Myths about bisexuality

Two great posts on myths about bisexuality:

In the first post, Samantha Joel summarises the scientific research which challenges the common myths that bisexuality doesn’t exist, that bisexuality is just a phase, and that bisexual people are unfaithful to their partners.

Bisexuality myths Debunked by science Science of Relationships

Bisexuality is the tendency to be sexually attracted to both men and women. This may sound like a superpower to some – double the romantic options means double the romantic odds, right? But in reality, bisexuality can be a bit of an awkward identity to have. Bisexual people are not “straight”, which can make it difficult to feel like a part of the sexual majority. On the other hand, bisexual people can often pass as straight, particularly when they have an opposite-sex partner, which can sometimes make it difficult to feel connected to the LGBT community.

Most importantly, bisexuality tends to be quite misunderstood. Myths and stereotypes about bisexuality abound, some of which even contradict one another. Straight and LGBT people alike can hold these stereotypes, which compounds the difficulties that bisexual people can have fitting into either group. Luckily, an increasing number of researchers have become interested in bisexuality in recent years, and with research, our understanding of bisexuality is improving. Here are three examples of how science has worked to combat the many misconceptions about bisexuality:  Read more…

In the second post, Shiri Eisner asks whether we should be defensively debunking the myths about bisexuality (as so many bisexual community websites do) or whether there is an argument for not busting the myths because many of them are about trying to prove that bisexual folk meet standards of normativity that actually might be worth challenging.

The Myth of Myth-bustingRadical Bi

In a recent blog post, The Suburban Bi dedicated a paragraph to what she referred to as the “obligatory myth-busting post that pretty much every blog on bisexuality provides”. And indeed, it seems near-impossible to encounter any English-language text about bisexuality without seeing these same myths countered in this same way. I thought I would take this opportunity to explore what this myth-busting and these myths mean, politically, and for us as a community.

Quoth The Suburban Bi:

  • Existence.Yes – we do.
  • Monogamy. Yes – we can.
  • Fidelity. Yes – we can. And – we do.
  • HIV & AIDS. No – it’s notall our fault.
  • Confusion. No – we’re really not.
  • Indecision. No – that’s not what fluidity means.
  • Greed. Yes, we can have just one piece of cake.
  • Pants. Yes – we’re as capable as anyone else of keeping our various bits in them.
  • Choice. No – we cannot choose to be straight; we cannot choose to be gay; we did not choose our sexual orientation in some thoughtlessly frivolous moment of rapacious abandon. Who does?

Let’s walk through some of those, shall we? No, we’re not promiscuous. No, we don’t sleep around. No, we’re not infectious. No, we don’t choose to be the way we are (SRSLY, why would anyone choose that?). Yes, we’re normal. No, we don’t threaten your sexual identification. Yes, we are just like you. No, you are not in danger of being like us. No, we don’t threaten your beliefs, your society or your safety. Read more…

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More on myth-busting

For a slightly less serious take on bisexuality myths (which we posted about last time), see:

Ten Totally True Things about Bisexuality

Analysis of myth-busting

Over on Radical bi there is a very sophisticated analysis of the kind of myth-busting people generally do on websites and other information about bisexuality.

Generally speaking we tend to collect together biphobic myths (bisexual people don’t exist, bisexual people are greedy, bisexual people need to make their minds up, bisexual people choose to be bisexual) and provide evidence why these are wrong. Radical bi argues that we may do this to try to make bisexuality more palatable to dominant, mainstream culture. Perhaps it would be more radical to acknowledge the ways in which bisexuality does challenge the current status quo and find new, more celebratory, ways of responding to these myths.

For example, rather than countering the myth that bisexual people are confused, we could celebrate the capacity of bisexual people to embrace uncertainty, and also we could celebrate the doubt that bisexuality raises about current dominant ways of conceptualising sexuality (that it is all about gender of attraction, and that there are only two possible sexualities).

We still feel that there is space to challenge some of the myths which circulate about bisexuality, but it is definitely also useful to ask ourselves where these myths are coming from, who we are speaking to when we challenge them, whether simply dismissing them may reinforce them in some ways, and whether there are other ways to creatively engage with them.