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How to Know If You Are Bisexual: A Guide for Coming Out to Yourself

Jennifer Wilber is a writer, teacher, and bisexual rights activist from Ohio.

how-to-know-if-you-are-actually-bisexual

Am I Bi?

It’s not uncommon to question your sexuality at some point in your life, especially during adolescence and early adulthood. With all the discussion of the LGBT+ community going on in the media today, you might not be sure if certain feelings you are experiencing are real or not, or how to define your feelings—especially if you sometimes find yourself attracted to people who identify as something other than male or female.

How can you really be sure if what you are feeling is real? You may have noticed that you feel attraction toward men, women, and possibly to people who identify outside the gender binary, but you aren’t quite sure if your attraction is strong enough to qualify you for the “bisexual” label. How can you really be sure if you are bisexual? The short answer is that only you can determine what label best describes your sexual orientation. If you identify as bisexual, then you are bisexual. However, if you are reading this article, you probably want a more in-depth explanation to help you to answer this very personal question.

What Is Bisexuality?

What Does It Mean to Be Bisexual?

There have been many different proposed definitions. Bisexuality is commonly defined as attraction to people of both genders, but this definition doesn’t quite cover the broad range of attraction that bisexual individuals may experience, as it is quite possible for people who identify as bisexual to be attracted to people who identify outside of the male/female binary or to be attracted to different genders in different ways. Below, I share my own definition.

Do I Have to Be Equally Attracted to Men and Women to Be Bisexual?

Not necessarily. The common definition of bisexuality doesn’t account for different levels or types of attraction that bisexual people may experience toward different types of people. In other words, the meaning of the word "attraction" itself varies from person to person. It is also common for people who are unsure of their sexual orientation to wonder if they can actually be bisexual if they are not equally attracted to both men and women.

What if I Usually Like Men, but I’m Also Attracted to One Specific Woman?

Many people wonder if they are bi if they are usually attracted to men, but find themselves interested in one particular woman or vice versa. A sudden interest in someone outside of your normal “type” can be a confusing experience.

Bisexuality Defined

A commonly agreed upon best definition for bisexuality in the bi community comes from prominent bisexual activist Robyn Ochs, who describes her sexual orientation thus:

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge in myself the potential to be attracted, romantically and/or sexually, to people of more than one sex, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

It is very possible to identify as bisexual, even if your attraction to different genders differs in some way.

Am I Bisexual or Pansexual? What’s the Difference?

Many bisexuals describe themselves as being attracted to different characteristics in different genders or individuals, as opposed to people who identify as “pansexual,” who experience attraction patterns similar to bisexuals, but tend to describe themselves as being attracted to people regardless of gender. People who identify as pansexual rather than bisexual are generally accepted and included in the overall bi+ community.

Are There Different Kinds of Bisexuality?

Researchers have proposed several different “types” of bisexual individuals, based on the different ways in which bisexual identified individuals experience attraction. Some bisexual people may be more attracted to one gender or another, or be attracted to different sexes in different ways. The sex and sexuality researchers Martin Weinberg, Colin Williams, and Douglas Pryor identified three different types of bisexuality in their book Dual Attraction: Understanding Bisexuality. Below, I add two more.

Five “Types” of Bisexuality

  1. Heterosexual-leaning” – Bi individuals who consistently experience greater physical and emotional attraction toward people of the other sex.
  2. Homosexual-leaning” – Bi individuals who consistently experience greater physical and emotional attraction toward people of the same sex.
  3. "Varied type" – Bi individuals who consistently experience greater emotional attraction toward one gender and greater physical attraction toward the other sex. Experiencing this type of bisexuality can be particularly confusing, since society generally expects a person’s emotional and physical attraction to match.
  4. "50/50" – While it is a myth that all bi people experience equal attraction to men and women, there are some bi-identified individuals who do experience a nearly even 50/50 split between their attraction to men and women.
  5. "Outside the binary" – Many bi people may find that a potential partner’s gender expression is unimportant, and more interested in a person for their personality. These people are more likely to be physically and/or emotionally attracted to people who identify outside of the gender binary, in addition to men and women. These people may also identify as "pansexual." Pansexuality is a similar orientation to bisexuality. Some people may identify more strongly with one label or the other, or use both interchangeably.

Attempts to identify specific types of bisexuality may not be entirely useful, as there are as many different ways to experience bisexuality as there are people who identify as bi. We are all unique, despite having some shared experiences and similar patterns of attraction. The only thing we really all have in common is being attracted to people of multiple genders.

A bisexual person might potentially be attracted  to a variety of gender identities and expressions, but not necessarily in the same way or at the same time or degree.

A bisexual person might potentially be attracted to a variety of gender identities and expressions, but not necessarily in the same way or at the same time or degree.

Where Do You Fit on the Sexual Spectrum?

RATINGDESCRIPTION

0

Exclusively heterosexual

1

Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual

2

Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual

3

Equally heterosexual and homosexual

4

Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual

5

Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual

6

Exclusively homosexual

X

No socio-sexual contacts or reactions

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Read More From Pairedlife

The Kinsey Scale

No discussion of bisexuality would be complete without mentioning Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s research and what is known as the “Kinsey Scale.” Dr. Kinsey was a leading sexuality researcher who was heavily involved in research regarding sexual behavior and attraction in men and women. The Kinsey Scale, also known as the “Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale,” is a tool he developed based on his observations of human sexuality. Kinsey found that most people are not exclusively heterosexual or homosexual, but rather, fall somewhere in between on a spectrum. The Kinsey Scale was first published in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948.

The scale identifies individuals as fitting into the following categories, based on their sexual behaviors:

There is some debate as to which “scores” on the Kinsey scale qualify as bisexuality. Some people insist that only 2s, 3s, and 4s are bisexual, whereas others consider everyone who falls between 1-5 to be bisexual. The Kinsey scale is only meant to be used a general guideline for categorizing sexual orientation.

How Can I Find Out What My Kinsey Score Is? Is There a Test?

There isn’t an official test you can take to determine your Kinsey score, though several websites do offer their own versions of a Kinsey scale test. Where you fall on the Kinsey scale is determined by your own interpretation of your attractions and sexual behavior. Only you can decide how you feel comfortable identifying.

Kinsey's Scale of Sexual Responses to Indicate Degrees of Sexual Orientation

how-to-know-if-you-are-actually-bisexual

So Am I Bisexual or Not?

If you feel attraction toward people of your own and other genders, you can wear the bisexual label with pride! However, if you feel a different label better reflects your sexual orientation, that is okay too. The purpose of using different labels to identify your sexual orientation to others is simply to make it easier to tell people a little bit about who you are. Only you can determine what label, if any, best applies to you.

Coming Out as Bisexual

Many LGBT+ individuals, including bisexuals, feel a great sense of freedom upon coming out. Proudly wearing the bisexual label can help you to find a sense of community within the bi+ community. There is still the problem of bi-erasure and biphobia even within the LGBT+ community as a whole, but the benefits of being true to yourself may outweigh any negative experiences you may encounter after accepting yourself for who you are.

What is the difference between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation?

What is the difference between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation?

Frequently Asked Questions About Bisexuality

What if I’m Attracted to Men, Women, and People Who Don’t Identify as either Male or Female?

"Pansexuality" is when your sexual preference isn't limited by biological sex, gender, or gender identity. Pansexuality acknowledges that there are more than two genders.

What if I Don’t Feel Attracted to EITHER Men or Women?

An "asexual" person is someone who might not experience intense feelings of sexual attraction. So while a bisexual person might be attracted to various genders, an asexual person might not feel especially sexually attracted to anyone.

I’m Scared to Tell My Family I’m Bi

When you come out to someone, you are taking a trusting step towards them. You are saying, "I trust you, so I'm going to be honest and vulnerable with you: This is who I am." But if you don't feel this trust, if you aren't comfortable coming out to your family, you don't have to tell them right now. It is okay to wait until you are comfortable enough to tell them, or even to never come out to them. If you are under 18 and/or still living with your family, you may want to wait until you are more independent before coming out. Some teens and young adults do get kicked out of their parent's homes when they come out as LGBT+, especially those raised in more conservative families/communities. The only person you really need to come out to is yourself.

How Can I Tell My Family I’m Bisexual?

When and if you do decide to come out, it might be helpful for you to think about what you want to say ahead of time. You don't have to memorize a speech, but it might help to have a general idea of how you want to say it. Be prepared for awkwardness, emotion, confusion, and lots of questions. Reassure them that you are the same person they've always known only now you're being more open and honest with them about that part of your life.

What if They Say It’s Just a Phase? What if They Disregard What I’m Saying?

If you are afraid that they will say it is "just a phase," you may want to have some written materials on hand to help them understand that it is not just a phase but an actual sexual identity. Bisexual activist Robyn Ochs has written books and articles about bisexuality, so she may be a good place to start if you need research materials to show your family.

Could Bisexuality Be a Phase in Someone’s Life?

This is a common misconception. However, most bisexual people remain attracted to multiple genders throughout their lives, even when they're in long-term monogamous relationships.

Are Bisexual People More Sexual?

Sexual orientation is about attraction, not behavior. It's about who a person is attracted to, not how they act (or don't act) on that attraction. Bisexual people can be just as faithful and monogamous as people of any other sexual orientation.

Can I Change My Mind About My Sexuality?

Although bisexuality is not a phase, some people may find that their feelings shift throughout their lives. For example, a bi woman may think that she is more attracted to men but, years later, may find herself more attracted to women. Although your overall orientation tends to remain the same, it is normal for feelings to fluctuate or shift over time.

What if I'm Confused About My Sexuality?

It is very common to feel confused about your sexual orientation, especially if you grew up in a family that didn't accept LGBT+ people. When you're still young, and especially if you haven't yet experienced much sexually, it is completely "normal" to have lots of questions. My best advice to you is give yourself time to know yourself before you decide what and who you are. Your don't need to put a label on your sexuality right now. Just live your life. Eventually, you may figure out what label best describes you.

The bisexual pride flag by Peter Salanki

The bisexual pride flag by Peter Salanki

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What if I’m still not sure if I am bi?

Answer: Don't feel like you need to put a label on your sexuality right now. Just live your life. Eventually, you may figure out what label best describes you. If you think that you might be bisexual, there is a good chance that you are.

Question: How do I know if I am bisexual?

Answer: If you find yourself attracted to people of your gender and another gender, then you can identify as bisexual. Remember, you can still be bisexual even if you are a bit more attracted to one gender or if your attraction to different genders is different. For example, you might be a woman who is more romantically attracted to men, but more sexually attracted to women (in this case, you could consider yourself either bisexual or be more specific and identify as heteroromantic and homosexual). You can identify in whatever way you are comfortable identifying.

Question: What should I do if I want to tell my friends and parents right away that I'm bisexual, but I'm scared that I may be wrong?

Answer: If you feel that your parents and friends will be accepting of you, you should tell them when you feel comfortable. However, don't tell them if you are still unsure about your sexual orientation.

If you come out as bisexual and later realize that a different label better describes your sexual orientation, it is okay to begin to use a different identity label. If you do someday find that a different label better fits you, you may have to come out to the people in your life again.

Question: I just came out to my family as Bi, and their reaction was terrible. What should I do?

Answer: Since you have already come out to them, you can't go back into the closet. The best thing you can do is to try to educate them about LGBT+ issues. Try to explain to them that you are still the same person that you have always been, regardless of your sexual orientation. If they are making your feel unsafe, try to find a support system outside of your family in case you need someone else to turn to.

If your family is making you feel unsafe because of your sexuality, and if you still live with your parents or rely on family for financial support, you will want to make sure you can support yourself if you are over 18, just in case they turn their back on you. It is unfortunate, but many young adults find themselves homeless after coming out to homophobic family members, especially those who were raised in very conservative environments.

If your family won't come around, and if you feel unsafe, it is okay to distance yourself from toxic family members. If you are an adult and are living on your own, you may want to take a step back and let your family process your revelation about your bisexuality. Give them some time to come to terms with it. Once you have given them enough space, try to start a mature dialogue with them regarding your sexual orientation once more. You may want to prepare some talking points and research to show them that bisexuality is not just a phase, and that LGBT+ are just like everyone else.

Question: I’m scared to tell my family I’m bi. I’m sure they will think it’s a phase. What do I do?

Answer: If you aren't comfortable coming out to your family yet, you don't need to feel like you must tell them right now. It is okay to wait until you are comfortable enough to tell them, or even to never come out to them.

When and if you do decide to come out to them, it could help to prepare what you want to say ahead of time. If you are afraid that they will say it is just a phase, you may want to have materials written by older bisexual activists ready to show them that it is not a phase, but an actual sexual identity. Bisexual activist Robyn Ochs has written books and articles about bisexuality, so she may be a good place to start if you need research materials to show your family.

If you are under 18 and still living with your family, you may want to wait until you are more independent before coming out to them. It is unfortunate, but some teens and young adults do get kicked out of their parent's homes when they come out as LGBT+, especially those raised in more conservative families/communities.

Question: How old should you be to come out?

Answer: You can come out at any age, but if you are still living with your parents, you may want to wait to come out to them until you can live on your own if you think they may not be unsupportive. Some people figure out their orientation at a young age, while other people might not figure it out until middle age or even older. It all depends on the individual.

Question: I talked to someone who identifies as bi, and she said she had a crush on a girl when she was young but didn't understand it. And when she explained what she felt I automatically thought about a really good friend of mine who is also a girl. And now I don't know if I really have a crush on her or if I'm just convincing myself. Is there a way to know for sure?

Answer: You can ask yourself a few questions to determine if you do have a crush on this girl. Do you think about doing romantic or sexual things with this girl? Do you want to go on dates with her and kiss her? Does the thought of her dating someone else make you feel jealous? Or do you simply like spending time with her as a friend?

I'm assuming you are in high school or middle school based on your question. This can be an awkward time for many people as you are still figuring things out. Let me use a couple of examples from my past to help you figure things out.

Before I admitted to myself that I was bi, I had crushes on some girls but didn't want to admit it. In middle school, there was a girl I liked, and I thought about her as much as I did any boy I ever had a crush on. I tried to tell myself that it was just a "friend crush," not a real crush (that I just wanted to be better friends with her), even though I thought about her way more than I thought about anyone else I was just friends with.

Fast forward a few years to high school. There was a boy I was friends with and thought I had a crush on. I assumed it was a regular crush, because he was a boy. (At this point, I knew I was attracted to girls and boys, but still didn't want to admit that I was bi to anyone). Eventually, I realized that I did not have a crush on him because when I imagined kissing him, I felt kind of grossed out. It turns out I just liked hanging out with him as a friend, but did not have any romantic or sexual feelings for him. Because of the cultural narrative that any interaction between boys and girls is inherently romantic, I assumed that I must like him that way if I liked him at all, even though that turned out to not be the case. So it is possible to think you have a crush on someone, but then realize that you only really like them as a friend.

There was also another girl whom I had a crush on at this same time that I thought I had a crush on that boy, but I tried to suppress those feelings because she was a girl, even though sometimes she did seem to be interested in me, but I never trust my own gaydar, so I wasn't sure if she even liked girls, let alone me (turns out she was gay, though who knows if she ever liked me back). It's possible to have crushes on multiple people at the same time, however, in this case, I didn't like that boy in that way, even though I thought I did for a while.

Also, before I was ready to admit to myself that I am bi, I would feel kind of uncomfortable walking past ads featuring sexy women, such as the ones in front of Victoria's Secret. I was sure someone would notice me looking a little too intently at those images if I allowed myself to look at them at all, so I averted my gaze. Straight women wouldn't even think anything of it and would have no physical reaction to those types of images.

So ask yourself. Can you picture yourself in romantic situations with this girl? Or do you simply enjoy spending time with her? Do you find yourself physically attracted to girls you know or to images of sexy women in the media? Do you have the same kinds of thoughts about women that you have about men?

Question: Recently, I started to question my sexuality again, and I find myself thinking that I might be heteroromantic bisexual. How can I be sure?

Answer: If you find that you only have romantic feelings for the opposite gender, but sexual feelings for both genders, then you may be heteroromantic and bisexual.

Perhaps you have sexual fantasies involving both men and women, or you find yourself having sexual thoughts about attractive members of both sexes. However, you maybe you only get actual crushes on the opposite sex, or only find yourself wanting to date or be in relationships with the opposite sex. In this case, you may be heteroromantic and bisexual.

You can still identify as bisexual for the sake of simplicity if that is the identity you are comfortable with. Remember, you can be more attracted to one sex or the other and still be bi, or be attracted to different genders in different ways and still be bi.

You can even be attracted to people who identify outside the gender binary, or people who identify as something other than male or female, and still identify as bisexual.

If you are attracted to different genders, you are very likely bisexual. Romantic orientation can sometimes differ from sexual orientation, so it is possible to be heteroromantic and bisexual, or biromantic and heterosexual or homosexual, or any other combination. While it isn't as common as having sexual and romantic orientations that agree with each other, many people have different sexual and romantic orientations.

Question: I think I’m Bi. I like people of the same sex and other sex, yet I’m still not sure. How do I know?

Answer: If you're attracted to the same sex and other sex, and think you are Bi, then you are Bi.

Question: I don’t know if I’m bi because sometimes, I only like girls, but then I'll like guys as well. I don’t want to keep switching. Am I bi?

Answer: If you sometimes find that you like girls, and other times find you like boys more, you are very likely bisexual. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship with one person, you are still bi, because you are still attracted to people of both genders. The same is true if you find yourself having a crush on a specific person. You will likely be attracted to other people of the other gender again later on.

Don't think of it as your sexual orientation "switching." Bisexuality is a stable sexual orientation that stays with your throughout your life, just like heterosexuality or homosexuality.

Question: How do I know if I'm bi if I've never been in a relationship before?

Answer: You can still tell what kinds of people you are attracted to, even if you haven’t been in a relationship.

Question: What if you like a girl but she is bisexual too? Should I ask her out?

Answer: Ask her out if you are interested in her. Asking out a bisexual girl is no different from asking out anyone of any other orientation. If you like her and think she may like you too, you have nothing to lose by asking her out. You'll never know unless you ask!

Question: I’m attracted to men, women, and people outside of the gender binary. Does this mean I can still identify as bi?

Answer: Yes, you can identify as bi.

Question: How do I come out to my family and friends? I have a lot of friends who are girls. Will they think I liked them once I come out, if I come out at all?

Answer: You can come out to each person individually by simply telling them that you have something to tell them, and saying "I think I'm bisexual." Don't feel like you must come out to everyone if you are not comfortable with coming out to certain people.

You could also come out by introducing your girlfriend to your friends and family if you are dating a girl. You don't have to make a big deal out of coming out. Simply state that this is your girlfriend, and if they ask questions, explain that you are bisexual and are attracted to both boys and girls.

If you are still young, it is possible that some of your female friends will assume you like them and react badly. High school kids can be immature sometimes. If this happens, you can simply ask them if they like every single boy they know. They will say they don't. You can now explain that you are the same way. Just because you are attracted to boys and girls doesn't mean you like every boy and girl you see.

Question: I come from a very religious family that doesn’t accept LGBT and I am bi. How can I come out to them?

Answer: Before deciding how to come out to them, you should determine whether or not it is a good idea to come out to them in the first place. If you are very unaccepting of LGBT people, you may want to at least wait until you are on your own before you come out to them. Obviously you won't be able to keep it a secret forever if you end up in a serious same-sex relationship or marriage.

If you do decide to come out to them, you may want to come out individually to family members whom you think are more likely to be accepting first. You could sit down with them and say something like "I have something I need to tell you. I know you might not be accepting of LGBT people, but I am bisexual. I have known for a long time now. This doesn't change anything about me. I am still the same person, and I hope you still love me. It was really hard for me to get up the courage to come out to you, and I hope you won't be mad at me."

Question: Can you be attracted to males and females but still prefer to date males? But what would that even be called?

Answer: If you’re attracted to males and females, but prefer to date males, you are simply bisexual with a preference for males.

Question: I engaged sexually with men, but I fall emotionally for women, and fantasize about them more often. I don't have the courage to interact with the same gender because I grew up with my mom who used to hate finding out I have lesbian friends. But looking back, I never really loved any man even though I have sex with them. My attraction to women is still incomparable to the men I've been with. I get confused about my sexuality today. What should I do?

Answer: It is very common to feel confused about your sexual orientation if you grew up in a family that didn't accept LGBT+ people. From your question, it sounds like you are more interested in women, even though you have more experience with men. If you grew up afraid to be anything but straight, it makes sense that you would try to suppress your feelings for women, and force yourself to like men.

You might be bisexual, or you might be a lesbian. Ask yourself, do you actually find yourself attracted to men, or do you only date them because you feel like that is what you are supposed to do? Remember, you may still be bisexual even if you are a bit more attracted to one or the other. It doesn't have to be 50/50. However, if you find that you were never really attracted to men, you may be a lesbian.

If you feel that you are more attracted to women, you might want to pursue dating women to find out if that is what you really want. As long as you are financially independent of your mother, who is not supportive of you even having lesbian friends, live your life the way you want. If you find that you only want to be with women, don't let fears of what your family might thing get in the way of your happiness.

Question: Could bisexuality be a phase in someone's life?

Answer: It is a common misconception that bisexuality is just a phase. Most bisexual people remain attracted to multiple genders throughout their lives, even if they enter into a long-term monogamous relationship or marriage.

Even if someone who identifies as bisexual is in a monogamous relationship, they are still bisexual. Sexual orientation refers to who a person is attracted to, not necessarily their actual behavior. Bisexual people are just as capable of remaining faithful in a monogamous relationship as people of other sexual orientations.

Though bisexuality is not a phase, some people may find that their sexuality shifts throughout their lives. For example, a bi woman may find that she is more attracted to men but may find herself more attracted to women several years later. It is normal for these feelings to fluctuate or change over time. Your overall orientation generally remains the same over time, however.

If one of your loved ones, whether it is your child or a friend, has recently come out to you as bisexual, it is important that you take their revelation seriously and don't brush it off as simply a phase. They put a lot of trust in you in coming out to you, and likely feel vulnerable. Do some research and try to understand them and be sympathetic and supportive.

Question: Can I feel attracted to both men and women but only want to be in a relationship with th opposite sex and still identify as bi?

Answer: Yes, of course.

Question: Can I still be bi without being with someone or the same sex?

Answer: You are bisexual if you are attracted to the same and different gender. It doesn't matter if you have had a sexual experience with both. You can be a virgin and still be bi. You can also have had experience with only one gender and still be bi. Straight and gay people usually know their orientation long before they have any actual sexual experience. It is the same for bisexual people.

Question: How do I not feel ashamed of myself for being bi?

Answer: It isn't uncommon for bi people to feel ashamed of their sexuality upon first realizing that they are bisexual due to the unflattering stereotypes of bisexuals in the media.

There is nothing wrong with being bisexual. It is completely naturally to be attracted to people of different genders. Realize that the feelings of shame that you feel aren't about your sexuality, but rather, the results of other people's attitudes toward bisexuality.

Your sexuality doesn't define you. It is just one small part of who you are as a person.

It may help you to feel less ashamed and more proud of your sexuality if you can find a local bisexual organization to join. If there aren't any groups specifically for bisexuals, there are probably general LGBT+ organizations or events where you could meet other bisexual people. Socializing with other people like you is a great way to become more comfortable with yourself and stop feeling ashamed.

Question: What if I'm only physically attracted to one gender, but emotionally and physically attached to the other gender?

Answer: If you are physically attracted to one gender and emotionally and physically attracted to the other, you might be bisexual and heteroromantic, or bisexual and homoromantic (depending on your gender and which gender you are emotionally attracted to). If this is the case, you can still identify as bi if that is the label you are comfortable with. It is ok to be more attracted to one sex or the other, or to be attracted to different genders in different ways and still consider yourself to be bi.

Question: I am interested in women, but only in sexual ways and nothing else. What does this mean? Is it just curiosity?

Answer: If you are sexually interested in both men and women, but only romantically interested in men, you may be bisexual, but heteroromantic. Many bisexual people find that their attraction to different genders is different. Many bisexual people also see that they are more attracted to one gender, and less attracted to another, but still, consider themselves bisexual because they are attracted to different genders.

You might be bisexual, or simply bi-curious. Another possibility is that you simply haven't allowed yourself to feel a romantic connection to other women yet, perhaps because of cultural conditioning that tells you that women should form relationships with men. Still, you can't deny your physical attraction to women.

Only you can determine what your sexual orientation is. Go with what you feel is right. Perhaps you will realize that you are bi, or maybe you will figure out that you are straight or even something else.

Question: Do I need to come out as bisexual? Is it not acceptable for me to just let people think I'm straight until I develop deep feelings for someone of the same gender?

Answer: This is a personal decision. Some people feel more comfortable if they can be open about their sexual orientation, while others feel more comfortable staying in the closet. It is up to you if you wish to reveal this aspect of yourself to others. You may also find that you are comfortable revealing your sexual orientation to certain people, but staying closeted to others.

Question: How do I come out to my family?

Answer: If you feel you are ready to come out to your family, you may want to start by coming out to family members that you feel are more likely to be accepting of you first. Perhaps you have an LGBT+ family member or someone who has demonstrated that they are supportive of the LGBT+ community that you can come out to first.

If your family is unsupportive and hostile toward LGBT+ people, make sure that you can support yourself financially before coming out to them, just in case they still have bigoted attitudes that could put you in danger.

Question: What happens if I only think I am bi, but I have been attracted to females and males? Does feeling attracted to both men and women mean I am bi?

Answer: If you think that you are bi, and you have been attracted to females and males, you are bi.

Question: I am a girl who likes boys usually, but recently I have been trying to impress girls. What does my trying to impress girls mean to me?

Answer: Ask yourself why you are trying to impress these girls. Is it because you hope for them to ask you out, or do you simply want them to think you are cool and want to be friends with them? Wanting to impress someone doesn't always mean you are attracted to them in a sexual or romantic sense.

Question: My parents don't believe bisexuality exists, but I think I'm bi. They're very conservative and my dad is pretty much a homophobe. What do I do?

Answer: If you are still a teen and depend on your parents, you might need to wait to come out to them until you are on your own in case they throw you out.

If you think that your parents can be reasoned with, you could try to educate them about bisexuality, but remember, once you come out, you can't take it back. If they are extremely conservative, it could create an unsafe situation for you if you come out to them while still living in their home.

Question: What if I don't want to tell my parents that I'm bisexual?

Answer: That is your choice. You don’t have to come out to anyone you don’t feel comfortable coming out to.

Question: I am currently in a relationship with the opposite sex, but I’m still unaware of my sexuality. I have not come out as bi or gay, but I am really confused, as I find both sexes attractive. My partner knows about my lesbian fantasies, but takes it jokingly. How do I talk about something I feel strongly about?

Answer: If you are attracted to and have fantasies about both sexes, you are very likely bisexual. It sounds like you know this about yourself, but are afraid to come out to other people. It also sounds like you feel uncomfortable talking about your feelings with your partner, or that you feel like he doesn't take your feelings seriously.

First, don't feel like you must come out as bi to other people if you aren't ready yet. This is a personal decision. If you don't want people in your life to know this about you, you don't need to come out. It is important for your own mental health to admit your sexuality to yourself, however. Perhaps you feel unsure about your orientation because you aren't ready to admit it to yourself yet.

If your partner isn't taking your feelings seriously, perhaps you need to sit down with him and have a serious talk about it. Before you do this, figure out what you want out of this discussion. Do you want to bring another woman into your relationship? Or do you simply want to acknowledge your feelings and feel like your partner accepts this part of you?

If you have been together for a while, and still don't feel comfortable having these types of discussions with your partner, perhaps there are deeper issues with your relationship. You may need to work on communication with your partner, or simply realize that the relationship isn't working and move on.

Question: Some claim that just because a person is (physically) attracted to the same sex does not mean they're homosexual, as straight people can feel admiration towards a person of the same sex. How do you differentiate this attraction from mere admiration?

Answer: When you notice an attractive member of the same sex, do you feel like you want to sleep with them, or do you just want to be more like them, or both? That will tell you if you are sexually attracted to them or just admire them.

Question: I have a crush on a girl but I am a girl I. I have had thoughts (sexual) with girls before too! I'm still scared to just put on the label but it not being true. So can I identify as a bi since I have had male crushes before?

Answer: Whatever label you choose is for yourself, so don't worry about whether or not it is "true." if you find yourself attracted to men and women, even if your attractions feel a bit different toward each, you can consider yourself bi. If you call yourself bi, your bisexuality is valid.

Question: Is it possible to be bi if I don't want to have sex before I'm married?

Answer: Yes. Whether you wait until you are married to have sex or not has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. You can be celibate your entire life and still be bi, straight, gay, or any other orientation. You still decide when and with whom you have sex, regardless of who you are attracted to.

Question: What if I have crushed on both guys and girls, but have no interest in having sex, watching sex in movies, reading it in books, etc.? Am I ace or bi?

Answer: If you have no interest in sex, you are likely asexual. Since you have crushes on guys and girls, but have no interest in the physical aspects of a relationship, you can describe your orientation as biromantic and asexual.

Question: What am I if I like girls romantically and guys romantically and sexually? Is that bisexual?

Answer: Yes, you are bisexual, because you are attracted to your own gender and others. More specifically you may consider yourself heteroromantic and bisexual (if you're a guy) or homoromantic and bisexual (if you're a girl). Remember, your attraction to different genders don't have to be exactly equal or the same for you to consider yourself bisexual.

Question: What if I don’t feel sexual attraction to any gender but I still want to be in a relationship with someone?

Answer: You may be asexual. Asexual people often still desire romantic relationships, but without the sexual components.

Question: I'm a cis woman and I've only ever fallen in love with men. However, I'm sexually way more attracted to women. Could I be homosexual but heteroromantic, or am I bi?

Answer: You may be homosexual but heteroromantic if you are sexually more attracted to women, but romantically more attracted to men. In this case, you could still consider yourself bisexual if that is a label that resonates with you. Specifically, you would be what is sometimes known as a "varied type" bisexual.

Question: I'm female and I think that I'm straight but I'm into a ftm transgender. Am I bisexual if I am attracted to a ftm trans person?

Answer: If you are a woman and are only attracted to men, including ftm transgender individuals, you are straight. You are only bisexual if you are attracted to men and women.

Question: How do I know what sexual orientation suits me best? Some days I feel bisexual, some days I feel asexual and sometimes I'm homosexual. Which one am I?

Answer: I don’t know you, but if I had to guess, I’d say you are likely bi, since sometimes you feel bisexual. It is ok if you don’t always feel attraction or sexual feelings. You may just have a low sex drive, which could cause you to sometimes, but not always, feel asexual.

© 2017 Jennifer Wilber

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