Many people are 100% gay or lesbian and are drawn sexually and emotionally only to partners of the same sex. Others are completely heterosexual, bonding in sexual and intimate relationships only with people of another sex.
But what about everybody else?
A significant percentage of people do not fit neatly into either of these categories, because they experience sexual and emotional attractions and feelings for people of different genders at some point during their lives. For lack of a better term, they are called bisexuals, although, many people prefer to call themselves “pansexual”, “non – preferential”, “sexually fluid”, “ambisexual” or “omni – sexual”.
The Kinsey scale
The Kinsey scale of zero to six was developed by sex researchers to describe sexual orientation as a continuum. Heterosexual people are at zero on the scale, gay and lesbian people are at six, at the other end of the scale and everyone in between, from one to five, is bisexual. According to Kinsey, people who fall at one or two on the scale have primarily heterosexual sexual and affectional relationships and desires, but have some attraction and experiences with same-sex partners as well.
People at three on the scale are approximately equally attracted to both men and women. People at four and five on the Kinsey Scale choose primarily same-sex partners, but are not completely gay or lesbian and have some heterosexual tendencies and relationships as well.
Who is bisexual?As you can see, there is no simple definition of bisexuality, and bisexual people are a very diverse group. Some bisexual people are committed to monogamous, long-term relationships, others have more than one partner concurrently in a variety of arrangements. There are several theories about different models of bisexual behavior. J.R. Little identifies at least 13 types of bisexuality, as defined by sexual desires and experiences. They are:
1. Alternating bisexuals: May have a relationship with a man. When that
relationship ends, may choose a female partner for a subsequent relationship and
may go back to a male partner next.
2. Recreational bisexuals: Primarily heterosexual but engage in gay or lesbian sex only when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
3. Motivational bisexuals: Straight women who have sex with other women only because a male partner insists on it to titillate him.
4. Circumstantial bisexuals: Primarily heterosexual but will choose same-sex partners only in situations where they do not have access to other sex partners such as in jail, in the military or in a gender-segregated school.
5. Concurrent relationship bisexuals: Have
primary relationships with one gender only but have other casual or secondary
relationships with people of another gender at the same time.
6. Conditional bisexuals: Either straight or gay/lesbian, but will switch to a relationship with another gender for financial or career gain or for a specific
purpose. They include young, straight males who become gay prostitutes or
lesbians who get married to men to gain acceptance from family members or
to have children.
7. Emotional bisexuals: Have intimate emotional relationships with men and women but only have sexual relationships with one gender.
8. Integrated bisexuals: Have more than one primary relationship
at the same time, one with a man and one with a woman.
9. Exploratory bisexuals: Either straight or gay/lesbian, but have sex with another gender just to satisfy curiosity or “see what it’s like”.
10. Hedonistic bisexuals: Primarily heterosexual but engage in gay or lesbian sex only when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
11. Isolated bisexuals: 100% straight or gay/lesbian now but have previously had sexual experiences with another gender.
12. Latent bisexuals: Completely straight or gay/lesbian in behavior. Have a
strong desire for sex with the other gender but have never acted on it.
Motivational bisexuals: Straight women who have sex with other women only
because a male partner insists on it to titillate him.
13. Transitional bisexuals: Temporarily identify as bisexual while moving from being straight to being gay or lesbian or going from being gay or lesbian to being
heterosexual. Many of these people might not call themselves bisexual
but because they are attracted to and have relationships with men and women,
they are bisexual.
While literally millions of people are bisexual, most keep
their sexual orientation secret, so bisexual people as a group are nearly
invisible in society.
Gay men and lesbian women have long recognised the
need to join together, create a community and organise politically. Long years
of hard work have led to significant gains in political and human rights and a
visible and thriving gay and lesbian community.
Social isolation Many bisexual people say they feel like outsiders in the straight and gay/lesbian worlds and that they can’t fit in anywhere. They feel isolated and confused. Studies have shown that bisexual people suffer from social isolation more
than gay men or lesbians because they lack a community where they can find
acceptance and role models.
Many gay men feel that bisexual men are really gay, that they are in denial about being gay and they should “just get over it.” Many straight men are homophobic and hate and fear bisexual and gay men, often victimising them with harassment and physical violence.
Many straight women reject bisexual men out of misguided fears that they have Aids and admonish them to “stop sitting on the fence and make up their minds”. Bisexual women are often distrusted by lesbians for “sleeping with the enemy”, hanging onto heterosexual privileges through relationships with men and betraying their allegiances to women and feminism.
Straight women often reject bisexual women fearing that they will make sexual overtures and try to “convert” them to bisexuality.
Bisexuality an authentic sexual orientation
The straight and gay/lesbian communities seem to have only two possible models of bisexuality, neither of which represents bisexual people accurately.
The first is the “transitional model” of bisexuality. They believe that all bisexuals are gay or lesbian but are just on their way to eventually coming out as gay.
The other is the “pathological model”. These bisexuals are seen as neurotic or mentally unstable because they are in conflict, trying to decide if they are straight or
gay/lesbian and that they just can’t make a decision.
Both models see bisexuality as a temporary experience or a “phase” born out of confusion rather than an authentic sexual orientation equally as valid as heterosexuality or homosexuality.
Bisexuals cannot conform to the ethics of the gay or straight
world or they would not be bisexual. Instead, they must re-invent personal
lifestyles and relationships that serve their needs although they don’t fit
anyone else’s rules.
Bisexuals must invent their own identity Some researchers have noted that being bisexual is, in some ways, similar to being biracial. Mixed-race persons generally don’t feel comfortable or accepted by people of either ethnic group. They feel they don’t belong or fit in anywhere as their existence challenges the very concept of race.
Like bisexual people, they spend most of their lives moving between two communities that don’t really understand or accept them.
Like biracial people, bisexual people must
struggle to invent their own identities to correspond to their own experience.
Forming a bisexual identity helps bisexual people to structure, make sense
of and give meaning and definition to their reality.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
13 Types of Bisexuals
In an article entitled, Getting to grips with the various types of bisexuality, it talks about the various types of bisexuals that exist.