BY: ASHLEY THOMPSON, PH.D.
Humans do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. “The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behaviour, the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.”
Historically, bisexuality (as well as other terms used to define sexual fluidity; e.g., pansexual) has been viewed as disgraceful, degrading, and unrespectable. People who were sexually attracted to both sexes were thought to be “just experimenting” and would soon fall into one category or another (heterosexual or homosexual). However, bisexuality is more than just “trial and error,” it is the ability to see past the sexual organs of others in order to appreciate and sustain romantic relationships with both men and women.
Despite the history of negative attitudes toward bisexuality, a recent shift has made bisexuality (specifically among women) trendy. What is accountable for this shift you ask? Well, it is becoming more and more commonplace for women (specifically adolescents and young adults) to hook-up with other women to gain the attention of men. Particularly, these young women are not necessarily interested in actually dating another woman, they just use bisexuality to seek male attention.
Although this shift may be a positive indication of the change in people’s attitudes toward bisexuality, particularly the increased acceptance of bisexuality among the younger demographic, bisexual expression remains a tricky topic. Young adults who have actually struggled to overcome the different challenges associated with non-heterosexuality may find it annoying that other women are adopting their label to attract attention.
Additionally, “trendy bisexual women” (also known as “party bi”) may express feelings of open-mindedness because of their attempt to “test out the waters” sexually with other women. Their drunken “exotic experiment” becomes a bragging point to illustrate their spirit and acceptance of others. I do not mean to discourage sexual experimentation, if done for the right reasons. Sexual exploration is commendable, but selfishly motivated exploration is not. Using bisexual experimentation as a means to attract male attention perpetuates the idea that those who do not identify with pure heterosexuality are merely confused.
It is important to note, that these trendy bisexuals only appear among women and the negative attitudes still surround bisexual men. Furthermore, I want to make myself clear when I say exploring your sexuality is healthy, but when done for the right reasons. Trendy bisexuals may spread the wrong message and “true bisexuals” may take offense to those using bisexuality as a means.