8 Ways to Develop a Positive Bisexual Identity

BiThe term bisexual encompasses a vast umbrella of sexual identities and preferences. People who identify as bisexual have been put in a unique position that is both challenging and freeing. A bisexual identity has a lot of strengths, the trick is to tap into these strengths.

Bisexual Defined…by not really defining it.

The easy answer is that you are bisexual if you identify yourself as bisexual. Bisexuality does not always mean that you are equally attracted to both men and women. Instead, identifying as bisexual is an expression of fluidity and freedom in one’s romantic choices.

The hard stuff

Forging a positive sexual identity is an important developmental task in life, which can be challenging for those who identify as bisexual because of outside pressure to “pick a side.” There are many negative stereotypes about bisexual-identified individuals from both the heterosexual and homosexual communities. They don’t fit nicely into the heterosexual box or the gay/lesbian box and, as history has shown, people who don’t fit into neat categories inspire fear and mistrust. Both groups have historically characterized bisexual individuals as being confused, indecisive, and greedy.

^—- This stuff isn’t true

These stereotypes are without empirical evidence, embrace a problematic binary view of human sexuality, and are contrary to the experiences of bisexual individuals. On the other side, people who identify as bisexual have found that creating a bisexual identity can lead to a very validating, freeing, flexible, fluid, and deep understanding of themselves, others, and their way of relating to the world.

1. Live outside the box

Yes you can. Identifying as bisexual enables individuals to live beyond the sexual binary of gay vs. straight in order to live more authentically and honestly in a complex continuum of sexuality. More simply, most people have boxes in their brains of gay/straight and male/female that they like to put themselves and others in. The problem is that these labels don’t work for a lot of people. Many people find that the traditional binaries (boxes) of sexuality and gender do not fully account for the felt sense of who they are. Living beyond the binary creates space for more freedom and fluidity in gender expression, gender roles, and relationships.

2. Get to know yourself better

Creating a positive bisexual identity requires a great deal of self-reflection and self- exploration. These efforts can help bisexual-identified individuals develop a self-awareness and insight that positively affects all facets of life. Living more mindfully is a natural result of this type of focused attention on one’s experience.

3. Love who you want

A bisexual identity allows for a freedom to be attracted to someone without worrying about sex/gender. Sexual attraction to anyone along the gender continuum does not create an identity crisis, but is rather seen as a part of a fluid and flexible sexuality. There is a freedom to explore diverse relationships and experiences, as well as a freedom of sexual expression.

4. Put yourself in other’s shoes

A natural byproduct of the creation of a bisexual identity is acceptance and appreciation of other’s differences. An advantage of living “outside of the box” is the tendency to not put others into boxes. It creates a mindfulness around issues of assumption, creating space for getting to know someone instead of immediately assuming that a stranger should be categorized in any certain way.

5. Find a community

Definitely. Many bisexuals express gratefulness for the acceptance they feel in the bisexual community, a community that is generally welcoming of all sexual orientations and expressions. Finding such a community, whether in-person or virtually, is important for the development of a positive bisexual identity.

BiButton6. Educate and advocate

Being in a unique “in-between” space between the gay and lesbian community and the heterosexual community can allow for a deeper understanding of oppression and privilege that is present in both communities. Many people who identify as bisexual take joy in taking on an advocacy or educational role about these social issues. Additionally, the unique identity of bisexuals can act as a bridge to both the gay/lesbian community and the heterosexual community, breaking down binaries and opening the floor for genuine conversation.

7. Learn from your not-so-fun experiences

Positive beliefs about oneself and reframing incidents of stigma and discrimination as the opportunity to learn valuable social and personal insights can create meaning from adverse events in one’s life. Ultimately, recognizing the strengths that creating a bisexual identity brings will increase well-being and resiliency to social stigma and minority stress.

8. Find some support

IntraSpectrum Counseling is committed to helping you become more you! We offer a uniquely validating and supportive therapeutic environment that is focused on helping you discover your authentic self. We help you find your sources of strength, meaning, hope, resiliency, and the ability to thrive. All of our counselors have specialized training and experience working with LGBTQI clients. We offer a range of services including individual counseling, group counseling, gay counseling, therapy for bisexual men and women, and gender identity therapists. Conveniently located in downtown Chicago and Andersonville, we work with a diverse client base and are committed to meeting the needs of the LGBTQI community and beyond.

The positive aspects of a bisexual self-identification Sharon Scales Rostosky, Ellen D.B. Riggle, David Pascale- Hague, LaWanda E. McCantsPsychology & Sexuality ,Vol. 1, Iss. 2, 2010

About the guest blogger

Team_RenaRena McDaniel, MEd is the Director of Outreach and Operations and a Staff Therapist for IntraSpectrum Counseling, a group private practice in Chicago that specializes in the LGBTQI community. Follow IntraSpectrum Counseling on Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to “8 Ways to Develop a Positive Bisexual Identity”

  1. Excellent article all coming down to that common idea of complete freedom to choose our love and partner without labeling of either heterosexual or gay but comfort freedom to choose. Which should be welcomed by any intellectual group.

    Posted by Chris | July 15, 2013, 2:59 am
  2. One must be one’s self and not be bound by prejudices of others. The way to a full life is one’s own path. Love whom wyou love and even share that love. Do nto let fear keep you from your true feelings and wants. Live a full life and forget fears that dampen your enjoyment of your life.

    Posted by Anthony Zummer | July 15, 2013, 3:42 pm

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