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How to date a bisexual person

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  • Copy By: Brooke Newsom
  • Feature Image By: Sharon McCutcheon

Remember when Katy Perry told the world that she kissed a girl and she liked it, and everyone went a little bonkers because it was so controversial? That was already 10 years ago, and the world has grown tremendously when it comes to accepting the LGBTQ community. For some reason though, people still get hung up on issues surrounding bisexuality. Some take a hard line on judging bisexuality, debating whether it is valid or whether it is simply a phase people go through. Even worse is the assumption that bisexuality is an excuse to be sex-crazed and promiscuous (which, BTW, is not something you need an excuse for if that is how you choose to live). There are many bisexuals who choose monogamy and long-term relationships, just like anyone else.

So for people who choose to date bisexuals, what are some things to keep in mind in order to not let the label get to your head?

They want their partner to affirm and understand their identity

It may seem obvious, since most people want to be recognized fully for who they are, but this is still a struggle for many people who identify as bisexual in relationships. Their partners might know what they identify as, but do they know what that means for them?

The commonly accepted definition of bisexuality is far outdated and, quite frankly, inadequate. It is not just the sexual attraction to both men and women. It is just as complicated as any sexual orientation and deserves to be understood by everyone. I recently came across a definition by a contributor on the Bisexual Resource Center’s Website that really helped me to understand how my partner might feel about her identity:

“Bisexuality is the potential to be attracted (romantically and/or sexually), to people of more than one sex, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

If you are dating a bisexual or find yourself interested in someone who identifies as such, I encourage you to discuss what it means to him or her. For my partner, it means that she is sexually attracted to men and women, but romantically attracted to women only. In addition, she is only romantically attracted to more masculine women, such as myself. We have had candid and thoughtful conversations about our sexual orientations and what it means to each of us, and it has led to a more genuine understanding of one another.

There is no on and off switch

When someone who is bisexual is in a relationship, they don’t all of the sudden turn off their attraction to people of other sexes and/or genders. A straight person in a relationship does not all of the sudden turn off their attraction to people of the opposite sex, and neither do bisexuals.

The important thing is that couples have honest conversations about what is acceptable within their relationships when it comes to acting on these attractions. If you are in a monogamous relationship with a bisexual, trust them to be just as committed as you are. Short of a wandering eye (I mean, who doesn’t occasionally appreciate other people?!), bisexuals are just as capable as anyone else of being in a relationship with established boundaries.

It isn’t a phase

My girlfriend is obviously in a relationship with a woman (me!), and in fact, she has never been in an adult relationship with a man. That does not mean that her identity as a bisexual was a phase or confusion on her part. If she only ever dates me, which is my ultimate evil plan, then she can still identify as bisexual. If she lives to be 120 years old and never so much as gives a man a side hug, she can still identify as bisexual. There is no threshold to meet for people to qualify for a sexual orientation. It is a personal preference and decision and should be accepted as that person’s truth.

They chose you, so don’t worry about who they chose before you

This is really just some good old-fashioned relationship advice for anyone to follow. Who your partner dated before you is not a reflection of how they feel about you! It is a nasty trap to fall into — comparing yourself to your partner’s ex in any way. It can seem a little more complicated when your partner’s ex is a different gender or sex than you are. The reality is, though, it isn’t complicated because it isn’t relevant. Allow yourself to be chosen by your partner for who you are and don’t let those doubts come in and cloud what you two have together.

They are just like you and me

Bisexuals are just people, looking for authentic relationships just like anyone else in the world. Just like anyone else, they have varying degrees and types of attraction for different people. Just like anyone else, they are more than capable of committed relationships. No, they don’t have extraordinary sex drives. They don’t want to sleep with everyone they meet. Their identities are not made up in order to fill some questionable spot on the sexual orientation spectrum.

Speaking from experience dating bisexuals, I can say that while the world might still be behind in understanding and accepting their identities, I am deeply in love with an incredible human being. She is creative, fun, smart, compassionate, genuine, sexy, and funny… and she just happens to be attracted to both men and women. But, she has chosen me, and I will bask in that for as long as I can.

10 Things You Should Know Before Dating a Bi Guy

In many regards, bisexual men want the same things as everyone else when it comes to relationships. We want an honest partner. We want to be emotionally fulfilled. We want to love and to be loved in return. We want someone who will be there for us when we fall down. And so on and so forth.

But in many ways, dating a bisexual man is somewhat different. I don’t say this to create a further divide between people, but given the society we live in (one that has vicious stereotypes about bisexual men, especially when it comes to having a relationship with one), it’s naive to believe that dating a bi guy is the exact same as dating a straight man or a gay man.

So here are 10 things you should know before dating a bisexual guy.

1. We may initially struggle with being 100% open about ourselves

Every bi man I know who’s been open about his sexual identity has been rejected because of it. I was ghosted after two dates with this woman because she found my bisexuality “too much.” I didn’t see it coming at all, because on the surface level, she seemed completely okay with my bisexuality. She even told me that she had hooked up with women and found herself attracted to women. Nevertheless (I learned from a mutual friend), my sexual orientation was the reason why she ghosted me. When you’re rejected for revealing a part of your identity, it makes it difficult to be 100% open about yourself from the get-go. So just give us some time.

2. Yes, we do miss being with other people when in a monogamous relationship

This idea that we don’t miss being intimate with other people when in a monogamous relationship is absolutely ridiculous. But you know what? So do gay men and straight women and everyone else! Of course many gay men miss being with other men when they are in a monogamous relationship from time to time. But that doesn’t mean they want an open-relationship. It doesn’t mean that they’re going out and cheating. It’s human to sometimes miss being with other people. But when we’ve made a commitment, we’ve made a commitment. You need to trust us.

3. We have significantly higher rates of anxiety and depression than straight and gay men

This isn’t something that necessarily affects your relationship, but it is something to keep in mind, especially if you’re seeing classic signs of undiagnosed depression or anxiety.

4. There’s no need to freak out about the porn we watch

Odds are we watch gay porn, lesbian porn, bi porn, straight porn, and every other type of porn. There’s no need to freak out, telling yourself, “Oh shit, that’s not something I can give to him!” Porn is fantasy. It’s fun. None of the guys I’ve dated gave me a 12-inch rock hard dick, but I sure love watching that in porn. It doesn’t mean I was planning on breaking up with my boyfriends because they didn’t have a third leg.

5. You’re likely going to have to deal with some BS for dating a bi guy

If you’re a woman, you’ll inevitably here at some point, “You know your boyfriend is actually gay right?” If you’re a gay man, you may get some shade from other gays. This is because gay men often think that bi guys are simply not comfortable with their “true” identity of being “full-blown gay.”

6. We’re not “more masculine” because we also sleep with women

This is a bizarre and femmephobic statement that I’ve encountered from gay men. Apparently, bi men are “hot” because they sleep with women and that somehow makes us more masculine. This fetishization is somehow homophobic, sexist, and biphobic all in one.

7. We’re not your gay BFF who you also have sex with

This is something I’ve encountered from certain straight women. They see me as their gay BFF who they can make out with. They don’t see me as a bisexual person who’s actually interesting in dating them. They reduce me to a stereotype and plaything.

8. We’re often less concerned about gender norms

In her book, Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men: Bi Men by Women, Dr. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli interviewed dozens of straight women who have dated bisexual men. Her research revealed that bi men (who are out and open with their sexual identity) are often less consumed by traditional notions of gender as well as expected gender roles.

9. Bi guys are bomb at sex

Okay, okay, I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but there’s legitimate research that reveals this. Again, in her book, Dr. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli explains that bi men make the best lovers because they’re more attune to the needs of their partner(s).

10. We get hurt just as much as everyone else

We’re humans. If you break up with us, we’ll be hurt. If you say something nasty, we will cry. If you don’t treat us with respect, we will move on. I say this to illustrate that while there are differences between bi guys and other men, the things that matter—the things that make us human—are still very much the same.

Because the stigma is still very much real.

There are so many ridiculous (and v ignorant and damaging) myths and misconceptions surrounding bisexuality. And one of the most common comes from straight, non-trans women, who say they wouldn’t date a bi man.

Whether this is down to internalised bi/homophobia or just a complete lack of understanding, who knows. But the stigma is real people!

Here, women who’ve dated bisexual men explain what it’s actually like.

1. “It’s like dating anyone else. One [guy] was horrible and one was mediocre. This was because of their personalities, not because of their sexual preferences. I did ask about their past partners. This is because I am hella curious and nosy, not because they are bi, and I do it with straight partners too. If people don’t want to answer that’s fine, of course.” [via]

2. “Same as a straight boyfriend really. He keeps pretty quiet about all of his exes, unless specifically asked, and keeps extremely quiet about any sexual acts he has done. I’ve had FWBs who were bi, and whether it was a different personality or the different level of the relationship, we talked a lot about sex, sex with different genders, and different aspects of that. From my experience FWBs are usually more open in talking about sexual pasts, as there isn’t the same comparison.” [via]

3. “I’m bi too. It’s pretty refreshing to have a bi boyfriend because almost every straight guy I’ve been with has said something insensitive about bi women at some point. We’ve talked about our exes, but it isn’t in a bi-specific, ‘Oh lemme hear about your BI EXPERIENCES’ way. [via]

“It’s pretty refreshing to have a bi boyfriend”

4. “My boyfriend’s bi. He’s never dated any men (we started dating five years ago when we were 15/16). Sometimes we talk about hot guys together. I wouldn’t say that his sexuality has much of an impact on our relationship.” [via]

5. “I sometimes like hearing his stories. I think it makes him a better lover. I peg him, and seeing that side is such a turn on.” [via]

6. “Like dating any other human being. I don’t nose into any sexual history, straight or not. Only difference is we can have relatable gripes about being bi, and the weird biphobia we encounter in the LGBT community.” [via]

7. “I’ve dated one bi guy, but not for very long (he broke things off with me). It’s not really any different from dating a straight guy, IMO. I also read a lot of yaoi [Japanese fiction focusing on romance between men] in high school, but I didn’t want to fetishise his sexuality, so I didn’t press for details.” [via]

“I didn’t want to fetishise his sexuality, so I didn’t press for details”

8. “I’m bi and I’ve dated two bi dudes. My current SO was, for some reason, embarrassed about being bi, so he told me he was bi like five times on our first date. He said he just wanted to make sure I knew because he liked me. It’s not really any different than dating anyone else, except we can comment on [people of all genders] being attractive. Once we ran into his ex girlfriend and ex boyfriend at the same time at a bar. He was embarrassed, but I thought it was funny.” [via]

9. “I’ve had a couple of bi ex boyfriends. The only real difference I ever noticed is that it was awesome being able to jokingly check out people of [all] genders together. It didn’t change that I am fundamentally monogamous, and expect that in a relationship. It didn’t make me more jealous (I’m bi myself and am generally not a jealous person to begin with), and it also didn’t change that.

“So, it’s definitely not something my previous partners had to hide or that I was bothered by, but just like their past female partners, I don’t want to hear about it in the bedroom. We can definitely still talk about it outside a sexual context though, and if your ex taught you this awesome thing you’d like to try out with me? Then who cares that it was an ex that taught you, or their gender, I’m probably game.” [via]

10. “It’s the same as dating any guy. My bf told me on the second date, just in case I thought it might be a ‘deal breaker’, but it wasn’t. I don’t care at all. He is welcome to tell me about former lovers, or to not. Whatever.” [via]

Because it really isn’t just a phase

‘Does bisexual mean you like men and women 50/50 or what? Have you had, like, 500 threesomes? Does this mean you aren’t into monogamy? Are you OK with only getting penis/vagina for the rest of your life when you also like women/men/all people?’

This is just a smattering of the questions that nearly every bisexual person has been asked. I know I certainly have, and I cannot think of a single bisexual person I’ve known who has not. Many bisexual people often face an onslaught of intrusive questions from various people in their lives. However, they can be especially jarring to hear when they come from someone you’re dating—whether seriously or casually.

If you’re the inquisitor, you likely mean no harm. I’m certain the questions you ask are likely in good faith and curiosity. With so many of us having grown up with very little sex education—and almost certainly being taught nothing about queer relationships—it’s no wonder people are so puzzled by the bisexual identity. Even the LGBTQIA+ community has been known to alienate bisexuals at times, and we have a B in the acronym!

Invasive questions we bisexual folk hear a little too regularly run from the state of our sex lives, via our current relationships, to solicitations for threesomes or group sex. It can be very difficult for a bisexual person to be viewed in this way, leaving nearly no room for their humanity and making them feel like a strange freak of nature who is deeply misunderstood.

That said, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Increasing numbers of young people in the UK are choosing to abandon the label ’heterosexual‘ for something less binary, but still, it’s productive to illuminate a damaging situation that does still exist so we can help bisexual partners feel safe and secure in romantic and sexual relationships.

Education is the way, pals. Feeling like you can trust someone is a key part of being able to experience sexual pleasure, so don’t ruin a good thing by asking any of these questions if you’re dating a bisexual person.

Am I just a phase for you?

There is a depressingly popular ‘theory’: bisexual people are still just trying to figure out which gender they like and, eventually, they’ll pick one and stick to it forever.

This is not how it works, babe. Being bisexual is completely valid and it is most certainly not just a phase. This question is rude and pejorative. Even when a bisexual person declares their identity loud and proud, many still feel uncomfortable. This stigma exists in both the queer and straight communities. I’ve yet to encounter a bisexual client who has not been questioned, put down, or had a partner have almost constant doubts about whether or not they’re ‘actually queer.’

Treating a person’s identity as a phase is not only damaging to the person you’re questioning, but also to your relationship with them. Don’t do this.

Did I make you straight/gay?

Questions of the same nature include: ‘How can you be bi if I’m your girlfriend/boyfriend?’; ‘How can you be bi if you’re dating women/men now?’; ‘You used to be bisexual, but you’re gay/straight now because of me, right?’

This is the same as looking at the bisexual person you’re dating, someone who you should be treating with kindness and respect, and screaming, ‘What are you. !’

Just because a person happens to be in a ‘straight’ looking or ‘gay’ looking relationship, doesn’t automatically mean they’re straight or gay. Being bi is being bi. Your relationship status doesn’t change your identity. Bisexuality is complex, as are all forms of sexuality. If you can’t handle it, maybe this isn’t the right relationship for you, my dude.

Are you OK with a monogamous relationship? Don’t you need to be with men and women?

This is a pretty common question bisexual people are often faced with. I’m married to a cis-man and I’m still regularly asked intrusive questions by random people I barely know about our level of openness. (Hint: It’s none of your business, sweetie).

Being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender. It does not mean you’re necessarily monogamous, open, poly, etc. These things are not the same.

This question comes from a dark, tragic place: the pervasive and highly damaging notion that bisexual people are ‘greedy’, ‘insatiable’, and ‘can never get enough sex/romance’. Some bisexual people are monogamous, some are not.

Look, asking someone if they’re monogamous, open, poly etc., is all ok. This is a part of getting to know someone. There is no reason to tack on an uneducated addendum to this conversation based on a person’s identity. It’s wrong and it will likely mean you won’t be getting another date.

You say you’re bisexual, but you’ve only dated X people, so are you really bisexual?

Let’s be very, very clear here: Bisexuality is about sexual attraction, not experience. You can be bisexual and have never had a same sex or opposite sex experience. A bisexual person doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone to feel what they feel.

It’s ridiculous to assume that you know more about someone’s identity than they do. We bisexuals are not jumping on some queer bandwagon to get attention. We know our own minds and being comfortable with who we are has taken hard work. The last person a bisexual needs to hear this bullshit from is someone they’re intimately involved with. Got it? Great.

You’re, like, 50/50 into dudes and girls then, right?

There is a common myth that bisexuality means an even split between male and female genders. Not everyone is 50/50. In fact, most people are not.

It may seem like an innocent question to ask, but it implies that a person is obligated to be attracted to people in a certain way—specifically to you and your gender identity. That isn’t how attraction works when you’re not on the straight heterosexual binary.

Bisexuality means that you have the potential to be attracted to men, women, trans and non-binary folk etc.

Have you had a ton of threesomes?

This question goes hand-in-hand with soliciting a bisexual person for the threesome you’ve been dreaming of yourself. While it isn’t gender-specific, usually bisexual women wind up fielding this question from new lovers.

Threesomes can be a fun and interesting way to explore sexuality. The bisexual you are talking to may be very into the idea or have experience with threesomes, group sex, etc. It’s nice to have conversations about someone’s sexual history and for you to share yours as well. Again, this has nothing to do with being bisexual—it’s about what someone is into trying.

Be respectful when asking someone how they feel about this. Hey, if they’re on Feeld, you’ll probably know pretty quickly what they enjoy. That’s why we’re here, after all: to explore sexuality in a safe, kind, and consensual way.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex educator and author of All The F * cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love and life. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @GigiEngle

September 09, 2016

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Photo credit: Unsplash/ErnAn Solozábal

For those of you who don’t know, Bi Visibility Day is coming up on September 23 rd . Very few people are aware of this day. I think this is in part because people don’t always have an understanding of why bisexuality requires its own day. Many seem to think bisexuality is just a kind of “gay light”. But that’s simply untrue.

In fact, bi folks face quite a few unique challenges. The more time I spend involved in bi activism and talking to other bi folks, the more I hear one major complaint. “No one wants to date me.” It normally comes down to “people keep rejecting me as a potential romantic partner because I am bi”. Bi women frequently complain that lesbians won’t date them, because many lesbians are afraid that they will end up leaving them for a man. Bi men complain that straight women won’t date them, because these women are afraid that they will leave them for a man. Gay men won’t date bi men, because they assume these men are in the closet. And everyone assumes you’re a slut.

Yeah but, can it really be that bad? Yes. This week, the online adult store, Adamandeve.com released the results of a survey asking the question “Would You Be Open to Dating Someone Who is Bisexual?” They asked 1000 American adults, 18 and over this question. It turns out that a whopping 47% of respondents said no. Another 19% were undecided, and only 35% were open to dating bi people. So yes it really is that bad. Imagine if instead of bisexual, the survey had said left-handed. I’m sure someone out there has a very valid reason for not wanting to date left-handed people. I can’t imagine what it is, but I accept that my imagination is limited. Now imagine 47% of the population said they absolutely would not date a left-handed person.

But bisexuality is, of course, different. Bisexuality does relate to relationships more than your dominant hand. If you believe that all same-sex attraction is sinful, you probably don’t want to date a bi person. If you think that one gender has cooties and it’s just gross that your partner may be attracted to that gender, you will be incompatible. These are not things I personally believe or friends of mine believe, but I will accept this reasoning for why you shouldn’t date a bi person. I don’t think that sin and cooties explains why 47% of the population absolutely would not date bi folks.

So let’s break down the most common reasons that I hear a person is unwilling to date someone who is bi.

From the lesbian women: “You will leave me for a man.”

Imagine you never entered another relationship with someone who might leave you. Most relationships end. To quote Dan Savage: “every relationship you are in will fail, until one doesn’t”. Your bi girlfriend isn’t going to leave you because she quits being attracted to women. Your relationship will fail for reasons any of your other relationships might fail. One of you gets bored, one of you moves, you drift apart, the sex sucks, you find out that they’re a slob, or you just realize that it isn’t going to work. Whether she goes on to date a man or a woman in no way invalidates your relationship.

From the straight women: “You will leave me for a man.”

Same thing as above: whomever he dates next, he was still attracted to you. That’s what bisexual means. Yes, some men say they are bi before they say they are gay. Some gay men say they are straight before they say they are gay. Some gay men date women while they are still trying to figure out their orientation and how/whether to come out. The closet exists. Being out and bi isn’t actually easier than being out and gay. If a man who wasn’t attracted to women really wants to date women, it would be much simpler to lie and say he was straight than lie and say he was bi. Bi men exist. If a bi guy leaves you, it’s not because he is bi. So why not give a guy a chance?

From the gay men: “You are in the closet.”

Starting to notice a pattern? Maybe give the person you are dating the courtesy of believing them when they say they are bi. It is a real orientation. In fact, more people are bisexual than homosexual. I know that coming out is a unique and difficult thing. Maybe you personally even identified as bi for a moment, but that doesn’t mean that the person you’re dating is doing the same thing.

From everyone: “You are a giant slut and will bring disease and tragedy unto me.”

Bi folks are like everyone else. Some have high sex drives; some have low. Some are polyamorous; some are monogamous. Some are awesome people; some are probably less awesome. Don’t assume that because someone is bi that they are promiscuous or unsafe.

From everyone: “One of the above has happened to me (or a friend), so now it is true of all bisexual people.”

Most people have had bad dating experiences; many have had their hearts broken. You frequently want an explanation for why a bad thing happened. But, trust me, it’s not because your partner was bi. Relationships fail for a lot of reasons; sometimes people are terrible, sometimes it just doesn’t work. It sucks, but the solution is not to avoid ever dating anyone again. Just because one person hurt you, it does not mean that they represent the actions of an entire group.

Everyone is allowed to have dating preferences and some of them are more idiosyncratic than others. Sadly, all of the most common reasons I read for people being hesitant or unwilling to date bi people boil down to the misconception that bi folks are somehow untrustworthy. People are unwilling to believe a bi person when they say that they are monogamous or when they say that they are truly interested in you or even when they say that they are bi.

Bisexual is a simple word. It describes a person whose attractions aren’t limited to one gender. That’s all. Any other assumption based upon that word is a biphobic stereotype.

So please take a moment and think. Would you be open to dating someone who is bisexual? If not, maybe ponder why. Could it possibly be prejudice and stereotypical assumptions? Next time, before swiping left, take a second to chat with this bi person about your concerns rather than just assume that they are a lying slut who will leave you for a man/woman as soon as the opportunity arises.

Bi folks, remember bi visibility day is coming up. Take the time to discuss some of these prejudices with people and see if we can change some minds.

Hi – some context:

I am a 25 year old bisexual man, and open about this for the last couple of years in various but increasing degrees. It is rare that I am into that many people and have only been with a handful of people at all and only slept with a couple. I have had 2 long term (2+ year) relationships with women and 1 very short and disastrous one with a guy when I was very young. I don’t really like dating in itself and really just like the idea of settling down with someone. I have been both single and celibate (not for this reason) for the last 3 years.

Following a long period of feeling very jaded and bitter about the people who didn’t work out and sorting out some personal problems, I am feeling more suited to getting back into dating, but I am worried about this because of my sexuality and of people’s possible reactions to it and of what I may lose as a result. This is because of 2 reasons:

1) In the past when I have not mentioned it beforehand and either divulged the truth about my sexuality to my girlfriends, or it has been uncovered in some other way, it has led to them bursting into tears and saying they feel sick for kissing me, and the relationship ending shortly after as a result of subsequent arguments.

2) Society’s general erasure of bisexuality that in the minds of straight women a bi guy is gay and in the minds of gay guys a bi guy is straight, and the idea that a bi guy must somehow either be dating 2 people at the same time or be fantasizing over the sex of the person he is not with. According to society, the only people bi guys can legitimately be with is other bi guys, which serves as a problem to me as I am generally into more women.

This leaves me with the following options:

a) Tell people I want to date immediately I am bisexual, only for them to walk away.
b) Tell people I want to date I immediately I am straight (or gay when necessary) and feel constantly uncomfortable with them.
c) Not specifically disclose it, but reveal it after a period of trust with the higher likelihood of everything rapidly imploding down the toilet.

This leaves me feeling very desolate about the future, and I would love to know other people’s opinions on this:

Regardless of your sex/gender or sexuality:
– Which of the above options should I choose when dating?
– Would you yourself date a bisexual person/man/woman if he/she was your perfect person until this detail was revealed?
– If not, why not, and what has led you to believe that?
– What would your reaction be if this was revealed some way into a relationship?

All advice and opinions appreciated, thanks!

Looking for love? These apps are here to help.

If you’re looking for love, chances are your search involves some kind of swiping on a screen. And bisexual or pansexual people are no different, although they’re often not looking for polyamorous relationships despite what the stereotypes say (not that there’s anything wrong with that if you are!).

Even though bisexuals outnumber both lesbians and gay men in the LGBTQ+ family, the population is frequently discriminated against, according to a study published in the University of Richmond Law Review. Some people refuse to acknowledge that bisexuality is a valid orientation, resent bisexuals who can “pass” as straight or claim that they’re not “gay enough” to participate in queer culture. As a result, bisexuals are less than half as likely as gay or lesbian people to have come out to most or all of the people in their lives. That’s why finding a bisexual-friendly dating app where your authentic self is both welcome and celebrated is so important.

We’ve curated a list of dating apps for bisexuals and pansexuals that operate from a place of respect and inclusivity. Apps like OkCupid have lots of identity markers, so you can tailor your searches closely. Others like Tinder and Grindr have large user bases, increasing the chances you’ll find your match. Finally, we’ve included apps like Feeld and #Open that do cater to those looking for ethical non-monogamy and polyamory, since three (or more) is not a crowd if everyone enthusiastically consents to the arrangement. Love is love, no matter what it looks like.

An oldie but goodie, OkCupid has added lots of LGBTQ+-friendly gender identity and sexual orientation options over the years, making it more inclusive than some of the competition. Because dating profiles on OkCupid have lots of markers for matchmaking, you can get pretty granular about what you and potential dates have in common.

For most of his adult life, Patrick Gosselin was married to a woman – now that he is single and dating, navigating bisexuality in his 50s can be complex

‘For a while I couldn’t visualise myself in a serious relationship with another man. In hindsight, I think this attitude had more to do with avoiding coming out to my family.’ Photograph: Patrick Gosselin/Insight on SBS

‘For a while I couldn’t visualise myself in a serious relationship with another man. In hindsight, I think this attitude had more to do with avoiding coming out to my family.’ Photograph: Patrick Gosselin/Insight on SBS

I’m bi. There, I said it. I am bi. I like men. I like women. Sexually, romantically, emotionally, intellectually.

Why do I feel I have to say it? Because people make assumptions about your sexuality based on the gender of the person you are with at the time. So bisexuals are perpetually coming out.

As I am writing this piece, and about to appear on SBS Insight about bisexual relationships, I reflect on how, not so long ago, there was no way that I would have been this “visible”. How could I? Growing up, in my family it was common to hear the odd joke about fags. You know, the ones designed to make people laugh at the expense of homosexuals. All in good spirit, all in good humour. And being a sensitive child, not fitting in with traditional male roles, I was at times called a sissy. Not exactly conducive to self-acceptance.

During my awkward puberty years, it’s little wonder that whatever sexual attraction I may have had for other boys remained deeply buried. Later, as those feelings grew stronger, I made a conscious effort to repress them. For me to accept them could only mean one thing: that I was gay. But I couldn’t be gay! I liked girls too. Since it was either one or the other, I was quite happy to conform with the ‘me’ that no one would make fun of. And it worked … for a while.

In my early 20s, I started exploring my attraction to men. And I found I enjoyed it. At the same time, I was still enjoying going out with women. At last I discovered the meaning of bisexual.

‘I came out to my then 16-year-old son, Jaydn, nine years ago. He was slightly surprised but totally accepting.’ Photograph: Patrick Gosselin/ SBS Insight

I met the person who went on to become my wife in my late 20s. I told her at the time that I was bisexual. She seemed fine with it. Our marriage lasted 25 years, and we had a son together. It ended, like so many do. Nothing to do with my sexuality. However, after the divorce I gave myself permission to fully explore my sexuality.

For a while, though, I still couldn’t visualise myself in a serious relationship with another man. For me, same-sex fun was just that, something I did for fun. In hindsight, I really think this attitude had more to do with avoiding coming out to my family. I did not want to introduce my male partners.

So the easy way was to keep having relationships with women. Easy? Not so fast!

Because I had made the decision to be honest, I made it clear to any new date that I was bisexual. For most, the disclosure signalled the end of any further discussions. It ranged from a polite “I have nothing against it but not for me” to a deafening silence. It was frustrating. And hurtful. So much for bisexuals having twice as many options. Being totally discounted tends to considerably reduce the opportunities.

Gay men, for some reason, seem to be more accepting of bi guys. Don’t get me wrong, there is still strong biphobia within the gay community. More than once on the apps have I been told to make up my fucking mind. (It is made up, by the way). More than once have I been told that I was being greedy or confused, that it was just a stepping stone to fully coming out as gay. However, despite the fears that I’d jump ship and go with “the other side” at the first opportunity, there seems to be more willingness to take a chance within the gay community.

Bisexuality is not “one size fits all”. I am not representative of the bisexual community, nor do I want to be. I have, in the past few years, discovered many things about myself. I still think there’s a lot more to explore about who I really am. Not that different, really, from anyone else on the sexuality spectrum. I am part of a very diverse community. Confused? Not at all. I know what I want. Greedy? Of course! Aren’t we all to some extent?

People will still assume that I am straight or gay. And that’s fine. But I can see a definite shift in the younger generation. I came out to my then 16-year-old son, Jaydn, nine years ago, as part of a general conversation. He was slightly surprised but totally accepting. A reaction that is a typical of his generation. His support and acceptance were all that mattered to me.

Over the last three years, I’ve finally come out to my whole family. And when they learned my story, they asked if I suffered during those early years, not being able to fully be myself. I didn’t. But it makes me one of the lucky ones, if you look at statistics.

I have no idea about the gender of the person who will accompany me into my twilight years. But I know that they will accept and love the real me.

You can hear more from Patrick and others on Being Bisexual tonight on SBS Insight at 8.30pm

“People suppress or have denied the idea or mere existence of something like bisexuality because of the dichotomous categorisation of this world, which ultimately has denied many of us the chance to explore our identity as sexually fluid beings,” says Joburg-based Clinical Psychologist, Dr Giada Del Fabbro.

Bisexuality is getting more airtime and exposure than ever. The recent Netflix documentary ‘Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez’ dissects the topic of bisexuality in the hyper-masculine world of American football, while celebrities like KStew is openly bi.

Del Fabbro says younger generations have grown up with more familiarity and acceptance of fluidity. So, for these individuals, it may be more commonplace and comfortable to negotiate fluid spaces.

“Nowadays, there is more developing tolerance internally and externally for different parts of ourselves, and people are beginning to embrace this and position themselves on an evolving continuum of sexual orientation with more freedom,” says Dr. Del Fabbro.

But not everyone is as open. “With older individuals, there may be less familiarity and/or comfort with the idea of fluid genders and sexualities, and they require more effort to understand and negotiate this aspect in a partner,” adds Dr. Del Fabbro.

A 2018 survey conducted in the UK showed that many individuals are still not open about their bisexuality. Particularly men. The survey results revealed that 49% of bi men are not out to anyone at work, compared to 7% of gay men and 4% of lesbians who disclose their sexuality in the workplace.

Due to prejudice and negative reactions from women, men often keep their fluidity a secret. However, some women really don’t mind a bisexual man and actually prefer to date a bi-man over a straight man.

The Independent reported on an Australian study which found that many straight female respondents said that, in fact, bisexual men made them feel more comfortable, they were better in bed and were more caring partners and fathers than most straight men they’d dated in the past.

“Dating a bisexual guy is just like dating any other guy. I know he also finds men attractive, but as long as he’s faithful to me while we are together, what’s the issue?” says Susan*, 27 from Melville.

She and Justin* have been in a monogamous relationship for almost a year. He told her about his bisexuality two months into their relationship.

“It’s about much more than sex. Having a relationship with someone who is bisexual doesn’t mean they are more likely to cheat on you because there are ‘more options.’ If you have trust, you’re secure in the fact that they chose you,” she says.

Cape Town-based Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Chantal Fowler, says, “More and more couples are starting to explore ‘hybrid relationships’ which incorporates both non-monogamy, as well as sexual fluidity within non-monogamy.”

That means couples are choosing to be more flexible. Be that participating in sexual relations with someone together or separately, or simply choosing not to regard their partner’s bisexuality as an issue within their monogamous relationship set-up.

“My advice to couples who want to explore this avenue is to be completely transparent about their choice, and have the consent of their partner before engaging. Openly negotiate what the rules and expectations are in terms of the non-monogamous engagements are,” says Dr. Fowler.

Do you think sexuality should ever be a deal-breaker in a relationship? Let us know.

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Exploring and understanding my bisexuality has been a lifelong journey; one that came to life in the European gay bars when I lived abroad in 2019.

As I made new friends, danced to Beyoncé songs, and watched drag queens take over the stage every Tuesday night, I felt free. I was unapologetically myself, and the sweaty strangers around me loved and accepted me for it.

After returning to the US, I wanted to find my first girlfriend. I didn’t expect that a few months later I would start a long-term relationship with a straight man.

With my newfound happiness came a slew of questions. Will I still be accepted in queer spaces? How will I deal with people assuming that I’m straight, simply because of my partner’s gender?

Bisexual people often exist in a gray area, simultaneously ostracized by the LGBTQ+ community as not “gay enough” and heterosexual people as not “straight enough.” That may explain why, according to one recent study, most bisexual people say their friends and family don’t know their sexuality.

However, my “gay side” and my “straight side” do not compete. They coexist, regardless of my partner’s gender.

I have learned to embrace the complexities of my identity within my relationship. Here are the lessons I’ve picked up along the way.

It’s OK to feel uncomfortable with my sexuality

I experience straight-passing privilege. This means that most people assume I am a straight woman in a heterosexual relationship.

But that also means the erasure of my bisexuality. Several friends and family members have asked me if I’m no longer bisexual since I’m dating a man. I know they don’t mean to hurt me, but these misconceptions force me to constantly prove my sexuality.

With the help of my therapist, I have learned that my discomfort about being in a straight-passing relationship doesn’t invalidate the strength it took to come out or the joy I’ve found in queer spaces. It’s normal to not always feel confident in your identity. After all, sexuality is a spectrum that changes as we evolve with it.

So, don’t hide your discomfort. Use it to spark conversations with your partner. Find a solution that helps you feel secure in your identity, whether that’s watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race” together or going to a Pride parade.

Why I prefer ‘partner’ over ‘boyfriend’

When I started my relationship, I felt uncomfortable with the term “boyfriend.” It refers to my love for my significant other, but not my love for my sexuality and how it shaped me into who I am.

For me, “partner” leaves room for ambiguity. If I mention my partner to someone I just met, they might ask what “his or her” name is or what “their” name is. It provides space to explain my relationship in my own words.

A language change is simple, but its impacts are broad. Using “partner” instead of “boyfriend” helped to ease the internal battle between my queer identity and the man that I love. It may not solve everything, but it helps me feel connected to the queer community and secure in my sexuality.

I have the right to queer spaces like any member of the LGBTQ+ community

In June, I went to a gay bar for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. My past experiences in LGBTQ+ bars involved dancing, drinking, and, if I was lucky, meeting a woman who felt as attracted to me as I felt towards her. This time was different.

I entered the bar as a bisexual woman in a straight relationship, unsure if I would be accepted in the same spaces that taught me to love myself and my sexuality.

Thankfully, I was wrong. I hopped between three bars in Chicago’s LGBTQ+ neighborhood with my friends, one bisexual woman and two straight men. At the third bar, we chatted with a drag queen who pointed to my guy friends and joked, “These are the straight ones, right?” I realized that if my straight male friends can be welcomed in these spaces, then there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be.

After reflecting on that night, I discovered the internalized biphobia that hid in the corners of my mind. I believed I needed to prove my sexuality to belong in queer spaces. I was so scared of my identity being erased that I had convinced myself it already was.

But after many brain dumps in my journal and conversations with my partner, I no longer allow these fears to drag me down.

My sexuality does not depend on my partner’s gender

This is the most important lesson, but also the most difficult one to accept.

Dating a man has not diminished my queerness. It has helped me understand it in a different light. I am a strong bisexual woman, and being in a straight relationship with a man I love does not change that.