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Fact Sheet

Being bisexual

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What does it mean to be bisexual?

People who are physically and sexually attracted to both men and women usually identify themselves as bisexual. However, not everyone who has had feelings or experiences with both men and women describe themselves as bisexual.

Sometimes, people are happy to explore their sexuality, but will identify themselves as mainly straight, gay or lesbian, or have no label at all. Other times, it can be hard for people to come out as bisexual because society doesn’t accept people who are attracted to both men and women.  For this reason, being bisexual can cause feelings of isolation for some young men and women, because they feel a lot of pressure to be either straight or gay. Some people find bisexuality hard to understand, but remember: there’s nothing “wrong” about feeling or being bisexual.

Why are some people bisexual?

There is no real explanation of why some people are bisexual, and some are not. The main thing to remember is that being ‘Bi’ is not a disease or illness to be cured or fixed. It is part of the broad spectrum of human sexuality.

What does it mean to be pansexual or polysexual?

There are some people who find "bisexual" to be a limited label because it implies that gender is a binary (i.e., can be divided into two categories: men and women) rather than a spectrum of  gender identities. Some people therefore identify as pansexual to indicate that they are attracted to "all genders" or "polysexual" to indicate that they are attracted to "many genders." It is completely up to you what label, if any, feels right for you. 

How do I know if I’m bisexual?

There’s no easy answer to this question. You can’t fill in a questionnaire or take a test that will give you a definite answer. You might be bisexual if you recognize that you’re attracted to women and men, but these feelings don’t necessarily have to come up at the same time or with the same intensity. What’s important is that you don’t deny your feelings and that you take time to explore your sexuality at your own pace.

It’s also important to remember that you’re definitely not alone, and you don’t have to deal with your questions or problems by yourself. You might have friends or family members who have had similar experiences and can talk with you about your feelings.

If you’d rather speak to people who aren’t directly involved in your life, you can also find a support group in your area though the Human Rights Campaign or some of the other resources listed below. If someone tells you that bisexual people are just confused about their sexuality, that bisexuality doesn’t exist, or that you can change, look for someone else to talk with.

How do I know if someone else is bisexual?

You probably won’t know unless someone tells you. You can’t tell whether a man or woman is bisexual just by looking at him or her, or by the group her or she hangs out with. It’s important to remember that bisexual, straight, gay and lesbian people don’t “look” a certain way or confine to common stereotypes.

Bisexual relationships

Regardless of your sexuality, it’s important to be open and honest with your partner about your feelings and attraction to other people. Beyond that, there are no predetermined rules to follow in a bisexual—or any type—of relationship.

And, a person who is bisexual can be in a monogamous relationship with someone of the same or opposite sex. To be bisexual does not mean that a person has to be with someone of both sexes at the same time.

For more information

There are many misunderstandings about sexuality and sex, and exploring your sexuality might be a confusing thing to do, whether you’re straight, gay, a lesbian, or bisexual. If you’re curious to learn more about your sexuality, you might want to check out these additional fact sheets:

Information in this fact sheet was also provided by

The Human Rights Campaign
Gay-Straight Alliance

Other helpful resources

Trevor Project and Trevor helpline (1-866-488-7386)
GLBT National Resource Database
National GLBT Talkline (1-800-246-7743)
National GLBT Hotline (1-888-843-4564)
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
The National Day of Silence (brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools).
National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Youth
Youth Resource, a website by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people
PFLAG, Parents, families, and friends of lesbians and gays

Last reviewed: Mar 5, 2013

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Comments

Responses

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    aubrey_cathleen

    hey um well… i think i’m bi, and i’m only a teen and a lot of my friends, make fun of bisexual, people. and my best friend is bi but i think my other friends would feel awkward around me and i haven’t told any 1 yet espically my mom who is like super religious i dont think she will execept me the way i am

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      Don’t feel pressured to tell anyone anything until you’re ready and until you’re sure! It’s nobody’s business but yours. You might like to talk about this in our discussion forums, though… Just click on the “forums” button at the top of the page, or go to http://us.reachout.com/forums/  We would love to see you there!

      Take care,
      The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    sweetiiepiie

    So I’m 21 and I’m bisexual. I’ve known I’m bi since I was 14 or 15. My friends are totally cool with it and I just came out a couple months ago. But now I’m confused. Like I’m not good enough for a guy or girl. I’ve only been in a relationship with a guy. I have dealt with self esteem issues in the past so I’m not sure if that’s what making me so doubtful. But I’m also scared to meet a girl. How do I know if she would be willing to date me?

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      Hey there sweetiiepiie. We’re pretty sure you’re good enough and definetely dateable! Dating can be hard and awkward, but just be yourself. The right girl will come along.

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    George

    I’m a 21 year old bisexual male who is struggling with the fact that my parents do not agree with it.  One of my parents has disowned me.  It really hurts.  Does anybody think I will get over it.

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      This must hurt you tremendously—we’re so sorry! You didn’t say how long it’s been since your parents have known about your bisexuality, but maybe it’s something that they’ll adjust to over time. If they were shocked by it, they may already be regretting things they said or did, and you might need to give them some space and time, and let them get used to reality. If they don’t adjust, though, you’ll still be OK. You will find people to bring into your life that love you and support you, and you will thrive. We believe in you!
      —The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    therockerguy

    Hello,

    I am a 21 year old guy in a 4 year straight relationship with a girl I love with every inch of my heart and care about her more than I care about my family. She’s everything to me and I am everything to her. Recently I found myself thinking if I am str8 or bi and I’ve hand my very first sexual contact with another guy. I didn’t want to destroy my relationship for something I wasn’t sure. I ended up feeling bi but that’s a difficult road to walk and I can’t say anything to her because she’s not that open-minded. The bad thing is I feel guilty and I have no one to talk to. Except my best friend(guy). Did I do right? What shall I do?

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      It sounds like you’re going through a tough and confusing period. You might want to check out some of our LGBTQ Fact Sheets at http://us.reachout.com/facts/romance-sexuality-and-pregnancy/glbt As fo.r your relationship, only you can decide whether to tell your girlfriend or not. Either way, it’s a big deal and it sounds like you need some space and time to reflect more on your sexual identity and relationship. Best of luck.

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    jafferlovelydostshaik

    Hey
    what will b happen on continously doing handcumjob
    i have completed my 3 years by doing it.
    And i was worried that now i didn’t have sufficient sperms to made my future wife pregnent.
    pls tell me is i have loss my sperms?

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      Healthy men produce millions of new sperm every day. There’s no reason to believe that you won’t have enough to father children.  If your wife had trouble getting pregnant, a doctor or health professional might test your sperm count, but it’s doubtful that it would have anything to do with what you describe.

      Good luck!
      —The ReachOut Crew

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