Some people assume bisexuality is a phase and that people who say they are bisexual are really gay or straight. But bisexuality is a distinct sexual identity, different from gay or straight.
DeeWho is Dee?
Hi! I’m here to help you explore what it means to be bisexual. It starts with the core element of attraction. In other words, who are you attracted to? Bisexuality is often misunderstood, but the more we learn, the more we understand that it is a sexual orientation all its own. And it has nothing to do with how we show up in the world, or the body we were born with. Let’s dig in...
Bisexuality is often misunderstood by both the gay and straight communities. Increase your understanding here!
Hear from one of the top researchers of bisexuality, Dr. Tania Israel about the complexities of bisexuality.
Bisexuality is more than attraction or behavior. It’s about how people see themselves and how they identify.
Hear from people who are bisexual as they talk about their identities and relationships.
Until recently, researchers largely overlooked the study of bisexuality.
Explore why bisexuality has been overlooked by scientists and is still invisible to many.
Dr. Lisa Diamond, Ph.D., has conducted significant research that debunks the myth that bisexuality is just a phase.
The demographics of bisexuality among LGBT individuals.
(Adj.) Describes the sexual orientation of persons who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to persons of the same sex/gender. While the term is most often used to describe men, it can also be used more broadly to refer to both men and women (i.e., gay man, gay woman, gay people).
Homosexual / Homosexuality
(Noun) A term that describes a primary or exclusive sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to persons of one's own sex/gender. The term is considered outdated by many in the LGBTQ+ community but is still used in some research contexts.
(Adj./Noun) Refers to the sexual orientation of women who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to women.
(Adj.) Alternative term to LGBTQ+. An umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual. Historically a negative term and insult, queer is being reclaimed by many LGBTQ+ people—particularly youth—as a source of pride and political identity. The term is valued by some for its defiance, by some because it can be inclusive of the entire community, and by others who find it to be an appropriate term to describe their more fluid identities. “Queer” is still disliked by some people in the LGBTQ+ community and its use by straight people can be considered offensive. Due to its varying meanings, this word should only be used when self-identifying or quoting someone who self-identifies as queer (i.e. “My cousin identifies as genderqueer.”)
(Noun) An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction or non-attraction to other people. People use a variety of labels to describe their sexual orientation. Some of the better-known labels or categories include bisexual, pansexual, asexual, lesbian, gay or straight. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender and gender non-conforming people may identify with any sexual orientation, and their sexual orientation may or may not change before, during or after gender transition.
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Citations & Sources
Bouchard, K.N., Timmers, A.D., Chivers, M.L. (2015). Gender-specificity of genital response and self-reported sexual arousal in women endorsing facets of bisexuality [Abstract]. Journal of Bisexuality 15 (2), 180-203.
Clark, T. (n.d.). Invisability: Talking about bisexuality and aging. Retrieved from https://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/pdfs/INVISIBILITY%20bisexuality%20and%20aging%20NRC%20fact%20sheet%20final%206.2.20171.pdf
Copen, C.E., Chandra, A., & Febo-Vazquez, I. (2016). Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual orientation among adults aged 18–44 in the United States: Data from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth. CDC: National Health Statistics Report, 88. Retrieved from http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/01/06/nhsr88.pdf
Danielle. (n.d.). I’m From Mt. Sinai, NY. Retrieved on January 11, 2018, from http://imfromdriftwood.com/im-from-mt-sinai-ny/
Denizet-Lewis, B. (2014). The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/magazine/the-scientific-quest-to-prove-bisexuality-exists.html
Diamond, L. (2008). Female Female bisexuality from adolescence to adulthood: Resulting from a 10-year longitudinal Study [Abstract]. Developmental Psychology, 44 (1), 5-14.
Dotinga, R. (2016, January 8). More woman report having same-sex relationships. Retrieved January 11, 2018, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-women-report-same-sex-relationships
*Friedman, M. R., Dodge, B., Schick, V., Herbenick, D., Hubach, R. D., Bowling, J., ... & Reece, M. (2014). From bias to bisexual health disparities: Attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the United States. LGBT health, 1(4), 309-318.
Gates, G. J. (2014). LGBT demographics: Comparisons among population-based surveys. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/lgbt-demogs-sep-2014.pdf
Israel, T. Bisexuality and youth: Introduction to the special issue [Abstract]. Journal of Bisexuality, 2010(4), 359-365.
Israel, T. (2015, July 7). Bisexuality and beyond: Tania Israel [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=APPb__tpGHk
Johnston, T.R. (2016). Bisexual aging and cultural competency training: Responses to five common misconceptions [Abstract]. Journal of Bisexuality, 16(1), 99-111.
The Kinsey Scale. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/publications/kinsey-scale.php
Rosenthal, A.M., Sylva, D., Safron, A., Bailey, J. M. (2012). The male bisexuality debate revisited: Some bisexual men have bisexual arousal patterns [Abstract]. Archives of Sexual Behavior 41, 135-147.
Ward, B. W., Dahlhamer, J. M. Galinsky, A. M., Joestl, S. S. 2014. Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013. CDC: National Health Statistics Report, 77. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf