The term bisexual was originally used to describe a person who experienced attraction to both men and women, but it has evolved since its first use. The term bisexual is now generally used to identify someone who is attracted to more than one gender. Examples of different genders include men, women and non-binary people. A person who is bisexual may also identify with the term pansexual. Someone who is pansexual experiences attraction to people regardless of gender identity or expression.
The term bisexual can mean different things to different people. Being bisexual does not mean your attraction and desires are split 50/50 between two genders. You can be bisexual and only have dated one gender, but also experience attraction to other genders too. Your bisexual identity is valid regardless of the gender identity of the person you are dating or in a relationship with. You can be bisexual without ever having dated anyone, but you recognise in yourself who you are attracted to. Dating and having sex is only one part of expressing sexuality. Your thoughts, desires and attraction also make up your sexual identity and only you can decide if the term bisexual is right for you.
How do I know if I am bisexual?
You may have chosen to read this article because you are unsure of who you are attracted to, or have been experiencing attraction to people of different genders. Questioning your sexuality and experiencing a change in attraction is something that is a common experience. Being bisexual or feeling attracted to people of your own gender and people of other genders is experienced by many.
Sometimes people may worry that they are not bisexual ‘enough’ to use the term themselves because they mostly date or feel attraction to one gender more than another. If you are noticing feelings and attraction towards a gender for the first time, this does not make your feelings for another gender any less valid. For example, if you have normally only dated men and now find yourself attracted to women, nonbinary people or other genders, this does not mean that your feelings towards men are not still real.
There are sometimes myths and stigma around being bisexual. Some people still do not believe that a person can be attracted to more than one gender, but this is not true. Only you can know your own experience of attraction, and desire. However you feel, you do not have to label or explain it to anyone unless you want to.
Is bisexuality “just a phase”?
Sometimes there is stigma surrounding being bisexual because some believe that people only say they are bi because they do not want to accept or admit that they are gay or lesbian. It is true that some people identify as bisexual before later identifying as something else, just like it’s true that some people may identify as straight, lesbian or gay before coming out as bisexual. Sexual identity can be fluid and change at different points, and people do learn more about themselves over time – but bisexuality is no more a phase than anything else.
What is pansexual?
Pansexual is a term used to describe someone who can be attracted to people regardless of gender identity and expression. This means that their emotional, romantic and/or physical attraction towards people is inclusive of all gender identities and expressions. Some people who are pansexual may also be happy to be called bisexual, as it is often a more commonly understood term.
There are other terms that are also used under the Bi+ umbrella, to describe people who are attracted to more than one gender.
Bi + groups in Ireland
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