I Might Be Bisexual

I might be bisexual: now what?  As long as you can remember, while living in Philadelpia, you have always considered yourself to be straight but has there always been this nagging feeling that you might be missing out on something?

Maybe you have had an experience similar to this:  you are sitting on your couch in South Philadelphia, PA and there’s a knock at the door. It’s a same sex postal worker.  You looked at him or her and thought damn that is a good looking man/woman and find yourself feeling sexually attracted to him or her.  The first time you had an experience like that you may have begun thinking to yourself… hmm I just might be bisexual now what? Well that is a hard question to answer. As usual it is better to start at the beginning and go from there.  Bisexuality involves the physical or romantic attraction to both sexes. Freud believed that everyone had the ability to be bisexual at some time in their life and that some people deal with it on an unconscious level and others actually act on it.  There are many people who have an attraction to the same sex but don’t ever act on it and yet still identify as bisexual.  Then there are people who are in long-term heterosexual open relationships and have either experimented or regularly have sex with the same sex but do not identify themselves as bisexual.  There are also many people that have been with the same sex partner for many years but still identify as bisexual. It is also important to note that the attraction to both sexes is rarely 50/50 and that sexuality seems to be fluid throughout people’s lifetimes.  So don’t get to wrapped up in throwing a label on it.  Just know that you have the attraction and then figure out what you want to do with that attraction.

There was a study in 2002 by the National Center for Health Statistics that found that 1.8 percent of men ages 18—44 considered themselves to be bisexual. The same study found that 2.8 percent of women ages 18—44 considered themselves to be bisexual. Then The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior, published in 1993, said that 5 percent of men and 3 percent of women consider themselves bisexual. The ‘Health’ section of The New York Times has stated that “1.5 percent of American women and 1.7 percent of American men identify themselves [as] bisexual.” Then Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s  found that “46% of the male population had engaged in either heterosexual and homosexual activities or ‘reacted to’ persons of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives”. So as you can see, no one can seem to come up with a good statistic for how many people are bisexual out there. One of the reasons is that many bisexual people face discrimination from both the heterosexual community and the gay community when they come out so they are forced to “pick a side”.  In addition, there are times that people transition from behaving and/or labeling themselves bisexual to gay or from straight to gay back to bisexual.  That is all part of that fluidity of sexuality.

So now what do you do with these nagging feelings that you might be bisexual? Everyone is going to have a different path depending on his or her background, religious beliefs, current relationship status, etc. One great way is to talk to someone about it.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to come out to everyone, but there are plenty of bisexual groups, organizations and trained professionals in Center City Philadelphia that can help you get through this. If you do choose to come out to a friend or your significant other remember that they are going to go through a million emotions and may need time to process it as well.  Whatever you do, it’s important to be honest with yourself and everyone else.  You may also find that the people you think will react the worst may be very understanding. Then there are going to be those who may react very badly. This is why it’s good to have a support network in place.

There are a lot of ways to open the lines of communication.  These days there are always celebrities coming out, news stories about gay marriage, gay themed shows/networks etc. That will give you the opportunity to talk to your friend/partner/family members about the topics and ask them what their opinions are etc.  Know though that depending on their perception of your feelings on the topic they may just tell you what they think you want to hear. You may have to steer the conversation in a positive direction first in order to get their true feelings on the topic. Once you have a dialogue going, it’s easier to transition into your personal situation.  Now you have opened the lines of communication and it went pretty well.  So now what? Well that is another hard question to answer. It could lead to you and your partner having a polyamorous or a swinging relationship or you just coming to terms with the attraction and moving on. If you are single it could lead to you being able to safely experiment with the same sex or again just coming to terms with it and moving on. Whatever you do it’s important to take your time. Have an open mind and open communication and let things happen at their own pace.   Make sure that you keep in touch with your support network as you learn about and potentially experiment with this part of yourself.