Am I Still Bi If…?

7/23/2018

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I was perusing the bisexual-tagged topics on Reddit when I came across a post titled, “Am I still bisexual if…

You can see the entire post here, but in short, the original poster is a 17 year-old, cis man and came out as bi a few months ago. Since then, however, he’s “constantly questioning my sexuality,” and absolutely “hates this feeling.”

The unsure bi teen continued, “Sometimes I am 100% certain I am Bi and other times I am scared I might be faking it. The idea of sex with a guy Is enticing but much less than sex with a girl.”

“Idk [I don’ know],” he continued, “does this feeling ever go away or will I sort of be questioning until I have had a boyfriend. Thanks for listening. I wish I was just 50/50 or something simpler.”

When told by (awesome and supportive!) commenters that he can definitely still claim the bi label, the original poster (let’s call him John), replied,  “I mean I love labeling myself as Bi, it makes me feel special and just good about myself, I am proud to be Bi…”

John continued, “It’s just I fear it may just be a faze [sic] or my stupid teenage brain being confused. It’s just that I don’t want to be accidentally faking it or tricking myself… ya know? If anyone asks me I always respond with ‘I am Bisexual’ I feel proud when saying that but still Idk.”

So much to unpack here. But let’s go ahead and get started, taking it step bi step.

Unpopular opinion, but I do think being equally attracted to men and women romantically and sexually is easier. And while I hate the notion of “50/50” because I think it’s impossible to quantify attraction, and I feel it also excludes gender nonconforming people, I think we all understand what you mean.

That said, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who claims being 50/50. That’s not to say these people don’t exist, but from my experience, the majority of individuals who claim a bi+ label aren’t equally attracted to men and women.

So John, you’re not alone in your unequal attractions. You’re also not alone in that your attraction isn’t stagnant. Most people aren’t at a constant 20/80 or 60/40 or anything else. Sexuality is ever-evolving.

I like to think of my sexual attractions in a similar manner to my sexual kinks. It’s an apt comparison, as both are part of my larger sexual identity. Over the years, I’ve had more kinks that I can count. And while there’s no reason to delve into detail regarding the sexual kinks/fetishes I enjoy, I can tell you that they have changed drastically over time. Some I’ve had since I was 16, and over a decade later, I still have them. Most, however, have come and gone. Some I’ve had a for a month or two, never to have again. Others, I think will be over, but then — boy oh boy — they return with a vengeance.

Similarly, your attractions to multiple genders can (and will likely) change over time. This doesn’t in any way discredit your bisexuality.

In your post you also spoke about your porn consumption and how you’ll go a week without watching any same-sex porn. I’ve done that too. That doesn’t make me or you any less bi.

You’re confused because of society and the preconceived notions individuals have about bisexuality. If we lived in a world where more people were open about their attractions to multiple genders to various degrees, you wouldn’t feel as confused. If there was less stigma and rigidness surrounding what it “means” to be bi, you also wouldn’t feel so unsure about your sexuality.

Next John, I want to move onto how you replied to one of the commenters. You wrote about being proud to be bi, but “fearing you’re accidentally faking it or tricking myself.”

Let me tell you you’re not faking it. If you’re masturbating often to gay porn, you’re not straight. Took me years of jacking off to gay porn (inconsistently, just like you) to realize that I’m bi.

The fear you have of faking it or tricking yourself is again, because of the preconceived notions about what it means to be bi. Notions that need to be tossed out the window because everyone experiences and expresses their bisexuality in different ways. There is no “normal” or “right” way to be bi.

As for being proud, you absolutely should be! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear you claim the bi label proudly. You even wrote that labeling yourself as bi makes you “feel special and just good about myself.”

Yes, as it should be! But it seems like you have a fear of co-opting an identity that you worry might not be yours. (Hopefully, this piece has changed your mind, and you realize that you can absolutely claim bisexuality proudly!) But also, just know that you are special and have a right to feel good about yourself. There’s no shame in that, even if you don’t have everything “figured out” so to speak. (Spoiler: You never have everything figured out; you simply become better at dealing with — even embracing — ambiguity.)

And I know how corny it sounds to call you special, but you are. And we know you’re special because your bisexuality manifests itself in different ways than other bi+ people. So you are literally different and special. Ironically, it’s being special (and experiencing your bisexuality differently) that also inhibits you from claiming the bi label.

So know this. You are special. You are bi. Your attractions may change over time. And you have every right to claim the bi label proudly.

Welcome to the bi+ community, John. We’re more than happy to have you.

Zachary Zane
Zachary Zane a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, speaker, YouTuber, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, relationships, and culture. He's a contributing editor at The Advocate Magazine, a columnist at Bi.org, and currently writes for The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Out Magazine, and PRIDE.