Dating as a woman can be difficult, but dating as a bisexual woman can be even harder. If you’re into both guys and girls, you might be familiar with some of the stereotypes that bi women face. Straight men think it’s hot, or assume you’re automatically interested in a threesome, or ask, “But isn’t that just a phase some girls go through?” Lesbians can sometimes feel suspicious of your intentions, and might wonder if you’re experimenting with your sexuality and using them.
It’s difficult to face biphobia and the stigma that comes with it. There’s no one right way to deal with it, but we’ve got a few ideas.
Talk about it.
Being clear about who you are is important for so many reasons. In the dating realm, it helps to be transparent and open about your identity. The whole point of dating is getting to know someone, so being able to talk about your bisexuality and what it feels like to you is key to creating any meaningful connection. Approach your dating life with honesty about who you are. You don’t need to conform to anyone’s biphobic perceptions of you. Hopefully you feel safe enough to talk about it not just with potential dates, but also with your larger social circles. (If you’re not able to be out yet, that’s okay too. Take the time you need to take.)
Be ready to educate.
Bisexual erasure is real, and it contributes to a lot of the stigma that bi folks deal with while dating. According to GLAAD, “Bisexual erasure is a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright.” As a result of this, bisexual people face higher rates of mental illness and other diseases than lesbian, gay, or straight people do. The common straight person probably doesn’t have a handle on that information, so you may have to educate them about it. Lesbians may know a little bit more, depending on their knowledge of the overall queer community, but having the facts at hand can make those conversations easier. At the same time…
Don’t waste time with lost causes.
It’s not your job to convince a biphobic person that they’re wrong about not just you, but about all bisexual people. If you want to give them that emotional labor, you can. But you don’t need to waste time on dates with men (or women) who are clearly not willing to examine their internal biases. It’s totally okay to cut and run if a date is obviously unable to hear where you’re coming from, or unwilling to treat you with respect.
Get ready to deal with objectification.
There are a lot of straight couples looking to spice things up in the bedroom by bringing in a third party. These couples are known as unicorn hunters. “Unicorn” is a term often used to describe a bisexual woman who sleeps with a straight couple, but does not form emotional attachments. If you’re into being a unicorn, more power to you. If you’re not, try to include that in your online dating profile somehow. That can cut down on the amount of couples who slide into your DM’s inquiring about your unicorn status.
Know that your identity is valid.
It’s sad that there’s so much biphobia and bierasure in the queer community. If you aren’t able to be around people who affirm you, it can be difficult to remember that your bisexuality is just as valid as anyone else’s sexual identity. It doesn’t mean you need to buy into other’s negative narratives about bisexuality. You may need to feel defensive of yourself for a little while; that’s okay. Remember that you can be your own ally, and that no one’s preconceived notions of who you are or who you sleep with can define you.
Find your allies.
The world became a bit brighter for me once I was able to connect with other bisexual people. Having bi friends is part of a key support system for me. They’ve been through the biphobic reactions on dating apps just like I have, and they’re here for me to commiserate with. Mostly, having friends who share my identity in this way helps me feel less alone. That’s part of the confidence I need to exist as my truest self.