alan7388's picture

How Many Bis are Poly? How Many Polys are Bi?

My Hunt for Bi-Poly Statistics

By Alan M.

Compared to other alternative sexualities, polyamory is only starting to get much scientific and academic attention. (Polyamory means having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and free consent of everyone involved.)

Many polys are completely hetero. On the other hand, in the poly community you'll find more bisexuals, and more bi-friendliness, than anywhere else I know. This is despite the fact that in most poly partnership groups, only some of the interrelationships are sexual. The others can be anything from brotherly or sisterly life companionships, to housemate friendships, to cordial acquaintance between people who meet each other rarely if at all. Though often the links do involve full sexual triangles ("equilateral triads") and larger geometries.

You might imagine that in a three-in-a-bed situation, at least two people have to be bisexual. Not so. It's common for two men, or two women, to share cuddles and sex with a beloved third, and warmth and touch between themselves, without having an interest in each others' genitals. It can be quite a revelation that intimate loving companionship does not have to lead to orgasm or require a particular sexual orientation. (Hey, ask the early Christians.)

Nevertheless, bisexuality is abundant in the poly world and does help provide ties that bind.

How abundant? Guesses abound, but I've managed to round up some data.

lovemagician's picture

The Good Bi Girl

The Heart of Polyamory

By Millie Jackson

After 18 years as an out and proud lesbian, it surprised many members of my LGBT community when I started to identify as bisexual.  Given that this also coincided with my transition from living a monogamous lifestyle to pursuing polyamory (consensually concurrent, intimate relationships), I suddenly and unwittingly became perceived as a double threat within my community.  For years I had assumed I was among an accepting and inclusive population.  I was unprepared for and disillusioned by experiencing a backlash from other LGBT’s.

Being polyamorous defied the “we’re monogamous just like them” argument for same-sex marriage, and transitioning from lesbianism to bisexuality challenged the notion that “we can’t change our sexual orientation”.  I was a triple threat when you factored in bisexuals who were cringing at the possibility of me reinforcing stereotypes that bisexuals want to have sex with everyone and can’t really ever settle down.  It was as if they were all wishing they could quietly usher me back into the closet from which they had worked so hard to break free.

arvan's picture

WGLB-TV Presents: Women’s Health: LBTs Fighting Breast Cancer

For over a year, in the 1990s, I worked for a county HIV testing clinic. During that time, I gave HIV test results to frightened people who sat across from me waiting for news that might change the course of their lives; knowing that a positive result would bring more tests, toxic medications, changed relationships, and possibly death. With each test result, positive or negative, I tried to put myself in that person’s place and treat them how I would want to be treated—with kindness and compassion—if the situation were reversed. But I knew, no matter how much empathy I had, I would never really know what that person was going through. I would never know what it was like to sit on the opposite side of that table, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I would never know…until suddenly, in a different but all too similar way, I did know.

This year, an estimated 175,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 43,300 will die from it. In November 2008, I became part of these statistics. I was diagnosed with pre-menopausal, invasive ductal, triple-negative, grade 2/3, Stage IIa breast cancer.

The Ultimates's picture

Confession of a Situational Bisexual

In the swinger scene, bi is the new black.  Approximately 90 percent of women in the lifestyle refer to themselves as bisexual, bi-friendly or bi-curious. And I estimate that 10 percent of those bi-something women are actually lesbians who are married to men, but who swing with other couples in order to play with women. 

My bisexual standing is something of a mystery to me.  I don’t know how to label myself.  While I’ve had many bisexual experiences, I’ve only been turned on by a handful of woman (that very athletic basketball player in college, that beautiful, androgynous sex toy shop owner in Chicago and the amazing sexologist who reminds me of my favorite boss).  Since I’m a swinger, I need to define myself for other potential playmates so, as a willing -- but not bona fide -- bisexual, I label myself “bi-friendly” on my swinger profile. 

One of our early lifestyle experiences showed me just how limited labels can be. When we first joined the lifestyle, Kev and I discovered one of the “lesbian” swingers.  We were inexperienced and anxious to get our feet wet so, when John, the husband, contacted us, he very bluntly told us his wife was “more bi than straight.” In our eagerness, Kev and I heard “My wife is bi, so come on over and join us in the hot tub for sex.”

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