Why I Put Bi on my Dating Profile

3/20/2017
I’d say the most common question I get from bi folks, specifically newly out bi men, is “Should I put that I’m bi on my online dating profile?”
I wish I could just reply, “Yes, you 100% should!” or “No. There’s absolutely no reason you should feel compelled to do so.” But of course, when it comes to dating and sexuality, few things are ever that simple. 
Here’s what I see as the pros and cons of putting your bisexuality on your dating profile
Hopefully, this helps! 

Pros of putting bisexual on your dating profile:

Lets You Avoid the Whole “When Do I Come Out” Dilemma

I think this, by far, is the largest pro about putting bi on your dating profile. Often times, especially when we just start identifying as bi, it’s nerve-wracking to tell other folks. It’s even more nerve-wracking to tell potential romantic partners. We are hit by a barrage of questions. “Will they still like me after I come out as bi?” “When should I tell them? On the first date?” “How should I tell them? Should I just drop in an ex who was of a different gender?” “What if they don’t want to date me after I come out to them?” On first dates, you frequently become so concerned about coming out, and whether or not they will like you, that you forget to asses whether or not you like them.
First dates are always (at least a little) stressful and anxiety-inducing. You don’t want to add even more worries than you already have. If you state that you’re bi on your dating profile, this lets you avoid some of the worries that come from your date not knowing that you’re bi prior to meeting up. 

You Know They’re Okay With Your Bisexuality (At Least in Theory)

They agreed to go on a date with you! That means they’re accepting of your bisexuality (hopefully!). Sadly, this isn’t always the case. About two and a half years ago, I met this woman, and I thought we really hit it off. She knew I was bi, and agreed to go on a date with me. One date led to two more, and I thought things were going really well. Our third date even ended with a makeout session! She then ghosted me. I texted and called, and received no response. I asked my friend (who was friends with her) what happened. Did I misread her interest? Did she find another guy? Did I do anything wrong? My friend told me that she was “scared away” (exact quote) by my bisexuality. She thought she was okay with it, but in the end, realized that she couldn’t date a man who was bi (at least at this point in time). I was pretty annoyed and depressed after. Especially because we had only spoken about my bisexuality on the first date. I answered her questions. She even mentioned her attraction to women and desire to explore that more. My bisexuality didn’t come up on the next two dates, and still, she was scared off by it! This personal anecdote was a long way to say that they should be okay with your sexuality if they agree to go on a date with you, but that might not always be the case. Still, it does weed out a lot of biphobic folks. 

It Will Attract Other Bi+ Folks

A number of bi folks don’t put that they are bi on their dating profile, but are looking to date other bi+ folks. I’ve noticed that when I display my sexuality on my dating profiles, I receive many more matches and messages from other bi+ folks. This is great for me. I love dating other bi people. In fact, my current and past two relationships were with other bi+ identifying people. I’m not saying that you ONLY have to date other bi folks. Of course that isn’t the case. But I’ll be honest, I love it. In my opinion, it mitigates a lot of the struggles (either implicit or explicit) that come from dating a gay or straight person. 

Reveals That You Are Not Ashamed of Your Sexuality

Yay for bi pride and bi visibility! There is, obviously, nothing to hide about your bisexuality and by displaying it prominently, you show you’re not confused, afraid, ashamed, or anything else. It shows confidence in who you are! (FYI: That doesn’t mean that the opposite is true. Not displaying doesn’t means you’re ashamed or not confident. But I would argue that displaying is perceived as being more secure in your sexuality, even if that isn’t the case.)

Cons of putting bisexual on your dating profile:

You Will Have Fewer People Interested in Meeting You

These are the facts. Still, still, many folks, both gay and straight, don’t want to date bi people. They believe false stereotypes, are nervous you’ll leave them for someone of another gender, and all that jazz. Sometimes meeting them in person helps with this. They get to know you, like you, and trust you. Then you’re able to put their concerns at rest. But sometimes, they might not be willing to even meet up with you. They’re too afraid to give it (and you) a shot. 

You Will Get Propositioned For Threesomes

This is more so for women than men. (I think I’ve only been propositioned for threesomes a half a dozen times in my years of being out on dating profiles). This, needless to say, is annoying as all hell. Especially if you’re trying to find a monogamous relationship. That said, it’s not the end of the world. Simply delete and ignore the requests. However, it can definitely wear you down, and make you less optimistic about dating.   
Those are some pros and cons, here’s what I’ve heard from other folks debating whether or not to display their bisexuality on their dating profiles:

You’re newly out and every potential romantic partner you tell is no longer interested in you after you come out to them

Then yes, put bi on your profile! Even though you’ll receive fewer offers for first dates, I’d still highly recommend putting bi on your dating profile. The dates you go on will be better, and you won’t have to worry as much as to whether or not the person is going to still like you after you come out as bi.

You have social or generalized anxiety

Then do it! When you struggle with anxiety, being closeted to the person you’re romantically interested in is very anxiety-inducing. You want to alleviate any first date anxiety, and letting them know before the first date can help you feel more comfortable and less anxious on it. 

It seems like no one wants to date you because you have bi on your dating profile. 

Then maybe it’s time to take it off, just for a little bit, to see if you can get some more dates. Then, on the first date, after you woo them and you know they’re into you, you can mention that you’re bi. At this point, it won’t matter because you’ve already won them over, and they’re crushing on you hard. Be aware that even though you are awesome, as are your wooing skills, you may face some uncomfortable rejection.

You’re not quite out to everyone and are worried about being outed

Well then, maybe don’t do it. However, dating when you’re not quite completely out is very difficult. I would really encourage you to come out, (only if it’s safe to do so). Semi-closeted dating is not fun, I remember doing it in my late teens and early twenties. I would never want to go back to that again.  

What do you do, Zach? 

You could probably guess by now, but I display it. I’ve experimented with both, but for me, the pros of putting bi on my dating profile far outweigh the cons. That said, this is 100% your choice. I don’t think you should feel obligated to put that you’re bi on your dating profile if you don’t want to do so. However, for your sake, and to make your romantic/dating life easier, I would highly consider doing so! 
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.