The flag shown to the right is the bisexual flag, not the pansexual flag. To see the pansexual flag, scroll down to "Bisexual Pride Symbols."
|Bisexuality · Pansexuality · Bi-curious · Questioning · |
Kinsey scale · Klein grid
|Biphobia · Bisexual chic · Lesbian until graduation|
|Community · BiNet USA · Bi Community News (UK) · Symbols · Celebrate Bisexuality Day · Queer theory · LGBT history|
|Bisexual people · LGBT films · Media portrayal|
|Bisexual · LGBT|
Bisexuality (frequently referred to as bi) refers to someone who is sexually attracted to two or more genders. It is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation, along with heterosexual and homosexual. Pansexual is a variant that is used for the sexual attraction to all genders.
According to Alfred Kinsey's research into human sexuality in the mid-20th century, most humans do not fall exclusively into heterosexual or homosexual classifications but somewhere between. The Kinsey scale measures sexual attraction and behavior on a seven-point scale ranging from 0 ("exclusively heterosexual") to 6 ("exclusively homosexual"). According to Kinsey's study, most persons fall within the range of 1 to 5 (a mixture of heterosexual and homosexual). Although Kinsey's methodology has come under criticism, the scale is still widely used in describing the phenomenon of bisexuality.
Although observed in a variety of forms in human societies and elsewhere in the animal kingdom throughout recorded history, the term bisexuality (like the terms heterosexuality and homosexuality) was only coined in the 19th century.
- 1 Description
- 2 Terminology
- 3 Modern Western prevalence of bisexuality
- 4 Etiology
- 5 Bisexuality in history
- 6 Social status of bisexuality
- 7 Bisexual Pride symbols
- 8 Bisexuality in animals
- 9 Bisexuality in culture
- 10 See also
- 11 Further reading
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Description[edit | edit source]
Bisexual people are not necessarily attracted equally to both sexes. Because bisexuality is often an ambiguous position between homosexuality and heterosexuality, those who identify, or are identified, as bisexuals form a heterogeneous group.
Others view bisexuality as more ambiguous. Some people who might be classified by others as bisexual on the basis of their sexual behavior self-identify primarily as homosexual. Equally, otherwise heterosexual people who engage in occasional homosexual behavior could be considered bisexual, but may not identify as such. For some who believe that sexuality is a distinctly defined aspect of the character, this ambiguity is problematic. On the other hand, some believe that the majority of people contain aspects of homosexuality and heterosexuality, but that the intensities of these can vary from person to person. Some people who engage in bisexual behavior may be supportive of homosexual people, but still self-identify as heterosexual; others may consider any labels irrelevant to their positions and situations. In 1995, Harvard Shakespeare professor Marjorie Garber made the academic case for bisexuality with her 600-page Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life in which she argued that most people would be bisexual if not for "repression, religion, repugnance, denial...premature specialization."
Some bisexuals make a distinction between gender and sex. Gender is defined in these situations as a social or psychological category, characterized by the common practices of men and women. For example, the fact that women wear skirts and dresses in Western society while men traditionally do not is a social gender issue. Sex in this case is defined as the biological difference between males and females, prior to any social conditioning. Bisexuals in this sense may be attracted to more than one gender but only to one sex. For example, a male bisexual may be attracted to aspects of men and masculinity, but not to the male body.
Bisexuality is often misunderstood as a form of adultery or polyamory, and a popular misconception is that bisexuals must always be in relationships with men and women simultaneously. Rather, individuals attracted to both males and females, like people of any other orientation, may live a variety of sexual lifestyles. These include lifelong monogamy, serial monogamy, polyamory, polyfidelity, casual sexual activity with individual partners, casual group sex, and celibacy. For those with more than one sexual partner, these may, or may not, all be of the same gender.
Terminology[edit | edit source]
The term bisexual was first used in the 19th century to refer to intersexed people. By 1914 it had begun to be used in the context of sexual orientation. Some bisexuals and sex researchers are dissatisfied with the term and have developed a variety of alternative or supplementary terms to describe aspects and forms of bisexuality. Many are neologisms not widely recognized by the larger society.
- Pansexual, omnisexual, anthrosexual, and pomosexual (postmodern sexuality) are substitute terms that, rather than referring to both or "bi" sex attraction, refer to all or "omni" sex attraction and are used mainly by those who wish to express acceptance of all sex possibilities, including transgender and intersex people, not just two. Pansexuality sometimes includes an attraction for less mainstream sexual activities, such as BDSM. Some people who might otherwise identify as pansexual or omnisexual choose to self-identify as bisexual because the term bisexual is more widely known, and because they see it as an important term in identity politics.
- Bi-permissive describes someone who does not actively seek out sexual relations with a given sex, but is open to them. Such a person may self-identify as heterosexual or homosexual and engage predominantly in sexual acts with individuals of the corresponding sex, and might be rated 1 or 5 on Kinsey's scale. Near-synonyms include heteroflexible and homoflexible.
- Ambisexual indicates a primarily indiscriminate attraction to either sex. A person who self-identifies as ambisexual might be attracted with equal intensity on physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels to partner(s) regardless of sex or gender presentation while upholding selectivity standards in other areas. Some might experience equally intense attractions that could be triggered by sex- or gender-specific traits in the given partner or partners. A person with this orientation might fall in the 3 category on Kinsey's scale, as would some who subscribe to the 2 or 4 rating (although some individuals in these latter categories consider themselves bi-permissive).
- Bi-curious has several distinct and sometimes contradictory meanings. It is commonly found in personal ads from those who identify as heterosexual, but are interested in homosexual "experimentation." Such people are commonly suspected—not necessarily correctly—of being homosexuals or bisexuals in denial of their homosexuality. It can also be used to describe someone as being passively bi, bi-permissive, or open to indirect bisexual contact.
- Trisexual (sometimes trysexual) is either an extension of, or a pun on bisexual. In its more serious usage, it indicates an interest in transgender persons in addition to cissexual men and women. In its more humorous usage, it refers to someone who will try any sexual experience. It is used in the song "La Vie Boheme" in the Broadway musical Rent. The term was coined by porn actress Robin Byrd.
- Biphobia describes a fear or condemnation of bisexuality, usually based in a belief that only heterosexuality and homosexuality are genuine orientations and appropriate lifestyles. Bisexual persons may also be the target of homophobia from those who consider only heterosexuality appropriate. The reverse can also apply in that bisexual persons may be targets of heterophobia or discrimination by some homosexuals.
- Passively bi, aka open-minded is a non-sex specific term that describes a heterosexual/bi-curious person who is open to incidental or direct contact (typically in a group sex scenario) from a member of the same sex or a homosexual/bi-curious person who is open to contact with members of the opposite sex under the same scenario, which usually doesn't involve reciprocation.
- Actively bi is a non-sex specific term that can describe a bi-curious person who initiates direct contact with the sex opposite his or her usual identity (either hetero- or homosexual); it can also refer to a bisexual person who engages in contact with members of both sexes on a fairly regular basis.
Modern Western prevalence of bisexuality[edit | edit source]
A 2002 survey in the United States by National Center for Health Statistics found that 1.8 percent of men ages 18–44 considered themselves bisexual, 2.3 percent homosexual, and 3.9 percent as "something else". The same study found that 2.8 percent of women ages 18–44 considered themselves bisexual, 1.3 percent homosexual, and 3.8 percent as "something else". The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior, published in 1993, showed that 5 percent of men and 3 percent of women consider themselves bisexual and 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women considered themselves homosexual. The 'Health' section of The New York Times has stated that "1.5 percent of American women identify themselves [as] bisexual."
Sigmund Freud theorized that every person has the ability to become bisexual at some time in his or her life. He based this on the idea that enjoyable experiences of sexuality with the same sex, whether sought or unsought, acting on it or being fantasized, become an attachment to his or her needs and desires in social upbringing. Prominent psychoanalyst Dr. Joseph Merlino, Senior Editor of the book, Freud at 150: 21st Century Essays on a Man of Genius stated in an interview:
|“||Freud maintained that bisexuality was a normal part of development. That all of us went through a period of bisexuality and that, in the end, most of us came out heterosexual but that the bisexual phase we traversed remained on some unconscious level, and was dealt with in other ways....He did not consider it something that should be criminalized, or penalized.... Freud felt there were a number of homosexuals he encountered who did not have a variety of complex problems that homosexuality was a part of. He found people who were totally normal in every other regard except in terms of their sexual preference. In fact, he saw many of them as having higher intellects, higher aesthetic sensibilities, higher morals; those kinds of things. He did not see it as something to criminalize or penalize, or to keep from psychoanalytic training. A lot of the psychoanalytic institutes felt if you were homosexual you should not be accepted; that was not Freud's position.||”|
Dr. Alfred Kinsey's 1948 work Sexual Behavior in the Human Male found that "46% of the male population had engaged in both heterosexual and homosexual activities, or "reacted to" persons of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives". The Kinsey Institute has stated that "Kinsey said in both the Male and Female volumes that it was impossible to determine the number of persons who are "homosexual" or "heterosexual". It was only possible to determine behavior at any given time". Kinsey's book, and its companion Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, have received vocal criticism for their findings and methodology. The New York Times called his research "conscientious and comprehensive" and Professor Martin Duberman called it "skillful" and "a monumental endeavor".
Despite common misconceptions, bisexuality does not require that a person be attracted equally to both sexes. In fact, people who have a distinct but not exclusive preference for one sex over the other can and often do identify as bisexual. A recent study by researchers Gerulf Rieger, Meredith L. Chivers, and J. Michael Bailey, which attracted media attention in 2005, purported to find that bisexuality is extremely rare, and perhaps nonexistent, in men. This was based on results of controversial penile plethysmograph testing when viewing pornographic material involving only men and pornography involving only women. Critics state that this study works from the assumption that a person is only truly bisexual if he or she exhibits virtually equal arousal responses to both opposite-sex and same-sex stimuli, and have consequently dismissed the self-identification of people whose arousal patterns showed even a mild preference for one sex. Some researchers say that the technique used in the study to measure genital arousal is too crude to capture the richness (erotic sensations, affection, admiration) that constitutes sexual attraction. The study, and The New York Times article which reported it, were subsequently criticized as flawed and biphobic. FAIR also criticised the study .
Dr. Fritz Klein believed that social and emotional attraction are very important elements in bisexual attraction. For example, a bisexual might be attracted to both feminine women and feminine men, but have little interest in masculine individuals. This individual, while they might be highly attracted to certain members of both sexes, would be unlikely to be attracted to most males in modern western society (who tend to be masculine). As this study employed 2-minute clips of standard heterosexual and homosexual pornography, the study would be blind to the this type of bisexual. One third of the men in each group showed no significant arousal. The study did not claim them to be asexual, and Rieger stated that their lack of response did not change the overall findings.
Etiology[edit | edit source]
Human bisexuality has mainly been studied alongside with homosexuality. Van Wyk & Geist (1995) argue that this is a problem for sexuality research because the few studies that have observed bisexuals separately have found that bisexuals are often different from both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Furthermore, bisexuality does not always represent a halfway between the dichotomy. Research indicates that bisexuality is influenced by biological, cognitive and cultural variables in interaction, and this leads to different types of bisexuality.
There is currently a debate on the importance of biological influences on sexual orientation. Biological explanations have been put to question by social scientists, particularly by feminists who encourage women to make conscious decisions about their life and sexuality. A difference in attitude between homosexual men and women has also been reported as men are more likely to regard their sexuality as biological, "reflecting the universal male experience in this culture, not the complexities of the lesbian world." There is also evidence that women's sexuality may be more strongly affected by cultural and contextual factors.
Most of the few available scientific studies on bisexuality date from before the 1990s. Interest in bisexuality has generally grown, but research focus has lately been on sociology and gender studies as well as on bisexuals with HIV and AIDS.
Social factors[edit | edit source]
There is a consensus among scholars of different faculties that cultural and social factors have an effect on human sexual behavior. As bisexual people come from all social classes and familial backgrounds, such factors cannot independently explain why some people are bisexual.
Bisexuality as a norm[edit | edit source]
Krafft-Ebing was the first to suggest that bisexuality is the original state of human sexuality. Freud has famously summarized on the basis of clinical observations: "We have come to know that all human beings are bisexual - and that their libido is distributed between objects of both sexes, either in a manifest or a latent form." According to Freud, people remain bisexual all their lives in a repression to monosexuality of fantasy and behavior. This idea was taken up in the 1940s by the zoologist Alfred Kinsey who was the first to create a scale to measure the continuum of sexual orientation from hetero to homosexuality. Kinsey studied human sexuality and argued that people have the capability of being hetero or homosexual even if this trait does not present itself in the current circumstances.
From an anthropological perspective, there is large variation in the prevalence of bisexuality between different cultures. Among some tribes it appears to be non-existent while in others a universal, including the Sambia of New Guinea and other similar Melanesian cultures.
Even though only a small percentage of people have bisexual traits, this does not rule out the possibility of bisexual behavior of the majority in different circumstances. Similarly, although evolutionary psychologists consider most males as promiscuous by nature, the majority of American men are faithful to their wives, appearing essentially monogamous. These traits can be explained as the result of culture constraints on evolutionary predispositions.
Sex drive[edit | edit source]
Several studies comparing bisexuals with hetero or homosexuals have indicated that bisexuals have higher rates of sexual activity, fantasy or erotic interest. Van Wyk and Geist (1984) found that male and female bisexuals had more heterosexual fantasy than heterosexuals. Dixon (1985) found that bisexual men had more sexual activities with women than did heterosexual men. Bisexual men masturbated more but had less happy marriages than heterosexuals. Bressler and Lavender (1986) found that bisexual women had more orgasms per week and they described them as stronger than did hetero or homosexual women. Goode and Haber (1977) found bisexual women to sexually mature earlier, masturbate and enjoy masturbation more and to be more experienced in different types of heterosexual contact.
More recent research, however, associates high sex drive and increased attraction to both sexes only in women. Bisexual men's pattern has been more similar to heterosexuals with a stronger correlation with high sex drive and other-sex attraction. 
Masculinization and hypermasculinization[edit | edit source]
Masculinization of women and hypermasculinization of men has been a central theme in sexual orientation research. There are several studies suggesting that bisexuals have a high degree of masculinization. LaTorre and Wendenberg (1983) found differing personality characteristics for bisexual, heterosexual and lesbian women. Bisexuals were consistently more masculine than other subjects.
Women usually have a better hearing sensitivity than males, but homosexual and bisexual women have been found to have weaker sensitivity than heterosexual women while homosexual and bisexual men have hypermasculinized hearing. 
Prenatal hormonal theory[edit | edit source]
The prenatal hormonal theory of sexual orientation suggests that people who are exposed to excess levels of sex hormones have masculinized brains and show increased homosexuality. Studies to provide evidence for the masculinization of the brain have however not been conducted to date. Research on special conditions such as CAH and DES indicate that prenatal exposure to, respectively, excess testosterone and estrogens are associated with female–female sex fantasies in adults. Both effects are associated with bisexuality rather than homosexuality.
There is research evidence that the ratio of the length of the 2nd and 4th digits (index finger and ring finger) is somewhat negatively related to prenatal testosterone and positively to estrogen. Studies measuring the fingers found a statistically significant skew in the 2D:4D ratio (long ring finger) towards homosexuality with an even lower ratio in bisexuals. It is suggested that exposure to high prenatal testosterone and low prenatal estrogen concentrations is one cause of homosexuality whereas exposure to very high testosterone levels may be associated with bisexuality. Because testosterone in general is important for sexual differentiation, this view offers an alternative to the suggestion that male homosexuality is genetic.
The prenatal hormonal theory suggests that a homosexual orientation results from exposure to excessive testosterone causing an over-masculinized brain. This is contradictory to another hypothesis that homosexual preferences may be due to a feminized brain in males. However, it has also been suggested that homosexuality may be due to high prenatal levels of unbinded testosterone that results from a lack of receptors at particular brain sites. Therefore the brain could be feminized while other features, such as the 2D:4D ratio bould be over-masculinized. 
Brain structure[edit | edit source]
LaVey's (1991) examination at autopsy of 18 homosexual men, 1 bisexual man, 16 presumably heterosexual men and 6 presumably heterosexual women found that the INAH 3 nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus of homosexual men was smaller than that of heterosexual men and the size of heterosexual women. Although grouped with homosexuals, the INAH 3 size of the one bisexual subject was similar to that of the heterosexual men.
Chromosomes[edit | edit source]
There is some evidence to support the concept of biological precursors of bisexual orientation in genetic males. According to Money (1988), men with an extra male Y chromosome are more likely to be bisexual, paraphilic and impulsive.
Evolutionary theory[edit | edit source]
Evolutionary psychologists have argued that same-sex attraction does not have adaptive value because it has no association with potential reproductive success. Instead, bisexuality can be due to normal variation in brain plasticity. More recently, it has been suggested that same-sex alliances may have helped males climb the social hierarchy giving access to females and reproductive opportunities. Same-sex allies could have helped females to move to the safer and resource richer center of the group, which increased their chances of raising their offspring successfully.
Bisexuality in history[edit | edit source]
In some cultures, historical and literary records from most literate societies indicate that male bisexuality was common and indeed expected. These relationships were generally age-structured as in pederasty or shudo. or gender-structured as in the Two-Spirit or bacchá practices. Most of the commonly cited examples of male "homosexuality" in previous cultures would more properly be categorized as bisexuality. Determining the history of female bisexuality is more problematic, in that women in most of the studied societies were under the domination of the males, and on one hand had less self-determination and freedom of movement and expression, and on the other were not the ones writing or keeping the literary record. Sappho, however, is a notable exception.
In 124 CE the bisexual Roman emperor Hadrian met Antinous, a 13- or 14-year-old boy from Bithynia, and they began their pederastic relationship. Antinous was deified by Hadrian when he died six years later. Many statues, busts, coins and reliefs display Hadrian's deep affections for him. Ancient Rome, Arab countries up to and including the present, China, and Japan, all exhibit patterns of analogous bisexual behavior. In Japan in particular, due to its practice of shudo and the extensive art and literature associated with it, the record of a primarily bisexual lifestyle is both detailed and quite recent, dating back as recently as the 19th century. Bisexual behavior was also common among Roman and Chinese emperors, the shoguns of Japan, and others.
Ancient Greece[edit | edit source]
Ancestral law in ancient Sparta mandated same-sex relationships with youths who were coming of age for all adult men, so long as the men eventually took wives and produced children. The Spartans thought that love and erotic relationships between experienced and novice soldiers would solidify combat loyalty and encourage heroic tactics as men vied to impress their lovers. Once the younger soldiers reached maturity, the relationship was supposed to become non-sexual, but it is not clear how strictly this was followed. There was some stigma attached to young men who continued their relationships with their mentors into adulthood. For example, Aristophanes calls them euryprôktoi, meaning "wide arses", and depicts them like women.
In Ancient Greece it is believed that males generally went through a homosexual stage in adolescence, followed by a bisexual stage characterized by pederastic relationships in young adulthood, followed by a (mostly) heterosexual stage later in life, when they married and had children. Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king, is thought to have been bisexual, and to have had a male lover named Hephaestion.
Social status of bisexuality[edit | edit source]
Historically, bisexuality has largely been free of the social stigma associated with homosexuality, prevalent even where bisexuality was the norm. In Ancient Greece pederasty was not problematic as long as the men involved eventually married and had children. In many world cultures, homosexual affairs have been quietly accepted among upper-class men of good social standing (particularly if married), and heterosexual marriage has often been used successfully as a defense against accusations of homosexuality. On the other hand, there are bisexuals who marry or live with a heterosexual partner because they prefer the complementarity of different sexes in cohabiting and co-parenting but have felt greatly enriched by homosexual relationships alongside the marriage in both monogamous and "open" relationships.
Since the 1970s, there have been waves of bisexual chic, in which celebrities and other persons of some notoriety have embraced and advocated bisexuality. This has led to more acceptance of bisexuals in some regards; however, some have latched onto bisexual chic for publicity's sake, with varying degrees of sincerity and permanency. Such celebrities as David Bowie, Dave Navarro, Anne Heche and others have claimed bisexuality only to later renounce the idea.
Some in the homosexual community accuse those who self-identify as bisexual of duplicity, believing they are really homosexuals who engage in heterosexual activity merely to remain socially acceptable. They may be accused of "not doing their part" in gaining acceptance of "true" homosexuality. Some homosexual people may also suspect that a self-described bisexual is merely a homosexual in the initial stage of questioning their presumed heterosexuality, and will eventually accept that they are homosexual; this is expressed by a glib saying in gay culture: "Bi now, gay later." These situations can and do take place, but do not appear to be true of the majority of self-described bisexuals. Nonetheless, bisexuals do sometimes experience lesser acceptance from homosexual people, because of their declared orientation. Bisexual experimentation is also common in adolescents of every sexual orientation.
Bisexuals are often associated with men who engage in same-sex activity while closeted or heterosexually married. The majority of such men—said to be living on the down-low—do not self-identify as bisexual.
Because some bisexual people do not feel that they fit into either the homosexual or the heterosexual world, and because they have a tendency to be "invisible" in public, some bisexual persons are committed to forming their own communities, culture, and political movements. However, since "Bisexual orientation can fall anywhere between the two extremes of homosexuality and heterosexuality", some who identify as bisexual may merge themselves into either homosexual or heterosexual society. Still other bisexual people see this merging as enforced rather than voluntary; bisexual people can face exclusion from both homosexual and heterosexual society on coming out. Psychologist Beth Firestein states that bisexuals also tend to internalize social tensions related to their choice of partners. Firestein suggests bisexuals may feel pressured to label themselves as homosexuals instead of occupying a difficult middle ground in a culture that has it that if bisexuals are attracted to people of both sexes, they must have more than one partner, thus defying society's value on monogamy. These social tensions and pressure may and do affect bisexuals' mental health. Specific therapy methods have been developed for bisexuals to address this concern.
Relatively few supportive bisexual communities exist, therefore there is not as much support from people who have gone through similar experiences. This effectively can make it more difficult for bisexuals to "come out" as such.
Bisexual Pride symbols[edit | edit source]
A common symbol of bisexual identity is the bisexual pride flag, which has a deep pink stripe at the top for homosexuality, a blue one on the bottom for heterosexuality, and a purple one in between them, blended in to represent the fact that bisexuals like the same gender, like homosexuals, and the opposite gender, like heterosexuals.
Another symbol of bisexual identity that uses the color scheme of the bisexual pride flag is a pair of overlapping pink and blue triangles, the pink triangle being a well-known symbol for the homosexual community, forming purple where they intersect.
Many homosexual and bisexual individuals have a problem with the use of the pink triangle symbol as it was the symbol that Hitler's regime used to tag homosexuals (similar to the yellow Star of David that is constituted of two opposed, overlapping triangles). Because pink triangles were used in the persecution of homosexuals in the Nazi regime, a double moon symbol was devised specifically to avoid the use of triangles. This bisexual symbol is a double moon that is formed when the sex-specific attributes of the astrological symbol of Mars & Venus (representing heterosexual union) are reduced to the two circles open on both ends, thus symbolizing that bisexuals are open to either-sex unions. The color of the bisexual double moon symbol varies. The symbol is most often displayed with rainbow colors, signifying that bisexuals belong to the gay community. It also may appear with the pink-purple-blue colors of the bisexual pride flag. The double moon symbol is common in Germany and surrounding countries.
Bisexuality in animals[edit | edit source]
Many non-human animal species also exhibit bisexual behavior. This is, of course, common in hermaphroditic animals, but is also known in many other species. Examples of mammals include the bonobo (formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee), orca, and bottlenose dolphin. Examples of avians include some species of gulls and Humboldt Penguins. Other examples occur among fish, flatworms, and crustaceans.
Many species of animals are involved in the act of forming sexual and relationship bonds between the same sex; even when offered the opportunity to breed with members of the opposite sex, they picked the same sex. Some of these species are gazelles, antelope, bison, and sage grouse.
In some cases animals will choose intercourse with different sexes at different times in their life, and sometimes will perform intercourse with different sexes at random. Homosexual intercourse can also be seasonal in some animals like male walruses, who often engage in homosexual intercourse with each other outside of the breeding season and will revert to heterosexual intercourse during breeding season.
In some cases bisexuality is actually a form of fitness favored by evolution. For example, in the absence of male whiptail lizards (Cnemidophorus), females reproduce by pairing up with each other. During the breeding season females will take turns switching between "male" and "female" roles as their hormones fluctuate. Estrogen levels are high during ovulation ("female" role) and much lower after laying eggs ("male" role). While in the "male" role, a female lizard will mount another in the "female" role and go through the motions of sex to stimulate egg-laying. The hatchlings produced are all female. This all-female species has evolved from lizards with two sexes, but their eggs develop without fertilization (parthenogenesis). Female whiptail lizards can lay eggs without sex, but they lay far fewer eggs than if they engage in sexual stimulation by another female.
Bisexuality in culture[edit | edit source]
Comparatively positive and notable portrayals of bisexuality can be found throughout mainstream media.
In notable graphic novels, Love and Rockets (1981 to 1996) subtly portrays bisexuality; Krazy Kat (1913 to 1944) is a comic-strip character whose love is not limited by sex; Alan Moore's Lost Girls (1991 to 2006) portrays bisexual versions of three famous literary characters; Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise (1993 to 2007) includes several bisexual characters.
Notable novels containing significant bisexual characters are:
- Lisa Alther's Five Minutes in Heaven
- Sean David Wright's Two for One--a novel about having choices
- Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven
- Rosamond Lehmann's Dusty Answer
- Mary Renault's The Last of the Wine and The Persian Boy
- Colette's Claudine novels
- Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections
- David Leavitt's The Lost Language of Cranes and While England Sleeps
- Jeanette Winterson's The Passion
- Calum Brodie's Milk and Cookies
- Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time
- Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day
- Alice Walker's The Color Purple
- Jane Rule's Young in One Another's Arms
- Gregory Maguire's Wicked and its sequel, Son of a Witch
- Sylvia Brownrigg's The Metaphysical Touch
- Robert Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax
- Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
- Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed
- Marc Acito's How I Paid For College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theatre
- Sarah Waters' Tipping The Velvet
- Anne Rice's The Vampire Armand
Non-fiction scholarship, such as Marjorie Garber's Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life (1995), and Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae (1990), has uncovered previously hidden histories of bisexuality.
On the TV sitcom Will & Grace, the character of Karen Walker appears to be bisexual and—although married to a man—often kisses Grace and seems to have had many female lovers throughout her life. The character Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood is from 51st century, in which mankind has become more open minded sexually since it's integration with alien cultures. He is often described as "omnisexual" by his fans, remarking on the question of sexual orientation "You people and your quaint little categories." Harkness is the first openly non-heterosexual character depicted in the long-running Doctor Who. Torchwood also features bisexual characters Toshiko Sato, and Ianto Jones. Rebecca Romijn portrayed a bisexual con artist in the film Femme Fatale.
In the sci-fi television series Babylon 5, characters including Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters are portrayed as bisexual or pansexual. There seems to be a general feeling in the show that it is accepted and common for people to follow their hearts wherever they may take them, ignoring sex. Other examples include the characters Marcus Cole and Stephen Franklin posing as a married couple, and series creator J. Michael Straczynski indicating that the station commander John Sheridan would have been propositioned by the male Lumati ambassador if Susan Ivanova had not been handling those negotiations.
In the 1996 Broadway musical turned movie Rent, Idina Menzel plays Maureen Johnson, a character who has a relationship with both Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp [who is openly bisexual in real life]), and Joanne Jefferson (Tracie Thoms/Freddie Walker). In the musical, Menzel's character sings the following lines in the song "Take Me or Leave Me":
- Ever since puberty, everybody stares at me,
- Boys, girls—I can't help it, baby
In the television program "Bottom", Richie is shown consistently throughout the series to be trying to get a girlfriend but to be either secretly attracted to men or accidentally finding more luck with men. He maintains a facade of heterosexuality throughout this, although in the stage adaptations he is shown to be far more attracted to men but still also to women.
In the video game series Metal Gear Solid, the villain Vamp is known to be bisexual, as reported by Hideo Kojima. In the Fox television series, The O.C., Marissa Cooper (played by Mischa Barton) has a same-sex fling with the character Alex Kelly, played by Olivia Wilde.
The high rated MTV series, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, is a bisexual reality show. Tila Tequila or Tila Nguyen, is the bisexual bachelorette, trying to find love from 16 straight males and 16 lesbians.
Media stereotypes about bisexuality[edit | edit source]
There are also negative media portrayals—references sometimes made to stereotypes or mental disorders. The television show Friends sported a short song about the topic that expresses a common prejudice on the subject:
- Sometimes men love women,
- Sometimes men love men,
- Then there are bisexuals
- Though some just say they're kidding themselves
On the HBO drama Oz, Christopher Meloni played Chris Keller, a bisexual sociopath who tortured, raped, and had numerous sexual encounters with various men and women whom he met. Desperate Housewives features Andrew Van De Kamp.
A Saturday Night Live joke ran thus:
- "A bisexual is a person who reaches down the front of somebody's pants and is satisfied with whatever they find." -- Dana Carvey as The Church Lady, Saturday Night Live.
In one of his comedy routines, George Carlin admits to thinking about what a curse bisexuality must be: "Could you imagine wanting to fuck everybody you meet? Think of all the phone numbers you'd accumulate! You might as well just walk around with the White Pages under your arms."
See also[edit | edit source]
- Bisexual chic
- Bisexual community
- Bisexual erasure
- Journal of Bisexuality
- List of bisexual people
- List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people
- List of LGBT-related organizations
- Media portrayal of bisexuality
- Non-western concepts of male sexuality
- Societal attitudes towards homosexuality
Further reading[edit | edit source]
General[edit | edit source]
- Louis Crompton. Homosexuality and Civilization, Cambridge, Mass. and London, 2003. ISBN 0-674-01197-X
- Michel Larivière. Homosexuels et bisexuels célèbres, Delétraz Editions, 1997. ISBN 2-911110-19-6
- Sigmund Freud. Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex. ISBN 0486416038
- John Garrett Jones Coming Clean about Bisexuality, online freely downloadable book
Ancient Greece[edit | edit source]
- Kenneth J. Dover. Greek Homosexuality, New York; Vintage Books, 1978. ISBN 0-394-74224-9
- Thomas K. Hubbard. Homosexuality in Greece and Rome, U. of California Press, 2003. ISBN 0-520-23430-8
- Herald Patzer. Die Griechische Knabenliebe [Greek Pederasty], Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1982. In: Sitzungsberichte der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Vol. 19 No. 1.
- W. A. Percy III. Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece, University of Illinois Press, 1996. ISBN 0-252-02209-2
By country[edit | edit source]
- Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, et al. Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature, New York: New York University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8147-7468-7
- J. Wright & Everett Rowson. Homoeroticism in Classical Arabic Literature. 1998. ISBN 023110507X (pbbk)/ ISBN 0231105061 (hdbk)
- Gary Leupp. Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995. ISBN 0-520-20900-1
- Tsuneo Watanabe & Jun'ichi Iwata. The Love of the Samurai. A Thousand Years of Japanese Homosexuality, London: GMP Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-85449-115-5
Modern Western[edit | edit source]
- Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out by Loraine Hutchins, Editor & Lani Ka'ahumanu, Editor ISBN 1-55583-174-5
- Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World by Robyn Ochs, Editor & Sarah Rowley, Editor ISBN 0-9653881-4-X
- The Bisexual Option by Fritz Klein, MD ISBN 1-56023-033-9
- Bi Men: Coming Out Every Which Way by Ron Suresha and Pete Chvany, Editors ISBN 978-1-56023-615-9
- Bi America: Myths, Truths, And Struggles Of An Invisible Community by William E. Burleson ISBN 978-1-56023-478-4
- Bisexuality in the United States: A Social Science Reader by Paula C. Rodriguez Rust, Editor ISBN 0-231-10226-7
- Bisexuality: The Psychology and Politics of an Invisible Minority by Beth A. Firestein, Editor ISBN 0-8039-7274-1
- Current Research on Bisexuality by Ronald C. Fox PhD, Editor ISBN 978-1-56023-288-5
- Exploring Biphobia. (144 KB PDF). Report on the problems caused by stereotyping of bisexuals.
Film[edit | edit source]
- Bryant, Wayne M.. Bisexual Characters in Film: From Anais to Zee. Haworth Gay & Lesbian Studies, 1997. ISBN 1-56023-894-1
References[edit | edit source]
- Crompton, Louis (2003). Homosexuality and Civilization. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press. ISBN 067401197X.
- Bagemihl, Bruce (1999). Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. London: Profile Books, Ltd.. ISBN 1861971826.
- Roughgarden, Joan (May 2004). Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0520240731.
- Harper, Douglas (11 2001). Bisexuality. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved on 2007-02-16.
- Robinson, B.A. (2006-03-27). Bisexuality: Neither Homosexuality Nor Hetrosexuality. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
- Garber, Marjorie B. (1995). Vice versa: bisexuality and the eroticism of everyday life. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80308-9.
- NY Press, Vol. 16, Iss. 26
- Frequently Asked Sexuality Questions to the Kinsley Institute. The Kinsley Institude. Archived from the original on March 11, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-02-16.
- Carey, Benedict. "Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited", The New York Times, July 5, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-24. Archived from the original on May 1, 2006.
- Freud, Sigmund (translated by A.A. Brill), Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, Dover Publications, 128 pages, ISBN 0486416038
- Interview with Dr. Joseph Merlino, David Shankbone, Wikinews, October 5, 2007.
- Research Summary from the Kinsey Institute.
- "Kinsey and the Homosexual Revolution" by Dr. Judith Reisman
- Biography of Statician John W. Tukey by Cengage Learning.
- American conservative magazine Human Events calls the Kinsey Report the fourth Most Harmful Book of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
- Roman Catholic educational association The Intercollegiate Studies Institute called it "A pervert's attempt to demonstrate that perversion is "statistically"normal" and the third "Worst Book of the Century".
- Pomeroy, Wardell (1972). Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research. New York: Harper & Row.
- Book review of Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life originally published in The Nation.
- Rieger G, Chivers ML, Bailey JM (2005). "Sexual arousal patterns of bisexual men". Psychological science: a journal of the American Psychological Society/APS 16 (8): 579–84. doi: . PMID 16102058.
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (July 2005). The Problems with "Gay, Straight, or Lying?" (PDF) Retrieved July 24, 2006.
- PrideSource: Bisexual study, New York Times article cause furor
- http://main.bisexual.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3799 "Gay Straight or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited," Revisited - Part 1 by William Burleson June 26 2007
- FAIR (July 8, 2005). New York Times Suggests Bisexuals Are "Lying": Paper fails to disclose study author's controversial history.
- Van Wyk PH,Geist CS (1995). "Biology of Bisexuality: Critique and Observations". Journal of Homosexuality 28 (3-4): 357 - 373.
- Veniegas, Rosemary c.; Terri D. Conley (2000). "Biological Research on Women's Sexual Orientations: Evaluating the Scientific Evidence.". Journal of Social Issues 56 (2): 267–282.
- Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (2001). "Are Human Beings "By Nature" Bisexual?". Studies in Gender and Sexuality 3 (2): 179–213.
- Muscarella, Frank; Bernhard Fink, karl Grammer, Michael Kirk-Smith (2001). "Homosexual Orientation in Males: Evolutionary and Ethological Aspects". Neuroendocrinology Letters 22: 393–400.
Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "Muscarella" defined multiple times with different content
- McFadden, D.; Champlin, CA (March 2000). "Comparison of auditory evoked potentials in heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual males and females.". JARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 1 (1): 89–99. doi:. Retrieved on 19 June 2008.
- Robinson, SJ & Manning, TJ (2000). "The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length and male homosexuality". Evolution and Human Behavior 21: 333–345.
- Peter James, Nick Thorpe. Ancient Inventions. Ballantine Books; New edition, 1995, p. 164 ISBN 0345401026
- van Dolen, Hein. Greek Homosexuality. Archived from the original on January 27, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
- The Love of Alexander III of Macedon, Known as "The Great". Archived from the original on May 22, 2001. Retrieved on 2007-02-18.
- http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/w4w/582079044.html Regarding the "National Morning Show"'s invitation of flex sex women, the National Morning Show is the morning show of the Fox Television Network.
- Flex Sex! - Bisexual/Bicurious Chat
- Boykin, Keith (2005-02-03). 10 Things You Should Know About the DL. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-23.
- DeAngelis, Tori (02 2002). A new generation of issues for LGBT clients. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association. Retrieved on 2007-02-16.
- Study: Bisexuals face mental health risks (2002-05-01). Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
- Symbols of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Movements (2004-12-26). Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved on 2007-02-27.
- Koymasky, Matt; Koymasky Andrej (06-08-14). Gay Symbols: Other Miscellaneous Symbols. Retrieved on 2007-02-18.
- Diamond, Milton (1998). Bisexuality: A Biological Perspective. Bisexualities - The Ideology and Practice of Sexual Contact with both Men and Women. Archived from the original on March 14, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
- Scott Bidstrup (2000). The Natural Crime Against Nature. Retrieved on 2007-06-26.
- Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reece (2002). Biology.
[edit | edit source]
- Frequently Asked Questions to The Kinsey Institute
- The Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality
- Lesbian Dating Questions
LGBT and Queer studies