What It Really Means to be Bisexual
And why you probably are one.
By Rebecca Friou, University of New Orleans
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were legal and to be recognized by every state from that day forward.
The monumental advantage this provided to same-sex couples was obvious to most, but not everyone fully understood/understands what same-sex can mean. As a bisexual woman, the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling provided myself and countless others the opportunity to marry whoever we love.
With so much focus on whether people are gay or straight, it’s easy for society to assume a misconception of bisexuality. It isn’t indecisiveness; rather, it is the opposite.
The Kinsey Scale was developed in 1948 by two doctors who wanted to study the spectrum of sexuality. Their research determined that most people do not fall directly on either end of a sexual scale, but rather at some unique point on the continuum. On the scale, a score of one means complete heterosexuality and a score of six means complete homosexuality—anything else indicates a degree of bisexuality.
Although scientifically legitimate, bisexuality has suffered from millennia of disbelief, much of which still plagues the preference today. A survey in 2013 revealed that 15 percent of people don’t believe in the sexual orientation, but rather think of it as a precursor to fully fledged homosexuality.
There are known stigmas both lesbians and gay men sometimes hold against these individuals, claiming they’re just experimenting. Straight people, especially straight white males (as a survey reveals), don’t take bisexuals seriously and think it’s a phase or that they have a fetish. What does this mean for men and women everywhere whose identity is considered a sham?
As a result of the stigmatization, bisexual women and men are ashamed to come out of the closet to their family and friends. They sometimes end up mislabeling themselves in order to avoid being questioned about the validity of their sexuality, and face discrimination from both the straight and homosexual communities.
Essentially, they are the underdogs of sexuality.
Fortunately, a study in early 2016 showed that bisexuality is on the rise between ages 18-44, as numbers have increased from 3.9 to 5.5 percent in women, and 1.2 to 2 percent in men. Though not a shocking difference, the results still hint at the growing awareness of bisexuality in the population.
In addition to finding evidence of bisexuality’s proliferation, the study also found that women are often aroused by more than they are aware of. In general, women more often than not will experience attraction to a wider variety of people, including their own sex. It is an unfortunate phenomenon that so many women (and men as well) feel pigeonholed into one sexuality because they feel ashamed of liking someone of the same sex.
Obviously, if someone feels genuine attraction to the same sex then this stigma will fail to stymy them, but the tabboo can keep bicurious individuals from enjoying their full sexuality.
So how does this affect women in college?
As a college student you are given total freedom. In today’s hookup culture, it’s not rare for females to occasionally get it on with each other.
Though very little data has been collected on student sexuality, it was discovered in 2010 6 percent of college students identified as bisexual.
However, numbers like these fail to reflect all the students that are unaware or confused about their sexual preferences. Lesbian sex in college is often relegated to the status of “experimentation,” a one-time exploration of boundaries that should be an outlier, not a norm; men have it worse, as there is very little acceptance among hetero men for homosexual sex. This pressure to “pick a side” inhibits those who feel constrained by the duality, but how do we change this outlook?
First, if you are struggling with the choice, understand that the choice does not exist. Enjoying both sexes romantically is neither improper nor illegitimate; in fact, in many ways it is a blessing in disguise.
Eschewing labels means you can be comfortable with anyone and everyone, never second-guessing your desires. You don’t have to question if you’re attracted to someone, you just go for it. You’re also capable of giving advice on dating both sexes.
Today more than ever, women demand to be treated with respect. For female college students who are bicurious, you’re in luck. College is hands down the most acceptable place to venture out of your comfort zone for a number of things, including sexuality. You’re able to hit it and quit it pretty easily if you discover same-sex intimacy isn’t your thing. Since a handful of them have been in your shoes, most college students won’t judge you.
For some, a threesome might help open your eyes to bisexuality, or maybe you’re just a LUG. Regardless of where you end up feeling comfortable sexually, all sexualities are valid. Whether you’re waving your rainbow flag, sticking with the traditional route or reveling in the wonders of both men and women, your love is just as real as anyone else’s.