Everything I’ve had to learn and unlearn since coming out as bisexual

My sexuality goes beyond the gender of the person I’m dating

Happy Bi Visibility Day. This is a really important day as the experience for many bisexual people is often described as feeling “invisible”. Bisexuality is regularly misconceived as a grey area “between” sexualities, a step towards truly coming out. Because of this, it’s easy to question yourself and your feelings if you identify as bi.

As a bisexual woman in a recent lesbian relationship, I’ve come to understand my sexuality the most since dating a girl. Before this point, I was constantly suppressing my feelings by labelling them as “just a girl crush” or “a phase” (even though I’ve had feelings for women for as long as I can remember). This suppression went so deep, I once cheated on my ex-boyfriend with one of my best mates but convinced him, and myself, that it “didn’t count” because she’s a girl.

Even now, being out as bisexual and open about my girlfriend, I still get questions such as, “so are you a lesbian?”, “do you still think about men?” and “do you feel like there’s something missing from your sex life” (i.e. a penis). It’s as if people don’t actually trust my sexuality and, sometimes, I get scared I don’t trust it either.

Since coming out to my friends, a lot of them have also come to terms with their bisexuality. We’ve all spoke in a lot of depth about our experiences, as well as things we have had to learn and unlearn since.

My sexuality goes beyond the gender of the person I’m dating

With questions regarding “how straight or gay” you are, it can feel like who you’re dating is a reflection of what you identity as. After sleeping with women but then going into longer term relationships with men, I have felt like I’ve “lost” my bi-ness. There’s a weird subconscious pressure that you need to keep the balance between the men and women you date to reassure society you’re still queer.

This was a hard thing for me to get away from, especially when bisexual people are constantly bombarded by people wanting them to “confirm” who they like. Being a straight virgin doesn’t make you any less straight, so why does a bisexual in a hetero relationship make them any less bi?

Queer sex is just as important to me as straight sex

As a bisexual woman, even after sleeping with women I found myself still longing for sex with a man. For a long time, I was still subconsciously only counting the sex I had when it was with a man. The ignorant and dated prejudice that “women can’t have sex because there’s no penis” also niggles at you in these moments, convincing you that there’s something missing. This sentiment is something felt among many of my bisexual friends – as though straight sex is the default and gay sex is a “fun addition” that constantly needs to be justified.

A hetero relationship isn’t the end goal

For a long time, many of my bisexual female friends would argue, “I can have sex with a girl but I can’t imagine dating one” or “I am dating a girl now but I’ll ultimately end up with a man”. This is obviously all based in the heteronormative family ideal that women grow up to find a man, get married and have his babies. This can create a lot of anxiety for bisexual people, who can feel unfaithful to their partner or fake because they love women but are still idealising relationships with men.

This isn’t something I’m going to ‘snap out of’

Now being in a queer relationship, I really believe this. Before this point I didn’t. I can now see myself with a woman forever in the same way I can see myself with a man. Although, there are still moments I question myself and definitely moments I think “well maybe I’m a lesbian then?”. This is frustrating. Constantly feeling I have to prove I like men and women to myself is a waste of a lot of mental energy.

Being bi in a group of straight friends is difficult

I am surrounded by a fairly queer group of women, but one of my friends is a bisexual boy in a straight group of mates. Although his friends are understanding, he’s still aware that his friends can’t completely understand his experience. He also feels an added level of pressure in certain situations, for example when he goes to gay clubs with straight friends, he feels like they’re watching him to “act gay”.

The hyper-sexualisation of bi women made it particularly hard when I came out to my family

Coming out to my family was particularly excruciating because I felt like I was divulging a really explicit part of my life. I was telling them I have a girlfriend and yet I felt like I was describing a sordid sex position I did on the weekend. There’s nothing inherently sexual about two women dating, but it’s hard to shift this feeling when I’m still overwhelmed by the number of creepy responses women get when they mention they have a girlfriend or hold their hand in public.

Sexuality doesn’t need to be defined by percentages

Sexuality doesn’t have a limit to it. It’s not something you can put numbers, percentages or fractions to. Asking someone what percentage they like the same gender to different genders makes no sense. It also only adds more stress and confusion to people who are already pushed to explain themselves.

Related stories recommended by the writer:

• ‘Being queer isn’t a disease’: Young queer people on the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks

‘I wish I was a lesbian’: 31 things queer women are sick and tired of hearing

• 10 LGBTQ+ people share their ultimate queer anthems and what each of them means to them