How To Tell If Your Bi Curious

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How To Tell If Your Bi Curious – “I’ve never told anyone that before,” one bisexual man who asked to remain anonymous admitted in my Twitter DM. “Sorry if that sounds dramatic.”

It didn’t sound like drama – at least not to me. After I tweeted this story (Opens in new window), this person reached out to me and said it was difficult for them to accept their bisexuality. At the age of 11, he began to question whether or not he liked women, but he went to great lengths to hide this attraction from his parents. Then his fear began; This only increased with maturation and led to weight loss.

How To Tell If Your Bi Curious

How To Tell If Your Bi Curious

He continued to suppress his attraction to women and even underwent plastic surgery to make himself more attractive to men. “Proving that I don’t like women really hurt me,” she says. He tried to deny his bisexuality because he had never been in love with a woman, but “then when I fell in love with one, I knew I wasn’t straight… I always knew I was bisexual.”

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I’ve personally experienced this internal tug of war, and some of the bisexual people I’ve spoken to have experienced it too. Anxiety and other mental health effects of bisexual people are also evident in the data.

According to a 2011 report by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC), bisexual people are more likely to suffer from depression (Opens in a new window), anxiety and other mental disorders. Recent reports also confirm these numbers. The Journal of Affective Disorders published an article in January 2020 that concluded: “Bisexuals are at greater risk of poor mental health than lesbian or gay men” (Opens in a new window).

A factsheet on the mental health of the bisexual population, released earlier this year (Opens in a new window), stated that bisexuals are more likely to suffer from depression and suicide compared to monosexuals (heterosexuals or homosexuals). Drug use is also high. In August, the University of Manchester released a study showing that bisexual people are six times more likely to harm themselves (Opens in a new window).

Many bisexual people I spoke to mentioned anxiety and depression and two mentioned suicidal thoughts. “I used to think about death because I felt so broken,” said one. What Does Bisexuality Do to Mental Health and What Can We Do About It?

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These statistics are alarming, but can be explained at least in part by the way bisexual people are studied. Researchers have a hard time defining the population they study, and that’s easy to say when they have a vague group like bisexuals.

Dr Jeffrey Reim, an associate professor at Adelphi University’s School of Social Work who has studied LGBTQ youth suicide (Opens in a new window), explained that researchers use different methods to decide whether people are bisexual are to be encoded. For example, the HRC data looks at people who self-identify as bisexual. But other studies code people based on how they answer questions about behavior and attractiveness, e.g. B. whether they had sex with members of the opposite sex.

Research on bisexuality is generally hard to come by, says Dr. Sarah Noble, author of the APA fact sheet. “The core of sexuality is imagination, attraction, sexual behavior and sexual identity,” says Dr. classy “Distinguishing between different aspects of sexuality is often difficult and not perfectly defined in every study.” Therefore, according to Noble, not every study is comparable.

How To Tell If Your Bi Curious

So coding issues can lead to a mix-up of self-identified bisexuals and “coded” bisexuals, but that’s ultimately okay. “You always work with imperfect data,” says Rehm. She quotes her supervisor Rich Savin-Williams, who specializes in LGBTQ studies: “What Rich has always told me is that you can never get a representation of marginalized and invisible populations.” So they combine different sources. Rham continued, “So you take multiple sources of information and triangulate them. Or square them.

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Sarah Gene, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Work, agrees with Ream about data imperfection. Jen, who worked on Aging With Pride(Opens in a new window), the largest study of middle-aged and older LGBTQ adults in the US, explains why we need bisexual-specific research. “The recruitment methods that we use in the LGBTQ community are generally not very general and do not reflect the diversity of the bisexual population,” she said.

Jen also pointed out that non-monosexuals are more likely to use multiple terms to describe themselves, such as: B. queer, pansexual and omnisexual. This is having an increasing impact on bisexual representation in research.

Another factor is that many studies of queer people use LGBTQ community organizations for recruitment. “Historically, bisexual people said and still say that they don’t feel welcome or belonging in these spaces,” says Jen, “because they encountered negativity or biphobia… This space is for them. He doesn’t want to.”

As a result, not only did the researchers define various non-monosexual terms, but none of them defined “bisexual behavior” (e.g., having sex or dating people of the opposite sex), history, and lifelong romantic relationships.

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“It’s really hard to recruit people like that,” Jen said. “How do you write a hiring statement that says, ‘Have you done all of these things?'”

Bisexual people are the largest self-identified group in the LGBTQ community, but the proportion of research that focuses on bisexuality is small(Opens in a new window). According to Ream, collecting bisexual data distorts mental health research. Jen argues that we don’t get the full picture when something happens.

Bisexual data is imperfect, but as Reim reiterated, researchers always work with imperfect data about sexual orientation. This does not invalidate studies in bisexual populations; If anything, it’s evidence that bisexuality-focused research is needed. At this point, the data and the resulting statistics are – worryingly – all we have.

How To Tell If Your Bi Curious

As difficult as it may be to collect “truthful” data about the bisexual population, it is clear that the mental health of bisexuals differs from that of monosexuals.

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The Minority Stress Theory (opens in a new window) developed by Ilan H. Meyer can contribute to this. The theory states that social stigma does not directly lead to mental health problems. But for a minority, these incidents cause stress that accumulates over time. This accumulation can lead to long-term mental health problems. (As you can imagine, this theory applies to other minority groups as well.)

Low stress relates to external stress (distal) and internal stress (proximal). An example of distal stress is telling a bisexual person that they are lying or that their sexuality does not exist. An example of proximal stress is internalized biphobia or not coming out at all for fear of a reaction.

“Minority stress can be very hard on bisexual people,” says Noble. Tricia, a bisexual graduate student interviewed for this article, said she is burdened with internalized biphobia and biphobia in general.

Biphobia, biphobia, and monosexism—the belief that people can only be straight or gay—are present in both the straight and LGBTQ communities. As I mentioned earlier this year in my post on feeling “queer enough,” these factors may make bisexuals feel alienated. “Part of developing self-confidence is finding your people, which is very difficult for bisexual people,” says Rehm.

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Tricia says she feels like an invalid member of the LGBTQ community. Acknowledging her superiority as white and cis, she was reluctant to make room for herself, saying she was “very straight forward”. “In trying to make room and handing the mic to members of the LGBTQ community whose sexuality overlaps less with heterosexuality than mine, I found I wasn’t making room for myself,” she said. “And this constant self-deprecation really weighs on me.”

Julia, another bisexual woman, feels the same way. “I was lucky that I wasn’t singled out or bullied or harassed because I’m a woman,” she said. “But I feel like I don’t have the right to be in a queer space or to call myself that.” Some family members have also accused him of “faking” his bisexuality.

Noble says our culture struggles with things that don’t fit neatly into categories. “We accepted homosexuality as a civilization,” he said, a “box” against heterosexuality. Bisexual people, as well as people who do not fit into the binary gender distribution, such as B. non-binary and transgender people do not fit into these socially constructed pigeonholes.

How To Tell If Your Bi Curious

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