9 Ridiculous Questions People Ask About Being Bi and How to Answer Them
Being bi is wonderful and having a supportive community makes it even better. It’s great to be around people who understand and support you, people to whom you don’t have to explain your sexuality. Sadly we are all forced to leave our chosen supportive community at times. Some of us are forced to do so more often than others. Going out into the world can be hard. Most people will assume that you are either heterosexual or homosexual, normally based on signifiers like how you dress or the perceived gender of your partner. When you move to correct these false impressions, you are often perceived as “pushy.”
Sometimes, after mentioning my bisexuality in conversation, there’s silence followed by some incredibly frustrating statements/questions. This annoying follow up conversation often keeps us in the closet, so here are some easy scripts to get you through those conversations/interrogations.
“I don’t believe in bisexuality”
That’s cool, I don’t believe in heterosexuality. It doesn’t matter what you believe, I know that I’m bi.
“If bisexuality is real, how come I’ve never met any bi people?”
Here I am! If this is how you treat bi people, I’m not surprised more haven’t been honest about their sexuality around you.
“How do you know you’re bi, couldn’t it just be a phase?”
How do you know you’re straight, couldn’t it just be phase?
I am the person best equipped to know my own identity, just as you are the person best equipped to know your own identity. Do me the decency of believing me.
“I don’t date bi people”
That’s good, I don’t date idiots.
“Aren’t you always going to cheat on your partner with someone of the other gender? Can you even be monogamous?”
In a recent study, 20% of straight-identified men watch male same-sex porn, and 7.5% of the straight-identified men surveyed reported having sex with a man in the last 6 months. You will find plenty of other reports of straight-identified men not behaving strictly heterosexually. Identifying as straight doesn’t guarantee you’ll never be attracted to a member of the same sex.
Monogamy is a choice we make. If my partner and I choose to be monogamous, I will be monogamous. Straight folks don’t quit being attracted to other people just because they are dating, celibate people don’t stop feeling attraction just because they aren’t having sex. Bi people are just like other people in this respect. Not acting on those attractions makes you monogamous. Cheaters cheat, this is true of bi folks, gay folks, and straight folks.
“Yeah, but my friend’s cousin’s girlfriend left him for a woman and now she’s a lesbian.”
My friend’s straight husband left her for another woman, yet I still date straight men. Some people behave badly.
Odds are good she didn’t just “turn lesbian,” it could just be that she was bi the whole time. Now you know two of us.
“Are you sure you’re bi? Are you just doing it to attract men?”
Yep, I’m still sure I’m bi. No, I’m not going through all the work of a relationship with someone that I’m not attracted to in order to impress a man I might meet someday. Instead I just date people to whom I’m attracted, sometimes they’re ladies. Before you ask, no I don’t want to have a threesome with you and your girlfriend/wife.
“Have you dated more men or women? Which do you prefer to sleep with?”
How many partners have you had? What was your favorite position? Are you positive she wasn’t faking her orgasms? You don’t get to ask me extra prying questions, just because I’m bi.
Also, it doesn’t matter. I am bi regardless of whom I am currently dating or have dated. Bisexuality doesn’t mean that you are equally attracted to all people all the time. I like bi activist Robyn Ochs’s definition:
“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
“But now that I know you’re bi it is literally the only thing I ever want to talk about.”
Okay, I haven’t heard these exact words, but it does happen. Sometimes you just have to be blunt and say: “Yes, I am bi; no, I am not telling you intimate details of my life; no, I don’t want to sleep with you, and all your prying is just plain rude.” Then change the subject.
Being out to the world can be amazing. It’s wonderful to have a supportive community at your back. Even in the wider world, it is great not to have to self-edit. It’s so freeing to be able to talk about all of your past relationships without creatively using gender neutral pronouns to describe your past partners.
A recent study looked at the personal benefits of coming out and found that all participants benefited from being out to some degree. This isn’t an option for everyone, but when it is it can be much more rewarding than many people expect.
On a larger scale, it is also important that bi folks are out and in the open. So many people stay in the closet because they think that they are alone and because of the stigma around bisexuality. The more bi folks who are visible, the more we can overcome these stigmas and make it safer for others to come out.
So, although it isn’t your job to be out, and it certainly isn’t your responsibility to justify your sexuality to perfect strangers, it is something very real that one can do to help others. Maybe my answers to the ridiculous questions that I am asked are too flippant, maybe you need to find your own voice, but it will be a little easier if you have couple answers ready.