The topic of female bisexuality is so pervasive in the swinger community these days, I was intrigued when this post on www.usbigirls.com caught my eye. Scroll through a handful of online swinger profiles and you’ll find women (or their partners) describing themselves as mostly bi-curious, bi-sexual, bi-friendly or bi-furious. Swinging has become a very acceptable way for women to test their bi-sexuality, and Lord knows I’m no different.
I invite you to read on, and I’ll let you know where I fall on the spectrum at the end of the article. I would also love to hear whether this list holds true for bisexual men. (KDaddy23, any thoughts on this?)
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.
A significant 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.
Alfred 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 as well.
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 sexualities.
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.
1. 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 person.
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.
13. 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.
Moreover, many 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 partake in bisexual escapades.
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.
True confession: On Kinsey’s scale, I would place myself as a one or two. I do feel attraction toward certain women and toward certain types of women. Being married to a red-blooded American male, he of course, is very supportive of my occasional desires to play with other women.
And among this list of 13, I would say I started at #11, then moved to #7, and now alternate between #8 and #3. It’s definitely been a journey and a learning experience. One that I’ve enjoyed every step of the way.
Ladies (and gentlemen)? Where do you fall on the scale?