“So, you’re straight now?”

This was, verbatim, the response of a close friend upon the announcement of my engagement. I must have looked like a puppy that realizes you’re talking, but doesn’t yet understand what you’re saying—head tilted to the side, a look of confusion in my eyes as I tried to search out in her face just what the fuck she was talking about.

It hadn’t occurred to me until just then that a lot of people presumed that being bisexual meant never settling down with one person. In that moment, I realized just how many commonly held myths there were regarding bisexuality, some so prevalent that even friends who had known me for years still believed them.

It was then that I decided to use my passion for writing as a vehicle to debunk these myths, beginning with the simplest of all—a list. Below is a list of the five most common myths bisexuals encounter on a regular basis:

1. Bisexuals are all promiscuous.

This is arguably the most common myth about bisexuals. Like #2, it is based on the idea that we need to be with more than one person at the same time to be happy. This is true of some bisexuals, of course, but it is also true of some heterosexuals and homosexuals. Plenty of bisexual people are in committed, monogamous relationships and are celibate when not in a relationship. Bisexuality and promiscuity have nothing to do with one another.

2. We are all polyamorous/polygamists.

Again, this is based on the idea that bisexuals need to be with both men and women to be happy. While this can be true, and in my own case very well may be, I actually find I am part of a minority that way. I can't back that up with any statistics, but it has been my personal experience that there are less poly bisexuals than there are mono bisexuals. Furthermore, there are just as many, if not more, straight or gay poly people as there are bisexual poly people.

3. Bisexuality doesn't exist/It's just a phase/We're confused/We haven't made up our minds.

To be honest, I find this one ridiculous--which makes how common it is disturbing. Setting aside the shocking gall it takes to tell someone they are incorrect about their own orientation, the fact that countless people have publicly dated both men and women throughout entire lifetimes should be enough to make its existence obvious.

4. Once we make a lifelong commitment, we cease to be bisexual.

In 2005, I became engaged to a man. In the months that followed, I ran into the idea that I was no longer bisexual since I had committed myself to a heterosexual relationship. Much like #3, it was assumed that I had “made up my mind” and was now straight. This idea can be easily turned on its head, simply by applying it to gays or straights. When a straight person gets married, do they cease being attracted to anyone else? When a gay person gets married (if they are fortunate enough to live where that's a possibility) or commits to their partner, do they cease being attracted to others? Of course not. They may stop acting on their attractions, they may keep their attractions to themselves, but I do not know anyone who can honestly say the day they make that commitment, they cease finding others attractive. So why would we? I was engaged to a man, yes, but I was still attracted to women as well.

5. We claim to be bisexual because it's trendy/to get attention.

This one even seeps into the bisexual community itself. A lot of us look suspiciously upon 15 year old girls that proclaim bisexuality, wondering if they are just making that claim to be trendy or get the attention of men. It's possible some of them are, of course. Teenagers do a lot of things because it’s trendy or to get attention, and we can never be sure if that is why some people claim to be bisexual or not. Still, I know a lot of us knew we were bisexual from a young age, and many of us realized that in a time when it was NOT trendy or likely to garner good attention. So not only is this a misconception, as we know from our own experiences, but it is also a judgment that we have no right to make.

In the end, we must all realize that sexuality is personal and individual, rising far above our own assumptions and stereotypes. There is but one safe assumption to make about bisexuals, and that is that we are attracted to both men and women. Everything else depends on the individual in question. And, just for the record, no, I am not straight now.

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