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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What does it mean to be bisexual?

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    Hello, I’m Jacqueline Hellyer, Sex Therapist and Relationship Coach. I’ve spent thousands of hours working with individuals and couples around sex and relationships. I’ve been … View Profile

    Bisexual people are sexually attracted to people of both sexes. All of us are on a continuum of bisexuality, with some people completely heterosexual (attracted to the opposite sex) and others completely homosexual (attracted to the same sex), and the rest to some degree bisexual.

    Some people have a mild tendency to bisexuality: they might be bi-curious, interested to try it out; or they may have sexual fantasies about being with someone of the same sex, but not actually interested in real life; or they may like to flirt or kiss someone of the same sex, but no more.

    Some people fall right in the middle of the continuum, you could say they are completely bi-sexual, and have equal attraction to both sexes.

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    Ash Rehn

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Sex Therapist, Social Worker

    Mental Health Medicare Provider of focussed psychological strategies, Counsellor & Therapist specialising in ‘sex addiction’, pornography issues, gay counselling, online therapy. For more information: www.ForwardTherapy.com View Profile

    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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    I am a European Certified Psycho-Sexologist and a trained Counsellor/Therapist with over 20 years experience, holding Clinical/Level 4 membership of the Australian Counselling Association, one … View Profile

    Bisexuality is often misunderstood by the general population.  People often think bisexuals are people who are equally attracted to men and women.  A person who is bisexual is NOT necessarily equally attracted to men and women.  People who identify s bisexual are comfortable having relationships with either gender.   A person's sexuality is more than just attraction and/or who they have sex with.

    Sexuality is not easily defined.  A person’s sexuality can be more than how they identify.  Alfred Kinsey, a famous sex researcher in the mid-twentieth century, proposed a sliding scale for understanding sexuality.   Kinsey’s six-point scale ranged from 0 (exclusively heterosexual/straight) to 5 (exclusively homosexual/gay or lesbian). 

    When we think of sexuality, we normally only consider how a person identitfies and then assume that the identity will match their attraction as well as their behaviour (who they have sex with).  Just because people have sex with men and women, does not make them bisexual.

    Another way one to understand sexuality is through the sexual trichotomy of identity, attraction and behaviour.  If we were to consider our sexuality as a combination of identity (how we identify), attraction (who we are attracted to) and behaviour (who we have sex/intimacy with) then we are able to consider the variety of expressions of human sexuality without having to rely on heterosexual (straight), gay/lesbian and bisexual.  A person may identify as heterosexual (straight), be attracted to mainly women (attraction), and enjoy also enjoy sex with men and women (behaviour).


    Human sexual expression is varied and people often feel confused as they do not belong to one of the categories. 

    For more information check out:  http://sexlifetherapy.com.au/lgbtiq-counselling/

    Dr Christopher
    Sex & Relationship Therapist
    www.sexlifetherapy.com.au

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