5 Myths About Bisexuality Debunked By A Relationship Expert

Bisexuality is generally understood by the masses, but that doesn't mean myths about it don't persist. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines bisexuality as an identity of attraction to numerous gender or sexual identities. The attraction experienced by someone who identifies as bisexual can be of a sexual or romantic nature, while an emotional connection to multiple gender or sexual identities can also denote bisexuality. Of course, experiencing multiple types of attraction also constitutes bisexuality. Among lesbian, gay, and bisexual demographics, those who identify as bisexual comprise the largest group of the three identities. However, just because those who are bisexual create the biggest of the three most well-known sexual and gender identity groups, there are significant myths surrounding bisexuality and stigmatized impositions such as bi-negativity, bi-erasure, and bi-invisibility.

Sameera Sullivan, a relationship expert and the founder of Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers, tells Glam exclusively that these myths stem from a general lack of education. However, by learning about different identities, we can all become more accepting of one another.

Myth: Bisexuality is just a phase

The premise of stigma experienced by those who identify as bisexual in any capacity of attraction is that there is significant bi-erasure through bypassing the identity as merely a phase or gateway towards becoming fully gay or lesbian, or otherwise merely experimenting with same-sex attraction before returning to a strictly heterosexual identity status. Of this particular myth, which is very harmful because it evokes elements of bi-invisibility, Sameera Sullivan tells Glam exclusively, "This myth suggests that bisexuality is temporary or experimental. However, bisexuality is a valid sexual orientation that can be enduring and consistent throughout a person's life."

According to Cleveland State University, many people who identify as being bisexual are frequently targeted with accusations that they're simply confused, going through a phase rooted in indecisiveness or being undecided, or having another form of inconclusive experience akin to an identity crisis when bisexuality is, in fact, its own identity. Concurrently, it's important to allow each person the room and space to identify themselves how they wish to be identified, not how others believe they should be identified based on their romantic, emotional, or sexual endeavors. This is one of the most proactive ways to end bi-erasure and promote acceptance of those who identify as being bisexual. 

Myth: Bisexual individuals are promiscuous

The myth that those who identify as bisexual are more promiscuous than other sexual identities may be rooted in the aforementioned myth that bisexuality equates to a period of exploration, curiosity, or undecided sexual identity akin to sexual exploration in college or a stereotypical sexual exploration involving promiscuity in young adulthood. "This stereotype unfairly assumes that bisexuality equates to a higher likelihood of infidelity or a constant desire for multiple partners," Sullivan exclusively explains to Glam. 

Echoing the myth of bi promiscuity's debunking, Manchester Pride shares that there's overwhelming harm in pervasive stereotypes that people who are bisexual are more likely to be promiscuous, thus deceitful and immoral. Layering these bisexual myths, the premise of promiscuity, or expressing one's sexuality openly and freely, is given a negative connotation by being labeled wrong and pinpointing those who practice promiscuity as lacking morals and worthy values. 

Emphasizing the myth and its inaccuracies, Sullivan adds, "In reality, bisexuality has no correlation with promiscuity, as each individual's behavior and choices vary." Similarly, bisexuality has commonly been associated with a false belief that they will cheat on a partner of one identity with someone of the other identity of their attraction, per Insider. This myth is exceptionally harmful to the bi community, making it one of the utmost importance to eradicate. 

Myth: Bisexual people are confused

"This myth implies that bisexual individuals are unsure of their sexual orientation. However, bisexuality is a valid and distinct identity, and bisexual individuals can have a clear understanding of their attractions and preferences," Sameera Sullivan exclusively tells us, explaining the lack of awareness around bisexuality as a valid identity. Psychology Today reports that this myth has been ardently debunked by research-backed studies and evidence supporting that bisexuality expressed as an identity during adolescence is unlikely to change, as confirmed through research studying subjects over decades. 

Minus18 shares that there is firm validity in being attracted to multiple gender and sexual identities, not just within bisexuality but within other gender identities such as pansexual. Being bisexual doesn't equate to a person not knowing their gender or sexual identity, nor that they're confused as to which genders they're emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to. 

What's more, a person who is bisexual entering a monogamous, heterosexual relationship does not get rid of their bisexuality, as there is no hierarchy of identity demographics. People who are bisexual aren't confused; they know exactly who they are and retain that identity even if in a heterosexual-presenting relationship.

Myth: Bisexual individuals are equally attracted to all genders

Due to the namesake of the identity signifying duality or the numerical value of two, there is a pervasive myth that people who identify as bisexual are attracted equally to only two genders, traditionally believed to be cis-female and cis-male. "This misconception assumes that bisexual individuals have the same level of attraction to all genders," Sameera Sullivan exclusively explains to Glam about the myth of those who identify as bisexual experiencing equivalent levels of attraction to each gender of attraction rather than the reality of unique rates of attraction to respective genders. In fact, a person who identifies as bisexual may be attracted to multiple gender and sexual identities, all of which are experienced to varying degrees.

"In truth, attraction can vary from person to person and may be influenced by personal preferences and individual connections," adds Sullivan. According to Bi.Org, there are some people who identify as bisexual who are equally drawn to identities of their attraction, while the gist of bisexuality is that it is a unique identity as personalized and tailored to each individual who identifies within the demographic. Admittedly, the nomenclature of the bisexual identity is a tad confusing at first introduction, but this is why education is vital in learning about the many identities and ways of expressing one's attraction, regardless of the terminology used to describe a particular demographic, such as bisexual

Myth: Bisexuality reinforces the gender binary

Many people automatically correlate being bisexual with being attracted emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically to either men or women, thus adhering to the traditional gender binary and not straying from the norm of duality. "This myth suggests that bisexuality perpetuates a binary understanding of gender," Sameera Sullivan exclusively tells Glam, explaining the foundation of harm conducted by this particular myth. She continues, "However, bisexuality encompasses attraction to more than one gender and can include individuals who identify outside of the traditional male-female binary."

As reported by The Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP), bisexuality and pansexuality are often the two gender identities providing choices of identity with limitations found in their prefixes, particularly in the assumption of bi as indicating no more than two, and specifically to the traditional two gender identities of male and female. In challenging this notion, BOP highlights the need for education and awareness because, in reality, the definition of bisexuality is the attraction to at least two identities, no matter the labels of those identities. 

However a person who identifies as bisexual wishes to express their sexuality, it's theirs and theirs alone. "It's essential to dispel these myths and promote a better understanding of bisexuality as a valid and diverse sexual orientation. Recognizing the uniqueness and individuality of bisexual individuals contributes to a more inclusive and supportive society," advises Sullivan.