In this week’s Sex Talk Realness, three anonymous women get real about what it’s really like to be a bisexual female in this day and age.
Woman A: Twenty-eight.
Woman B: Twenty-one.
Woman C: Twenty-two.
Woman D: Nineteen
Woman A: I had my first sexual experience when I was 8 with a girl, but I never really thought of it as “bad” or “gay” or even unusual. I never thought of myself as a straight person either. In high school, I began to experiment more with some of my girl friends, which led to me dating girls. I dated boys here and there until I hit a two-year span where I wasn’t dating men at all during college, and even came out to my parents as gay. Then, later, I met a guy … and then married that guy. Haha.
Woman B: I had always identified as straight; I hadn’t really considered any other possibilities. But when I was 19, this new girl got hired at my job, and she made it very clear that she was interested in me. For two years, I kind of awkwardly danced around the subject, but she surprisingly never gave up. She ended up kissing me for the first time after asking me to go out for something to eat. We hooked up a few times on and off, and now we’ve been dating for almost a year.
Woman C: I remember being around 11 years old and meeting this girl in my youth group at church who I thought was so pretty. I would write in my journal about her and pretend that she thought I was just as pretty as she was. I can distinctly remember fantasizing about what it would feel like to kiss her. For a long time, I didn’t think that I could ever feel about a man the way I felt about women. As I grew older and more aware of my sexuality, however, I realized that I was very attracted to men as well, just in a different way.
Woman D: I knew I liked women since middle school. I had an enormous crush on one of my best friends. When I was fifteen, I started identifying as a lesbian and exclusively saw women, but when I was seventeen, I started identifying as bisexual.
Woman A: There was never a coming-out process for me when it came to friends at school — in our social circle, there were a lot of LGBT folks. Everyone just kind of knew and no one was judged about it in our group. When I came out to my parents, I was so nervous but it was super easy. I just told my mom that I liked girls, and she was like, “I know.” I was 22.
Woman B: After my girlfriend and I hooked up for the first time, I told one of my good friends from high school, who identified as pansexual. I kept it a secret from the rest of my friends for a while because I didn’t really know where things were going to go. When I finally told my mom, she told me to never tell my father because it would absolutely destroy him. That was hard, and I did heed her advice for a while, until finally it got too frustrating and I broke down and told him too. He said that he didn’t feel like that was who I really was. My extended family still doesn’t know.
Woman C: Though I have become far more comfortable with my sexuality in recent years, I’m not where I would like to be. So far, I have come out to three of my friends and plan to come out to my mother in the near future. When I came out to each of my friends, the most terrifying part of it was feeling so incredibly vulnerable. While I thought I knew them, I didn’t know explicitly what they would say or how they would react. Thankfully, my friends were entirely accepting, and affirmed that they loved and supported me no matter what.
Woman D: Coming out to my parents was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. When I was 14, I wrote my parents a letter describing my feelings and thoughts that I had about women. They reacted super poorly — they were afraid and angry of the unknown. They sent me to therapy, pulled me out of my current private girls school, and didn’t allow any sort of contact with my past friends. I was isolated and felt very alone. However, in the past two years, they have slowly started coming around. I openly discuss my bisexuality with my mother although I do still strongly feel the “I hope my daughter ends up with a man” sentiments. It’s complicated because I may end up with a man or a woman at different parts in my life and I’m not sure how that will translate through my parents’ understanding of bisexuality.
Other than that, I have received pretty positive responses to my sexuality. I find most people don’t care and besides the gross men who romanticize and sexualize my relationships with women, it’s gone really well.
Woman A: I was actually casually dating a couple of girls, one of whom identified as gay and was horrified to tell her parents. It was so hard for her to live with the thought of them knowing, but also them not knowing her at all. She was supportive of me.
Woman B: When my girlfriend first started pursuing me, we were actually both in relationships. The guy I was seeing at the time saw what she was texting me one day and told me he was terrified I was going to leave him for her. I told him that was ridiculous, but I did feel myself falling for her. Nothing serious happened until long after I had stopped talking to him.
Woman C: I am yet to be in a serious relationship.
Woman D: Nope!
Woman A: Sometimes with men, you would sit there wondering if they were just trying to date you because you were bi. I also dated a girl once who, like, expected me to fuck up and leave her. When we finally broke up, she said, “I knew I never should have dated a bi girl!” and I just thought, Ouch. I’ve also been in a couple of situations where my girlfriend also had a boyfriend, and I just turned into some weird side dish. I know polyamory is totally the hot new buzzword these days but sometimes it seemed that the hetero relationship would always take precedence over the non-hetero one, and that hurt.
Woman B: This is my first same-sex relationship, so I can’t generalize too much, but it’s really refreshing to not have such strict gender roles. I’ve always been an athlete and I’ve always been really independent, so I come off a little strong. A lot of men found that intimidating that I really didn’t need them for much. I feel much less restricted; I don’t feel forced to be so girly anymore. You would definitely assume my girlfriend would be “the man” just from looking at us quickly, but we honestly have so much freedom to just be ourselves and aren’t fighting to fulfill any gender stereotypes.
Woman C: Being bisexual has definitely affected my desire to date. I really didn’t come to terms with my sexuality and it being “OK” until about eight months ago. Because of this, I was too focused on trying to better understand where I fit on the spectrum as far as my sexuality is concerned, to seriously date.
Woman D: I find that I enjoy dating other bisexual people. It’s a common point of interest from the get-go and I find it’s easier to share that common experience.
Woman A: Pretty much in every way possible. I’m super thankful that my husband has never seen me as threesome bait, and in fact will sit down and have philosophical discussions with me about sexuality, bisexuality, all that stuff. Though we have totally had threesomes, they are just mutually respectful and fun and not exploitative.
Woman B: For the first time, I actually enjoy having sex. My first experiences with sex were very negative. My first real, committed relationship was very abusive, and it took me two years to get out of. My second relationship was pretty emotionally abusive, but I was physically stronger than he was so it never really got violent in the same way. I hate saying that because I feel like there’s a huge stereotype that girls get “converted” because they get abused by men, and that honestly has not a single thing to do with it. I will say, however, that now I can have an orgasm from sex. I never used to be able to because I always felt so rushed.
Woman C: When I was younger, my sexual experiences were primarily with other girls. However, as I got older and began to explore my sexuality, I found myself in bed with a guy one drunken night. Since I had been exclusively with women up until that point, I was nervous about being with a man. However, I found it to be equally as sexy, just in an entirely different way. Women are soft, mostly gentle, and almost always attentive partners. Men are larger, rougher, and have a certain strength that makes them damn near irresistible.
Woman D: Because I am rather femme, I often attract a lot of straight men who I do enjoy sleeping with. However, being an outspoken bisexual, I also attract women although they are fewer in numbers. I don’t think being bisexual strongly shapes my sex life.
Woman A: It depends. I feel like a very stereotypical bi girl for growing up and marrying a man. Sometimes I really deeply crave a kind of female companionship that I don’t get from men at all. I get close with women easily, but with men, there’s a different power dynamic for me, and I also like that.
Woman B: You know, I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t ever expect this to happen, so I never really thought about it. There was something so special about my girlfriend that she opened my eyes to something completely novel to me, so I don’t know what I would do if we weren’t together.
Woman C: At this point in my life, I am 100 percent attracted to women and 100 percent attracted to men.
Woman D: No. It really depends on the person and the situation. I’ve had meaningful relationships with both genders as well with those who identify as non-binary.
Woman A: It’s like apples and oranges, to be honest. I love both for different reasons and it’s impossible to make a good comparison. My preference is more on the person I’m having sex with. Do they communicate well with me or no? Do we have chemistry and am I attracted to them? All of these things can make sex good or bad, and you can get that from both guys and girls.
Woman B: Again, my experience is a little more limited, but based on what I have experienced, I have to say sex with women is definitely better for me. My girlfriend gets a little self-conscious now and again because she’s always been gay, but I’ve only ever been with men other than her, so every once in a while, she’ll ask me if I miss sex with a man. Honestly, the thought never even crosses my mind.
Woman C: Because I’ve had minimal sexual experience with men, I generally prefer sex with women, simply because I’m more comfortable with it.
Woman D: I have to say I do enjoy a penis. That’s preferable, in my opinion, but a penis can be simulated very easily with a toy, a strap-on, etc…
Woman A: Sometimes I do, but honestly, love and commitment are the two biggest things about being in a relationship. Straight people desire other people all the time when they are relationships too, and that’s going to happen when you’re with someone for a long period of time. It’s not any different.
Woman B: I don’t really think much about it. I think the only thing that would be more attractive about being with a man would be my family fully embracing it instead of being resistant, but that doesn’t have much to do with the relationship itself.
Woman D: No. I’m with that person for that person and anything sex related can be explored in so many different ways. I find that I discover new things about myself and what I like with every person I’m with.
Woman A: Yes. I don’t understand at all what it means to be only attracted to one gender. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out where you stand too, because if you look straight, you tend to get looked over in the LGBT movement, especially if you are queer and currently in a hetero relationship.
Woman B: Being “straight” or “gay” is very black-and-white, and when you tell people that you’re one or the other, people just kind of go, “Oh, OK.” Being bisexual or even just having experience with both genders is confusing to people, and a lot of people don’t think it’s an option. When I first told some of my friends, I got asked more than once if I had “switched teams” and when I was going to “admit that I was gay.” Like, no. I don’t have to do either of those. I don’t need to be defined by option A or B.
Woman C: A lot of times, people who identify as bisexual aren’t taken as seriously as those who identify as gay or straight. I feel as though a lot of times, it’s just seen as a phase, which is entirely untrue. Just because I am bisexual does not in any way exclude me from the LGBTQ+ community nor does it mean that I’ve had any easier of a time coming to terms with my sexuality.
Woman D: Yes, I think being bisexual is super different from identifying as straight or gay. It’s a unique experience in itself. Personally, because I dress rather femme, I am often straight passing and a lot of people see me with that label, which is misleading. Although there are definitely overlapping experiences, the bisexual experience is different with those who identify solely as gay or straight.
Woman A: That we are greedy. Or that we are doing it for male attention.
Woman B: Absolutely that bisexual people are just confused and they must check the box for straight or check the box for gay. No one needs to label themselves by something that doesn’t fit.
Woman C: That we are extra promiscuous. Just because I like men and women doesn’t mean that I have any desire to bang every person I see walking down the street. Another huge myth is that this is just a “phase” or that I’m just “curious.” Nope. There’s a word for girls (and guys) who are just curious: bi-curious. I definitely know that I have an attraction toward women and men equally; there is no question about it.
Woman D: That we all must like one gender over the other. I think that’s so silly. I hate being asked that question. Also the myth that we’re slutty is super frustrating. I’m slutty because I enjoy sleeping with lots of people, not because I’m bisexual.
Woman A: Don’t be surprised if someone you know in a hetero relationship is actually queer. Acknowledge that part of their sexuality exists.
Woman B: First and foremost, let’s stop with, “So you’re gay now?” or, “Are you straight now?” That doesn’t do anything but make someone uncomfortable. Be yourself, and allow your friends to be themselves without question. Equality can’t be forced. Equality comes when no one even points out the difference anymore.
Woman C: Just taking the time to foster conversation and better understand what the other person is going through can be monumentally helpful. Once you take the time to know someone and attempt to understand their point of view, it becomes a harder to be judgmental and hurtful with false assumptions.
Woman D: Don’t erase us. Don’t call us gay or straight depending on the relationship we’re in that moment. We don’t identify with those labels. Just call us bisexual.
Woman A: THREESOMES AREN’T MANDATORY. Don’t do anything you don’t want to. And don’t stress too much about not being “experienced” or whatever. When I first started dating women, I was terrified of rejection (hellooo, when they are so pretty, it’s so hard) but I had to tell myself that honestly I had nothing to lose if she said no. If she likes you, she likes you.
Woman B: Let yourself explore. That sounds so corny, but I’m being serious. I avoided my girlfriend for two years of my life because she wasn’t what I was used to. I never thought that dating a girl would be something I could do or even something that would be attractive to me. I’m now in a great relationship and I couldn’t be happier. It would have been a shame to never have known.
Woman C: Bisexuality can be so, so confusing and difficult to accept. For a while it sucks, and it may feel like there’s not any light at the end of the tunnel, but there is. Understand that you’re never alone, and there will come a day when your sexuality, though an innate part of who you are, will no longer feel like it defines you.
Woman D: Honestly, it’s more common than you would think. Bisexuality encompasses a bunch of different things. Whether you romantically like men but sexually like women, you can identify as bisexual. Whether you had one sexual experience with a women as well men and would like to do it again in the future, you can identify as bisexual. Also, being mindful that labels change all the time! Everyone’s sexuality is different and can change.
This post was original published in July 2015 and has been updated.
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