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Lauren Michelle Kinsey Headshot

My Bisexual FAQ

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There's no such thing as a stupid question. Questions are always an opportunity for learning and growth. So in that spirit, here is a list of my personal answers to the top eight burning questions people ask about my orientation:

1. Why do you tell people what your sexual orientation is? Why is it anyone's business? Are you trying to advertise sexual availability by talking about your orientation?

Heterosexual people don't need to tell people their orientation because everyone generally assumes people are straight. This is part of heterosexual privilege. When you go through life having your orientation identified correctly, it's a comfortable situation. Many are so comfortable that they can't imagine what it would be like to go through life being misidentified.

Homosexual people who want to be authentic in the world and seen for who they are have ways of being correctly identified that don't require using a label to describe their orientation. They can simply casually mention their partner, or their affiliation with an LGBT organization.

Bisexual people who want to be seen for who they are have to make efforts to self-identify. Otherwise people will assume that if they are in a relationship with a homosexual person, they are homosexual. Or if they are in a relationship with a heterosexual person, they are heterosexual. Many bisexuals may be comfortable with this. I however, am not.

I want to be out of the closet as a bisexual because visibility makes the world a better place for all bisexuals. I want to help decrease the ignorance and stereotypes about bisexuality though my visibility. I want to help educate the world about healthy sexuality by getting people to think differently and more accurately about how human sexuality manifests.

I also want to be out of the closet because I enjoy being seen and known for who I truly am. I believe that love and friendship only exist to the extent that human beings know each other. If you don't know someone, you only love a projection.

So no, I'm not trying to advertise sexual availability. I'm in a monogamous relationship by choice. I'm not seeking sexual attention or to manipulate people with my sexuality. I am trying to make the world a better place, and to be known for who I am.

2. Are you satisfied with being with a woman? If you're a bisexual, doesn't that mean you want to be with both men and women in order to be fulfilled?

Yes, I'm satisfied. I don't make choices about my sexual life through a desire to conform or to avoid superstition-based guilt and shame. If I wanted to be non-monogamous I would be.

Think of it this way: A person can have the potential to be attracted to people with red hair and people with blond hair. That doesn't mean that if they marry a redhead they have to have blond lovers on the side.

3. Is bisexuality a phase for you? Are you just uncomfortable with being seen as a lesbian so you're having trouble admitting that you're really a lesbian?

I've been a bisexual my entire life. I tried identifying as a lesbian for a while, but it just didn't feel like an authentic label. I went through a phase where I thought I was a heterosexual who just hadn't met the right man yet. That was not accurate either.

I'd be much more comfortable with the label "lesbian." Sometimes I wish I were one because it would make my life easier. Bisexual people are more stigmatized and marginalized than lesbians. The negative assumptions about the character of a bisexual person are hard to live with.

4. Does being a bisexual make you more likely to cheat? Does being bisexual mean you have a wider pool of potential partners to choose from and therefore more temptation to cheat or leave your partner?

What makes someone likely to cheat is low self control, low self-awareness, not valuing honesty in relationships, and other emotional development issues. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It has everything to do with emotional health.

Being bisexual doesn't necessarily mean I have a wider pool of people I'm attracted to than a lesbian would or a heterosexual woman would. For example, a lesbian who had a wide range of women she found attractive, or a strong sex drive, could easily be attracted to more people than I am. Or a heterosexual woman, whom many people found to be attractive, could have an enormous sea of people who could be potential partners. A lot of factors go into how many people a person is attracted to and is found attractive by. The old stereotype that being bisexual doubles your chances of a date on a Saturday night should be put to rest.

5. Are you more feminine than your partner because you're bisexual? Are you more feminine because you're trying to be attractive to men?

Just like sexual attraction occurs along a spectrum, so does gender expression. Some bisexual women are extremely masculine because that is an authentic expression of gender for them. I am feminine (at the level that I am) because that is an authentic expression of where I am on the gender spectrum.

I dress to please myself. What I choose to do with my clothes, hair and makeup is really no more complicated than how people choose to decorate their homes. People decorate themselves to their aesthetic satisfaction to the extent that they have the money and time to do so. Some people may hope to elicit a sexual response from others. All I hope for is to be treated with the same kindness and respect that I think should be afforded to all people.

6. Why don't you identify as pansexual or omnisexual or queer, etc.?

I'm not pansexual. I'm attracted to masculine women and masculine men. I've never been very attracted to a feminine woman or a feminine man. I'm not attracted to people all along the gender spectrum.

I'm not fluid. I feel like my orientation has pretty solid boundaries to it.

I'm not same-gender loving because, even though I'm attracted to some individuals who are the same sex as me, our genders aren't the same when it comes to how we express gender identity.

In short, I don't use a label other than bisexual because the other labels don't fit me.

7. Are you flirting with me? Are you hitting on me?

No. One of the curses of being bisexual, friendly, playful, affectionate, and gregarious is that people of both sexes assume you are hitting on them. If I say anything that sounds flirtatious to you, I'm either joking or you're just misunderstanding what I'm saying. I want good healthy friendships, in which we can cheer each other on and appreciate each other and be affectionate without any confusion or messy boundaries. I'm monogamous and there's only one person in my life I ever hit on.

8. Why have a label? Aren't labels harmful?

What you can name, you can talk about. What you can talk about, you can educate about. A word is a label. Words make language and communication possible. I hate the idea of a world without labels. It would be a mute world. However, labels should be self-chosen. Putting a label on someone that they haven't chosen for themselves isn't kind. Ask people how they like to be identified.

Also on The Huffington Post:

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