The myth of the “bad” bisexual: How bi women feel like failures

All sorts of things can make people feel like they’re failing at being bisexual

Bi people have often felt stigmatised, and that attitude hasn’t gone away

Much like unicorns and pixies, bisexuals are beings of legend, whose existence among us is unseen at best, and questioned at worst. Bisexual people seem to slip through the cracks, erased from the collective consciousness quicker than the Silence on Doctor Who.

And, to add insult to injury, when we manage to be seen, it’s rarely a rainbow walk in the park. Often, people rush to tell you how you’re wrong about your own sexuality. How foolish of you to think that you know what you’re into better than your housemate’s friend’s boyfriend.

If they do believe you are bisexual (mindblowing, you can see how anyone would struggle with the concept), you’re guaranteed at least a handful of thoughtless comments whenever you come out to someone.

In what I’ve dubbed the revenge of the “failed” bisexuals, I invited some fellow bi millennials to air out their grievances with society’s attitude towards their sexuality. Here’s the stereotype roundup:

The Promiscuous One

The good old hedonism trope is the most common of all stereotypes about us naughty bisexuals.

“I got called greedy when I came out as bi,” says Emma, and she’s not alone. Straight and gay people alike throw this stereotype at bisexuals, seemingly not understanding that just because we like a wider range of people doesn’t mean we want them all.

Sophie, who has recently joined the out-and-proud crowd, shares: “When I came out to my mum, she asked me if that meant I want to have sex with my female friends.”

They’re onto us guys! No one is safe.

Vicky, a seasoned bi warrior, reveals her own battle stories. “Discussing my sexuality with straight partners in the past has been difficult,” she tells me. One opportunistic boyfriend, however, was quite excited by the prospect to get involved and satisfy his own sexual desires.

His response was, “that’s cool, we can have a threesome then if you want to experiment,” recalls Vicky.

Note that “experimenting” with girls doesn’t count as cheating if you’re dating a man. One wonders, would the gentleman have taken the same view if Vicky wanted to “experiment” with guys.

Either way, he’s cracked the bisexual code. All we want is a threesome, then we have reached our highest purpose.

The Confused One

This particular sub-genre of failure stems from bisexuals being seen as either not gay enough, or not straight enough. We just can’t win! I wonder if that’s to do with the fact that we’re just like everyone else.

Maddie shares a great example of this trope in action. “I once had a lesbian girlfriend tell me I just seemed really straight,” she says. “I kind of internalized that and went back to dating men because I was embarrassed.”

Fair enough Maddie, I would have been put off by that comment too. It’s a shame though that your ex didn’t offer any pointers on how to seem less straight.

Vicky has also had people police how gay she is. “I’ve had a lesbian tell me that I’m not taking my friend home, claiming I wasn’t gay but obviously straight, despite the fact that my friend and I had been making out all night.”

However, considering that said lesbian then proceeded to try it on with Vicky’s friend, I feel there may have been ulterior motives behind the proclamation.

Emma, meanwhile, shares that she gets called confused a lot. “Especially having a boyfriend, people just assume that I’m straight, or are quite dismissive of my bisexuality.”

Don’t worry Emma, I can guarantee that if you had a girlfriend, they’d still be dismissive of your bisexuality. No matter who we date, it seems we’re always failing at being bi.

The Flighty One

This one is probably a bi-product of being both confused and promiscuous, but we just can’t seem to hold down a relationship. At least, not on TV. Shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 have repeatedly depicted bisexuals as cheating on their partners with someone from the opposite sex to their other half, so it’s no wonder that society sees this as gospel.

Emma, for instance, tells me that her family members had said if a woman came along she’d leave her boyfriend for them. Interesting how no one suggested if another man came along she’d swap them out.

Luckily, you can’t actually fail at being bisexual, dear reader. So just live your truth, and let society think what they want.