Everyone is bisexual these days. Is everyone bisexual? We are all bisexual!
These are some of the sayings that are becoming commonplace as more and more people use social media and text to share their sexual orientation. Maybe you have said one when another pop star or friend came out as bisexual.
But is everyone bisexual? Ahead, bisexuality experts and activists answer this question. They also explain why these one-liners — even when they come from a good place — can be problematic.
Not everyone is bisexual.
Everyone is not any other sexual orientation or label, either.
Each person has their own experience of sexuality and each person likes a different label for putting their sexuality into words. Some people prefer no label at all.
Different bisexual people have different definitions of bisexual that they like. But one that many people lean on these days comes from bisexual activist Robyn Ochs, editor of the anthology “Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and Recognize.”
To summarize: People who are bisexual have the potential to be attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.
Bisexual activist Jen Winston, author of “Greedy: Notes From A Bisexual Who Wants Too Much,” says this definition is so favored among many bisexual people today because it’s nuanced and leaves space for fluidity.
It also includes people across the gender spectrum — not just men and women. “It doesn’t reinforce the gender binary,” they explain, which unfortunately is something that some older definitions of bisexuality do. Sigh.
More people are bisexual than 5 years ago.
Need proof? The survey results show how many American adults are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer in the next three years.
A 2017 Gallup survey of 340,604 Americans over the age of 18 found that 4.5% of adults identified as LGBT. The findings don’t specify what percent of those folks are bisexual.
Fast forward to 2021 and a survey by the same researchers found that 7.1 percent of all U.S. adults identify as LGBT.
More than half of the people who reported being lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer are bisexual. 4% of all US adults will be bisexual in 2021.
The bisexual label is very popular among young adults.
Gen Z adults in the US reported 15% being bisexual, while 6% of the younger generation were bisexual. Only 1.7 percent of Gen X and 0.7 percent of baby boomers reported being bisexual.
“Most research doesn’t have the ability to determine WHY,” says Zachary Zane, a bisexual sex columnist and sex expert for P.S. Condoms. After all, the reasons someone might be and/or identify as bisexual are usually more nuanced or personal than studies have room for!
Bisexual experts and activists have some ideas.
Younger generations are more aware than their predecessors, according to Winston. Younger generations have a better idea of the unjust colonial ideas that shape our world.
They know that most binaries have a choice between two options that they never got to choose in the first place. They know that gender is a social construct and sexuality is a thing of the past.
There has been an increase in bi visibility, and we are likely seeing more people identify as bi.
Indeed, we’re seeing record numbers of bi characters on the big screen. In 2021, GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, reported that about 9% of series regular characters on TV were LGBTQ.
The number of bisexual characters on TV in the 2020-21 season increased 2% from the previous year.
The increase in representation has led to more people being comfortable with exploring their attractions to multiple genders. More people feel more comfortable identifying as bi.
Further, while homophobia is still rampant, we are seeing slightly less legal and structural homophobia than we had previously, notes Zane.
As one report from the University of British Columbia puts it, “It’s getting better for trans, bisexual and gay youth – but there’s still room to improve.”
There are many reasons why someone might use the term bisexual. For example:
- It is the label that fits better than any other.
- It feels like home.
- It connects you to a group of people.
- It makes you feel good.
Bi erasure is when the idea that everyone is bisexual is a form.
A pervasive problem faced by bi folks, bisexual erasure occurs when the lived experiences and realities of bisexual people are questioned or denied outright.
She says that Phrases like “well, isn\’t everyone bisexual?” and “everyone is bisexual!” suggest that being bisexual isn\’t worth talking about.
The experience of many bisexual people who feel like they are bisexual is worth talking about, and the phrase invalidates their experience. It is absolutely worth discussing!
“Some people don’t come out because of the perpetuation of the idea that bisexuality isn’t a big deal.”
It can lead people to hide their sexuality in order to avoid being seen as being gay.
For so many reasons.
Bisexual people have poorer mental and physical health outcomes than monosexual people because of things like bi-erasure, bi-invisibility, and biphobia.
“If we aren’t talking about bisexuality, then we aren’t talking about the other issues.”
What are the differences?
For starters, “bi folks have higher rates of depression and anxiety and are at a higher risk for suicide than gay and lesbian people,” says Zane.
“Many bi people don’t feel accepted by either gay or straight communities, which leads to the mental health disparity. This is referred to as double discrimination.”
He says that many bi people feel isolated and alone, which leads to worse mental well-being.
Bi people don’t just experience higher rates of mental health issues compared to straight folks, notes Zane. They also experience more physical health concerns when compared to their straight counterparts.
According to a Human Rights Campaign report, compared to straight folks, bisexual individuals are more likely to have high rates of cholesterol, have asthma, and drink or smoke.
Bisexual women face significant health disparity when compared with the general population of women.
- The rate of breast cancer is higher than the general population of women.
- heterosexual women have higher rates of heart disease.
- heterosexual women have higher rates of Obesity.
Being bisexual does not mean you’re automatically doomed to poor health! But it does mean that finding a queer-affirming, culturally competent healthcare professional is in your best interest.
If everyone has a different sexual orientation, it may be more difficult to figure out who you are.
Some signs you may be bisexual.
1. You think you are!
There is a good chance that you are bisexual.
2. You say you are!
There are no requirements for being bisexual. It is not necessary to have had a sexual or romantic experience with anyone of any gender to know you are bisexual.
“You don’t need to say you are bisexual to be bisexual. If you have recently thought to yourself or uttered aloud that phrase, you may be bisexual.”
3. You think everyone is bisexual
Not everyone is bisexual, says Zane. He says that if someone believes that everyone is bisexual, they are.
Or, at the very least, are bi-curious.
4. You want to go on dates with people across the gender spectrum
Or have sex with them. Or kiss them! Or hold them!
The key to figuring out which label works best for you is to explore, sexually and romantically, without feeling like you have to pick a label, says Zane.
Your sexual identity is not dictated by your behaviors. You do.
“If you go on a dinner or sex date with someone who is similar to you, but you don’t like it, that’s fine. He says you can still use your previous sexuality label. You can use whatever label you want, even if you don’t like it.”
More people may identify as bisexual, but that doesn’t mean everyone is bisexual!
“Asking if everyone is bisexual is a form of bisexual erasure, which suggests that being bi isn’t worth talking about.”
Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.