Bisexuality refers to sexual behavior with [ [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4056387?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=3&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed A study of the married bisexual male: paradox and resolution] ] or attraction to people of both sexes, or to a bisexual orientation. People who have a bisexual orientation "can experience sexual, emotional, and affectional attraction to both their own sex and the opposite sex"; "it also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them." [ [http://www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/article.php?id=31 APA Help Center] ] It is one of the three main classifications of
sexual orientation, along with a heterosexualand a homosexual orientation. Individuals who do not experience sexual attraction to either sex are known as asexual.
Alfred Kinsey's research into human sexuality in the mid-20th century, many humans do not fall exclusively into heterosexualor homosexualclassifications but somewhere between. [ [http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/ak-data.html The Kinsey Institute - Kinsey Study Data [Research Program ] ] The Kinsey scalemeasures sexual attraction and behavior on a seven-point scale ranging from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). According to Kinsey's study, a substantial number of people fall within the range of 1 to 5 (between heterosexual and homosexual). Although Kinsey's methodology has been criticized, the scale is still widely used in describing the continuum of human sexuality.
Bisexuality has been observed in various human societiescite book |last=Crompton |first=Louis |authorlink=Louis Crompton |title=Homosexuality and Civilization |publisher=
Belknap Press|year=2003 |location=Cambridge, Massachusetts |isbn=067401197X ] and elsewhere in the animal kingdomcite book |last=Bagemihl |first=Bruce |authorlink=Bruce Bagemihl |title=Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity |publisher=Profile Books, Ltd. |year=1999 |location=London |isbn=1861971826 ] cite book |last=Roughgarden |first=Joan |authorlink=Joan Roughgarden |title=Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People |publisher= University of California Press|month=May | year=2004 |location=Berkeley, CA |isbn=0520240731 ] cite news |last= Driscoll |first= Emily V. |title= Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom |publisher= Scientific American|date= Jul 2008 |url= http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=bisexual-species ] throughout recorded history. The term "bisexuality", however, like the terms "hetero-" and "homosexuality", was only coined in the 19th century.cite web |url=http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=bisexuality |title=Bisexuality |accessdate=2007-02-16 |author=Harper, Douglas |year=2001 |month=11 |work=Online Etymology Dictionary]
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 may still identify themselves as bisexual. A recent study by researchers Gerulf Rieger, Meredith L. Chivers, and
J. Michael Bailey, [cite journal |author=Rieger G, Chivers ML, Bailey JM |title=Sexual arousal patterns of bisexual men |journal=Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS |volume=16 |issue=8 |pages=579–84 |year=2005 |pmid=16102058 |doi=10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01578.x] 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 plethysmographtesting 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.cite news |last=Carey |first=Benedict |title=Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited |publisher=The New York Times |date= July 5, 2005|url=http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20714FB3B550C768CDDAE0894DD404482 |accessdate=2007-02-24 ] The study, and " The New York Times" article which reported it, were subsequently criticized as flawed and biphobic. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force(July 2005). [http://www.thetaskforce.org/files/NYTBisexualityFactSheet.pdf The Problems with "Gay, Straight, or Lying?"] ( William BurlesonJune 26 2007] FAIR also criticised the study. FAIR (July 8, 2005). [http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2573 New York Times Suggests Bisexuals Are "Lying": Paper fails to disclose study author's controversial history.] ]
Because bisexuality is often an ambiguous position between homosexuality and heterosexuality, bisexuals form a
heterogeneousgroup and the relations between their behaviors, feelings, and identities are not always consistent. Some 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 people 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.Fact|date=March 2007 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 Garbermade 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" and "premature specialization." [cite book |author=Garber, Marjorie B. |authorlink=Marjorie Garber |title=Vice versa: bisexuality and the eroticism of everyday life |publisher=Simon & Schuster |location=New York |year=1995 |isbn=0-684-80308-9]
Bisexuality is often misunderstood as a form of
adulteryor 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, promiscuity, group sex, and celibacy. For those with more than one sexual partner, these may, or may not, all be of the same gender.Fact|date=June 2008
A 2002 survey in the United States by
National Center for Health Statisticsfound 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".cite web |url=http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/FAQ.html |title=Frequently Asked Sexuality Questions to the Kinsley Institute |accessdate=2007-02-16 |publisher=The Kinsley Institude] "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."
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". [http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/ak-data.html Research Summary] from the [http://www.kinseyinstitute.org Kinsey Institute] .] The Kinsey Institutehas 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. [ [http://www.leaderu.com/jhs/reisman.html "Kinsey and the Homosexual Revolution"] by Dr. Judith Reisman] [ [http://www.swlearning.com/quant/kohler/stat/biographical_sketches/bio15.1.html Biography of Statician] John W. Tukeyby [http://www.swlearning.com/quant/kohler/stat/siteresources.html Cengage Learning] .] [ American conservative magazine" Human Events" calls the Kinsey Report the fourth [http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=7591 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 [http://www.mmisi.org/ir/35_01/50worst.pdf "Worst Book of the Century"] .] " The New York Times" called his research "conscientious and comprehensive" [Pomeroy, Wardell (1972). Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research. New York: Harper & Row.] and Professor Martin Dubermancalled it "skillful" and "a monumental endeavor". [ [http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/publications/duberman.html Book review of] [http://www.amazon.com/Alfred-C-Kinsey-Public-Private/dp/0393040860 Alfred C. Kinsey : A Public/Private Life] originally published in " The Nation".]
Fritz Kleinbelieved 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.Fact|date=January 2008 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).Fact|date=January 2008 As this study employed 2-minute clips of standard heterosexual and homosexual pornography, the study would be blind to the this type of bisexual.Fact|date=January 2008 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.
Sigmund Freudtheorized that every person has the ability to become bisexual at some time in his or her life. [Freud, Sigmund (translated by A.A. Brill), "Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex", Dover Publications, 128 pages, ISBN 0486416038] 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:
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.cite journal |author=Van Wyk PH,Geist CS|title=Biology of Bisexuality: Critique and Observations |journal=Journal of Homosexuality |volume=28 |issue=3-4 |pages=357 - 373 |year=1995 |pmid= |10.1300/J082v28n03_11]
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.cite journal
coauthors=Terri D. Conley
title=Biological Research on Women's Sexual Orientations: Evaluating the Scientific Evidence.
journal=Journal of Social Issues
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.
There is a consensus among scholars of different faculties that cultural and social factors have an effect on human sexual behaviour. As bisexual people come from all social classes and familial backgrounds, such factors cannot independently explain why some people are bisexual.
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: " [W] e 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 behaviour. 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.cite journal
title=Are Human Beings "By Nature" Bisexual?
journal=Studies in Gender and Sexuality
From an anthropolocial 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 outrule the possibility of bisexual behaviour 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.cite journal
coauthors=Bernhard Fink, karl Grammer, Michael Kirk-Smith
title=Homosexual Orientation in Males: Evolutionary and Ethological Aspects
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.
Recent research suggests that, for most women, high sex drive is associated with increased sexual attraction to both women and men. For men, however, high sex drive is associated with increased attraction to one sex or the other, but not to both, depending on sexual orientation [Lippa, R. A., 2006. "Psychological Science," 17, 46-52]
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. cite journal
title=The Relation Between Sex Drive and Sexual Attraction to Men and Women: A Cross-National Study of Heterosexual, Bisexual,and Homosexual Men andWomen
journal=Archives of Sexual Behavior
date=23 March 2007
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. [cite journal
title=Comparison of auditory evoked potentials in heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual males and females.
journal=JARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
month=March | year=2000
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
Homosexuality and Christianityand DESindicate 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 oestrogen. 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 oestrogen concentrations is one cause of homosexuality whereas exposure to very high testosterone levels may be associated with bisexuality. Because testosterone in genereal is important for sexual differentiation, this view offers an alternative to the suggestion that male homosexuality is genetic. [cite journal |author=Robinson, SJ & Manning, TJ|title=The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length and male homosexuality |journal=Evolution and Human Behavior |volume=21 |issue= |pages=333–345 |year=2000 |pmid=|PII= PII: S1090-5138(00)00052-0 ]
The prenatal homonal 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.
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 3nucleus of the anterior hypothalamusof 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.
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 Y chromosome are more likely to be bisexual, paraphilic and impulsive.
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.
People may not express their sexual orientation in their
sexual behavior. [http://www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/article.php?id=31 APA Help Center] ] People with a bisexual orientation may be celibate, have sexual relationships with the same sex, the opposite sex, or both. In some places, same-sex relationships may be illegal, while other places officially recognize these relationships. Bisexual people may also enter into a mixed-orientation marriagewith a member of the opposite sex.
Bisexuality in History
In some cultures, historical and literary records from most literate societies indicate that male bisexuality was common and indeed expected.Fact|date=February 2007 These relationships were generally age-structured as in
pederasty[Peter James, Nick Thorpe. "Ancient Inventions". Ballantine Books; New edition, 1995, p. 164 ISBN 0345401026] or " shudo". or gender-structured as in the Two-Spiritor bacchápractices.Fact|date=February 2007 Most of the commonly cited examples of male "homosexuality" in previous cultures would more properly be categorized as bisexuality.Fact|date=February 2007 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.Fact|date=February 2007 Sappho, however, is a notable exception.
In 124 CE the bisexual Roman emperor
Hadrianmet 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.Fact|date=February 2007 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.Fact|date=February 2007 Bisexual behavior was also common among Roman and Chinese emperors, the shogunsof Japan, and others.Fact|date=February 2007
Ancestral law in ancient
Spartamandated same-sex relationshipswith youths who were coming of age for all adult men, so long as the men eventually took wives and produced children.Fact|date=February 2007 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.cite web |url=http://www.livius.org/ho-hz/homosexuality/homosexuality.html |title=Greek Homosexuality |accessdate=2007-02-17 |last=van Dolen |first=Hein] For example, Aristophanescalls them "euryprôktoi", meaning "wide arses", and depicts them like women.
Ancient Greeceit 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.Fact|date=February 2007 Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king, is thought to have been bisexual, and to have had a male lover named Hephaestion.cite web |url=http://www.androphile.org/preview/Library/Biographies/Alexander/Alexander.htm |title=The Love of Alexander III of Macedon, Known as "The Great" |accessdate=2007-02-18]
Historically, bisexuality has largely been free of the social stigma associated with homosexuality, prevalent even where bisexuality was the norm.Fact|date=February 2007 In Ancient Greece
pederastywas 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),Fact|date=February 2007 and heterosexual marriage has often been used successfully as a defense against accusations of homosexuality.Fact|date=February 2007 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 Hecheand others have claimed bisexuality only to later renounce the idea (although Bowie has since retreated some on renunciation [cite news |last= Collis |first= Clark |title= Dear Superstar: David Bowie |publisher= "Blender" |date= 2002-08 |url= http://www.blender.com/guide/articles.aspx?id=366] ).
The term "flex sex" developed in the late 2000s, regarding women that generally regard themselves as heterosexual, but who occasionally have sex with other women. [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.] [ [http://www.shybi.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=26511 Flex Sex! - Bisexual / Bicurious Chat ] ]
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 [http://www.gaypedia.com/ 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. Biphobia can sometimes be the results of repressed bisexual desire in homosexual people. [cite web |url=http://www.lesbilicious.co.uk/community/why-do-lesbians-hate-bisexuals |title=Why do lesbians hate bisexuals? ]
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. [cite web |url=http://www.keithboykin.com/arch/001311.html |title=10 Things You Should Know About the DL |accessdate=2007-02-23 |author=Boykin, Keith |date=2005-02-03 ]
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
homosexualityand heterosexuality",Fact|date=June 2007 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.cite web |url=http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb02/generation.html |title=A new generation of issues for LGBT clients |accessdate=2007-02-16 |author=DeAngelis, Tori |year=2002 |month=02 |work=Monitor on Psychology |publisher=American Psychological Association] 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. [cite web |url=http://aolhometown.planetout.com/news/article.html?2002/05/01/1 |title=Study: Bisexuals face mental health risks |accessdate=2007-02-17 |date=2002-05-01] 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.Fact|date=February 2007
A common symbol of the
Bisexual communityis 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, blended from the pink and blue, in the middle to represent bisexuality. [cite web |url=http://www.biflag.com/Activism.asp |title=Bi Pride Flag |accessdate=2007-02-16 |author=Page, Michael |quote=The pink color represents sexual attraction to the same sex only, homosexuality, the blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only, heterosexuality, and the resultant overlap color purple represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi).]
Another symbol 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.cite web |url=http://www.lambda.org/symbols.htm |title=Symbols of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Movements |accessdate=2007-02-27 |date=2004-12-26]
Many homosexual and bisexual individuals have a problem with the use of the
pink trianglesymbol as it was the symbol that Hitler's regime used to tag homosexuals (similar to the yellow Star of Davidthat 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.cite web |url=http://andrejkoymasky.com/lou/sym/sym05.html |title=Gay Symbols: Other Miscellaneous Symbols |accessdate=2007-02-18 |author=Koymasky, Matt |coauthors=Koymasky Andrej |date=06-08-14] 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.Fact|date=February 2007 The color of the bisexual double moon symbol varies. The symbol is most often displayed with rainbow colors,Fact|date=February 2007 signifying that bisexuals belong to the gay community.Fact|date=February 2007 It also may appear with the pink-purple-blue colors of the bisexual pride flag.Fact|date=February 2007 The double moon symbol is common in Germany and surrounding countries.Another symbol used for bisexuality is a purple diamond. From an upside down triangle and a right way up one, pink and blue, placed overlapping.
Bisexuality in animals
Many non-human animal species also exhibit bisexual behavior. This is, of course, common in
hermaphroditicanimals, 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. [cite web |url=http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/bisdia.htm |title=Bisexuality: A Biological Perspective |accessdate=2007-02-17 |author=Diamond, Milton |year=1998 |work=Bisexualities - The Ideology and Practice of Sexual Contact with both Men and Women]
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.cite web |url=http://www.bidstrup.com/sodomy.htm |title=The Natural Crime Against Nature |accessdate=2007-06-26 |author=Scott Bidstrup |year=2000]
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. [cite book |title=Biology |author=Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reece |year=2002]
Bisexuality in culture
Comparatively positive and notable portrayals of bisexuality can be found throughout mainstream media.
In movies such as: "
The Pillow Book (film)"; " Alexander (film)"; " The Rocky Horror Picture Show"; " Henry and June"; " Chasing Amy"; " Kissing Jessica Stein", " The Fourth Man", " Basic Instinct" and " Brokeback Mountain".
Especially noteworthy are the bisexual themes in the films of Federico Fellini. While individual films are rarely "bisexual" themselves, he has made films that both employ prominent heterosexual characters and themes "
La Strada", " La Dolce Vita", " 8 1/2", and " Amarcord" and also made blatantly homosexual themed films such as " Satyricon" and involving homosexual themes and characters in many of his less famous films. Fellini was suspected of being bisexual in real life, though the extent to which he had many sexual relationships at all, much less of both sexes, is unclear.
popular music, many of the songs of The Smithsare commonly cited as classic examples. In the songs and stage presentation of Suzie Quatroand Joan Jett, there have been additional examples.Fact|date=April 2008 In 1995, Jill Sobulesung about bi-curiosity in her song "I Kissed a Girl". The video for the song was slightly less subtle alternating images of Jill Sobule and her boyrfriend (played by Fabio) with images of her with her girlfriend. the song appeared on Beavis and Butt-head. The recently popular song "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perryalso hints at bisexuality, or at least bi-curiosity, with lyrics such as "I kissed a girl just to try it/I hope my boyfriend don't mind it" and "You're my experimental game/Just human nature".
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:
Bret Easton Ellis's many novels, including "Less Than Zero", "The Rules of Attraction", "Glamorama", and "Lunar Park"
Lisa Alther's "Five Minutes in Heaven"
James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room"
Sean David Wright's "Two for One--a novel about having choices"
Jamie Tabners"I'm Lonely"
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"Fact|date=January 2008
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 ""
Sarah Waters' " Tipping The Velvet"
Whitley Strieber's " The Hunger"
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 bisexualand—although married to a man—often kisses Grace and seems to have had many female lovers throughout her life. The character Jack Harknessof " 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 Romijnportrayed a bisexual con artist in the film "Femme Fatale".
sci-fitelevision series " Babylon 5", characters including Susan Ivanovaand Talia Wintersare 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 Coleand Stephen Franklinposing as a married couple, and series creator J. Michael Straczynskiindicating that the station commander John Sheridan would have been propositioned by the male Lumatiambassador if Susan Ivanova had not been handling those negotiations.
In the 1996 Broadway musical turned movie "Rent",
Idina Menzelplays 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/ Fredi 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 Tequilaor Tila Nguyen, is the bisexual bachelorette, trying to find love from 16 straight males and 16 lesbians.
The tv series
Buffy the Vampire Slayerthe character Willow Rosenberg, while identifying as a lesbian, is hinted to have a bisexual side to her. She forms strong heterosexual relationships across the first 3 seasons and her vampire alter ego displays overt bisexuality.
In the medical comedy
Scrubsthe surgeon Todd is a misogynist who makes sex jokes at any opportunity. In the earlier seasons he is hinted at having gay tendencies and in the season five episode My Lunchhe is seen looking at pictures of topless men. Elliott and Carla convince him to come out but at the end of the episode he is revealed to be bisexual and walks down the hallway, hitting on a male and female nurse. The janitor asks him "What the hell are you?" to which he replies "I'm the Todd".
There are also negative media portrayals—references sometimes made to stereotypes or mental disorders.
In an article about
Brokeback Mountain, sex educator Amy Andre argued that in films, bisexuals are always depicted negatively: [cite web |url=http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/MagArticle.cfm?Article=554 |title=Opinion: Bisexual Cowboys in Love |accessdate=2006-11-22 |first=Amy |last=Andre |publisher= National Sexuality Resource Center(NSCR)]
Using a content analysis of more than 170 articles written between 2001 and 2006, sociologist Richard N. Pitt, Jr. concluded that the media pathologized black bisexual men’s behavior while either ignoring or sympathizing with white bisexual men’s similar actions. He argued that the "Down Low" black bisexual is often described negatively as a "duplicitous heterosexual" man whose behaviors threaten the black community. Alternately, the "Brokeback" white bisexual (when seen as bisexual at all) is often described in pitying language as a "victimized homosexual" man who is forced into the closet by the heterosexist society around him. Pitt, Richard N., Jr. (2006) "Downlow Mountain? De/Stigmatizing Bisexuality Through Pitying And Pejorative Discourses In Media". [http://www.mensstudies.com/content/120392/?p=5836e79535e54e3bb24fa8a3d757b32d&pi=2 Journal Of Men's Studies] 14:254-8.]
On the HBO drama "Oz",
Christopher Meloniplayed 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.
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 Carveyas The Church Lady, "Saturday Night Live".
Movies in which the bisexual characters conceal murderous neuroses include "
Basic Instinct", "Black Widow", " Blue Velvet", " Cruising", and "Girl, Interrupted".
In one of his comedy routines,
George Carlinadmits 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 Pagesunder your arms."
Journal of Bisexuality
List of bisexual people
List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people
List of LGBT-related organizations
Media portrayal of bisexuality
Non-westernized concepts of male sexuality
Societal attitudes towards homosexuality
* 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
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
Stephen O. Murrayand 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
* "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 Sureshaand Pete Chvany, Editors ISBN 978-1-56023-615-9
* "Bi America : Myths, Truths, And Struggles Of An Invisible Community" by
William E. BurlesonISBN 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
* [http://www.beyondbarriers.org.uk/docs/Bisexual_Participatory_Appraisal_Research.pdf Exploring Biphobia] . (144 KB
* Bryant, Wayne M.. "Bisexual Characters in Film: From Anais to Zee". Haworth Gay & Lesbian Studies, 1997. ISBN 1-56023-894-1
[http://www.bidownunder.com Bisexual Resources] [http://www.bi-nsw.org.au Bisexual Community in NSW, Australia] [http://members.optusnet.com.au/~ausbinet/ Australian Bisexual Network] [http://members.optusnet.com.au/~ausbinet/ Australian Bisexual Network] [http://www.torontobinet.org/ Toronto Bisexual Network] [http://bi.org/ Bisexual news, resources and mailing lists]
* [http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/SEXOR4.HTM "Bisexuality" at the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology]
* [http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/FAQ.html Frequently Asked Questions to The Kinsey Institute]
* [http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/ccies/index.php The Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality]
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