Proven Bi Science!

This originally appeared in BCN issue 100.

Not imaginary, not under your bed, but… Proven Bi Science!

 

Bisexual Index on rebutting bisexual research myths

Some people have asked us to provide figures for what they see as bold claims. We say bisexuals are not confused, they say “prove it”. We’re not going to, but we will explain why.

When someone says “bisexuals are indecisive” they’re stating what they see as a self-evident truth.  In their minds the word bisexual means “unable to decide if you are attracted to only men or only women”, and so their belief that “bisexuals are indecisive” follows on from that. It doesn’t occur to them that there’s no surveys, statistics or numbers to back up that definition; why would there need to be – to them it’d be like bothering to prove that cows have legs!
In fact, there are no figures to back up any of the myths we deal with on our website.  No-one has ever done a survey about infidelity and discovered that bisexual guys always leave gay men for women, or given bisexuals a choice of apples vs. oranges and measured how long they took to chose. But that doesn’t stop these myths being repeated and repeated.

At the end of the day, you can’t refute myths with maths, and nor should anyone need to – the burden of proof is on the person making the claim. The problem is that the myths about bisexuals are so very entrenched that people have engineered definitions of bisexuality to make them into self evident truths. They then think that “bisexuals aren’t inherently unfaithful” is the extraordinary claim.

But is someone who likes more than one genre of music confused? If someone told you that being attracted to people from a range of ethnic backgrounds made you more likely to be unfaithful, would you feel the need for stats to correct them? Or would you just tell them they were talking rubbish and move on? Bisexuals don’t need to prove they’re not greedy – people saying “all bisexuals are greedy” need to grow up and recognise they’re talking nonsense.
Rather than spending time trying to disprove myths, we believe the way forward is simply to label them as such. And as people get a better understanding of what bisexuality actually is – “attraction to more than one gender” – then those myths can be seen as clearly unfounded.

What Surveys Do Show About Bisexuals

Despite many people saying that there is no such thing as bisexuality, the one thing that surveys do show is that people disagree with that, and do actually list themselves as bisexual.

In The Observer’s poll in 2008 they discovered:
“While only six per cent of Britons define their sexual orientation as homosexual or bisexual, more than twice that number (13 per cent) of Britons have had some form of sexual contact with someone of the same sex.
Sixteen per cent of women have had sexual contact with another woman, while 10 per cent of men have had sexual contact with another man.).”

We think these numbers show that there are bisexuals out there.  But we also think the numbers are being kept low, because people have had the unwieldy and unwelcome old definitions of bisexuality pushed onto them – definitions fewer would chose to use about themselves.  For more on this see our article “Bi by Definition”.

We hope that as more people start to use a clearer and simpler definition of bisexuality, they’ll use it to define themselves as bisexual.

Bisexuals – Not Imaginary, Not Under Your Bed!

Originally written by Marcus Morgan for Bisexual Index’s website.  Find out more about their work at www.bisexualindex.org.uk