If you’re gay, it goes almost without saying that you also know what it’s like to be stereotyped. It’s something just about every community on the planet has had to deal with from time to time and the LGBTQ community is definitely no exception. Thankfully, people are a lot more socially aware than they once were, so it’s a lot less common to run into someone that truly doesn’t have a clue what it does (and doesn’t) mean to be gay.
However, myths and erroneous beliefs about bisexuals persist and not just among straight people either. Quite a few gay people are guilty of stereotyping bisexual people too and it’s really time we stopped. The following are just a few of the most persistent myths that need to be banished ASAP. How many are you guilty of buying into?
- “They just don’t know what they want.”
These days, most people have a pretty good understanding of what it means to be gay, but they also tend to think people have to be either gay or straight. Bisexuals get caught in the middle a lot and are seen as confused or as people that can’t make their minds up. It’s often presumed that bisexuals are simply gay people that are uncomfortable coming all the way out of the closet as well.
While there are definitely gay people that do go through a bisexual period as part of their journey toward out-and-proud homosexuality, it’s wrong to assume that’s what every bisexual person is doing. Most people that strongly identify as bisexual do so because that’s what it means to live their truth. It’s not a phase. It’s simply who they are.
- “They’re selfish people that want it both ways.”
Bisexuals also get a lot of undeserved flack for being selfish. They’re seen as people that don’t want to make their minds up because they’d rather just retain access to everything on the menu. They’re also sometimes seen as complete sex addicts that don’t have any self-control, can’t keep it in their pants, and don’t see why they should have to.
Of course, bisexuals aren’t any more selfish than gay people or straight people. They’re not necessarily looking to have as many different partners as possible either. They simply have the ability to be attracted to or fall in love with more than one gender, period.
- “They spread sexually transmitted diseases.”
Bisexual people are actually no more likely to be careless about having safe sex than gay people are. At the end of the day, men who like to have sex with other men don’t have to worry about impregnating anyone, so they’re more likely to throw caution to the wind and contract an STI as a result. However, that’s something we all need to stop doing regardless of our sexual orientation.
Gay, bi, or straight, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself from STIs. Have safe sex every single time. Get on PrEP so you’re covered if you ever do slip up. Use protection always and – if necessary for you – use contraception as well. Definitely stop buying into the myth that bisexuals by definition are people that spread disease.
- “They’re more likely to cheat on you.”
Of all the myths and misconceptions flying around out there about bisexuals, this may be one of the most persistent. People tend to assume that if a bisexual guy is in a relationship with another man, but also has the ability to be attracted to women, there’s no way he’ll ever be able to be faithful. There will always be things he craves, but that his partner can’t give him, so how can he help it, right?
Actually, that’s not how bisexuality works, nor is it how cheating works. Bisexual people have more dating options than the rest of us when it comes to who they can be attracted to in the first place, but that’s it. They’re more than capable of falling in love, being monogamous, or feeling 100% satisfied with just one person.
- “They’re all polyamorous.”
If you’ve ever felt like there are more openly polyamorous people in the LGBTQ community than there are anywhere else, you’re not wrong. Gay, bi, trans, or queer people by their very nature are a lot more likely to think outside the box and question established social norms when it comes to how they manage their relationships or approach their sex lives.
There’s no evidence to suggest bisexuals are any more likely to adopt a polyamorous lifestyle than a gay person is though. They’re certainly not all polyamorous. Plenty of bisexuals are quite traditional and strongly prefer monogamous, committed relationships with just one special person, so don’t count them out just because you’re not personally into polyamory.
- “They expect their partners to be into threesomes.”
This is another really common bisexual stereotype – that bi people find having sex with just one person at a time to be boring and limiting. Yes, threesomes can be awesome if that’s something that you’re into. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone of any orientation that is strictly into threesomes and nothing else though.
Most bisexual people definitely enjoy having sex one-on-one. Plenty do enjoy threesomes, foursomes, or even full-blown group sex as well. However, none of that has anything to do with their being bi. Bi people are certainly no more likely to be into the occasional group thing than a straight or gay person would be.
- “They’re really rare and the bi community is small.”
The fact that bisexuality isn’t fully understood or accepted yet can give the illusion that the bi community is really tiny and that true bisexuals are pretty rare. In actuality, the bi community is a lot larger and more varied than you probably think it is. Its members are just a lot less likely to be open or vocal about who they are and who they’re attracted to.
Even other members of the LGBTQ community can be quick to judge those that are bi. Lots of bi people report not really feeling like they’re “real” members of the community or that they have the same right to speak out or attend events like pride parades that gay people do. This is largely because of the stigma that’s still attached to bisexuality and it’s high time we put a stop to it – especially since every single gay person knows what it’s like to be marginalized and judged too.
- “They don’t exist at all.”
There are those that believe the bi community is miniscule. Then there are those that doubt it exists at all, even within LGBTQ circles. That’s what happens when you still see sexuality as a black-and-white concept instead of as something complex and varied that can express itself in numerous different ways.
The more we learn about how human sexuality works, the more we realize it’s more of a spectrum than anything else. There are certainly those that are strictly gay or straight. However, there are many, many more people that are somewhere in the middle. The closer to the middle you are, the more likely you’re going to be to identify as bisexual instead of just “bi-curious” or “open to experimentation”. So yes, not only do bi people exist, but there are more of them out there than you probably imagine.
- “Everyone is bisexual.”
Next we have the other side of the “no one is bisexual” coin – the assumption that there’s no such thing as anyone who’s not bisexual. People who think this are similar to those that assume that there’s no such thing as a human being who’s happy in a monogamous relationship. In fact, many of them are bisexual themselves, meaning they’re guilty of assuming literally everyone else on the planet is either like them or in denial.
This thinking is especially persistent when people are talking about women. Most of that is the fault of the mainstream media. The media is still super into sexualizing women to the tune of big bucks and there are always going to be women that choose to play along. Going along to get along, doesn’t make them bisexual though.
- “They’re only into binary genders.”
This myth is definitely one that’s more persistent than it should be – that bisexual people aren’t attracted to men or women that don’t also fit into the widely accepted gender binary. Of course, there are always going to be those out there that do prefer that, but it’s because that just so happens to be what they’re attracted to. It has nothing to do with the fact that they’re bi instead of gay or straight.
Being bisexual means you can be sexually or romantically attracted to more than one gender. This can (and often does) include trans people, gender-queer folks, and just about anyone else that exists outside the binary. At the end of the day, bi people have almost everything in common with gay or straight people, especially the fact that they’re individuals with their own unique values, preferences, and approaches to life. Isn’t it time we treated them like it?