‘Could I actually be a closeted lesbian living a lie in my marriage? Was I wrong about my sexuality my entire life?’ Am I just seeking attention and going through a phase?’ If you are a bisexual woman in a
straight passing relationship, I am quite sure thoughts like these have occurred to you at least once. Let me tell you the truth about them: you are not alone in your experience. Many bisexual women struggle with similar feelings of self-doubt and acceptance.
It is very common for us bisexuals to worry that we are secretly gay or in denial, that we are simply seeking attention or going through a phase. We are often feeling pressured by our internalised biphobia to "pick a side" in order to conform to society’s expectations of straight or gay because anything that falls outside of this is often seen as promiscuous or dishonest. We find ourselves in this perpetual cycle of being sure we are straight one day, and being certain we are gay the next. What we fail to see in all this questioning is that this is a cultural norm that we have learned since childhood. In fact, we can’t choose. That is the whole point of bisexuality, the notion that we are capable of being attracted to more than one gender at any given time. There is no choice to be made, because bisexuality is about more than one option, never just one option.
We absolutely do not have to choose between men or women and settle down for a single attraction choice.
It is well documented that there is a lack of positive bisexual role models because to society we are mostly invisible. According to research conducted by the Movement Advancement Project in 2016, 84% of bisexual people in a committed relationship are involved with someone of the opposite sex and 59% of bisexual women have had children. In context, you can imagine how many married bisexual women are out there generally ‘passing as straight’. This leads to very little true bisexual representation and open discussion about these very common orientation doubts in our community. We need to remember that bisexuality is a valid and natural orientation, and it covers the many shades of grey between straight and gay. It is incredibly important in our bisexual journeys, to take the time to understand how bisexuality presents itself in our lives and learn where our own bisexuality sits on this fabulous grey spectrum. And how do I do that? You might ask me. I would like to propose a practical observation experiment. One that, when conducted with honesty and diligence, will help you see your own bisexuality for what it is and hopefully reduce the self-doubting mindset.
Practical experiment: decoding your 'bi-cycle'
You will start this project by taking notes or writing a diary over a few months and capturing, for each day, your thoughts on the level of attraction you are feeling towards men, women and other genders. At the same time, also take note of other factors that may impact your attraction patterns, such as menstrual cycles, stress, relationship issues, family life, work demands, etc. Try not to be biased and force conclusions about your sexuality until at least a few months have passed. While you are doing this exercise, I also recommend looking at past experiences with people of same and other genders, examining up close your favourite ones. What did you feel? How much attraction was there? Pay special attention to your current relationship. What were the circumstances surrounding you when you chose your husband or male partner? Try to remember how your attraction played out in those early days. Looking at past relationships is a very good indicator of how fluid our sexual attraction has been over time.
At the end of the observation period, have a good look at all your notes. See if you can identify any attraction patterns and visualise the complexity of your sexual identity. Are you able to see how the many facets of your life impact the fluctuation of your bi-cycles? Maybe you feel strongly attracted to women after a tough month at work or more attracted to your husband or male partner after hormonal peaks in your menstrual cycle? This exercise is not about finding a definitive answer to your sexual orientation, but rather about gaining a deeper understanding of the fluidity of attraction that is characteristic of bisexuality. By understanding your own ‘bi-cycle’ patterns, you can learn to be more comfortable with yourself and fully embrace your bisexuality, moving away from the mental trap of our internalised biphobia. You will be able to see for yourself that there was never a choice to be made in the first place. You are who you are, and you are not alone in your experience. If you're still feeling uncertain or doubtful about your bisexuality, remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel, and it's okay to take the time to figure things out for yourself. Once you understand your own bisexuality and embrace it fully, you can live a more authentic and fulfilling life. Remember to be kind to yourself and trust in your own personal bisexual journey of self-discovery.
Are you struggling with being a bi-curious or bisexual woman in a straight-looking relationship? Join us at Married Bees to get the support you need!