Individual attraction to both men and women has only been described as ‘bisexuality’ for about 100 years but human sexuality is diverse and complex and always has been. It’s just our meanings and ideas about sex that have changed and attempt to describe this diversity in simplistic terms.
Bisexuality is still lumbered with prejudice, just as homosexuality has been and still is in many places. For example, people who identify as bisexual are often assumed to be promiscuous. But exactly what is meant by ‘promiscuity’? There is no agreement. One definition of a promiscuous person is ‘someone who has more sex than you do’… think about it!
Our sexual identity– gay, straight, bi, pansexual, queer or whatever word we adopt – is a description we choose ourselves or that others try to impose on us. For something as complex and hard to put into words as sexuality, perhaps it makes sense to use shared categories. But the idea that once we engage in a particular act it makes us something is simply that: an idea. Each of us has a unique sexuality comprised of desire, attraction, sensation and response. Experiencing the freedom to enjoy one’s own body and sexuality can be challenging, particularly when we come up against the expectations of others.
In recent years, some people who used to describe themselves as ‘bisexual’ have started using alternative terms like ‘pansexual’, ‘omnisexual’, ‘polysexual’ or ‘queer’ in an effort to describe their sexuality more realistically and specifically. It’s worth talking about, because expressing ourselves helps us to know ourselves and feel more secure in the identity we choose.
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