We all know the definition for homosexual and heterosexual. These terms are specific and definite in the description of the gender to which a person of either sexuality is attracted to, emotionally and sexually. A homosexual is attracted to his/her own gender and a heterosexual is attracted to the opposite gender. These encompass the identifying labels of gay, lesbian and straight. People whose sexuality is not specific to gender attraction fall into the general category of bisexual. There is a lot of confusion about the concept of bisexuality and what it means.
percentage of people experience sexual and emotional attractions and
feelings towards people of both genders, at varying times throughout
their lives. Thus bisexuality is an all-encompassing term. Many find the
term too vague and all-inclusive, lacking the definition to describe
their particular sexuality, and prefer the labels pansexual,
non-preferential, sexually fluid, ambi-sexual, or queer.
Kinsey's sexual orientation scale allows for a continuum of zero to
six. Heterosexuals score at zero and homosexuals score at six. That
leaves the entire inside range of his scale in the bisexuality realm. So
what does this mean?
Those whose sexuality fall at the one or
two range, are primarily heterosexual, but have some attraction and
experiences with same-sex partners. Those who score a three are more or
less equally attracted to both sexes. 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
In recent years, many have ascribed to a more
gender-fluid identity, especially those who have had surgery to
transition from their birth gender to the opposite gender. The labels
heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and bisexual do not take into consideration
those who identify as transgender. This is a recent addition to the
sexuality definitions and requires additional labeling to adequately
consider all sexualites.
Many transgender people are
transitioning from male to female, or from female to male, or identify
as “gender-queer” because they do not comfortably fit into either the
male or female gender. Since sexual orientation has always been based on
the gender of your sexual partners, if gender is not a rigid category,
labels such as straight and gay become much less meaningful or relevant.
Bisexual people are a very diverse group. Psychologist J.R. Little has
identified at least 13 types of bisexuality in his extensive research on
the subject. If you identify as bisexual, perhaps one of these will
sound familiar to your particular sexual orientation.
Alternating - This is the bisexual who choses one gender at a time and
has a relationship with that person. This person may appear to others to
be straight during their relationship with the opposite sex and then
appear to be gay during a time when they have a same-sex relationship.
2. Circumstantial - This bisexual is primarily heterosexual but will
choose a same-sex partner when no opposite sex partner is available.
Private same-sex school, military and prison are examples of the
environment where this type of bisexuality presents itself in the
3. Concurrent Relationship - This bisexual has a
primary relationship with one gender and concurrently has casual sex
with the other gender, in an uncommitted secondary relationship.
4. Conditional - This bisexual is primarily either gay or straight, but
chooses to switch to a relationship with the other gender for a
specific purpose, not related to their sexuality. An example would be a
lesbian woman who marries a man for social acceptance or to have
children. Also, prostitutes who will have sex with a gender outside
their sexuality, is another example.
5. Emotional - This type is primarily either gay or straight, but has intimate emotional relationships with the other gender.
6. Integrated - This bisexual has more than one primary relationship at
the same time with both genders. An example would be a polyamorous
woman, living with her husband and another woman, with both
relationships taking a primary position with a long term commitment.
7. Exploratory - This bisexual is either straight or gay/lesbian, but
has sex with the other gender just to satisfy their curiosity and see
what it’s like.
8. Hedonistic - Primarily straight or
gay/lesbian but will sometimes have recreational sex with a different
gender purely for sexual satisfaction.
9. Recreational -
Primarily heterosexual, but will engage in gay or lesbian sex only when
under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
10. Isolated - This type had one or more same-sex experiences in the past, but identifies as straight or gay/lesbian now.
11. Latent - This type has desires, but only fantasizes and dreams of
having bisexual sex. Their actual sexual behavior is clearly limited to
either homosexual or heterosexual.
12. Motivational - This type
is women who are straight but have sex with other women purely as a
means to pleasing their male partner who has requested it for his own
satisfaction. An example would be a threesome escapade.
Transitional - This is the type that is going from being straight to
being gay, or vice versa. A lot of bisexuals receive criticism based on
this type, and are pigeon-holed as being transitional, because
transitional type bisexuals exist.
Most of the millions of
bisexuals that exist in the world do not openly out themselves. Since
most bisexuals keep their sexual orientation to themselves, bisexuals as
a group have little visibility in society.
bisexuals feel unwelcomed in both the straight and gay communities. As
they don't fit in anywhere, they feel like outsiders to the mainstream,
well-established hetero and homosexual communities. This breeds
isolation and confusion among many, as they lack an established
community of their own, where they can find acceptance and role models.
Gay men believe that bisexual men are really gay, but claiming to be
bisexual to ease the impact or because they are in denial. Straight men
display homophobia by victimizing gay and bisexual men. Straight women
reject bisexual men, fearing they may have AIDS or are on the verge of
changing their sexuality. Lesbians distrust bisexual women, thinking
they are all transitional, or just using men to maintain their
heterosexual identity in society. Straight women distrust and reject
bisexual women, fearful of sexual pressure to parttake in bisexual
The two types of bisexuals that the straight and gay
communities see, are not representative of the bisexual community at
large. The transitional type, on their way to becoming straight or gay,
and the pathological type, that of neuroses, confusion and metal
instability, unable to determine what sexuality they are. Both are
examples of a temporary bisexuality which is characterized by a phase,
rather than an authentic sexuality.
As more information,
studies and public awareness allows for a deeper understanding and
acceptance of the bisexual community, there is hope that stereotypes of
bisexuals will diminish and society will broaden their ability to accept
bisexuals, regardless of their type.