- “Bi(sexual) now, gay later.” That was always the saying when I was a student back in 2009.
- Bigoted as that may sound, bisexuality has always been misunderstood — disregarded as a phase or an excuse to be promiscuous.
- But in 2020, it’s clear that gender fluidity is on the menu, especially for millennials and younger generations who are choosing to go with the flow.
“People suppress or have denied the idea or mere existence of something like bisexuality because of the dichotomous categorisation of this world, which ultimately has denied many of us the chance to explore our identity as sexually fluid beings,” says Joburg-based Clinical Psychologist, Dr Giada Del Fabbro.
Bisexuality is getting more airtime and exposure than ever. The recent Netflix documentary ‘Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez’ dissects the topic of bisexuality in the hyper-masculine world of American football, while celebrities like KStew is openly bi.
Del Fabbro says younger generations have grown up with more familiarity and acceptance of fluidity. So, for these individuals, it may be more commonplace and comfortable to negotiate fluid spaces.
“Nowadays, there is more developing tolerance internally and externally for different parts of ourselves, and people are beginning to embrace this and position themselves on an evolving continuum of sexual orientation with more freedom,” says Dr. Del Fabbro.
But not everyone is as open. "With older individuals, there may be less familiarity and/or comfort with the idea of fluid genders and sexualities, and they require more effort to understand and negotiate this aspect in a partner,” adds Dr. Del Fabbro.
A 2018 survey conducted in the UK showed that many individuals are still not open about their bisexuality. Particularly men. The survey results revealed that 49% of bi men are not out to anyone at work, compared to 7% of gay men and 4% of lesbians who disclose their sexuality in the workplace.
Due to prejudice and negative reactions from women, men often keep their fluidity a secret. However, some women really don’t mind a bisexual man and actually prefer to date a bi-man over a straight man.
The Independent reported on an Australian study which found that many straight female respondents said that, in fact, bisexual men made them feel more comfortable, they were better in bed and were more caring partners and fathers than most straight men they’d dated in the past.
“Dating a bisexual guy is just like dating any other guy. I know he also finds men attractive, but as long as he’s faithful to me while we are together, what’s the issue?” says Susan*, 27 from Melville.
She and Justin* have been in a monogamous relationship for almost a year. He told her about his bisexuality two months into their relationship.
“It's about much more than sex. Having a relationship with someone who is bisexual doesn’t mean they are more likely to cheat on you because there are ‘more options.’ If you have trust, you’re secure in the fact that they chose you," she says.
Cape Town-based Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Chantal Fowler, says, “More and more couples are starting to explore ‘hybrid relationships’ which incorporates both non-monogamy, as well as sexual fluidity within non-monogamy."
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That means couples are choosing to be more flexible. Be that participating in sexual relations with someone together or separately, or simply choosing not to regard their partner’s bisexuality as an issue within their monogamous relationship set-up.
“My advice to couples who want to explore this avenue is to be completely transparent about their choice, and have the consent of their partner before engaging. Openly negotiate what the rules and expectations are in terms of the non-monogamous engagements are,” says Dr. Fowler.
Do you think sexuality should ever be a deal-breaker in a relationship? Let us know.
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