Some people assume bisexuality is a phase and that people who say they are bisexual are really gay or straight. But bisexuality is a distinct sexual identity, different from gay or straight.
DeeWho is Dee?
Hi! I’m here to help you explore what it means to be bisexual. It starts with the core element of attraction. In other words, who are you attracted to? Bisexuality is often misunderstood, but the more we learn, the more we understand that it is a sexual orientation all its own. And it has nothing to do with how we show up in the world, or the body we were born with. Let’s dig in...
Bisexuality is often misunderstood by both the gay and straight communities. Increase your understanding here!
Hear from one of the top researchers of bisexuality, Dr. Tania Israel about the complexities of bisexuality.
Bisexuality is more than attraction or behavior. It’s about how people see themselves and how they identify.
For decades, human sexuality researchers have measured a spectrum of orientations, including bisexuality.
Hear from people who are bisexual as they talk about their identities and relationships.
Dr. Tom Duffin talks about bisexuality, the phenomenon of bisexual erasure and his lived experiences as a man identifying as bisexual.
Until recently, researchers largely overlooked the study of bisexuality.
Explore why bisexuality has been overlooked by scientists and is still invisible to many.
Dr. Lisa Diamond, Ph.D., has conducted significant research that debunks the myth that bisexuality is just a phase.
(Adj.) Refers to the sexual orientation of a person who experiences sexual, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to persons of more than one gender, not necessarily equally or at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree. Also known as "bi". Learn More
(Adj.) Describes the sexual orientation of persons who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to persons of the same sex/gender. While the term is most often used to describe men, it can also be used more broadly to refer to both men and women (i.e., gay man, gay woman, gay people). Learn More
(Adj.) Describes a person who does not behave in a way that conforms to traditional expectations for their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. Also known as gender variant. Learn More
Heterosexual / Heterosexuality
(Adj.) Primary or exclusive sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to a gender other than one's own. Typically this means a woman who is primarily attracted to men and vice versa. Also referred to as "straight". Learn More
Homosexual / Homosexuality
(Noun) A term that describes a primary or exclusive sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to persons of one's own sex/gender. The term is considered outdated by many in the LGBTQ+ community but is still used in some research contexts. Learn More
(Adj./Noun) Refers to the sexual orientation of women who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to women. Learn More
(Adj.) A person who is pansexual is capable of experiencing emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction to persons of all gender identities and gender expressions. Learn More
(Adj.) Alternative term to LGBTQ+. An umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual. Historically a negative term and insult, queer is being reclaimed by many LGBTQ+ people—particularly youth—as a source of pride and political identity. The term is valued by some for its defiance, by some because it can be inclusive of the entire community, and by others who find it to be an appropriate term to describe their more fluid identities. “Queer” is still disliked by some people in the LGBTQ+ community and its use by straight people can be considered offensive. Due to its varying meanings, this word should only be used when self-identifying or quoting someone who self-identifies as queer (i.e. “My cousin identifies as queer.”) Learn More
(Adj.)Describes the process of discovery and exploration about sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or a combination thereof. Can be an aspect of adolescence as young people explore various facets of their identity.
(Noun) The way a person views and understands their sexual orientation, such as gay, straight, bisexual, or some other orientation. Learn More
(Noun) An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction or non-attraction to other people. People use a variety of labels to describe their sexual orientation. Some of the better-known labels or categories include bisexual, pansexual, asexual, lesbian, gay or straight. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender and gender non-conforming people may identify with any sexual orientation, and their sexual orientation may or may not change before, during or after gender transition. Learn More
(Adj.) Another term for heterosexual. Refers to the sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to a gender other than one's own. Typically this means a woman who is primarily attracted to men and vice versa. Learn More
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Citations & Sources
Bouchard, K.N., Timmers, A.D., & Chivers, M.L. (2015). Gender-specificity of genital response and self-reported sexual arousal in women endorsing facets of bisexuality [Abstract]. Journal of Bisexuality, 15(2), 180-203. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15299716.2015.1022924
Clark, T. (2017). Invisability: Talking about bisexuality and aging [Fact sheet]. National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. https://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/pdfs/INVISIBILITY%20bisexuality%20and%20aging%20NRC%20fact%20sheet%20final%206.2.20171.pdf
Copen, C.E., Chandra, A., & Febo-Vazquez, I. (2016, January 7). National health statistics report: Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual orientation among adults aged 18–44 in the United States: Data from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth (Report No. 88). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/01/06/nhsr88.pdf
Danielle. (n.d.). I’m From Mt. Sinai, NY. I'm From Driftwood. http://imfromdriftwood.com/im-from-mt-sinai-ny/
Denizet-Lewis, B. (2014, March 23). The scientific quest to prove bisexuality exists. New York Times Magazine. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/magazine/the-scientific-quest-to-prove-bisexuality-exists.html
Diamond, L. (2008). Female bisexuality from adolescence to adulthood: Resulting from a 10-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 5-14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18194000/
Dotinga, R. (2016, January 8). More women report having same-sex relationships. CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-women-report-same-sex-relationships
Gates, G.J. (2011). How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender? Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/how-many-people-lgbt/
Gates, G. J. (2014). LGBT demographics: Comparisons among population-based surveys. Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/lgbt-demo-comp-pop-surveys/
Israel, T. (2010, October). Bisexuality and youth: Introduction to the special issue [Abstract]. Journal of Bisexuality, 10(4), 359-365. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15299716.2010.521038
Israel, T. (2015, July 7). Bisexuality and beyond: Tania Israel [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APPb__tpGHk
Johnston, T.R. (2016). Bisexual aging and cultural competency training: Responses to five common misconceptions [Abstract]. Journal of Bisexuality, 16(1), 99-111. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15299716.2015.1046629
The Kinsey Scale. (2019). Kinsey Institute. https://www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/publications/kinsey-scale.php
Rosenthal, A.M., Sylva, D., Safron, A., & Bailey, J. M. (2012). The male bisexuality debate revisited: Some bisexual men have bisexual arousal patterns. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(1), 135-147. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-011-9881-7
Ward, B. W., Dahlhamer, J. M. Galinsky, A. M., & Joestl, S. S. (2014, July 15). National health statistics report: Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 (Report No. 77). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf