Bisexuality in America

What is Bisexuality?

When someone hears the word bisexual, what does it mean? The textbook definition of bisexual is someone who is romantically or sexually attracted to both men and women. Someone is considered bisexual if they are attracted to both genders. Bisexuality is often confused with pansexuality. Generally speaking, bisexual implies that there are only two genders, male and female, whereas pansexual is an attraction to all genders, male, female, cisgender, transgender, etc.

How Many People Are Bisexual?

It is believed there are about nine million LGBT Americans in the United States, about 3.5% of the population. Bisexual people make up a slight majority of this number. About 1.8% of the population consists of people who identify as bisexual, compared to the 1.7% who are lesbian or gay. That being said, bisexuality is more common in women. Bisexual women comprise more than half of the bisexual and lesbian population. Bisexual men, on the other hand, are the minority compared to gay men.

What Are the Signs of Bisexuality?

How do you know if you are bisexual? Signs of bisexuality in males and females tend to be similar. Below is a list of factors that may help you to identify as bisexual:

  • You experience a romantic or sexual attraction to men and women.
  • You have had sexual relations with someone of the same sex and the opposite sex and enjoyed both.
  • You fantasize about being with people of both genders
  • Identifying as bisexual feels right or gives you a feeling of belonging.

It is important to note that bisexuality may not be an equal attraction to both genders. Often, people think that if someone identifies as bisexual, they are attracted to men and women equally.  This is not always the case. It could be that you find yourself being attracted to one gender more often. Sexuality is a spectrum and even though people might identify as the same sexuality, this does not mean that they have the same experiences and feelings.

Bisexual Vs. Pansexual: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between bisexual and pansexual? How do you know if you are one or the other? Well, for one, pansexuality is less common and isn’t as well known. The two types of sexuality are similar but are by no means the same. As stated before bisexuality usually implies there are just two genders: male and female. It does not take into account people who are transgender, intersex, asexual, etc. The difference between bisexuality vs. pansexuality is really just inclusion or perception of gender.

Pansexual is considered to be more inclusive than bisexual. Bisexual people describe themselves as having an attraction to men or women. Pansexuality, on the other hand, is considered to be an attraction to all genders. Pansexual people describe themselves as having an attraction to people, no matter their gender expression.  That being said, as we will discuss below, there are bisexuals who may start relationships outside of the usual binary gender expression bisexuality tends to be known for. It is important to note that people who identify as bisexual can be attracted to the same gender as people who identify as pansexual.

Types of Bisexuality

Most people do not consider it, but there are actually various types of bisexuality. Sexuality is not rigid, it tends to be a spectrum, and this includes bisexuality. Just because two people both identify as bisexual does not mean that they have the exact same sexuality. The list below consists of different types of bisexuals.

  • Heterosexual-leaning: Someone who often has greater romantic/sexual attraction and feelings toward people of the opposite gender.
  • Homosexual-leaning: Someone who has greater romantic/sexual attraction and feelings toward people of the same sex.
  • Varied type: Someone who experiences more physical attraction toward people of one sex, but also has more sexual attraction towards the other sex.
  • 50/50: While no one really experiences a true even split of attraction between genders, there are those that get close to experiencing an even split in sexual and physical attraction toward both genders.
  • Outside of binary: Someone who does not put off a lot of weight on their partner’s gender expression. There are bisexuals who don’t find their partner’s sexual expression to be a “deal-breaker” in the relationship.  These people have a greater chance of entering relationships with people who consider themselves to be part of a gender other than male or female. These individuals might also identify as pansexual.

As mentioned before, not every person who identifies as bisexual is going to have the same feelings. In fact, someone who considers themselves to be bisexual could be any one of these types.  Figuring out what type of bisexual you are will include examing your own experiences and feelings.

Summary

Bisexuality, while it is defined by the attraction to both genders, can be more complicated than it’s definition implies. There are different types of bisexual, meaning that even if you and someone else both identify as bisexual, you might not have the same feelings and experiences.  Bisexuals make up a majority of America’s LGBT population, so it is important for us to understand what that means for us and the people around us. Being able to distinguish between pansexuality and bisexuality is also important, as they are not the same. They are, however, similar which can lead to a lot of confusion between the two.  Whereas bisexuality tends to imply there are only two genders, pansexuals tend to not care as much about their partner’s gender. Often times, they will describe themselves as people who feel attraction to a specific person, not a specific gender, usually based on their partner’s personality. If you suspect you or someone you know is bisexual, make sure you do your research. The best way to discover your sexual identity is to be knowledgable about the subject and open with yourself and your feelings.

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