8 Questions I Get Asked As A Bi Woman
There are a lot of ways that society can make life a little harder for those of us who don’t conform to mainstream society’s expectations. Whether it’s class, race, gender, sexuality, weight, or any number of other things, there are big ways and little ways that we are made to feel other, to feel less than. The big issues are relatively easy to talk about; the right to marry, access to education, access to financial services, the right to feel safe on the streets, etc. These are all hugely important injustices that must be addressed. On top of these issues: there are microagressions: little ways the society always reminds you that you are in some way different. A lot of the time, it’s hard to call people out on these, because they are disguised as perfectly acceptable social behavior. When you call someone out, you may be called “too sensitive” or “too politically correct.”
Especially insidious are the questions that people ask when you come out as bisexual. Many times, when you tell someone that you are bi, they respond with what seems like harmless curiosity. On the one hand, you want to help inform people, help them understand. On the other hand these questions can quickly become a gross invasion of privacy. Here are eight questions that I’ve been asked (sometimes more than once) and the offensive assumptions at their root.
“Will you have a relationship with a man again?”
When ask this question, it is being assumed that I am unsatisfied in my current relationship. People insist that eventually I will go back to being straight or come out as fully gay. My bisexuality is perceived as illegitimate or as a passing phase, whether or not I am in a committed relationship.
“I heard you’re strictly into girls. Are you into guys too?”
When I am dating a woman and a man asks me this question, this is a very not subtle assumption that we must be interested in a threesome with said man. This objectifies both my relationship and me. It is assumed that because I am bisexual my commitment, intimacy, and love for my partner are somehow less than.
“How do you have sex?”
You may be detecting a theme here. Many of these questions carry the assumption that sex is only “real” if it involves penetration with a penis. It also implies a complete lack of knowledge about women’s bodies and sexuality. People cannot believe that a woman who has enjoyed sex with men, could ever be happy without it.
“Are you afraid she will go back to a man?”
My current partner’s mother has asked her this question. I’m very close with her, yet she still showed concern for her daughter. My partner explained that if I left her, she would need to recover. That’s sweet, however the loss would exist regardless of whether or not I end up with another woman or a man. The same can be said of anyone in any type of relationship. One puts their heart into the relationship with trust, or it will not work out.
“Am I the type of girl you find attractive?”
I was out with a female partner when a complete stranger asked me this. I didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t my type. I didn’t want to tell her that, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She put me in a difficult situation. I looked behind her, and there were a bunch of men, staring straight at me. I told my girlfriend we had to leave. My sexuality is not a pick-up line, nor am I performing it for people at a bar. Would this woman have walked up to a couple that presented as heterosexual and asked the man if he found her attractive?
“Have you ever been with a man?”
I was out with my current partner just the other night. Neither of us knew the guy that asked the question. There was clearly an assumption that had I been with the “right” man, probably the man asking the question, I wouldn’t be with my current partner. The assumption is that I would have realized I am “really straight” and my bisexuality is “just a phase.” The questioner assumes that I’m only with women until I “find the right guy” who will make me realize I am really straight.
“Do you think if you had a guy go down on you really well, you would be with a man instead of a woman?”
Once again, there is a common theme to these questions. I am not just waiting for the perfect male sexual partner to make me realize that I’m not really attracted to women. I was asked this while out with a “heterosexual couple.” The man in the relationship asked the question. My female partner at the time was with me. It was not her first time being with a bisexual woman, or hearing a question like that. By asking me questions like this, people deny the love and intimacy I have with my partner, assuming we are only together for sex; that sex with her could never compare to sex with a man.
When I was in a relationship with a man after coming out as bisexual, someone asked me: “Is that fair to him?”
Once I am with a man, these confused people are suddenly concerned that my bisexuality means I must be a closeted lesbian. They assume I am just “waiting for the perfect lady to come around” and lure me away from my man. The person I was with knew I didn’t love him any less because I was bisexual. However, my attraction to, and ability to love both genders, often arouses suspicion in others.
We understand that you may have questions, but take a second to think before asking people deeply personal questions. A good litmus test is, would this be an appropriate question to ask a heterosexual couple? Would you ask a woman, out with her boyfriend, if she would leave him if another man performed really excellent oral sex on her? If you really do have questions, remember to ask them respectfully and consider where you are/who you are with. Just like everyone else, some bisexual folks are very open about their personal life and some are very private. Maybe a crowded bar isn’t the best place to figure out what kind of questions will or will not be welcomed. When someone tells you that they are bisexual, they are not volunteering to be your sociology subject, they do not owe you an explanation, and they most certainly do not owe you the minute details of their sex life.