|I Think I Might Be Bisexual, Now What Do I Do?|
What Does It Mean to Be Bisexual?
Being bisexual means we have the potential to be attracted to people of their own gender or another gender. Some bisexuals, like me, may be attracted to different genders in a different way; but basically, we are capable of loving more than just people of one specific gender.
Bisexual people have the capacity to love people of their same gender or of a different gender. This can include physical, sexual, and emotional attraction, and/or relationships. Over time in life, a bisexual person might feel attracted to men, women, transgender people, and/or genderqueer people, or to one gender in preference to the others. The strength of these attractions may change over time. Being bisexual does not define either one's lifestyle or sexual behavior. Bisexual people may be men, women, transgender, or genderqueer. They may be monogamous or abstinent or may have multiple sexual partners, just like heterosexual and lesbian and gay people. Many people are bisexual and bisexuality cuts across distinctions of race/ethnicity, gender identity, age, class, ability, and religious affiliation. You are not alone, and you are likely to meet bisexual people just about anywhere you go.
How Do I Know If I'm Bisexual?
There is a lot of confusion at first. Society teaches that people can only be one way or the other [gay or straight] or that bisexuality is a stage or a phase, and one doesn't stay there for very long. But once past the confusion, you'll know you are bisexual as surely as your pal knows she's straight and your other pal knows he's gay.
Determining your sexuality can be highly confusing. Teenagers often feel a lot of pressure to choose to define themselves as being heterosexual or homosexual. You might feel that you do not fit either of these categories, and you may notice that you are 'turned on' and have sexual feelings about people of your own gender and another gender. These feelings may indicate you will identify as bisexual. Keep in mind, however, that you do not have to prove you are bisexual. There is no test for bisexuality.
Am I Normal?
You are normal. Sexuality is just another part of what makes each person an individual.
Yes, it is perfectly natural for some people to be bisexual and to feel attracted to people of their own gender and another gender. Sexual feelings towards women, men, transgender people, and genderqueer people are perfectly natural and normal for bisexual people. In the United States, society does not encourage bisexuality, and that can make accepting your bisexuality more difficult. But just like lesbians, gays, and straight people, you are perfectly normal.
What Is It Like to Be Young and Bisexual?
I find a lot of pleasure in my sexuality. It's a natural part of me and not hiding or changing it gives me a real sense of freedom to be myself.
This is a difficult question to answer. There is no particular lifestyle attached to bisexuality. Bisexual people come in all shapes and sizes, from all sorts of occupations, and with all levels of education. Bisexuals may be comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth or they may be transgender. Bisexuals may or may not be in relationships. Your sexual orientation does not determine who you are or what you do. You may choose to spend your time and energy on friendships or studies. Bisexuals may, however, suffer discrimination or violence because of misperceptions and prejudice from people who are straight, gay, or lesbian. This is why organizations work for bisexual rights and to alleviate misperceptions about bisexual people.
How Can I Avoid HIV, Other STIs and Involvement in unintended Pregnancy?
Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the surest way to avoid unwanted pregnancy, HIV, and other STIs. Many young people—gay, straight, or bisexual—choose activities other than sex to show affection, such as hugging, kissing, talking, and message. If you do choose to have sexual intercourse, be responsible and protect yourself and your partner. Depending on the gender(s) of the people involved in the relationship, there are several things you should consider:
Any Sexual Relationship—Remember to always use water based lubricants with condoms. Oil based lubricants can break down latex. Remember that blood-to-blood contact is the most direct route for HIV transmission. Sharing equipment or needles—for using drugs, taking medications, or piercing or tattooing the body—is dangerous since blood may be left on the used equipment or needles. Always use new needles and other equipment or else clean the needles/equipment by rinsing several times with bleach, then with water.
How Do I Learn to Like Myself?
Know that you are special, you are not an anomaly. Surround yourself with supportive people.
Coming to terms with your bisexuality can be difficult. However, many people have difficulty learning to like themselves, regardless of their sexual orientation. Many people also have difficulty understanding bisexuality, and some bisexual people may try to hide their bisexuality. Bisexual youth may experience discrimination and bullying, which can make them feel depressed and lonely. But millions of other bisexual people - just like you - lead successful, happy lives. It helps to be informed and to know that you aren't alone. Read about bisexuality. Learn what it means to be bisexual. Make an effort to meet other bisexuals - they can be a valuable resource to build your self-confidence.
Whom Should I Tell?
It's a good idea not to come out until you are comfortable with your bisexuality. Don't come out because you feel you must, because people are pressuring you, or because you want to be cool and make an impression. Come to think of it, those are also not good reasons to stay in the closet. Just take it at your own pace. This isn't about other people, only you.
Coming to terms with your own sexuality can be very difficult. In fact, the hardest person you may ever have to tell is yourself! Only tell others when you feel you are ready. It's not always easy. Some people might be very receptive, while others might not be able to handle the information as well as you had hoped they would. Sometimes it might be easier to talk about your sexuality with someone you know will understand, such as a friend, sibling, parent, guidance counselor or other trusted adult. You may also find someone to talk with through the Internet or at youth groups. Reaching out can help ensure you have support as you talk about your sexuality. You might be surprised at the relief you will feel when you know others understand you.
How Can I Meet Other Bisexual People?
If you decide to come out openly, you may find some bisexuals walking right up to you!
It may be difficult to believe, but bisexual people are all around you! How can you meet them?
Adapted from a brochure from the Campaign to End Homophobia. Special thanks to Jessie Gilliam.