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The Bisexual Who Wasn't There

A bit of a firestorm has erupted over on Andrew Sullivan's The Dish blog in regards to who or what constitutes being bisexual, with some readers going as far as to postulate that bisexuals don't even exist. It's a fascinating exchange of input and ideas, and well worth a read if you have the time. I confess to having always been a tad curious (bi-curious?) about the parameters of bisexuality, and readily admit to not having formed a clear notion of it yet.

Firstly, we have to define what it is to be bisexual. Are you attracted to both men and women? If so, in what manner? Physically, or mentally/emotionally, or both? Does a physical/mental attraction constitute actual bisexuality, or does it have to also be physical? What if you find yourself attracted in some way to a person of the same sex, but have never made love with them, nor do you plan to? See, there are a lot of questions that arise with this, and they're not always easy to answer.

Without a clear working definition (for the sake of discourse), we're already adrift when it comes to understanding what it is to be bisexual. I, however, have some criteria that seems reasonably sound for the purpose of defining the term. First, you must be both physically and emotionally attracted to people of each sexes. Second, you must have copulated with members of both sexes (preferably more than once). Finally, you must have been in a relationship with someone of each sex.

The aforementioned criteria was developed because I feel as though nearly everyone, if they're honest, has some sort of attraction, in some way, to people of both sexes. It may not cross over into the "I want to have sex with them" category, but it is there. This is why the second and third criteria are so important. It's like if a person admires architecture. Unless they actually take a T-square in hand and successfully design a building, then they're not an architect.

Make sense?

This is why I often scratch my head at so many admissions of bisexuality. When you scratch the surface, they don't really fit the criteria. And there's the rub: We have a lot of folks out there claiming to be bisexual who, in fact, aren't, and a lot of people who pretend to be heterosexual that are in-fact bisexual. It's a funny old world, innit?


  1. "Bisexuals are people with the (some include “inborn” or “innate”) capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, (some include “spiritual”) and/or emotional attractions to:

    (1) those of the same gender as themselves
    (2) those of different genders/gender presentations from themselves.

    There may be an individual attraction for one gender or gender presentation which can also be fluid and changeable over time."

    That's the definition of bisexuality according to the Bialogue group (found on their Tumblr). It is not anyone else's place to decide whether or not someone is bisexual - only you can decide that. If you fit that description and want to use the label, you can do it. Identity policing is never warranted. If someone identifies as bisexual, then goes on to decide that they're straight or gay or whatever, that's fine; what isn't is telling them that they can't use the word bisexual to describe themselves for as long as they identify with the term.

  2. Eh, I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and others are certainly warranted in agreeing or disagreeing with said opinions. What is not acceptable is to dictate that people don't have a "place" in having an opinion at all, however right or wrong it may be.

    It's fine that Bialogue (a self-described "activist/political group" has its own definition of what it is to be bisexual, but they are by no means the last word on the subject.

    I appreciate you taking the time to write a comment, however, this is just a blog that's about thoughts, ideas and experiences, and there is no harshness or rigidity needed. Just an exchange of opinions and ideas (but never declarations that folks can't have opinions).



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