In human sexuality, a bisexual or bi person (more rarely, pansexual) can be sexually attracted, sexually active, and/or in love with people of either sex. Note that the attraction to both sexes is not always equal; a bisexual can be more attracted to people of one sex than the other. Other sexual orientations are homosexuality and heterosexuality.

Pansexuality is a neologism that expresses essentially the same concept as bisexuality. The difference is that it refers to someone who is attracted to all sexes/genders, rather than both sexes. It is used mainly by people who wish to express their understanding and acceptance of transgenderism or recognizing the existence of the intersex genders. Pansexuality can include an attraction for less mainstream forms of sexuality, principally BDSM.

Trysexual is a neologism and a pun on bisexual. It is used as a humorous term for someone who will try any sexual experience at least once.

Table of contents
1 Incidence of bisexuality
2 Bisexual heritage
3 Bisexual Things
4 Bisexuality in Western Culture
5 External links

Incidence of bisexuality

Some studies, notably Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) by Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, note that when asked to rate themselves on a continuum from completely heterosexual to completely homosexual, and when the individual's behavior as well as their identity is analyzed, the majority of people appear to be at least somewhat bisexual. Most people have some attraction to either sex, although usually one sex is preferred. According to Kinsey, therefore, only a minority (5-10%) can be considered to be fully heterosexual or homosexual. Conversely, an even smaller minority can be considered "fully" bisexual, if that term is defined as having no preference for one sex over another.

Because bisexuals sometimes do not feel like they fit into the gay community at large, and because bisexuals have a tendency to become invisible in public (fitting in rather seamlessly into both homosexual and heterosexual society), some are committed to forming their own communities and movement. In an effort to create both more visibility, and a symbol for the bisexual community to gather behind, Michael Page created the bisexual pride flag.

Biphobia is a neologism that describes either the view that people are either heterosexual or homosexual, or that bisexuals are "contaminated." Bisexuals may also be victimised by the more common homophobia.

Bisexual heritage

Bisexuality has a universal heritage. Most societies in the past exhibited various degrees of bisexuality, and most of what passes for homosexuality in previous cultures is in effect bisexuality. Starting with homosexual relationships in Ancient Greece, where most men also had wives, ancient Rome, Arab countries up to and including the present, China and Japan, all exhibit patterns of bisexual behaviour. Perhaps the most famous and militaristic example is Alexander the Great who had many wives, but also a sexual relationship with his close friend Hephaestion, but the same could be said of almost all the Roman emperors, the shoguns of Japan, the Chinese emperor, and people great and small in every country and every age.

Ancient Sparta also encouraged homosexual relationships among their troops so long as the men also had wives and produced children. The Spartans thought that physical relationships between older and younger soldiers would solidify combat loyalty and encourage heroic tactics as men vied to impress their lovers. It is one of the factors in Spartan culture which led to their becoming the premier fighting force of their day.

Bisexual Things

Though not all bisexuals observe these things there are some things that are common among bisexuals. These include the Bisexual flag, which has a pink or red stripe at the top for homosexuality, a blue one on the bottom for heterosexuality and a purple one in the middle to represent bisexuality, as purple is from the combination of red and blue.

Bisexuals also usually believe, while sexual orientation is genetic, they do not make a big issue of the matter. The reason for this usually that love is seen as positive and to say "I was born that way" is like excusing it as though it were a sexual disability. However, they still defend their rights saying they should be protected for the same reason as religious or political belief. The new bisexual communities sometimes take an active stand in other sexual freedom-related issues, such as polyamorist rights, prostitution and pornographic rights, and other sexual issues, which they usually side with free love. Though the mistake should not be made that all bisexuals observe polyamory and prostitution.

Bisexuality in Western Culture

Often times gay and lesbian people in early stages of coming out perceive (and adopt) the bisexual label as a way of holding on to heterosexual privilege. This is ubiquitous, and often leads to the misperception that anyone who identifies as bisexual is really gay/lesbian but afraid to admit it. This misperception is often evident in popular culture, in film, television and in music and in the popular saying in gay culture 'Bi now gay later'. The television show "Friends" sported a short song about the topic that expresses a common (if misinformed) opinion on the subject:

"Sometimes men love women,
Sometimes men love men,
Then there are bisexuals
Though some people say they're kidding themselves"

The opposite of bisexual is monosexual.

See also: Famous gay lesbian or bisexual people, Heteronormativity, sexual orientation, list of bisexuals

External links