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What It Means to Be Bisexual and in a Straight Relationship

Bi and in a straight relationship? Chances are you've experienced these reactions from family and friends.

Sex guru Dan Savage is hardly known for his inclusive opinion on bisexuality. But when he observed, in 2011, that most bisexuals end up in straight relationships, he actually wasn’t far off the mark: The Pew Research Center’s 2013 survey of 1,197 LGBT Americans found that 84 percent of self-professed bisexuals were in committed relationships with members of the opposite sex. A mere 9 percent were in same-sex relationships.


One theory suggests that bisexual people might subconsciously choose the more socially acceptable option. Others might carry an internalized fear of being rejected if they end up in a long-term same-sex relationship—even if they’ve already come out to their family and friends. Still, others might feel it’s “easier” to be with a member of the opposite sex when it comes to getting married and starting a family.

But the truth is that we don’t have any research to back these ideas up. First-hand accounts from bisexual women who are married to straight men often have one thing in common: love.

While we don’t doubt they fell in love, there’s an even simpler reason why bisexuals end up in hetero relationships. It comes down to statistics. Bisexual women are statistically more likely to meet straight men than lesbians. In fact, less than 4 percent of Americans identify as LGBT.

When it comes to who bisexuals end up with, the odds are in favor of heterosexual relationships, plain and simple.

For the many bisexual women that end up with straight men, these are some of the most common misconceptions.

“So, I guess your lesbian phase is over.”

Be prepared for mass confusion when it’s time to break the news to your family and friends that you’re in a committed straight relationship. Some people might react with relief (“I knew you’d end up with a man!”), while others simply don’t get that being bi isn’t a stepping stone on the way to full-blown lesbianism (“But I thought you were gay???”). People tend to assume that sexuality is defined by whoever you’re with, but bi gals know that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“You and your boyfriend/husband must love threesomes.”

This assumption goes hand in hand with the common stereotype that bisexuals are depraved and deviant people who like sex so much that they want to have it with anyone and everyone. But the assumption that bisexuals are always down for a ménage à trois is just plain wrong. Being bisexual doesn't mean you won't survive in a monogamous relationship, and it’s not about enjoying both sexes at the same time, either.

“You’re abandoning the LGBT community.”

Bi girls with a history of involvement in the LGBT community might feel like they’re letting their queer friends down simply by being in a relationship with a man. And sadly, if you find yourself in a long-term relationship with a man, your gay friends may act like it’s game over for your queerness. But finding love as a bisexual is not about one sex “winning out” over another.

“Did you tell your boyfriend/husband?”

Bisexuality is not some kind of atrocious disease and your partner doesn’t deserve a medal for accepting you for who you are. Yes, it’s nice to be open about your sexuality with whoever you happen to be with, but being bi doesn’t make you a leper. Anyone who asks you if you’re “out” to your partner—like they need to know because one day you might decide to “go back” to women—don't get it.

“It must be difficult to live in hiding.”

When you walk down the street holding your man's hand, most people will assume you’re straight. If the opportunity arises, maybe you correct them. If it doesn’t, you don't need to go out of your way to make sure they know you're bi. If you’re comfortable with your sexuality and in your own skin, it’s not about advertising it. As long as you feel loved and accepted for who you are, you’re not living in hiding.

[Image via Shutterstock

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