I’ve always known that I’m bisexual. Well, scratch that – I’ve always known that I like girls and boys. Naturally, I experienced difficulty identifying my levels of attraction when I was young because I obtained very little knowledge about sexual orientation. I knew I thought girls were pretty, but I didn’t know if that meant that I wanted to be their friend or if I wanted to kiss them. When it came to boys, I was aware that it was “right” to find them attractive and date them, but with societal standards aside, I continued to experience a base level of sexuality-related confusion.
In elementary school, I found myself being completely infatuated by cis female characters in movies like Bridget Vreeland from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Stacey Hinkhouse from Freaky Friday—clearly, I have a type). But I was unable to figure out whether I thought those girls were beautiful, if I wanted to be like them when I grew up, or if I actually had a crush on them.
As I got older, I learned about different sexualities and found that I mostly aligned with bisexuality. I didn’t have an issue with labeling myself in private, but when it came to actually coming out and verbally declaring my sexuality, I feared I would be rejected by those around me and the LGBTQIA+ community itself. In fact, my worries were mainly due to the fact that my attraction to males and females wasn’t completely fifty/fifty. I had only dated guys (and still have only been in long-term relationships with men), and I lacked experience with women. I wondered… did that mean I wasn’t actually bisexual?
A journey of soul-searching, questioning and research
The short answer is no. I’m currently in a long-term heterosexual relationship, yet my attraction and love for my boyfriend doesn’t erase my sexuality for a second. I’ve spent a long time pondering what it means to be bisexual, and in those moments of soul-searching, I’ve figured out that it’s going to feel different for everyone. For me, being bisexual doesn’t mean that I have to fulfill a certain number of requirements. I don’t have to have an equal attraction to men and women, and I can date, kiss, or have sex with whichever gender I desire. Because at the end of the day, it’s what I prefer.
However, this realization didn’t come without some serious internal questioning and the occasional dramatic monologue. Throughout my relationships, I struggled to label myself as bisexual because I assumed that my life didn’t look the part. And, of course, in telling my boyfriends that I was bi, their follow-up question was always the same: “Does that mean we can have a threesome with a girl?” I assumed my expression of disgust and annoyance was a sufficient answer.
Insensitive guys aside, I eventually took the time to digest my sexual preferences and figure out what the hell it all meant. From the very beginning of my existence, here’s what I was sure of: I liked girls and boys. I wanted to kiss girls and boys. I would be okay with dating girls and boys, but I didn’t see myself being in a lengthy relationship with a woman, nor did I necessarily envision myself marrying one. So, the question arose once again – did that still mean I was bisexual? Yes! I knew I wasn’t fully straight, but by doing my research, I started grasping the idea that sexuality is fluid. I learned to stop shaming myself or attempting to fit myself into a box because my preferences are beyond anything I care to define. For the sake of labeling, I became comfortable with declaring my bisexuality, even if it still means that I prefer dating boys to girls, but would rather kiss a girl than a boy.
So, what does it all mean?
In learning who I am and getting to know my sexuality, I’ve become far more content with being in heterosexual relationships. When I first came out to my current boyfriend, he was unfazed, explaining that he doesn’t care who I’m sexually attracted to as long as it doesn’t change the status of our relationship – and it doesn’t. But when discussing it further, he showed me that he validates my bisexuality and understands my identity. At the same time, though, there is a mutual (and hugely important) understanding that being a heterosexual couple doesn’t mean I’m suddenly straight.
While my attraction to another gender isn’t necessarily a factor in our relationship, I still identify as bisexual, and no relationship will ever change that.
You should never feel like you’re erasing any portion of your sexuality just because you’re doing something that seems like it’s “outside” of what you should be doing. Remember that there aren’t any guidelines or boxes to check. Your feelings and sexuality are exclusively yours.