As a (couple) counsellor I have seen couples during my 24 years experience who were in trouble because one of the partners revealed that they were gay or lesbian. What they often did not realise, or weren’t ready to reveal, is that they were possibly bisexual. How I wish though that we didn’t have to use those labels.
You may have found this article, because you too feel attracted to both sexes and are confused. Maybe you're wondering what bisexuality really means, what the definition is?
I understand how fraught that journey of self-discovery can be. On top of of that, it can be made many times more painful if others see you as somehow ‘not of the right mould’, be they family, colleagues, your religious community or anyone else. How challenging then to ‘come out of the closet’ and reveal who you truly are.
I have therefore asked my friend 'Rob' to help me answer your questions. He speaks from experience and from the heart.
To help you put your personal experience into the context of other people's experience...
Watch this video so you know you're not alone……
Now I'll let my friend Rob take the stand…
I am bisexual and have written this article having been inspired by the work that Elly has already done on her fantastic website. I am 33 years old and from London in England.
My aim in writing this is to give others hope, when they feel in a dark and lonely place and not able to manage something that is common in society.
Looking back through my life it is now obvious to me that I have always been bisexual, but it took me years to get to the truth.
I have gone through phases where I primarily tried to convince myself I was straight.
Then there were times where I thought: “You know what? I am obviously gay.”.
Having failed to fit into a ‘pigeon hole’ properly, the penny dropped – I am ‘greedy’, I like both men and women.
I now don't just think I'm bisexual - I know I am.
I've only ever been in relationships with women, however from the number of sexual encounters that I’ve had with men, I am more than comfortable now with who and what I am.
Life has been tough on the way.
I’ve a failed marriage behind me. And, despite wishing to remain fairly private about being bisexual (‘bi’), I have been let down by so-called friends and associates who should have had more consideration about respecting others' privacy.
Having been exposed to a lot of people as bi, I have become more and more aware of other people out there who are in a similar position to me. Most seem to have no one to turn to and go through life with fear, suppression or both.
Maybe you too have felt very low and have been in very dark places in your thoughts because you’re finding it hard to deal with being bi, and feel there’s no one to talk to.
If you recognise this, believe me you are not alone, you are in fact normal. If this article helps just one person to understand and accept who they are, then I’m happier.
Forget any dictionary or internet based answers, simply put: it means the sexual attraction to members of both male and female sex.
Are you simply attracted to men and women? Don’t complicate things by trying to over-analyse or justify it yourself. If you have those feelings (I am sure you know the ones I mean) for members of both sexes, then you probably are. Does it really matter? You choose which feelings you act upon.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
However in 1948 a study by Alfred Kinsey (Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male) identified that 46% of the male population had engaged in both sexual activities with males and females. Kinsey identified a scale of 0 (heterosexual) -6 (homosexual).
I am cynical as to how detailed this study was and the degree of accuracy, however I know for a fact, through close friends that I have opened up to and vice versa, that there are more people between Kinsey’s 1-5 grading than I ever thought likely.
Is the scale of 0-6 right, hard to say, I always used to say 1-10 before I knew about Kinsey’s work.
WRONG! I have just covered this!
However time and time again I hear this expression. I cannot emphasise enough that being bisexual is not a choice that someone makes, it’s who you are I strongly believe you were born that way.
There are different degrees of acceptance to different people. Whilst primarily being attracted to members of the opposite sex, some may just see a member of the same sex and find a physical attraction that stimulates them. Others may become more physically involved to different extents.
I suspect you’re in denial!
If you are attracted to mates of the same sex, whether it be all the time or occasionally, then you are entering the realms of homosexual behaviour.
If you are attracted to the opposite sex too then yes you are bisexual.
If you are only attracted to members of the same sex then you are gay.
Some of my friends who class themselves as totally straight have told me of their own homosexual experiences. Using an argument of experimentation during their teenage years, one told me how he and a friend regularly used to “help each other out”, as he put it.
It really should not matter, you are human and you are the way you are. It does take some people a lot longer to accept it than others though, and I suspect that some never manage to handle it.
I don't really feel qualified to answer that question. All I can say is that you may be in for a rough ride - at least in the early stages.
Have a look at Elly's article - you'll know then what to expect if you decide to tell your partner.
Remember though, you have the right to be able to 'be yourself'. However, most unfortunately, you may have to consider the laws in your country when you contemplate the consequences of your 'coming out'.
This is a huge gamble! It would be a very big and brave step to take.
I know of a couple of horror stories where things went terribly wrong for people. I’m very fortunate that most of my friends were amazing. All but a couple have given me the most fantastic support and made my life so much easier to deal with.
I would argue that anyone not treating and respecting you as an individual is not a real friend. Real friends will help and support each other.
Life is cruel. I have been through this.
Suffering bullying from people knocks your self confidence. Even as I type this I am getting flash backs of some of the horrid things that happened. There is no easy answer in how to deal with this.
If you are not gay, lesbian or bi then you can challenge this through company management, disciplinary or grievance processes.
If you are gay, lesbian or bi then to stand up and challenge might not be so easy for fear of actually outing yourself.
Depending where in the world you are you could find criminal offences being committed against you. Some countries have a very strict view on discrimination and offences can result in prison sentences for the perpetrators.
The total opposite gives us countries where homosexuality of any form is illegal and can result in the death penalty. I am not going to go down the road of giving my view point on both the hypocrisy and evil that I think societies like that cause.
Whatever you do, make sure you have support around you if you can.
I really hope this has helped to provide an honest and basic viewpoint on what is a complete headache at times.
If you want to learn more then I can suggest you look at articles on the Kinsey Scale. There’s much more reading that can be done through organisations such as Stonewall.
You can also connect with a professional, licensed therapist. It's now very easy to set up an online session, regardless of the device you're using. For further information, see Elly's page on online counselling.