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The Bisexual Stereotype: Fact vs Fiction
stereotypes about them are well known and well represented in film, scientific studies, books and popular culture. These stereotypes misrepresent both male and female bisexuals in many ways and overlook the emotional, mental and social impact that they can have on society as a whole. Being a bisexual myself, I'm surprised by the disdain and prejudice that bisexuals face in both the hetero and homosexual communities. We are villanized, disregarded and mistrusted, seen as renegades by both communities.
What are these stereotypes and why do they persist? I'm going to go over the larger issues and explain my own views on them.
The biggest stereotype to plague the community is that of promiscuity. Bisexuals are perceived to be more sexual due to their attraction to both sexes and are often seen as being heavily involved in the swinger and polygamist subgroups. As a result bisexual women are often approached for sexual favors by couples, men and swingers who assume that they are open to these sort of interactions because of their sexual identification. In reality, most bisexuals simply acknowledge that they are sexually attracted to both sexes. In no way does this mean that they are active with both genders, much less practicing group sex and conducting multiple relationships! Being attracted to both sexes does not mean that they are ever involved with both of them. In reality, this attraction means that the sexual identity of their partner (romantic or sexual) is not as large a factor in their decision to become involved with them.
Due to their dual attraction this also means that they are seen as being indecisive, incapable of choosing one side of sexuality or the other and therefore being immature. With this comes the idea that they are "hiding" in one community or the other, trying to pretend they are one sexuality when in reality they are the other, depending on the perception of the person that takes this view. Under this also falls the idea that bisexuality is "trendy", just something you call yourself while you flirt with your sexual boundaries and seek attention to feed your ego. Essentially bisexuals make hetero and homosexual people uncomfortable by not conforming to the standards of two very cemented sides in a political and social debate that's gone on for decades. The reality is that the majority of bisexuals are in fact quite certain that they are drawn to both sexes, they are not debating, they are not trying to hide their sexuality. In fact if anything, they are going more and more out of their way to be open about their unique viewpoint
Along with the prejudices of promiscuity and indecisiveness comes the idea that bisexuals spread sexual diseases between homosexuals and heterosexuals. This perception falls in with the idea that bisexuals by nature are so sexual that they cannot help but have multiple partners and spread disease through their interaction. No one group is more responsible for the spread of STDS! The notion that bisexuals for example, brought AIDS to the straight community is ludicrous! Bisexuals are not being fairly considered in such innuendo, it disregards the fact that bisexuals are not any more sexually active than any other sexuality, it assumes that they are virtually addicted to sex and in their sexual interaction they do not use protection, reducing us to reckless children who do not care for our partners!
According to some research and much speculation, the notion of bisexuality has also been regarded as invalid, a phase, a misperception and a myth. I think a good point to be made here is that up until about the 1970s psychologists, and religious groups labeled homosexuality a disease that must be treated. It was very rarely taken seriously and terribly misunderstood. Today the bisexual is subjected to this same sort of narrow mindset. We are treated as immoral, oversexed, indecent and untrustworthy subversives caught in the middle while trying to make the point that we are our own sexuality. When we are open about our sexuality, we are treated as deviants incapable of monogamy and raising children in an appropriate environment. When we are closeted, we must face criticism for "hiding" whether we identify as homosexual or heterosexual.
The only way in which we are different from anyone else is in our perception that both sexes can be sexually and romantically stimulating, everything else is a matter of personal choice and experience. To see us in any other light is not only unfair but also inaccurate. The average bisexual is as subversive and offensive as your typical housecat, we simply choose to see things in varying shades of grey instead of black and white.