In our gender binary society, bisexuals or simply “bis” are given a bum rap. They are criticized for “sitting on the fence” and not choosing to either be a lesbian or a heterosexual. Lesbians don’t like them because they sleep with the enemy. Some see them as sexually greedy because they have sex with both men and women.
Truth is there are persons who identify as bisexual. Even sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in the 1940’s and 1950’s included them in his rating scale of 0 to 6, the highest number being homosexual. Before then, Sigmund Freud believed in a constitutional bisexuality.
More recently, however, a new study was done by The Centers for Disease Control which showed the changing way Americans viewed their sexual identities. The study used the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth and sought to provide estimates about sexual behavior, sexual attraction and sexual orientation in the United States. The CDC selected data from 9,175 adults, ages 18 and 44 years old, of various demographics who participated in computer-assisted interviews.
· Women aged 25-44 were more likely to say they were straight and less likely to say they were bisexual compared with women aged 18-24.
· Same pattern did not exist for men .
· Almost three times as many women (17.4%) reported any same-sex contact in their lifetime compared with men (6.2%) aged 18-44.
· 5.5% of women and 2% of men identified as bisexual between 2011 and 2013. This shows a marked increase over the 3.9% women and 1.2% of men indicated in the CDC’s 2006-2010. http://www.refinery29.com/2016/01/100729/bisexual-women-survey
Says Ritch Savin-Williams, a developmental psychology professor at Cornell University, and author about sexual orientation, “women now have greater permission to say they have some sexual attraction to other women.”
What this means for straight parents is there is such a sexual orientation as bisexuality and you shouldn’t challenge your child if your child tells you he/she is bisexual. While it is normal for even heterosexuals to sexually experiment with the same-sex, and your son or daughter may decide later that they are heterosexual or gay at different stages in their lives ( gender-fluid), don’t second-guess them.
It’s best to refrain from saying:
· “You just haven’t met the right boy yet!”
· “I wish you’d choose a guy!” Why would you want to be a lesbian?”
· “No more sleepovers for you!”
Stay tuned, informed, and most of all, love your child unconditionally, and take your cues from them!
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.