How can I debunk the stereotype that I’m just “experimenting” because I identify as bi?

First off, I don’t think you should feel pressure to ‘prove’ to others that you are bisexual. Your confidence in your identity is what matters most. There’s no real way to ‘debunk’ the experimenting myth without pulling out receipts of the genders you’ve dated, and that is not something anybody should have to do.

Moreover, many bisexuals may not have had the opportunity to date more than one gender, which doesn’t invalidate their sexuality.

What’s most important in these situations is that you don’t let these stereotypes make you feel insecure about being bi, or convince you that bisexuality isn’t a valid sexual identity.

The root of the ‘experimenting’ myth comes from the idea that it is impossible to feel sexual attraction to both men and women equally; by dating both genders, you’re really just trying everything out before inevitably figuring out that you’re actually straight, or gay. However, being bisexual is so much more than just the people you date. Bisexuality is something that impacts an entire worldview, and those who aren’t bi wouldn’t necessarily understand that. Everybody acknowledges that being straight or gay impacts relationships outside of just one’s sexual or romantic endeavors; these sexualities can constitute an entire identity. In that same vein, being bi is more than just an awkward halfway point between straight and gay. Bi and Pan folx are able to see romantic and sexual beauty in all people; we’re able to fall in love with people for who they are inside, without caring what genitalia they may sport, or that gender expression they may present. This obviously impacts the way we interact with friends, lovers, acquaintances, or even strangers.

Hetero and homosexuality implies the existence of an entire group of people in which there is no romantic or sexual possibility; this obviously means that one’s approach to relationships will be different across genders, such as lesbians approaching friendship with men differently than with women, or gay men doing the opposite. Yet, when you’re bi, such boundaries do not necessarily exist. Thus, the way we approach relationships with everybody will be different and more complex than what others may understand. In this way, you don’t really need to sleep with other genders to prove to anybody that you’re bisexual. Being bi is something that is actively lived every day, throughout every interaction. So, if someone is accusing you of just ‘experimenting’, or assuring you that one day you’ll figure out that you’re ‘just confused’, take solace in knowing that these people have no idea how rich the bisexual experience is.

Oy, so frustrating! I know the feeling—

I’ve been bisexual for 34 years and people still think it’s a phase.

I’ve dated people who said I’d “grow out of” my bisexuality. I’ve dated people who said being bi was “hot.” I’ve even NOT dated people because they didn’t think they could settle down with a bisexual. (Their loss.)

But this is exactly what I love about bisexuality: the sheer concept forces people to confront their own idea of permanence. Fluidity isn’t always a pathway to something else—sometimes it’s a final destination. And the right person will be able to meet you there.

Oof. Been there bestie. When I came out to an (ex) friend in college, she told me I’m “the straightest person she’s ever met” and I’m effectively a “gold-star straight” and don’t deserve to take up space in the community if I’m just going to keep dating men. What she said is a farce. My attraction to non-men alone affirms my bisexuality.

We must be gentle with ourselves and each other – queer people cannot gatekeep entry into the queer community.

What she said shoved me back into the closet for several more years, and I can’t imagine how different that would have been if she listened to me and validated how I was feeling, welcoming me into the community with open arms.

Remember that your feelings validate yourself alone. We have to debunk our idea of what “experimenting” means. Having that urge and that pull towards “experimenting” is inherently queer. Straight people don’t have those urges - they don’t experience that attraction towards other queer people, towards genders like your own. In my opinion, “experimenting” doesn’t exist. These are just queer experiences. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, call them into conversation (if you have the emotional space) and challenge their biphobia.

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