Demonized, ostracized, unrecognized, and sexualized…what gives? Though the “bi” in “bisexual” brings to mind either/or dualities, true-to-life bi experience is entirely unique.
Every year, Bi Visibility Day is observed on September 23. (http://september23.bi.org). Still, when it comes to bi visibility and/or invisibility, myths and misconceptions abound.
Dr. J.R. Little has identified 13 prevailing types of bisexuality. On the face of it, these discoveries seek to classify bi experience as seen through a control group study. At the very least, this reveals the fluidity of sexuality in general. Predominant bisexual traits Dr. Little found are the following:
1. Alternating: May be with a man, then after a relationship ends, may choose a female partner for a subsequent relationship, continuing to alternate.
2. Circumstantial: Primarily heterosexual, but will choose same sex partners only if they have no access to other-sex partners, like in gender-segregated circumstances.
3. Concurrent Relationships: Have primary relationship with one gender only, but other casual or secondary relationships with people of another gender concurrently.
4. Conditional: Either straight or gay/lesbian, but switches to a relationship with another gender for a specific purpose, like young straight males who prostitute with men for money or lesbians who marry men for social acceptance, or to have children.
5. Emotional: Have intimate emotional relationships with men and women, but only have sexual relationships with one gender.
6. Integrated: Have more than one primary relationship at the same time, one with a man and one with a woman.
7. Exploratory: Either straight or gay/lesbian, but have sex with another gender just to satisfy curiosity or “see what it’s like.” (Bi-curious.)
8. Hedonistic: Primarily straight or gay/lesbian but will sometimes have recreational sex with a different gender purely for sex.
9. Recreational: Primarily heterosexual, but engage in gay or lesbian sex only when under the influence of substances. (Party-sexual.)
10. Isolated: 100% straight or gay/lesbian now but has had at one or more sexual experience with another gender in the past.
11. Latent: Completely straight or gay lesbian in behavior, but has strong desire for sex with another gender (having never acted on it).
12. Motivational: Example – straight women who have sex with other women to please their male partner who requests it for his own arousal.
13. Transitional: Temporarily identify as bisexual while in the process of moving from being straight to being gay or lesbian, or going from being gay or lesbian to being heterosexual.
No matter what your orientation is, sexual discovery is a process. Whether or not you agree with Dr. Little—or bisexuality in general—if you seek to understand bisexuality, do your best to meet bi folks where they are, without trying to marginalize them or inflict a sense of “wrongness” on them for having their own experience.
Nirvana wrote a song saying, “Everyone is gay.” Did they get that right, or is everybody really bi? What does bisexual consciousness mean to you? Let us know below.