Bisexuality FAQ

I’m bisexual. People have opinions about it. People also have questions – a lot of questions, some of them pretty idiotic, some perfectly valid. Here are the questions I get most often about my sexual identity…

Which do you prefer, cock or pussy?

Well, first of all, that’s a super rude question. Other than queer folks, trans folks, and maybe some disabled folks, I don’t know anyone who routinely gets asked personal questions about their sex lives and genitals by total strangers. It’s grossly inappropriate. If you really want to know which I “prefer,” you should get to know me better and be more tactful about the way you ask.

Secondly, the whole premise of this question is really kind of stupid. I don’t choose lovers based on what genitalia they have. Yeah, that’s something I think about as we’re getting to know each other (“This person has a penis; guess I better start thinking about birth control!” or “This person has a vagina; I wonder if she would like to do some strap-on play when we get to that point!”), but it’s not an initial consideration. I don’t think to myself, “Okay, I’m attracted to this woman and also to this man, but I can’t make up my mind… Whose genitals do I prefer?” I fall in love with and become attracted to people as individuals.

Who gives better head/is better at sex, guys or girls?

I’ve put this question here because its answer is sort of a continuation of the last answer. Guess what? People are individuals; they can’t be generalized by their genders.

Personally, my current male partner is the best I’ve ever had, but that doesn’t mean that men overall are better at sex. Some men are good at sex, some are bad, some are in between; same deal with women. A good partner (communicative, enthusiastic, generous, adventurous) is going to be a good partner regardless of their gender or genitals; same deal with a bad partner (selfish, boring, uncommunicative).

Are you really a lesbian?

Nope. I’ve been attracted to men.

Are you really straight?

Nope. I’ve been attracted to women.

If the only women you’re attracted to are butch/androgynous ones, why don’t you just date men? Isn’t it basically the same thing?

Uh, no. See above re: people being individuals and not being reducible to their genders or genitals.

Imagine this: you’re in a very happy relationship with a woman who happens to dye her hair red. I say to you, “If you like redheads so much, why don’t you just date a natural redhead instead?” You explain to me that you like your girlfriend, not just her hair color – and you love her as an individual, not for her particular traits.

Well, exactly. I become attracted to butch women not because I’m specifically seeking out masculinity but because those are just the kinds of people I can be attracted to, so I sometimes find myself drawn to an individual person within that group. For her totality as a person. Not just for her butchness.

So do you cheat on your partners?/Are you capable of being monogamous?

I’m currently in a “monogamish” relationship (our arrangement is that we are allowed to flirt with and kiss other people, but no more than that). I don’t think of myself as being naturally monogamous and I would to explore consensual non-monogamy more in my future relationships.

However, this has absolutely nothing to do with my sexual orientation. Monogamousness and sexual orientation are separate – many straight people are not naturally monogamous, just as many queer people want to share their love and sex with only one person at a time. The two have nothing to do with each other, though non-monogamy is likelier to be openly acknowledged and accepted in queer communities than in straight ones, because queer people are already transgressing conventional social standards just by being queer so they are (usually) more okay with pushing the envelope in their relationships.

Just because I can be happy with both men and women doesn’t mean that I need to be with both men and women at one time. I’ve met countless bisexuals in my life and I’ve only ever met one who felt that she needed to be having sex with both men and women in order to be satisfied – and again, that has more to do with her proclivity toward non-monogamy than it has to do with her sexual orientation.

Why do you sometimes describe yourself as “queer”? Isn’t that an offensive term?

It has been used as an offensive term for a long time, and some people still find it offensive, yes. However, similar to “dyke” and “fag,” it has been reclaimed by many folks as a positive descriptor. Generally, if you use the word “queer” within an LGBT space, no one will bat an eye.

When I use the word, I am using it as an umbrella term to mean basically anything that isn’t straight – so it may include people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, questioning, heteroflexible, and label-free. Some people also put trans and genderqueer people into the category of “queer,” though I see gender identity as being a separate struggle from sexual orientation so I define them separately.

When describing my sexual orientation, I usually use the word “bisexual” in straight spaces, because almost everyone knows what it means, but I usually use the word “queer” in LGBT spaces because it’s more inclusive of all my attractions – and also because there is sometimes some biphobia in gay and lesbian spaces, so it’s sometimes best to avoid identifying myself as bi if I want to be taken seriously. (It’s a sad truth!)

Why do you call yourself “bisexual” instead of “pansexual”? Isn’t “bisexual” a cissexist term?

Yes, some people believe that the term “bisexual” is cissexist because it only acknowledges a binary of gender – i.e. two genders, male and female. I understand, appreciate, and accept that criticism.

However, in my case, “bisexual” is apt because 99.9% of my attractions are to people who fall into one of two specific gender categories – men (cis or trans) and butch/androgynous women. My attractions still fall into a binary, even though it’s not the conventional gender binary, so the term “bisexual” fits me.

The term “pansexual” suggests that I can be attracted to any type of person, regardless of their gender presentation, which isn’t true for me.

How did you know you were bisexual?

I had suspected it since I was about 11, because I found women’s bodies just as intriguing as men’s bodies in movies and porn clips (um, I was a precocious child).

When I was 15, a girl in one of my classes began to flirt with me – or at least, I perceived it as flirting – and I found myself feeling receptive to that, rather than repulsed by it. Nothing came from that, but later that year, I developed a huge crush on another girl who ended up becoming my first girlfriend.

When you eventually settle down, do you think it’ll be with a man or a woman?

Again, this has to do much more with a person’s individual characteristics than it does with their gender. There are certain traits that I would require in a partner if we were going to have a decades-long relationship, and gender wouldn’t be a factor for me as long as the person had those traits.

I don’t plan on having biological children, and same-sex marriage is legal where I live, so neither of those things will factor into it either.

Why do you have to put a label on yourself? Why can’t you just like who you like?

Some people can do that. Me, I need organization and definitions in order to feel secure. I like having a neat, crisp little word to be able to throw out there when someone asks me about my sexual orientation. It suits my needs. I respect people who can reject all labels, but it’s not for me.

Are you down for a threesome?

Um. Not really. I would have to be attracted to both of the people involved and they would have to both be attracted to me, or I wouldn’t have fun – and that’s unlikely.

Plus, please, for the love of all things sexy and holy, don’t assume that bisexuality automatically equals promiscuity or being cool with anything. Some bi folks are like that but not all.

Sometimes I see a girl who I think is pretty… Does that mean I’m bi too?

Probably not. Do you find yourself wanting to make out with her? Have sex with her? Hold her hand? Go on cute dates together? Refer to her as your girlfriend? If none of those ideas stir up any feelings in you, you’re probably not bi. It’s one thing to appreciate someone’s aesthetics, but it’s quite another thing to actually want some kind of relationship with them.

Does your boyfriend think it’s hot that you’re bi?

If he did, I don’t know if I’d still be with him. Fetishizing someone’s sexual orientation is pretty gross.

He understands and accepts that my bisexuality is a part of who I am. He’s not interested in threesomes or watching me with another woman, so he doesn’t find it sexually exciting; it’s just a fact about me.