paragraph is distressingly small – our issues are as invisibilized as we are.

    • “a concern that is strangely absent from discussion of labels like “straight” or “gay” that are commonly understood to mean that you’re attracted to “the same” or “the opposite” gender”

      So much this!

      • I agree! Nerd cultures are the best for acceptance! We are so used to being unaccepted that we take in everyone. My nerdy groups include loads of other NBs, gay, trans, bi, it is so happy making! Plus we are all united by our common love of SciFi, Fantasy, movies, tech and geekery.

        It gets so close that sometimes I forget what it is like out in the world, then I am reminded and it’s like oh. I’m at uni again and my class is very cis and largely straight and it is complicated being with them. I feel a little like an outsider sometimes. I am the queer, nerdy, ASD one in class. It’s exhausting.

  31. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for a very long time and about 8 years ago i admitted to myself and my partner that i had had a long standing attraction to women as well. i now find myself in a great situation where i date women outside of our marriage. it is a tricky situation sometimes and there have been hurt feelings on all sides, but i try to navigate it all in a respectful and honest way. it took awhile but i feel fairly accepted by my queer community, and most of my straight friends know too. and this acceptance, and seeing threads like this, really help me finally feel comfortable with who i am.

    • Does it still feel like you relationship with your husband is special and precious? My boyfriend has told me I can go explore my sexuality with women but I am nervous about our bond being weakened or having sex feel less special or something like that.

      • In my current relationship, we were casual and seeing other people when we fell in love. Then we decided not to become exclusive when we affirmed the seriousness of our relationship. Sex together is still special. It’s not always romantic and squishy, but no sex is always romantic and squishy. But he’s my partner and I am his and we have a dynamic committed to making sure that we care for each other. Our sex is about mutual enjoyment, building our connection, coming together (heh) after a rough day, comfort, that oxytocin, and so on. The rest of our interactions are FWB or just plain casual, and they’re about pleasure and adventure.

        Sex in our relationship is an expression of our relationship. The other sex is different.

  32. Wow, this is already up for a day and I’m only seeing it now. And it already has more than 800 commments!!! What can I even say to this and will I ever make it through all these comments?

    I’m bi/pan with a higher sexual attraction to women (but sexual attraction is not everything in life). Since pretty much forever.
    It took me quite a while to notice it as a teenager and again a while to accept it and still some more time until I was ready to be open about it. When I was, I was so ready to start a new queer life. I came out to a couple of friends, moved to a new town, started college. So everything could have been great and queer. But then I met HIM.
    And it just stopped the whole process. We have been together for 7 years now and will probably be for the rest of our lifes and I’m very happy about it. But I feel like there is this big part of my identity missing and I would never know how to talk to people who perceive me as straight about it because I’ve never even dated a woman before (completely ignoring the fact that before my boyfriend I did not really date many people at all, but no one ever asks about that).

    So yeah, that’s me. Thank you for doing this here, for making a place where I fit in too!!!

    • That’s precisely what happened to me too! Moved to a “gay-friendly” country where nobody knew me to start a queer life and bam, dude happens.

      But I never was open about my sexuality, so the ‘straight’ assumption is let’s say more ‘deserved’ in my case :( ugh, i hate labels!!

  33. Reading about all of the ways in which you guys have explained away the evidence of your attractions to women has really made it clear to me how I’ve been doing the same thing my whole life, which I pretty much realized a few years ago but I’ve still had a thread of doubt about until now. Like, I spent years seeking out queer spaces and fixating on images of women’s bodies and being way too invested in “friend crushes” but like, I was dating dudes, so probably that was just a thing that all straight people did, and insofar as I thought I might be bi, well, that was probably just because all of my friends were gay and I wanted to fit in or something? And when I hooked up with women and enjoyed it, that’s probably just because touching people and being touched feels good? It seemed like until I actually dated a women, all the evidence could be explained away somehow, and now that I’m life partnered with a dude that’ll never happen, so I’ll never really *know* I’m bisexual.

  34. This is wonderful. I just broke up with my boyfriend of over a year, and I have a lot of mixed feelings about dating another man after this experience. It was weird to pass as a straight couple (he is queer as well), and I felt like it allowed my family to forget that I wasn’t straight. My brother straight up (ha!) said that he kept forgetting that I was queer because I was dating a man. It’s been a bit of personal battle with my parents (my dad is supportive but doesn’t really ‘get it’ and my mom has told me she ‘doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to’), so being in what appeared to be a ‘normal’ straight relationship as a mostly fem-presenting woman felt like a step backwards in ‘proving’ that I was queer. Ugh.

    Anyway, love to all the bi/pan people on here, and I am so happy we can share our stories here.

    • I feel you! I currently have a bf who is queer also and I find myself reminding people that I am queer wayyy too often. I’m happy with my bf but I find myself thinking about wanting to date a woman because I want to be read as queer so badly. Do you have this feeling as well?

  35. Thank you so much for this, I´ve been in this struggle for a long time. I belong to a society who is still way homophobic. An the GLBTI context is very biphobic and seems so small sometimes. I had a girlfriend a few years ago who was all the time hesitating about me being bi. In my experience, I´ve had some relationships with girls even more machistas than with guys.. so sad.. and still I am so certain about myself..

    I don´t like labeling but I could define myself as a pansexual person.

    I live with my boyfriend almost a year, but with comes and goes we´ve been almost five years together. He knows about me, but we don´t talk about it. Its like my secret pain and unhappiness…

    In the pride parade of this year I kept myself busy, I wanted to go so much, but I felt like… why would I go?… everytime I feel inside the comunity is when I feel closer to girls.. but that may be absurd, because I know I am not lesbian..

    I remember me and my bf going together a few years ago, but it was like, i kept him away while we were walking, my big excuse was that I was taking pictures (I was, I´m a photographer..)… I feel so bad about it, I mean, he was there with me, supporting me… and that is still wierd for me..

    It´s really dificult, the problem for me may not be identifying myself as I am but thinking about me, him, our future… my future, my desires, my sexuality… I feel overwhelmed with this.. My psichologist says I will never feel sexually satisfied because my sexual inclination is so wide..

    Sorry for my english, and thank you so much for this space, so necessary

    • I hear a lot of unhappiness in what you’re saying, and I’m sorry. I know it must be really hard to hold this as a painful secret. Do you want to talk to your boyfriend about it? How do you think he would respond?

      “My psichologist says I will never feel sexually satisfied because my sexual inclination is so wide.” That’s a stereotype I’ve heard a lot. It’s true of some people, not all people. What do you think about yourself? How will you feel if you never date a woman again? If you need women and men to be happy, do you want to date more than one person at the same time?

  36. This thread makes me so happy! Thank you Autostraddle for granting us some visibility.

    I realized I was bi in high school, but never really gave it space until the last 3 years (I’m in my late twenties) – which is really tough! I’ve only ever dated men long-term, and I am still feeling so awkward in my skin when it comes to even trying to date women. I want to! Like, a lot! I just don’t know where to go or how to be or whether those questions make me sound essentialist. :X It just feels like I’m a hormonal teenager when I meet a lady I could have a chance with – which is, again, such a testament to bi invisibility in our culture.

    I currently ID as bi and poly, and am in a primary relationship with a man who also IDs as pansexual, so I have lots of intimate support and validation. Sometimes, though, I really struggle to feel as validated by the dating pool/community in my attraction to women. As an introvert and very socially anxious person, I stick to online dating primarily to find new dates, but so many women who seem okay with poly either are in it for the satisfaction of their partner, or they’re so busy or cool I don’t have a chance! Can anyone here relate? How have you navigated these new feelings later in life, and in such a fraught ID community?

    • I was late to the game too! I realized around age 15 I was bi but didn’t date a lady until age 33. Oooof. And yes I absolutely felt like an awkward teenager trying to get dates with girls! But I’m a pretty quick learner ;)

    • Yes! I just posted about this. I am super shy and find it easier to meet men than women. I’ve done tons of online dating as well but women online are either fake, or never want to meet up, or are gay and not cool with me having a boyfriend. What’s a girl to do?

  37. I am a bisexual woman (first time officially writing that!) who is just figuring this whole wonderful world out. I’ve actually only been in relationships with men, and I have fooled around with women only in a college makeout sort of way. I’m with a great guy right now that I am seriously considering marrying, and he has given me the go ahead to fool around with girls (however I want – with or without him) to figure this out for myself since I am inexperienced with women (A+ boyfriend). I’m not sure if that is a recipe for disaster though…anyone with a similar experience or advice? Help a baby bird bisexual out!

  38. Oh my goodness! I was so shocked to see this this morning! THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH! I’ve been trying to get involved with our lgbt community but I always get scared that I won’t be noticed much because I am not “queer enough”. I have a lot of fear and anxiousness in my heart about what happen in my life as a bisexual woman because I don’t have many bisexual friends who I can relate with! The few friends that I have are either lesbian, gay, or straight. I have really resonated with the comments in here and it has driven me to tears. Despite all that I have read online, I have never felt whole like how I am feeling right now. Thank you guys so much, this really has made me feel just great. AUTOSTRADDLE ROCKS.

  39. I’ve identified as bi/pan my entire teenage and adult life, and never really had any qualms with it. However, I’ve consistently had a hard time finding women to date who also want to date me! Men and boys have always just happened to appear first and so, up until this point, I’ve only dated males. As a result, I have been CONSTANTLY invalidated by both my straight and gay friends. It’s usually comments like “But you just like boys more, right?” or “you guys must have a lot of threesomes” (plz stop). I’ve even had friends put percentages on my attraction to men versus women (i.e. 70% of me likes males, and 30% females) WHICH IS RIDICULOUS. The discussion of pansexuality and the possibility that I might like someone who doesn’t fit into the gender binary is overlooked completely. It’s been so frustrating that it’s moved me to tears many times, and comments like this come from even the people closest to me who just refuse to understand. Now, I have my first girlfriend, and I feel like I need to hang onto her at all costs just to prove my gayness to people, which is not a great feeling because she is a person and not a piece of evidence. Maybe it’s my own insecurity at the root of all of this, but has anyone else had a similar experience? I, like everyone else, just want to be free to love whoever I want!

  40. I just recently came out as Bi to my mom and immediate family members a month or so ago. I’ve been in relationships with men my whole life and i’m currently in one, so I’ve never gotten to date a woman, so my mom is adamant that I’m not bisexual, because I’ve never been with a woman. She even went so far as to say ‘You know, you can think a women is sexy or attractive without being bi’ My question is, how are you supposed to make it known to others that you are bisexual without a doubt without dating a woman? I know I am, but how do I explain it to others?

    • I would suggest trying to find other bi people in your area, either by finding or creating a safe space. There will always be straight and gay people who won’t ever believe you, but when you have a community it’s a lot easier to stop caring about those who refuse to validate your identity.

  41. This… Just all of this. I’m so excited and moved that you all are out there. I don’t have anything significant to contribute except that I identify as Bi, am engaged to a wonderful man and struggle with a desire to stay part of the queer community while ‘appearing’ to be straight.

    It’s hard not to feel like my choosing a man as my life partner means that I won’t have a place in another group with whom I identify so strongly.

    Hugs to all,

  42. Thank you for opening up this space! In the past 13 years that I’ve been in the dating world, I’ve had a few life-altering relationships with women and men (one being a bi trans-man). I’ve found it difficult to feel accepted into the queer community while I was dating men and was treated differently by people when dating women. I’ve always felt as though I had to switch between two masks to appease the public, depending on who I was dating, rather then just be “me”. Dating a bi trans-man really brought this into focus for me – he was always read as male during the time we were dating and therefore we looked like a generally “straight” couple. There is a very large “LGBT” community nearby, but he wasn’t comfortable holding hands there as he didn’t want to come off as “that straight couple invading our queer space”, which I completely understood.

    It’s very difficult, I find, to be accepting and inclusive, yet still have defined queer spaces. Lucky for me, I am currently head-over-heels for a woman with whom I share a long-term relationship and I don’t feel blatantly outcasted by the queer community as much these days.

    Although it’s likely that we’ll be spending the rest of our lives together, I still make it known that I am bi, simply to remind people that bisexuality does exist – we deserve not to be painted over and dismissed. Down with bi-erasure!

  43. I’m too late to join the party, and my primary partner is a woman, but I just wanted to jump in and add to the chorus of ‘thank you’s for creating this space! I’m bi and poly and while I’m not primarily dating men right now, I know how valuable and rare it is to have a space like this available to us. Much appreciated. <3

  44. I am currently 25 and engaged to a man, after previously dating women and identifying as a lesbian. Its taken me a long time to be OK with the fact I’m bisexual, mainly because I felt like I was being ‘forced’ to leave something I loved behind. When I first starting dating a man, I used to tell people I was still a lesbian that just happened to be dating a guy.

    The lesbian and gay community is something so strong, and beautiful and gave me an enormous amount of strength. Admitting to myself that I was bisexual made me feel like I didn’t have ‘the right credentials’ to be part of that group anymore – which is of course rubbish. For a long time I felt invisible, like people would look at me an assume I was straight because I was dating a guy and automatically dismiss me from the LGBT tag I so desperately felt drawn to.

    Its taken me less time to be ok with the fact I’m now dating a man, than the time its taken me to be ok with the fact I’m not a lesbian anymore and that being bisexual is ok.

    I am still LGBT, I just happen to be dating a guy.

  45. I’m a queer identified woman who is actually full-on married to a cisgender man, so it’s really pretty awesome to see this thread and this space for recognizing folks like me. Thanks, as always, AS.

    I’ve done a lot of work over the years to stay super involved in and engaged with the LGBTQ community. It’s where I feel the most at home, frankly. I’m extremely out about being queer. My now-partner knew I was queer before we even started dating (um, hard not to know, frankly). It’s never been an issue between us, thankfully. He celebrates it with me. He has no issues with me sometimes seeing other women/humans.

    But there are definitely times when I feel, rightly or wrongly, that I have to sort of mute the fact that I’m with a guy. I do a lot of code switching in terms of how I refer to my partner (“husband” when I’m in super straight scenarios where I know it would involve a longer conversation and potential harassment if I used the term “partner” and vice versa in super queer environments).

    I’m not particularly proud of it, and I’m trying to be more consistent, but there are very real fears and consequences around the issue–both when I’m mixing in very straight and very queer environments. I’ve been full-on yelled at, walked away from, derided by other queer women when I mentioned being married to a man. I’ve been accused of all sorts of nonsense by people on all ends of the spectrum. It’s weird, it’s complicated. Mostly I just want people to celebrate all types of consensual relationships, regardless of the gender identity or expression of those involved. Basically, if you’re not directly involved in that relationship, and it doesn’t involve harm to one of the parties, then maybe just STFU?

    Anyway, yeah. I suspect it’s always going to be surprising to both some straight people and some queer people when they meet someone who doesn’t fit neatly into a preconceived notion. That’s fine. It happens to me, too! Just please don’t be a jerk about it. That’s all I ask, and what I try very hard to give in return.

  46. I think it’s often a bit strange for the men I date. I’m used to being in queer relationships. They generally aren’t. And just because I’m dating a man doesn’t mean I’m willing to play by all the pre-programmed heterosexual scripts. When I’m with a woman or genderqueer person, we have to start from scratch with defining (or not) the roles in the relationship, and guys who are serious about dating me need to understand that the rules don’t change just because they’re a dude & I’m some kind of lady-ish creature. So relationships with dudes still seem pretty queer to me, with the added challenge of having to kinda teach him what it’s like to be in a queer relationship, and test whether that’s something he can get used to and be happy with in the long term.

    Also I inevitably have to explain to dudes that sometimes him being affecionate in public kinda pisses me off & it’s not his fault; I’m just remembering times I’ve been harassed for doing similar things with girls, which is kind of a buzzkill, amirite ladies?

  47. I enjoyed that there’s a place to speak about this. I personally have been up and down with where I sit on the spectrum of sexuality. I can’t say I identify as straight or gay. Bi or pan gets me closer to what I am attracted to. I have never dated a cis-women and have most recently been seeing men. I really don’t explain in detail my past other than I’ve dated females, that I am bisexual. I find it hard be completely open, something that I save when there’s more of a rooted connection.

    • Yes please!! I feel like I’m reading a lot of, “finding men to date is just easier,” and it’s great that that’s others’ experience, but it hasn’t been mine. I’d love to have a place to talk about the unique experience of being a bi woman who primarily dates other women but is still attracted to guys/something maybe less specific but along those lines.

  48. I’m married to a bi-man but neither of us are really “out.” It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone even cares that I’m Bi when I’m in a long term, healthy, happy hetero marriage. But it’s still part of me.
    I’ve recently started to think of being Bi as part of my identity and I recently attended my first Bi-community event. It felt great. :)

  49. I once came across a term I really identified with. It was bisexual-hetero-romantic. I felt this term described me well because I’ve primarily dated men and have mostly only had sexual encounters or flings with women. I’ve only dated one woman I called my girlfriend. The relationship moved very quickly but only lasted one month. I broke up with her because she was falling in love with me and I didn’t feel the same way. After that experience I felt that maybe I never would fall in love with a woman and am only sexually attracted to women. I’m currently in a long term relationship with a wonderful feminist cis man. He knows about my sexuality and is supportive. We’ve even talked about adding another woman to the mix. Whether it would only be sexual or whether she would be part of our relationship I don’t know. However I have a really hard time meeting women. I am really shy. I’ve found that it’s way easier to meet men than women. Men are accustomed to making the first move so I don’t have to. And I find it difficult to find out whether a woman is straight/gay/bi. I’ve done a lot of online dating but many of the women I’ve talked to online end up being men posing as women to collect pics/have sexy chats with women. The one day of the year I tend to meet women is at Pride which is this week in Vancouver so I’m really excited for that!

  50. This thread is so important and so lovely to come across! I’ve been openly out as Bisexual for over 7 years (I’m 22) and have dated more men than women. The only time I’ve ever felt part of/accepted by the LGBT community has been when I’ve been dating a woman.

    Bi-invsibility and Bi-phobia are really challenging issues – being rejected or seen as not ‘gay’ enough for the LGBT community, and being completely misunderstood or not recognised by everybody else. Lesbians often don’t want to date bisexual women because we’re obviously just experimenting, greedy or more likely to cheat on them and ‘go back to men’. Men think it’s hot and assume that we’d obviously love to have a threesome with them.

    I am currently in a relationship with a man after being with a woman for a long time, and am keen not to lose my connection to the LGBT community who I currently feel invisible to. I love that this thread is here – being Bi and the different aspects of dating both sexes is never discussed and it feels so comforting to know that other people have struggled with it, too!

  51. I have been bisexual actively labeled as such by myself since I was about 14. I happily remained snuggled in the label that seemed to fit just right and have not varied from it. I’m now 29.

    I have had male and female lovers, sometimes in the same moments.

    My longest/deepest and most influential relationships have been rife with problems. M. a bisexual man was for 4 years. D. was a “straight/lesbian/bisexual/just call me queer” woman I was with for about 6 months. E. was a self biphobic bisexual I dated for 1 year. K. was a heterosexual man I was with for 6 years.

    With M. We both had to be straight for the world and while in the bedroom fantasies could fly nothing could ever be spoken beyond. I was not allowed to have female friends because he was terrified and controlling assuming I would cheat on him at every given opportunity. He however had all the male friends he wanted.

    D. was painful, she hurt me in so many ways lying to herself about us not meaning anything, picking up labels and shoving them onto me trying to make me adhere to whatever she thought would be the best way to stay in the closet.

    E. thought dating a woman would cure his sexual interest in women. I could not be bisexual around him or it would set him into a rage demanding I pick a side.

    K was loving, accepting, open and supportive. His family knew I was bi and was supportive… and yet I felt completely disconnected. I had never been to pride, never been to a gay bar, had not kissed a woman in 10 years at that point. I felt like I was still in the closet, this male lover of mind both a shield against a homophobic world and a ball and chain tethering me forever to the invisibility of assumed heterosexual identity. I could not explore LBGT community because with him I was shoved away, just a breeder, just a fake.

    Now single I look back and wonder at myself. Did I choose men because it was easier to find them? Yes. I never found myself around other women who were lesbian bi or fluid. In fact I was 26 before I met another girl who I knew identified as Bi. I did not speak to her and kept my distance because I was afraid of falling for her and becoming one of ‘those selfish bisexuals’ who wanted the opposite gender while they were already with another.

    I came to love myself, to realize that the limitations on bisexuals are external. who the hell says I can’t have a man and a woman at the same time? Why must I remain monogamous if I don’t want to? Nothing is holding me back but society’s messages that I took to heart.

    After spending most of my dating years with men, isolated from any kind of community of people like me, I am broken free and demanding to be seen as a bisexual woman.

    • Definitely on board with getting rid of the ‘selfish bisexual’ stigma! Especially with all of this recent data about the growth and visibility of all types of non-monogamy, it seems strange that there’s still this fear or feeling that attraction to more than one gender somehow means you’ll always want the one you don’t have. Although I have also been with women and men at the same time, sometimes for prolonged periods. And I find that’s not uncommon for people who label themselves bisexual. Maybe there’s some truth to it, I haven’t worked it out for myself yet.

      • I have found being with both and being poly has allowed myself to accept embrace and love my bisexual identity. Society erases so much of that identity no matter which gender I am with that it seems to me to be the only free place. Poly is a wonderful option for visibility and I think it is reflective of the cultural erasure that people who are bi lean toward it for acceptance.

        “selfish bisexual” = I am uncomfortable with you being in possession of your sexual desires and must attempt to control them.

  52. Like many others, I think I am just in shock that my identity and experience is being recognized. It is really tough to feel like part of the LBGTQ community, being BQ, when others perceive that I am just a hetero person based on my partner’s gender. It is a privilege to be able to connect with the hetero community, and I recognize that not all people have that privilege, but I also know that it is exhausting to prove to all communities that my queerness/pan sexuality is legit. that’s all for now.

  53. This is going to be a mess but I’m just going to lay it all out. I’ve been really struggling with how to talk about my identity, or even how to unpack it for myself and this is the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to join in on a conversation about queer identity. I’ve been dating a cis man for almost three years now and have generally just gone along with other people’s assumptions that I am straight.

    Background: I went through the seemingly obligatory boy crazy years as a preteen before having a terrible experience with a fuckboy who played with my poor ninth grader heart. After that I really avoided acknowledging any sort of attraction to other people until falling for my current man. But along the way, I’ve noticed a strong pull that I couldn’t identify to some wonderful girls (2-3). And then there was this one girl who I was obsessed with, but the attraction felt different and def not explicitly sexual or about her appearance. Fast forward, and I’m friends with her in college, the attraction sort of gone until one night of partying that involved some suggestive dancing together. The next morning, my attraction was back (it faded over time but I’d still totally make out with her).

    The past few months I’ve been seriously considering whether I am bi or not. I’m legitimately attracted to people so infrequently now (maybe because I’ve actively practiced avoiding attraction for a large part of my life due to emotional issues/monogamy?) that it’s hard to tell. I’m starting to think that I’ve had trouble recognizing my attraction to women because it’s so different from the male-driven, objectifying portrayal of het desire normalized in society. In any case, I suspect I’m just attracted more to men than women, which makes me feel unwelcome in the bi community. I actually felt huge relief when I discovered the Kinsey scale, as extremely limiting wrt gender identity as it is. Another thing that makes me feel unwelcome is that I am a white cis female who is just interested in experimenting with woman but not dating bc monogamy (my partner is totally okay with this. his last gf was bi & mostly out) and I see my kind shit on all the time as just “white college girl desperate for attention.”

    I’m just very frustrated because I’ve never really seen anyone with an experience to which I can relate. Thanks for listening.

    • I’m late to the game but as a gay woman who is really just here (on this thread) to learn more and be supportive, I have do say that one of my ‘draws’ to reading all of the posts and replies–hundreds and hundreds of them!–was to see if my eyes were deceiving me. Really? NO negative comments? None? Don’t want to jinx it and I’m obviously late to the game but wow. Super cool, AS community!

  54. I feel like I have a pretty unique history/experience of being bi, in that a) I knew I was bi/came out when I was 11 (in the late 90s), and b) I am autistic, so a lot of the more subtle biphobia that may have been directly aimed at me has gone completely over my head and I don’t feel like I’ve experienced a lot of it, at least after middle school. I’m sure I’ve experienced more than I’m aware of, but it’s not part of how I feel in the world, if that makes sense. Also, c) I have mostly dated women and have always thought that women and girls who were actually attracted to me were easier to find (I suspect this has a lot to do with me being perceived as “weird,” but that’s a whole other topic.)

    In any case, I feel like it’s hard to tell if my current dating situation fits with the topic of this post! I’m poly and dating four people who fall all over the gender spectrum: My primary partner of four and a half years is a trans woman, and I’m also dating a genderqueer/nonbinary person and a couple made up of a cis man and cis woman. Because the couple have known each other and been dating for significantly longer than I have known/been dating them, I think of them kind of as a unit, so while I could say I’m dating a man right now, I don’t feel like that comes with any of the gender norms or societal expectations of a straight relationship in this particular situation (not to mention that the three of us don’t get read as romantic partners in public – or, I should say, they do, but I don’t read as being part of it).

    I’m not really sure why I’m saying any of this, tbh, but I guess I just wanted to add an alternative voice and feel heard here, too. Sorry for the ramble. I’m in a bit of a strange head-space right now and probably not articulating myself in quite the way I’d like to.

  55. Hi- it is wonderful to see that a space like this exists, that the conversation has started, and that so many of you are speaking up!

    As many of you I had two coming out’s: as a lesbian when I was a teen, and as bi when I was in college. Unfortunately the second one was much harder. The women I dated were understanding, mostly because they were all bisexual too. The men, on the other hand,have had all kinds of reactions, from being turned on, to feeling threatened, from telling me that I was lying, to just ignoring it all together. This meant that usually, after coming out to them I would drop the subject.

    All this left me feeling more confused, and somewhat guilty. For some time I felt like I was betraying the lgbt community, that I had to prove that I was bi, that dating a man was making me straight. How can I answer questions like: when was the last time you even dated a woman? can you be monogamous? so you like women, but you’re going to end up with a guy? are you still bi now that you’re dating a guy?

    I spent my college years avoiding the subject of my sexual orientation. Now, I flaunt it. I want to make sure everybody knows I’m bi. And it’s been fascinating. My feelings and attraction to men and women are not complicated, they are effortless, a natural part of me. And by projecting this I ended up having some amazingly honest and interesting conversations with friends, colleagues and acquaintances (though my boyfriends still seem to have trouble wrapping their head around it).

    I know unfortunately that this is largely possible because I live and work in a liberal international environment and that I am privileged to be able to flaunt my bisexuality.

    I dream of a world where everyone can feel at ease with their own and other people’s sexuality!
    Little by little we are doing this together :)

  56. I would just like to thank you from the bottom of my heart! I shared this thread on my FB page and group called Bisexual Visibility. Thank you for making us a little more visible and for all your support! Much love!

  57. I identify as gay but I can relate to this – I identified as bi/pan previously and the vast majority of my dating experience (which is, in total, incredibly small) is with guys. Add to that after coming out as gay my first and only girlfriend was trans but not out as trans with most people, so on the outside it looked like I was just in another relationship with a “guy”. I often feel less connected to the queer community because of this, and at times it really hurts.

  58. I didn’t know how much I needed this space until it popped up on a friend’s feed earlier today. Thank you, thank, you, thank you!

    Queer cis lady here, happily married to a cis male with two kids and more on the way. My husband is amazingly supportive and we’ve had long talks about my identity and how we will discuss sexuality and gender with our children.

    I think I’ve known I was queer since my early adolescence but never really confronted that part of myself until my early 20s (yay 12 years of Catholic school!). I have dated exactly one person in my life, whom I went on to marry. I’ve often felt odd about identifying as queer/bi since I never had a relationship with a woman. Even when attending a prestigious women’s college and I often felt ashamed of exploring my sexuality for fear of being dubbed a LUG “Lesbian Until Graduation” and sort of pushed it aside; I was very content in my very un-queer hetero relationship so what did it really matter?

    It wasn’t until my husband’s best friend (also married to a cis female without ever having date a man) came out as bisexual that all of those feelings I’d pushed down came up. My husband mentioned to him my own queer identity and his friend pretty much dismissed me and claimed my “alleged” attraction to women was a coping mechanism due to a sexual assault I experienced near the end of college. I wasn’t really bisexual. All this while going on and on about how he wanted to be a positive LBGT role model for his own son. I was devastated. And angry. So, so, so angry. How was his bisexuality/queerness any more authentic than mine? Rawr. I still get worked up over it and it’s been a couple years now since this all went down.

    It’s still a sore point for me whenever we visit the aforementioned best friend though I doubt he has an inkling of my feelings, perhaps I should fix that.

    And now I’m tearing up hearing all these stories and experiences. Feeling a little less invisible and lot more validated this evening. Love and light to you all!

  59. I posted a comment yesterday to vent my bi feelings, but I wanted to say thank you again to Autostraddle, and to all the lovely bisexual people who contributed their stories here. It is amazing to be seen and heard, and to see and hear all of you!

  60. This was very nice to see. I am a queer woman who has been in a handful of serious relationships, half with women half with men. I am currently dating a cis-man and all is going well, but I have this sadness and miss my lgbtqia community. It sometimes makes me very depressed and question whether I want to really commit to a man longterm (even if we are good together). When I am with men, I feel less a part of that community, even if the exclusion is just in my head.

  61. Thankyou Autostraddle for this thread! I am moved beyond words to see so many of us uniting!
    I’m bisexual and recently discovered that I am genderfluid. I have been with my awesome cisdood of a husband for nearly 20 years and we love each other to bits, he even identified my gender before I did and waited patiently for me to realize and embrace it! He has always been very supportive. And is open to me dating a woman which is lovely (and without fetishizing!)

    I am lucky because I do have bi and queer friends, but I still struggle with internalized bi erasure and feeling on the outside of the straight and queer communities. it’s hard to find a place to belong. I would like to meet a nice woman, but I am awkward and shy and not great at flirting.

  62. Disclaimer: currently dating a woman.

    In any case, I have been all kinds of infatuated and involved with people of various genders in the past seven (!!) years since I realized I was bi. And the only time I don’t feel like I have to defend myself to my partner is when I’m also dating a non-monosexual or fluid-identified person. Honestly, I might even go so far as to say I’m not super into dating monosexual people at this point. I just always get so defensive and weird and invisible-feeling about my sexuality when my partner can’t relate to my mode of attraction. Conversely, I feel lovely and validated in my relationship when we can ogle attractive humans of any gender together. What’s up with that?

  63. Am I the only person not put off by their male partner being turned on? It’s not like he was immature about it, he’s wonderful and super supportive. But like. It turns him on to think about me having sex with a woman. And I have fun with that. Thinking about me sleeping with another man is more complicated for him because his ex cheated on him with a man, so he’s somehow turned on and really upset at the same time by that thought, so we don’t do that.

    • I’m not put off by a partner being turned on by it. My boyfriend is turned on by me enjoying myself with other people, and I love it. There’s a difference between being turned on and fetishizing. I don’t have sex with women as a performance for other people’s pleasure (except when that’s exactly what we’ve all agreed to). Plenty of men treat women having sex together, like everything about women, as existing for their entertainment.

      But, I would invite him to explore why he doesn’t find women threatening. That’s a thing that deserves unpacking. And it might help him with why he does find men threatening.

      • I completely agree. There is a difference between a partner who fetishizes/objectifies your identity, and a partner who sees your bisexuality a beautiful and sexy trait that happens to be part of your identity. I mean, it’s an important part of you! So I think it makes total sense that it’s also an important part of what your partner loves about you.

  64. I was SO happy when I saw this!!! Super late, but better late than never? It’s nice to read about other’s experiences and be like, “I KNOW THE FEEL.” Currently not dating anyone, but I’ve been with a lot more men than women (due to location/availability, I could not find queer ladies FOR YEARS) and often felt like I wasn’t gay enough to be part of the community. The off handed remarks, and bi-negativity online didn’t help either.

    The only woman I’ve been in a serious relationship pretty much made fun of my bisexuality, like it was a past mistake. She was a lesbian, and made fun of my ex boyfriends. All. The. Time. She was always bringing them up and making comments about how she was certain she could fix, cook, fuck, ect. better than (dude name here). It felt like she was invalidating my experiences with men. It would be one thing if I was venting about them and she chimed in, but I avoid bringing up exes when I’m in a relationship. I never said anything about her exes, why did she always have to attack mine, and my past decisions?

  65. This has been a very thoughtful and important thread/forum/conversation.

    I’m late to the party, but I’d like to contribute my thoughts.

    Like many others in this thread, I never had a distinct coming out or “when I knew” moment. Being attracted to every gender even before you have the tools to analyze your feelings or understand yourself as a sexual being meant (in my case) that while I intuited since early childhood that I was somehow different, my queer awakening was gradual and incremental. Nonetheless, I sporadically started acknowledging my attraction to “both” genders sometime in middle school and by high school graduation was openly identifying as queer, bisexual, and attracted to ALL genders.

    Now, despite being out to my friends even at my conservative high school, joining queer organizations in college, a few casual hook ups with women, and nearing exclusivity with one girl my junior year, people mostly labeled me as straight until my senior year of undergrad. That was when I started seeing my current partner, who was very visible and (not to toot my own horn, or theirs, lol) desirable on my school’s queer women’s scene.

    Having friends you’ve known for years be surprised that you’re dating a “girl”– more on the scare quotes in a moment– is baffling and surreal when you think you’ve been out in some fashion or other since age 13. Suddenly receiving invitations to the “Dyke Party” and going on double dates with other queer couples and otherwise having this whole world open to you is intoxicating. Sure, I still sometimes had negative experiences at LG(bt) spaces since I’m a not-very-alt-looking femme, but all I had to do was reach for “her” hand and my attraction to women was plain.

    Nearly 5 years, 4 apartments, 3 cities, 2 graduate school admissions processes, and 1 cat later, my partner has transitioned. He started T just about a year ago and “passes” as a man 100% of the time. I’d say it’s even rare that other trans men clock him unless we’re at a queer event.

    He’d confided some of his gender trouble to me near the beginning of our relationship, so I wasn’t exactly blindsided by the whole thing. Over time I became convinced that he would be happier living as a man. I even gently (and rightfully, I’d argue) encouraged him to take the plunge when he had a flare up of nerves before publicly coming out. I love seeing him become progressively more comfortable in his skin. Beyond that, he still is queer and genderqueer. He is still active in the community. He has no hang ups about his masculinity and is also unselfconscious about expressing himself in traditionally feminine ways when he wants. Our relationship and our sex life is still queer. He is male, but he is different from the other men I’ve dated. Not because he is trans necessarily, but because we understand each other’s fluidity.

    Yet his transition has been bittersweet for me. It’s a lot of little things, mostly. My heart sinks each time a waiter automatically hands him the check at the end of a meal instead of placing it neutrally between us. I resent the pleasantries of old women at antique stores who say how nice it is that my boyfriend goes shopping with me (’cause men are never equally into that stuff, apparently, ya know). As I begin graduate school and meet new people, I can’t come out with an easy, casual reference to “my girlfriend.”

    I’ve realized, mostly in the last few weeks, however, that as distressing as these “passing for straight” moments are, I would be wrong to mourn them as the loss of my queer visibility. You can’t lose something you never had. If my queerness appeared to others only as a reflection in my partner’s eyes, then they misapprehended me all along. When they saw him as a woman, they understood no more of my internal life than they do now seeing him as a man. Where monosexuality is privileged and seen as default, my kind of sexuality (fluid, unmoored from anatomy, decidedly multisexual) is just as i”same sex” couple than they

  66. I’m late to the party too, but I want to thank AutoStraddle for hosting this and everyone for posting. I’m slowly working my way through the comments.

    This is timely. This year I started actively looking for IRL queer community and I’m finding that my biggest internal roadblock is figuring out how to (casually) reveal that I’m bi and married to a man. So far, everyone has been very supportive – I think it may help that I’m married and monogamous so people seem to respect me for even showing up in queer spaces instead of hanging out in straight privilege land. Which is odd, but better than the reception I’d imagined.

    I’ve been with my (cis male) husband for 15 years and a couple/few years ago I realized that I’d unintentionally allowed my bi identity to become completely invisible and that I’ve known people for 10 or 15 years who assume I’m straight and have no idea that I dated men and women back in my dating days. Finding online spaces where I could be queer and figure out what I wanted that to mean for me really helped – AutoStraddle (and The Toast and also some book blogs) gave me space to reconnect with my queer identity.

    I feel like I need to / want to come out again, for a second time, and I have to say that doing this in my mid-40s feels more daunting than it did in my early-20s. I’m slowly realizing that maybe I don’t need to have a lot of coming out conversations this time around, maybe I can just queer up my life a little bit and let the rest flow from that.

  67. Wow. YES.

    I wrote an article for AS in the family/parenting section about three months ago. I have since tried to stay positive about the experience (despite a torrent of criticism and negativity in response) but mostly I walked away feeling not queer enough to be here.

    I asked to have photos of me and my daughter (included with the article) to be removed… they were treasured moments in my family reduced to whether I could pass as cis/hetero and the “privelege” that accompanies this.

    My children’s father/cis/hetero co-parent was being referred to as a donor… it was presumed that I had conceived non-sexually.

    I could handle being mocked for coming off crunchy or blind to my own privelege, the apparent finger wagging weapon of choice… but being written off as a questionable queer still stings.

    This new bi-supportive thread is great. But it is really unfortunate that a space like this has to be created to prevent readers from abusing others.

    I was really excited to share my experiences as a queer parent at AS (I had about five more articles submitted before I birthed my second child in May). I pulled out after the unwelcome reception. PAINFUL to be here. My article was criticized for not being queer… which felt like erasure for sure.

    In my day, I have also been called a “fag hag”, “bi-curious” and intentionally, repeatedly misgendered (I am an agender, demisexual, polysexual person) as a woman by alternative birth workers while I was pregnant.

    I came to AS feeling as though I had a valuable voice to share and was slapped down hard and fast. No wonder the bi/poly/gender fluid folk have felt silenced and are grateful for a ripe archived moment to speak with a promise that they will not be bullied.

    I have to run to a med appointment with my infant but I just wanted to pop into vent safely.

    I am both pleased and very sad about this thread.

  68. I’ve been reading this wonderful thread for the past couple of days, with amazement and joy, and like many others I’ve shed a few tears. Thank you for this space and thank you all for your comments, it helps so much to know that I’m not alone!

    I’ve never known how to label myself as I don’t like labels. I’m attracted to men and women. I fell deeply in love with a woman when I was in my 20s and we had a brief relationship which sadly ended when I moved interstate. Until I met her I had no idea that I was attracted to other women! And in the 18 or so years since her I’ve pretty much been in short to medium term relationships with men (including getting engaged once) except for a fling with a female friend. I guess it’s just been easier to meet guys and to block out my feelings for women and explain it away to myself as “a fantasy”. But it’s become increasingly more difficult for me to delude myself that I’m not into women.

    I’ve been single for a few years now, by choice because I like my independence. But last year, although it was really really REALLY scary for me, I joined a queer online dating site. I had some nice dates, all with lesbian women who knew that I identified as bi, but ultimately the friendships fizzled out and I got the feeling that they thought “she’s experimenting” and I felt that I’m “not gay enough” so I gave up :-( I don’t feel that I fit into the queer community, even though I’m most definitely not straight.

    This thread has been so inspiring and I’ve loved hearing everyone’s stories. I’ve had a bold bold thought since I started writing this post – I think that I *might* try going to a lesbian night at a bar on the weekend!

    xoxo

    • Your bold thought (and congratulations,go for it) … just led to my bold thought, I might start writing online again. I’m going to need the practice in advocating… for this 1000+ comment community, myself and my exceptional new bebe rocking an extra chromosome!

  69. I really wish there were more things like this out there. Like so many others on this thread, I’ve spent a lot of my life having my sexuality be silenced by others both inside and outside of the queer community. Having been with my husband for 6 years, there are many people in my life who never even question my “straightness,” and others who knew me before, who seem to have simply forgotten.

    It’s definitely something I have had to come to terms with. I feel that my relationship with my husband is worth being invisible to the queer community, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world, but it means so much to me to be recognized, even if just anonymously on the internet.

  70. I am a bisexual woman dating a man and it is a strange experience because sometimes it feels like, unless I’m really noisy and mention it a lot, my sexual identity could just be slowly erased. It seems weird that your identity has to come with its own set of credentials, such as ‘I dated loads of women before I met this person who happens to be a good fit for me and also happens to be male’.

    Mostly what I find strange though is how odd bisexuality is for people who don’t identify that way, it feels like it’s treated as more ‘other’ than being gay or lesbian in some ways, and how often bisexual voices are not given a space to be heard or deliberately excluded. Thank you for this thread, on that note!

    I was talking with a bisexual friend who is also a woman and dating a man in a ltr and she said that she felt she couldn’t go to Pride or talk about her bisexuality and the women she dated or her place in the LGBTQ rainbow and this made me really sad. I hope we are moving towards a place where bisexuality isn’t seen as the ‘pretend’ or ‘attention-seeking’ or ‘greedy’ identity and where it is just a valid and accepted way to be. I’m sure that Autostraddle is helping to make this happen.

    • as I said in another reply. you are who you are. fly your freak flag with pride. don’t let other people tell you who you are. I am a proud, visible, vocal Bi Activist who has had two marriages, 50 male lovers and 2 female ones.

      that’s cos I was born in the 60s. Had I been born in the 80s or 90s I am sure I would have possibly even been gay, I have no idea to be perfectly honest…I took the path of least resistance – but all sexual acts are an acquired taste. people get too caught up in the SEX part of sexuality and not enough in the attraction and love part. Bisexuals have a capacity to fall for people. Percentages don’t matter.

      I march, I mix in the LGBTIA community. One lesbian said to me once “wow you’re brave for admitting to a table of lesbians that you’re bi”

      I said, “I’m not brave, I’m naive – why should anyone judge me?”

      fuck them if they do.

      I’m queer, I’m here. Fuck off if you don’t beleive me.

  71. I am so thankful that this is a thing. Autostraddle, you are da bomb. I personally have not dated anyone yet, but I identify as bi/queer and have been struggling with “coming out” for a while now. I am a first generation African-Canadian who has grown up in a relatively white hetero-normative community. Though I have not encounter much hate or bigotry the “othering” that comes with being black has always made me feel like I didn’t belong; and now, as I come to terms with my sexual identity I worry that these feelings of exclusion will be magnified. Before I accepted my queerness I became heavily involved with my schools queer community, and I constantly felt the need to fit in to a mono-sexual identity, because I wanted to find a space where I felt I belonged. Though I am no longer trying to force myself into a false identity, I still worry that “coming out” as multisexual will isolate me even more. does anyone else feel this way?

    • Hey Jan! I can’t relate in the same way, since I have a hell of a lot of white privilege and don’t and will never experience racism. But I did want to send some love your way–I’m out-and-about queer/bi (but not, binary. i believe in a constellation of genders) and polyamorous. I also live in a pretty damn small town in one of the most conservative states in the u.s. My family knows I’m queer, but they don’t know I’m poly and their religiousness is pretty strict about purity/sex before marriage/heterosexuality/etc.

      I’ve found that many people are more comfortable with my sexuality than my polyamory and it’s sometimes more difficult to talk about the latter than the former (and, of course, the two are inseparable for me). I have to say, though I’ve significantly narrowed down potential dating partners and, to some extent, truly nonjudgmental friends, since I’ve talked about polyamory, I have developed more meaningful relationships (both romantic and platonic). It’s all about finding the right people and, when one feels safe, being vulnerable and sharing who you are with folks.

      I think “coming out” can be this thing that gets pushed and pushed and pushed on people and packaged as the ultimate expression of one’s confidence in themselves. But safety is super important. And sometimes maintaining imperfect relationships with family or friends instead of losing them altogether is important too. The trick is deciding who’s worth that risk and who’s not.

      Good luck, lovely!

  72. So I am presently trying to recover from this horrible break up I have had with my ex, a woman I pretty much adored for a year and a half.
    Things had turned less perfect after a while, we were living quite far away from each other, me the anxious, unresolved, jealous type, she quite the opposite, balanced, confident, self-centered, ambitious. We were both thinking she was a better person than me in the end, which was not a good thing. It had been clear for a good while we were heading towards a break-up, and then our love was destroyed completely after she cheated on me with a man.

    This was the weirdest thing that could have happened as my ex was (is?)the gayest person I have ever met.
    It’s still not clear why she did it… but I have stopped looking for answers now and I am just trying to accept that we are over.
    A few months on now and I guess I am still a bit in a shock from how things turned out but trying to move on, getting a lot of support from friends who are inviting me out a lot and encouraging me to meet new people. It goes without saying that this whole new socializing thing is largely fueled by alcohol but I can’t say I’m not enjoying it a bit. It does keep me from obsessing over her for a while at least.

    So here I am last night at this dinner party of 10 or so people, and I have this guy sitting next to me. This quiet shy, guy with blondish hair. And I am aware he is there and I also remember meeting him once before and also being aware back then. I try talking to him a bit, I am super curious and want to know everything, but then get sucked into the others conversations and there I am trying to be extra funny and loud and editing myself a bit too just hoping for this silent guy with his sweet smile to like me. Went home thinking maybe we can be friends me and this guy.
    Because I am gay obviously.

    I have been dating women only for the past 5 years. I have only truly liked women for the past 10 years-

    This morning at work, my friend, the one who invited me to the party, texts me “my guy friend from last night is saying he totally fancies you lol”
    Me, my little silly heart racing a bit,: “which one?”

    It was not him :-/

    • I feel you. I ended up having a relationship with a guy after like…6? 7? years of being really really gay. Like, I would get curious and try to make out with guys sometimes and be like “ewwwww no”. So gay. Then when I had lost interest in experimenting, was obviously hella gay, I started to develop feelings for a guy and ended up in a 4 year hetero relationship…

      It feels good to read about someone else having a guy-crush, even a passing one, coming from a place of being hella gay. :) That contradiction was what was hard for me… like, IDing as bisexual doesn’t feel like it really captures my experience and history. So now I kind of identify with both lesbian and bi, which some people, of course have a problem with. :\ It’s been tough.

      Anyway yeah that’s me that’s my ramble thanks for sharing your story I’m really excited about this thread :)

    • I describe to the idea that sexuality is fluid, and it sounds to me like yours is from your “silly racing heart” thinking this guy might like you! I would say if you find yourself having feelings for a guy, go for it! It doesn’t invalidate you liking or having liked women at all :)

  73. I am a bisexual woman who hasn’t dated a woman in over a decade. I’m interested in dating women again but feel so very intimidated that I honestly don’t know where to begin. It’s like I’m closeted all over again.
    I truly love being with both men and women but feel there isn’t a place for me in the dating world as I don’t want to subscribe to the societal “rules” set up for either group.
    More often than not I end up feeling like I’m missing something.
    Any advice out there?

    • When I’ve re-entered the dating scene recently, like through dating websites or queer events, I mainly stick to people of all genders who ID as bi/multisexual. There are soooo many lovely bi ladies out there who understand this exactly! I find it easier to relax and clarify what I’m after physically with people who are familiar with the idea of sexuality as fluid and changing, too, so my sex life has been a hell of a lot more satisfying as a result.
      Also, if it’s rules that are stifling you, I highly recommend relationship anarchy :P Even if you agree to be exclusive, you’re still trying to ensure that you don’t fall into automatic roles, but instead question the idea of roles in a relationship and whether they’re actually good for you or not.

  74. @internrachel Would it be possible for this to be a semi-regular thing? From the amount of comments, it seems like this is a much-needed space for a lot of people, and having Autostraddle make that space for us is amazing. It feels to me like it might be helpful to have it be more than a one-time thing. I know there’s an ASS group, but having it front and center on the main page really helps to feel like this is a space where bi women who date men belong in a whole different way.

  75. So I’ve seen a few comments on here about people having partners who are also bi/pan/what have you, and I have this idea in my head that dating a bi/pan person would be really cool because you would both understand each other a little bit more and be more supportive of each other’s sexuality.
    Has this been the case? What are your positive/negative experiences with a bi/pan partner?

    • My girlfriend is also bi, and I’ve found it to be an incredibly positive thing for me. We talk about men and women together! We’re also poly, so it’s a bit different anyway.

      For a while I was feeling very threatened when she would talk about other women, but much less so when she talked about men, which I know is counter to what a lot of other people have said in this thread. But for me, it was like, I can’t give her the same thing a man can, so if she wants to have men in her life, that’s not a threat to me – we’re giving her different things. With other women, it felt more like I might potentially be replaceable. Thankfully, we’re both really good at communication and these issues are finally behind us. We talk a lot about the other people we’re dating and are very supportive of each other.

      I was also briefly dating a bi guy I really liked at the end of last year. That was new for me, but made me really happy. He opened up a lot about what it was like for him to date men, though he wasn’t dating any at that moment, and we commiserated about OKCupid dudes.

    • I’m also poly (yay Zoey, too!) and in two relationships: with a bi boyfriend and a couple (straight man and bi woman). My experience has been overwhelmingly positive with all relationships, particularly since open communication is such an integral component. With each person, I’ve had a lot of open-minded conversations about gender roles, gender identity and presentation, romantic and sexual attraction, and experiences and relationships with multiple genders.

      Of the men I’ve dated in the last few years, I’ve predominantly dated b-isexual/curious/fluid men and I think there’s a reason: they are absolutely less judgmental towards me, are more likely to relate to my experience of having feelings towards multiple genders, and are more open-minded about my gender expression.

    • Oh and btw I forgot to say, I used to have a bi boyfriend, and yes! It was incredibly validating in a lot of ways. On the other hand, I got to see first-hand the difference between how our culture sexualizes and fetishes bi women, vs. tends to treat bi men as oddballs/not “real men.” For all the bi erasure I’ve experienced, I think he might have experienced even more. And that’s not to say that being fetishized feels better or safer than being negated/erased…just an observation.

    • I have found this to be the MOST true thing ever. Dating bisexual people is so so much easier and it is such a relief. (I wish we weren’t all so well hidden).

      When I’ve dated lesbians, I’ve felt pressure to somehow perform my sexuality and queerness, to PROVE that I am really queer. When I’ve dated cis men, the gender roles and expectations are so prominent and they have to be navigated, and it is a lot of work (I’ve seen a couple of other people mention this issue)

      When I dated a bisexual man, he had already worked through his issues with gender roles and being in same gender relationships, so it was easier to just be a person with him. Likewise, when I dated a bisexual woman, she understood and had the same self-doubts about the validity of her queerness, and I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove on that score.

      Mutual bisexuality simplified or removed a lot of the gender and queerness issues that normally plague my relationships with gay/straight people.

  76. I’M SO HAPPY YOU MADE THIS ARTICLE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. SO VERY MUCH. After having read a lot of biphobic trash over the week, this is such a relief. I feel accepted and validated!

  77. Hi! I’m a woman who considers her sexuality to be fluid, but who is also very passionate about lesbian activism. I am sometimes at odds between the fact that I love my boyfriend very much and want to make a life with him, and the fact that I am a politically active artist who wants to create theater from the part of me who is sexually fluid. I don’t want to have to let go of a part of myself that fuels my work. Where’s the line between being myself in my wonderful relationship and being myself as a woman who’s sexuality is fluid.

  78. I’m a cis, queer identifying woman who is also polyamorous. I have historically mostly had relationships with men, but have grown to be attracted (romantically and sexually) to multiple genders in the last few years. I am openly queer with my family, friends, and coworkers, but only one person in my family knows that I am polyamorous.

    I feel the erasing of my experience in a lot of ways, particularly considering the oppression of being poly in an extremely conservative community. Right now, I’m in a long-distance, serious relationship with a non-monosexual, poly man. My family knows about our relationship, the most significant one I’ve had, and believes that we are exclusive. My family is very conservative and religious and, given the complexities of coming out to them as queer, it doesn’t feel safe to be open about our relationship structure at this time. It’s extremely important for me to be genuine with my family about my identity; this feels very complicated and I have had to remind them that although I’m (openly) in a relationship with a man, I am still queer.

    Oppression of non-monogamous relationships is very real and I know that I have to be very careful about my relationships, which often are erased when people make assumptions about both my sexuality and the type of relationships I have. I am also seeing a couple (half of whom is a bi/queer woman), but it’s not possible for that relationship to be open where I live. So, the only public relationship I have at this time is one with a man. People within the local LGBTQ group and outside of it regularly assume I am straight, unless I feel comfortable and bold enough to correct them or tell them otherwise. This isn’t always the case.

    I would LOVE to publicly proclaim my love for the woman I’m seeing to anyone who would listen! But I’ve been asked to hold a boundary based on very real fear of repercussions and discrimination. I also have thought a lot about passing privilege, as someone who has dated mostly cis men, and feel conflicted on the subject, but I do know this: hiding your very real relationships because of fear of violence or discrimination does not seem like privilege. This is true of many folks who are poly AND many folks who are queer. The intersection of both of those experiences is really complicated and is very often erased from narratives. (That doesn’t even touch on the impacts of racism, ableism, classism, etc.)

    Even if my long-distance partner was straight and we were monogamous, we still wouldn’t be in a “straight” relationship. I’m queer no matter what. He is too. Two queer, differently gendered folks in a relationship does NOT make a straight relationship! Similarly, I wish the world would stop assuming that everyone is exclusive/monogamous, when there are many other choices and experiences. Sometimes I feel like bi/pan/non-monosexual folks try to distance themselves from the stereotype that they are slutty/greedy/cheaters at the expense of others who are respectful, communicative, and consensual when they negotiate multiple relationships.

  79. Hi, I am a sexually fluid, bisexual, queer woman… who’s only been with men. I feel so validated by this thread, it is often very painful to find other people invalidate how I identify because of whom I’ve dated so far. I went to pride with a lesbian friend and her friends and all her lesbian friends kept asking her why was I there if I was straight… I felt so offended. Anyways, just know that by dating whomever does not deny how you choose to identify/feel. I am still trying to accept it for what it is – I am no less queer than anybody else – just because I am with men. I hate invisibility, but depending on your safety, speak up!

    • Ugh, I am so bothered by what those girls said to you. Even if you were straight, what’s wrong with straight people being at a pride parade showing their support? Can we just take over the world with pride parades being the entire country or what? I’m sorry that happened to you and if you ever came to a pride parade in my city we would welcome you with open arms :)

    • Eee! Thank you for posting. Your experiences are awful, but it makes me feel so great to know that someone else has had these same experiences. I’ve also never gotten to date another woman and have a hard time at pride meetings (stopped going a long time ago). Thank you again.

  80. You guys…1000 comments. 1000! I never expected there were so many of us on autostraddle or any other queer Website. I guess bi-erasure is more powerful than i ever expected because I never expected there to be so many of us here…so so many <3

  81. It’s amazing just to be recognised. Honestly. I am shunned by lesbians ex friends because I have a child with a man. So thank you for not being like them. Every bi woman i know in similar situation has experience variants of shunning. Thank you.

  82. Where was this 4 years ago (when I was last dating a guy)?

    And where was this when I was foolishly going out with my incredibly biphobic ex? (Don’t worry, it didn’t last.)

  83. I’m so glad this post is here. A lot of bi girls (myself included) feel invisible to society, like we’re stuck in a blind spot regarding gender norms.

    One of my main issues as a bi woman in a relationship with a straight man is dealing with the “white knight syndrome”. My boyfriend, along with many other men, have an impulse to be very chivalrous – often to the point where it annoys me. It makes me feel less empowered when a male tries to assume the standard gender role that obligates him to “take care of me”. It comes down to everything – holding doors open, jumping to fix technology, lifting things, paying for everything, and wanting to protect me from harm. While these are all polite things to do for someone, courteous actions can feel very limiting when insisted upon. I have experience in IT, I weight lift for strength, and I enjoy contributing my own hard earned cash to dates and outings. I also have a decent sense of my surroundings and am aware of possible threats of danger. I’m tired of men trying to validate their masculinity by reinforcing gender roles on me, an independent female. When I reject their notions, they get disappointed or frustrated… However, I can’t help but feel that too much ‘chivalry’ imposes upon my personal space and undermines my ability to problem solve. Basically, stop trying to solve all of my problems for me and let me think for myself. I have so much to contribute but it’s difficult when men insist on doing it all for me.

    I’m sexually attracted to both genders and everything in between. Although I’ve had queer sexual encounters, I’ve never dated someone who wasn’t male. I like the idea of partners breaking gender boundaries, but I also understand that some people prefer traditional gender roles within their relationships (and that’s totally okay).

    I think personal relationships will be affected by the lack of gender equality in our society, so long as that inequality exists. Women are oppressed through slut shaming, lower wages in the workforce, and stereotypes about their cognitive abilities (“oh she’s too emotional/crazy to make a valid point; don’t listen to her”). While we are still progressing as a society, these factors inevitably affect the power women have in relationships with men – even if those men are feminists. Those men still have to deal with scrutiny about their masculinity from other men, and fully realize their privilege over women. Since privilege is largely blind, there are constantly new challenges and learning opportunities popping up in straight relationships.

    As a bi woman in a relationship with a cis straight male (an open minded feminist one), I find myself struggling to deal with the societal male-female power play and figuring out how to maintain an equal partnership, despite my disposition.

    Sometimes I desire a relationship with another woman simply for the sake of having no gender boundaries, but that wouldn’t be for the right reason. I’ve fallen in love with a man and I can’t really help that, so I accept the challenges that come with the relationship. I’m just really glad there’s a space I can share my thoughts on. If you’re still reading this, thank you for taking the time to listen and/or participating in this much needed discussion. <3

  84. This is such a great thread – so good to see this being discussed. I’m a bi woman, I’ve dated women but married (and later divorced) a man, and ended up having to come out all over again to everyone when I dated a woman after my divorce. And now I’m with a man again. Frustrating to feel like every time I date a man it “negates” my bisexuality, even to people who know me. I assume that strangers will think I’m straight if they see me with my boyfriend, but people who know me also seem to just think “Oh, she’s picked sides.” which is just… weird. I’m in my 30s, you’d think people would someday stop thinking that you’re still “trying to decide” between the two and just accept that you like PEOPLE and think what’s between their legs isn’t so important. Which means sometimes I’ll fall in love with a man, and sometimes I’ll fall in love with a woman, or someone that’s somewhere in between, and that’s life.

  85. I am so excited about this post! I’m going to be reading these comments all weekend :). I’m bisexual and came out as such to my friends and family about two years ago. Most people said things along those familiar and hurtful yet well-intentioned lines of “all women are a little bi”, or the hints that this is more a product of my age than my actual romantic interests and identity. Anyway, because of this, when I see my family or talk to my friends there’s this smug little monster sitting on their shoulders as they ask if I have a girlfriend yet (like I need to prove my identity and prove it now (it’s in the tone)). I’m shy and have trouble telling if other women are interested in being romantically involved with a person of the same gender, and have Always been the chasee and not the chaser when it comes to courtship, so this is new to me and tricky and I am still figuring out how to date people by starting it myself instead of just screening applicants. Long story short, I met an fantastic man who asked me out and we’ve been dating for a little more than a year. I love him and I know that my family likes him, but I hate that my relationship is being seen as proof that everyone was right when I came out and that I’m not actually bi. What if we got married? Would everyone laugh about “my little bi phase” years later because I “never got the chance to prove myself”? I hate that I have these thoughts, but it makes me so mad that I can’t get the people I love to take my identity seriously. I came out so I wouldn’t have to screen my conversations, so I could do things like tell my friend about the cute girl I helped at work today instead of only the cute guys, and so my parents wouldn’t be confused or surprised if I tried to introduce them to a girlfriend. I didn’t know this would lead to me having to establish credibility or explain my relationships. I’m attracted to and interested in people, why does this have to be an issue? Even my boyfriend doesn’t get jealous if I talk to other women but does get jealous about guy friends, so even he doesn’t take me seriously on this matter. I hope there’s other people in this boat here so I can stop feeling completely alone on this issue.

  86. I’m only 19, and I ID’d as gay for a long time before I came to grips with bisexuality. And the amount of patronization I got from adult monosexuals, queer and straight, was just sickening. Everybody just seemed to totally lose their boundaries. Someone from my work, which was even at a specifically queer organization, would always make cracks about me being in contact with a penis (cissexist too) and poor me!

    I’m in a relationship with a cis bi guy and it’s really fantastic. But my new insecurity in my place in the queer community is really hurting him. That is to say, I’m hurting him. I’m really ashamed that I let go of his hand when people walk towards us. I’m really ashamed that I hate introducing him as my boyfriend, especially to monosexual queer people. I hate that I cut my hair in a way I despise just so I could read as more queer. It didn’t even work.

    I just hate that my entire self image is mocked, and I can’t stand that I can’t seem to stop hurting someone I love because I can’t stand up to a bunch of biphobic bullies.

  87. So yeah, I’m a bisexual woman and so far I’ve only dated one girl, who was flat-chested and didn’t dress reall feminine. I was dating her when I came out to my mother… whose reaction wasn’t good. She told me she didn’t expect me to be like that. Then she yelled at me, because “I didn’t know anything about myself yet” and my gf “might have looked like a boy but wasn’t one” and I was just left feeling really hurt. I didn’t date her because she wasn’t feminine, for god’s sake! I certainly wasn’t dating my gf because she had small boobs! So yeah, then my mom stopped talking to me for two weeks until I broke up with my ex-gf. Then some more unrelated stuff happened, and I was diagnosed with depression.

    So yeah, fast forward to now and I’ve only been dating guys since then. Not really because my mother doesn’t like me being bisexual, I’ve just kept falling for guys.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m single now. Guess why? Me and my ex-bf had been together for almost a year, he knew I was bi, he never said anything about it until recently. I went out with my female best friend, who’s really like a younger sister to me and we know each other since we were toddlers. THAT evening the guy decided he’d just… “share his opinion”, as he phrased it. Turns out he doesn’t like that I’m bisexual! After the experience with my mother, this really hurt. I’ve spent the whole night crying, because there I was, in a happy relationship with a guy who respected me as I am… and suddenly all of that fell apart.
    The worst thing was he wasn’t sorry. I felt like a piece of shit, like I was broken, like I didn’t deserve happiness. And he didn’t apologize for hurting me.

    And now there’s this another guy I kinda like, maybe we’ll end up together, maybe not, but I’m scared, because if we do end up dating, what will my mother think? That me being bi was just a phase?
    I feel like I can’t win. I want to be myself but everyone is against me.

    And of course there were some other precious things people did or said to me because of my orientation:
    “Well, if you can have a girlfriend, then I can smoke.” – my brother after he found out I was dating a girl
    My mom was comforting me when I was crying after my ex-bf told me he didn’t like my sexuality. When I told her WHY exactly am I crying, she immediately stopped hugging me.
    Me and this other bi girl were kissing at a pub, we were really into it, because damn she was attractive, and a drunk guy started groping my ass, because “it was really hot”. wow. just… wow.

  88. I have never dated a woman but when I tried to come out to my mother when I was 13, she acted so disgusted by the idea that I got scared and decided to pretend I didn’t understand what I was saying or what “bi” meant. She explained it to me by saying “it means you want to have sex with both genders” and I was like “Oh!” and tried to pretend I was grossed out, but it hurt me a lot that it was so simple to her. I have dropped hints since then over the years, but I’m 25 now and I still can’t bring myself to come out to my mother, even though I’m financially independent now (especially since we’re finally starting to get along). The next person I came out to was my best friend, who was a guy and a year younger than me (I was 17, he was 16), and he accepted me but also convinced me to date him like I was some rare animal he had to capture. It was really weird (we’re no longer friends). The two girls I met in high school that were bi like me were both very open about it and everyone I was friends with at the time avoided them like the plague. Our friendships didn’t end well, so I never really had good role-models for how to be comfortable with yourself and your identity as a bi woman until I dated a bi guy when I was 20. He convinced me that it was okay to be bi, but I had to leave him behind when I went to college and he moved on and has a family now. We still talk sometimes, which helps, but it’s awkward because our relationship was so intimate before and now I feel like a burden so I don’t talk about being bi or the girls I’m attracted to and whatnot. I dated a hetero, cis-guy in college and fell in love with him but when I told him I was bi, he said some really weird things about how mad he’d be if I fell in love with a woman (while we were dating?! As if I wouldn’t be as loyal now that I was bi to him?). The relationship ended after 3 years and now I’m honestly afraid to date a woman because of how my family would perceive it and afraid to date a man because of how shockingly weird and judgmental they’ve been in the past when I came out (especially when they called themselves feminists and whatnot). I’m so glad to read that other people have dealt with similar things and while I’m not involved in any LGBT communities except online, I’m always grateful for the support (and try to avoid the erasure). Thank you so much for this space and for sharing your stories!

    • Sarah Beth, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had these icky and awful experiences with people you loved…I also have had bi-phobic and hurtful comments from family, and I don’t have a solution for you, I just wanted you to know you’re not alone! I hope you find a community and nonjudgmental, healthy people to date. <3

      • Thanks Zoe! I am so sorry about your struggles with your family too, but I am so, so glad someone else understands. I wish you all the best and hopefully we both find safe places to be ourselves (like this one) and can share our lives with people that love every part of us. Take care of you! <3

    • Hi Sarah Beth, I was wondering, do you have an LGBTQ center in your town? When I was really struggling, I was able to get free therapy though the one we have here, and I also started volunteering with them and made some great bi and queer friends that way. It can really help to have peers to process through some of this stuff with!! :-)

      • I love this idea and it’s a great idea which I will pursue in the (near) future, but right now, unfortunately, I don’t have spaces like that available where I live. Hopefully, when I can save enough money to move to a bigger city, I’ll be in a better place with more options like that–it sounds incredible! So happy for you that you’ve been able to find such a nice place to feel welcome and help others! I hope I can be like you some day! Thank you! <3

  89. I’m so happy someone brought this up! I have been dating my amazing boyfriend for almost three years, and I came out to him as bi right before our second anniversary. My sexuality was something that confused me for a long time, and he seemed a little concerned when I told him – probably due to the stigma that bisexuals are promiscuous and whatnot.

    Often times, when I hear someone talk about the LGBT community, it takes me a moment before I remember, “oh wait, that includes me too,” because I sometimes feel like I don’t belong due to my heterosexual relationship. I’ve even had homosexual women tell me I’m “not gay enough” because I’ve never been with a woman.

    The most complicated part is that being in the Deep South, I’m very selective of who I come out to. In fact, my parents will probably never know. ?

    • I don’t know where in the Deep South you are, but according to this map, it looks like there are bi groups in South Carolina, Georgia, South Texas (if you’re counting that as South, which I know is one of those topics that can start a giant flamewar), and Florida. It could be a way to find other bi people for a sense of community.

  90. I have yet another musing, because people still appear to be posting in this thread, and I have pregnancy/parenting stuff on the brain today for some reason.

    I’m hoping to become pregnant soon-ish. And damn but so much of the TTC/pregnancy/parenting material out there is heteronormative, cisnormative, and hyperfeminine. But when I look for material about LGBTQ families, in the hope that it will be less of all three of those things, it’s unsurprisingly very heavily oriented toward same-sex, similar-gender couples (nearly always female couples, for the TTC/pregnancy stuff). Which is fantastic but not applicable for me.

    Our future child will grow up with one straight cis parent who is within the limits of what society considers visually gender-conforming, and one queer bisexual butch nonbinary parent. That seems to me neither entirely a “straight family” (put in quotes because I don’t believe that the “family” label should be restricted to a household with parents and child[ren], even if that’s common usage), nor entirely an “LGBTQ family”, it’s a mixed family. Just as some families are mixed in terms of (among other possibilities) race, immigration/citizenship status, disability, class, or [ethno]religious background or practice (my own parents were mixed on the last two of those).

    But I’ve never seen any resources, forums, etc – or even individual articles – aimed at mixed-orientation parents or parents-to-be. Has anyone else? It’s not as though there would be nothing to talk about – parents and children interacting with both straight and LGBTQ cultures, biphobic people reading pregnancy as a sign that you really are straight, explaining bisexuality to the kids in a society that still doesn’t really understand it, building community with other people in similar circumstances…

    • I am one of these families. I am agender, demi&polysexual, my two daughter’s father is cis/hetero. I’ve known him since I was 14. We are not partners but we happily co-parent.

      I wrote an article for AS about 3 months ago in the family section (and I have many more essays about our little non-conventional family) but I must admit I was a bit spooked by a very poor reception here.

      This current thread is opening my eyes to a community that I would love to contribute to making more visible and supported… in general.

      Thank-you for voicing this. I may try writing here again.

      Timid and appreciative.

    • Hey, I feel you. I couldn’t find anything either and went into a deep depression after I had my child because I thought I had turned cis and straight and that I was completely invalid. I was not yet aware that I was genderfluid and I was still struggling with being bisexual in a married relationship so I was already feeling a little negated. (None of this was my husband’s doing, just me erasing myself and my own identity, he has been nothing but supportive)

      I came back out to myself recently, I opened my eyes and breathed and now I am completely open about it. My little one is 5 and she is a joy. Being pregnant was wonderful, with the exception of the dysphoria and the horribad sickness. Having a child (surgery for me, no option there) and breastfeeding and watching her grow into an amazing little person, all brilliant. It was hard at times, but it was always worth it.
      My little girl knows that gender is different to sex, that some boys have vaginas and some girls have penises and that gender can be fluid. She knows mommy is sometimes a boy. We haven’t gone into same gender relationships but she has been exposed to men kissing men and women kissing women and she has probably seen me kiss girls at parties. I haven’t hidden it, but she isn’t interested in talking about relationships either. When we do, it will be all open and without stigma.

      So, um. Sorry, there really isn’t much out there for couples who are a combination of things, communities like this can help, and I can reach out as a NB Bi parent who has been through this! My best advice is don’t erase yourself, be strong in who you are and your kid will turn out great :)

  91. I am so happy and beyond relieved to see this being brought up and have so much response!! I have been single for about three years, dates on and off, but have always been afraid of following what I feel. There’s plenty of dates I have gone on with men I feel deeply attracted to and yet still feel an incredible emotional attraction to a women out in town – conversations you wish would last for days because the person is so interesting, like you “just click”. The few women that I’ve felt this way with I’ve continued to keep a friendship of some sorts, however, I never know how to approach the subject.

    I’ve continued to remain neutral in all aspects of relationships, not feeling comfortable identifying with any sector of the LGBT community. As of recently, I have not been dating to focus more on what makes me happy and I have found a lot of comfort and community in the bi-social areas of my city.

  92. I just found this and oh my, I’d this an amazing community! I have spent years looking for a place to connect with other queer and bisexual women in relationships with men. I’ve been with my partner for three years, and am planning to stay together for the long run, and I have felt more and more distant over time from the queer community. Having been an out lesbian from age 14-25, it was quite the transition to come out again as queer. And I lost so many of my queer friends because suddenly my partner was not welcome to come with me to social events. Almost all of my friends now are straight, just due to my relationship not being seen as acceptable in the spaces I used to love. It frequently feels very lonely. And even though my partner is amazing, he cannot connect on being out in the world. And it’s been a struggle, as my relationships with women were, obviously, always with someone who had experienced what it felt like to be outside the court also norm. Not connecting with my partner in that way continues to be difficult.

    Also, I haven’t had a chance to read all of the posts yet, so this may have been brought up, but I have been considering trying to create a forum specific to queer women in relationships with men. I’ve looked online for years but never found one. Perhaps a blog, or tumblr. Does anyone know of spaces like that on the web? Something like this thread, but more regular. Would love to hear thoughts.

    Thank you all for being incredible people, and for being so brave to live your truth. This is amazing.

  93. I want to suggest something to the author of this article, the whole “you are not welcome” bullet point is extremely off putting for many people, and detracts from what you’re trying to do. For example, men are a part of these relationships (of course) so their input and feelings should be valued, excluding men from the conversation is counter-productive to your goal. Similarly I myself identify as a woman sometimes, myself being bi-gender. Am I welcome to comment, or should I not? One might think that this is a purpose built echo chamber, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you just didn’t think this through.

    • “counter-productive to your goal” — ?? I think the goal of this particular thread is for bi women to have a place to talk with each other about their experiences and feel explicitly welcome on Autostraddle? Not for everyone involved in bi women’s relationships to talk it out?

      My reading of it is if you identify as a bi/pan/queer/questioning woman some of the time then this is totally for you!

      Saying “this is primarily for bi women, if you’re not a bi woman you can post but please don’t make it about you” is not saying anyone is not welcome, it’s saying people are not welcome to derail. I was so relieved to see that, and I think a lot of us were, because bi women have to deal quite a lot with other people’s (often negative) feelings about them. What’s wrong with having a support-group type space that’s primarily for us?

    • I want you to feel welcome here. I just…you stating that the author must not have thought this through, because she designed this space to be something different than what you want it to be honestly feels pretty hurtful to me, as someone who desperately needed a space like this to exist. “This space is primarily for bi women” = “you obviously didn’t think this through”?? Just, ouch. :(

    • Hey Alex! I think the author did think it through. :-) She said “this is a space created primarily for bi and multi-gender attracted women! If that does not describe you, you are welcome to be here, but please don’t make the space about you.”

      To me, that says that all are welcome, but people who do not identify/have never identified as a bisexual woman should take on more of a listening role. (I sometimes identify as bi, but not always. I’m conflicted about that. Despite my ambiguity, I felt comfortable commenting here).

      If you’re bigender, and sometimes identify as a bi woman, comment away! And if you’d like to throw in a comment as the male partner of a bi woman, you’re still welcome — just proceed more carefully. At least that is how I would interpret what the author said!

      As I’m sure you know, it’s important to have protected spaces we can feel safe to express ourselves in. There are many, many spaces that are more open to the general public — and also less protected — and bi women get a lot of flack and abuse and erasure in those spaces. This is just one space we’re claiming that we’re trying to keep free from that. It’s not about exclusion, it’s about creating space for healthy dialogue.

  94. Oh thank God for this space!

    disclaimer: Oh this is going to sound whiny, but here goes…

    I always felt like I was on a fence between straight spaces and lgbtq spaces because of who I dated and still am dating. It was only around 2-3 years ago that I came to terms that I am bisexual (I had always declared myself to be heterosexual until then). It wasn’t easy to come to terms with my sexual orientation because I never found a girl that liked me back. I would always just dismiss my own feelings as “nah, I don’t feel that way”. And I only ever attracted men. And as if that wasn’t enough, I’m not even bisexual in the “traditional” sense of the word, I am more specifically polysexual (which falls under the bi umbrella). I can feel immediate sexual attraction towards some men, but with women, I noticed it only ever happens if I develop romantic feelings for them first.

    I dated my current fiancé, who is a man, for nine years now. As embarrassing as it to say, HE questioned my own orientation before I did. (Yup, I’m the last one to find out about stuff, even my own sexual orientation.) He had suspicions that I was bisexual long before I even started to question myself. I thought it was normal for straight women to notice other girls the same way I did. But he knew better and questioned me. At that time I took it as an offense. “Me? Queer? PFFF. Nah, I can’t be.” Then after falling in love twice secretly with two (very straight) female best friends I just had to accept the fact that my feelings weren’t restricted to guys as I thought. His response, “I called it!”

    So I have tried to become an active member of lgbtq communities online, mostly in Tumblr, as I literally am still too scared to come out (I live with my religious, “hate the sin, love the sinner” anti-lgbtq parents and I have nowhere else to stay), much less seek out physical local lgbtq groups. However, much to my dismay, my experiences with Tumblr’s lgbtq community as a bisexual woman have proven to be overall rather negative.

    I feel like I’m not queer enough, but still not straight.

    It feels suffocating at times. I’m reaching a point where I may just explode… but I’m proving to be resilient even to my own inconvenience. My self-made closet’s made of titanium steel, and my torch can’t even melt through gold.

    I know it sounds silly. I even constantly tell myself everyday that I’m just being a coward, and that I should not have expected any sort of positive reception as a bisexual in most spaces. That I should just suck it up, the world is bad and unfair, you’re an adult, deal with it, blah, blah, blah.

    And then I found this. Do I dare hope? Yes. Yes, I do. I’m so glad this space exists. Finally, I space where I won’t feel off. It gives me a bit of hope.

    Thank you so much for this.

    PS: Sorry if this turned out too whiny. I did warn you. >.<

    • Ohhhh Nynuwe, you don’t sound silly, you don’t sound whiny, you don’t sound like a coward, and you are so definitely not alone.

      “I feel like I’m not queer enough, but still not straight.” –> This is me too.

      “And as if that wasn’t enough, I’m not even bisexual in the ‘traditional’ sense of the word, I am more specifically polysexual (which falls under the bi umbrella).” –> ALSO me too, and one of the best things about this thread for me has been seeing how many women find “bisexual” a limiting or inaccurate label in some sense.

      I know we as women are conditioned to apologize for ourselves and everything we say, but this is a space where you don’t have to do that! :) <3

    • “I can feel immediate sexual attraction towards some men, but with women, I noticed it only ever happens if I develop romantic feelings for them first.” It’s interesting to hear you say that because I am just the opposite :) I prefer the term queer to bisexual, but either way it’s interesting to see that we could be so opposite and still both fall under the “bisexual” or “poly” umbrella. Just goes to show you how big and welcoming that umbrella is. Welcome!

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