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Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz

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What do you really know about bisexuality? Think you've got all the answers? Check your bi-Q!

1) Bisexuals are just confused about their sexuality. True or False?

False. Bisexuality is as valid a sexual identity as being heterosexual, homosexual, or anything else. Some people are simply attracted to people of more than one sex or gender. Being bisexual means that you are capable of finding people of your own sex or gender attractive sexually and/or romantically, as well as finding people of another sex or gender attractive sexually and/or romantically.

2) Sexual identity never changes. If you're gay, you're always gay, if you're straight, you're always straight. True or False?

False. The way people characterize their sexual identity can change over time, and people's attractions can also change over time. What attracts us and arouses us is extremely variable, and our desires can change quite a lot over the course of our lives. Sometimes people will identify as heterosexual, only to get to a point later in life where they can acknowledge that they are also attracted to members of their own sex. They might decide to identify as bisexual at that point. Similarly, someone who has identified as gay might discover that they are attracted to someone of another sex somewhere down the road, and their self-identification might change because of it. It's very common and not weird or sick in any way to have that happen.

3) To be a bisexual, you have to have had sex with people of both sexes. True or False?

False. To be a bisexual, you need to have the capability of being attracted sexually and/or romantically to members of more than one sex or gender. That's it. You don't need to have had sex with someone of the opposite sex or gender to be a heterosexual, or to have had sex with someone of the same sex or gender to know that you are a homosexual - you just know what you like and what is attractive to you. You know who you get crushes on and who you think is sexy. If you know that you find people of more than one sex or gender to be attractive and sexy, you might decide to call yourself bisexual, whether or not you ever have sex with partners of more than one sex or gender.

4) Bisexuals are equally attracted to both men and women. True or false?

False. Some bisexual people find themselves equally attracted to men and women, but many bisexuals find that they are more attracted to people of their own gender or sex, or more attracted to people of another gender or sex. Some bisexual people choose to say that they are "identified" with either the straight/heterosexual world or with the queer/homosexual world, which is a way of saying "I am attracted to people of more than one sex, but I am more invested in this particular kind of community." People can be attracted to members of more than one sex in a lot of different proportions. Sometimes, the degree to which a person is attracted to one sex or another can change with time. A person might be attracted to members of his or her own sex or gender 30% of the time, and members of another sex or gender 70% of the time when they are 15, and then by the time they are 30, it could be 75% and 25%... or anything else in between.

5) Bisexuals are just opportunists. They just want to have sex, they don't even care who it's with. True or False?

False. Bisexuals aren't necessarily sex fiends. Some bisexuals are even celibate (people who choose not to have sex with partners). All that being bisexual means is that you have the ability to find people of more than one gender or sex physically and/or emotionally attractive. Most bisexual people, like most people of any other kind, have a variety of kinds of relationships over the course of their lives, from one-night-stands to long-term, heavily committed relationships, and they are just as likely to be responsible, loving, faithful partners as anyone else.

6) If you're bisexual, you have to have a male and a female partner to feel fulfilled. True or False?

False. While some people may find that they feel best in unconventional relationships where they have more than one partner of whatever sex or gender, that's certainly not something that you have to do if you're bisexual. Like everyone else, bisexuals fall in love, form bonds, and make commitments to individual people. And like everyone else, bisexuals are capable of being either unfulfilled or fulfilled in their relationships depending on how good the relationship is - which very rarely has a whole lot to do with the shape, size, or type of genitals either partner has.

7) Most people who are bisexual are really gay or lesbian. They just say they're bi because it's easier when you can "pass" as straight. True or False?

False. Most people who say that they're bisexual are bisexual.

Being bisexual is not the same as being straight. Sometimes it is confusing to people to remember that a bisexual person is really bisexual if they see them with a partner of one sex or another - when people see a bisexual person with a same-sex partner, they are likely to be assumed to be gay, and when people see a bisexual person with an opposite-sex partner, they are likely to be assumed to be straight. The truth is that if you're bisexual, you don't change orientations based on your partner's sex or gender: you are bisexual all the time, regardless of whom you sleep with.

This isn't to say that life isn't sometimes easier for bisexuals when they're in relationships with opposite-sex partners. It is. Our culture values opposite-sex relationships more, something called "heterosexual privilege" that means that people who look like heterosexuals are less likely to have people give them crap in a lot of situations. One of the things that is important to the bisexual community is to be out as bisexual no matter what the sex of a person's partner, so that people don't get to assume they know whether a person is gay or straight by the sex of their partner. This is one way to combat bisexual invisibility.

8) If you have a relationship with a bi person, they'll pretty much always dump you for someone of the other gender. True or False?

False. People of all orientations end relationships for a wide variety of reasons. There are often a lot of good reasons to end a relationship if it is no longer a good fit for one or both of the people involved in it. There is no reason to believe that every relationship with a bisexual person will be ended because they run off with someone of another sex. People of all kinds end relationships for a lot of reasons, and sometimes those reasons include the presence of other potential partners or new love interests. Bisexuals certainly don't have a monopoly on doing that!

9) Bisexual people spread HIV/AIDS because they have sex with gay people, then go pass AIDS on to straight people. True or False?

False. Dishonest and irresponsible people spread diseases of many kinds, including HIV/AIDS, by having unprotected sex with infected partners and passing diseases on to uninfected partners. Some people who are neither dishonest or irresponsible also spread disease, either because they or their partners don't understand how to prevent transmission or have access to what they need to do so, or because preventative protections failed them. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with it. And right now, globally, HIV is spread most via heterosexuals, anyway.

People who are not honest about their sexual behavior or desires may also not be honest about their need to protect themselves with safer sex, as if it can't hurt them if they don't really admit it's true that they want or like something they don't think they are "supposed to" like or want. Being honest about whether or not you are engaging in a sexual act that might put you at risk for an STI (including HIV), and using appropriate safer sex methods, is the only way to help cut down on your risk of contracting an STI or of getting infected and passing it on to someone else.

Germs and viruses can't tell what your sexual orientation is, what your sex is, who you are, how old you are, or who you sleep with. They don't care. The only thing you can do - whether you consider yourself bi, gay, lesbian, straight, or something else entirely -- is be honest with yourself about when you need to protect yourself and the people you have sex with, and play safe at all times.

10) You can't get married if you're bisexual. True or false?

False. You can get married if you are bisexual. Plenty of people do.

11) If you've never had sex, you can't know whether you're bisexual or not. True or False?

False. You can know who you have crushes on, who you are attracted to, and what types of things and people are arousing for you without having sexual activity of any kind with another person. This is true whether you are homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, or anything else.

No one says heterosexuals can't know if they are heterosexual if they haven't had sex, and it's no more sound to suggest anything different for other sexual orientations.

12) Just because you have sex with a person of the same sex, it doesn't make you gay or bisexual. True or False?

True. How you choose to identify yourself is up to you. The only person who gets to choose what labels or identities apply to you is you. However, if you have sex with someone of the same sex or gender, you have to be honest enough to admit (at least to yourself) that you have had or are going to have same-sex sexual activity, and you need to be realistic and honest about what that may mean for you in terms of knowing how to have safer sex with someone of the same sex as you.

13) Bisexuals are always trying to convert other people to being bisexual. True or False?

False. It's pretty hard to "convert" someone to being sexually attracted to something or someone if they're really not. If it doesn't work to "convert" people who are gay or lesbian to being heterosexual, and studies prove that it really doesn't, it's pretty much guaranteed not to work to "convert" people's sexual attractions and sexual identification any other way, either.

Sometimes people assume that everyone starts out heterosexual, and that it takes an experience with someone who is already gay or lesbian or bisexual to "convert" a person to being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. This is pretty illogical, first of all - if it's true, then where did the first gay or bi people come from?? - but it's also untrue. Many gay, lesbian, and bi people are aware that they have non-heterosexual attractions from the time they are very small children, no "conversion" or sexual experiences of any sort necessary.

written 29 May 2000 . updated 11 Jun 2014

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