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Bisexuality is
romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, of that era ** Romanticism in science, of that er ...
attraction,
sexual attraction Sexual attraction is attraction Attraction may refer to: * Attractiveness ** Interpersonal attraction, the attraction between people which leads to friendships and platonic and romantic relationships ** Physical attractiveness, attraction on t ...
, or
sexual behavior Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their Human sexuality, sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts, ranging from activities done alone (e.g., ...
toward both males and females, or to more than one
sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual r ...
or
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...

gender
. It may also be defined as romantic or sexual attraction to people of any sex or
gender identity Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behavior ...
, which is also known as ''
pansexuality , meaning "all" , definition = Sexual or romantic attraction to people regardless of gender , classification = Sexual identity Sexual identity is how one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is romance (love), romantically ...
.'' The term ''bisexuality'' is mainly used in the context of human attraction to denote romantic or sexual feelings toward both men and women, and the concept is one of the three main classifications of
sexual orientation Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic ...
along with
heterosexuality Heterosexuality is romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, of that era ** ...
and
homosexuality Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romanti ...
, all of which exist on the
heterosexual–homosexual continuum Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction Sexual attraction is attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest. Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal is an individual's abilit ...
. A bisexual identity does not necessarily equate to equal sexual attraction to both sexes; commonly, people who have a distinct but not exclusive sexual preference for one sex over the other also identify themselves as bisexual. Scientists do not know the exact cause of sexual orientation, but they theorize that it is caused by a complex interplay of ,
hormonal A hormone (from the Ancient Greek, Greek participle , "setting in motion") is any member of a class of cell signaling, signaling molecules in multicellular organisms, that are transported to distant organs to regulate physiology and behavior. Hor ...
, and environmental influences, and do not view it as a choice. Although no single theory on the cause of sexual orientation has yet gained widespread support, scientists favor biologically based theories. There is considerably more evidence supporting nonsocial, biological causes of sexual orientation than social ones, especially for males. Bisexuality has been observed in various human societies and elsewhere in the animal kingdom throughout
recorded history Recorded history or written history is a historical narrative History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the History of writin ...
. The term ''bisexuality'', however, like the terms ''hetero-'' and ''homosexuality'', was coined in the 19th century.


Definitions


Sexual orientation, identity, and behavior

Bisexuality is romantic or sexual attraction to both males and females. The
American Psychological Association The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologist A psychologist is a professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a speci ...
states that "sexual orientation falls along a continuum. In other words, someone does not have to be exclusively homosexual or heterosexual, but can feel varying degrees of both. Sexual orientation develops across a person's lifetime–different people realize at different points in their lives that they are heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual." Sexual attraction, behavior, and identity may also be incongruent, as sexual attraction or behavior may not necessarily be consistent with identity. Some individuals identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual without having had any sexual experience. Others have had homosexual experiences but do not consider themselves to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Likewise, self-identified gay or lesbian individuals may occasionally sexually interact with members of the opposite sex but do not identify as bisexual. The terms ''
queer ''Queer'' is an for people who are not or are not . Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", ''queer'' came to be used ly against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer ac ...

queer
'', ''
polysexual Sexual identity is how one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is romantically ''Romantically'' is an album by American pop singer Johnny Mathis that was released on November 18, 1963, by Columbia Records and was also the final original ...
'', ''
heteroflexible Heteroflexibility is a form of a sexual orientation Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19 ...
'', ''homoflexible,'' ''
men who have sex with men Men who have sex with men (MSM), also known as males who have sex with males, are male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process o ...
'' and ''
women who have sex with women Women who have sex with women (WSW) are women A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the Sperm, mal ...
'' may also be used to describe sexual identity or identify sexual behavior. Some sources state that bisexuality encompasses romantic or sexual attraction to all
gender identities Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender.''Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression in Social Work Practice'', edited by Deana F. Morrow and Lori Messinger (2006, ), p. 8: "Gender identity refers to an individual's personal sense ...
or that it is romantic or sexual attraction to a person irrespective of that person's biological sex or gender, equating it to or rendering it interchangeable with
pansexuality , meaning "all" , definition = Sexual or romantic attraction to people regardless of gender , classification = Sexual identity Sexual identity is how one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is romance (love), romantically ...
. The concept of pansexuality deliberately rejects the
gender binary Gender binary (also known as gender binarism, binarism, or ambiguously genderism) is the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite forms of masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior ...
, the "notion of two genders and indeed of specific sexual orientations", as pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women. Sometimes the phrase " bisexual umbrella" is used to describe any nonmonosexual behaviors, attractions, and identities, usually for purposes of
collective action Collective action refers to action taken together by a group of people whose goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, Planning, plan and commit to achieve. People endeavour to reac ...
and challenging monosexist cultural assumptions. The bisexual activist
Robyn Ochs Robyn Ochs (born 1958) is an United States, American bisexual activist, professional speaker, and workshop leader. Her primary fields of interest are gender, sexuality, identity and coalition building. She is the editor of the ''Bisexual Resource G ...

Robyn Ochs
defines bisexuality as "the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree." According to Rosario, Schrimshaw, Hunter, Braun (2006): Bisexuality as a transitional identity has also been examined. In a
longitudinal study A longitudinal study (or longitudinal survey, or panel study) is a research design Research design refers to the overall strategy utilized to carry out research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase ...
about sexual identity development among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youths, Rosario et al. "found evidence of both considerable consistency and change in LGB sexual identity over time". Youths who had identified as both gay/lesbian and bisexual prior to baseline were approximately three times more likely to identify as gay/lesbian than as bisexual at subsequent assessments. Of youths who had identified only as bisexual at earlier assessments, 60 to 70 percent continued to thus identify, while approximately 30 to 40 percent assumed a gay/lesbian identity over time. Rosario et al. suggested that "although there were youths who consistently self-identified as bisexual throughout the study, for other youths, a bisexual identity served as a transitional identity to a subsequent gay/lesbian identity." By contrast, a longitudinal study by Lisa M. Diamond, which followed women identifying as lesbian, bisexual, or unlabeled, found that "more women adopted bisexual/unlabeled identities than relinquished these identities," over a ten-year period. The study also found that "bisexual/unlabeled women had stable overall distributions of same-sex/other-sex attractions." Diamond has also studied male bisexuality, noting that survey research found "almost as many men transitioned at some point from a gay identity to a bisexual, queer or unlabeled one, as did from a bisexual identity to a gay identity."


Kinsey scale

In the 1940s, the zoologist
Alfred Kinsey Alfred Charles Kinsey (; June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) was an American biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living orga ...
created a scale to measure the continuum of sexual orientation from heterosexuality 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. The Kinsey scale is used to describe a person's sexual experience or response at a given time. It ranges from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. People who rank anywhere from 2 to 4 are often considered bisexual; they are often not fully one extreme or the other. The sociologists Martin S. Weinberg and Colin J. Williams write that, in principle, people who rank anywhere from 1 to 5 could be considered bisexual. The psychologist Jim McKnight writes that while the idea that bisexuality is a form of sexual orientation intermediate between homosexuality and heterosexuality is implicit in the Kinsey scale, that conception has been "severely challenged" since the publication of '' Homosexualities'' (1978), by Weinberg and the psychologist Alan P. Bell.


Demographics and prevalence

Scientific estimates as to the prevalence of bisexuality have varied from 0.7% to 8%. ''The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior'', published in 1993, concluded that 5 percent of men and 3 percent of women considered themselves bisexual, while 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women considered themselves homosexual. A 2002 survey in the United States by
National Center for Health Statistics The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, which provides statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve the public health Public health has been defined ...
found 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". In 2007, an article in the 'Health' section of ''The New York Times'' stated that "1.5 percent of American women and 1.7 percent of American men identify themselves bisexual." Also in 2007, it was reported that 14.4 percent of young US women identified themselves as "not strictly heterosexual", with 5.6 percent of the men identifying as gay or bisexual. A study in the journal ''
Biological Psychology Behavioral neuroscience, also known as biological psychology, biopsychology, or psychobiology,
'' in 2011 reported that there were men who identify themselves as ''bisexuals'' and who were aroused by both men and women. In the first large-scale government survey measuring Americans' sexual orientation, the NHIS reported in July 2014 that only 0.7 percent of Americans identify as bisexual. A collection of recent Western surveys finds that about 10% of women and 4% of men identify as mostly heterosexual, 1% of women and 0.5% of men as bisexual, and 0.4% of women and 0.5% of men as mostly homosexual. Across cultures, there is some variance in the prevalence of bisexual behavior, but there is no persuasive evidence that there is much variance in the rate of same-sex attraction. The
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unit ...
estimates a worldwide prevalence of
men who have sex with men Men who have sex with men (MSM), also known as males who have sex with males, are male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process o ...
between 3 and 16%, many of whom have sex with women as well.


Studies, theories and social responses

There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual orientation. Although scientists favor biological models for the cause of sexual orientation, they do not believe that the development of sexual orientation is the result of any one factor. They generally believe that it is determined by a complex interplay of
biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowl ...
and
environmental factors An environmental factor, ecological factor or eco factor is any factor, abiotic or biotic, that influences living organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
, and is shaped at an early age. There is considerably more evidence supporting nonsocial, biological causes of sexual orientation than social ones, especially for males. There is no substantive evidence which suggests parenting or early childhood experiences play a role with regard to sexual orientation. Scientists do not believe that sexual orientation is a choice. The
American Psychiatric Association The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the largest Psychiatry, psychiatric organization in the world. Its some 38,800 members are main ...
stated: "To date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality. Similarly, no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse." Research into how sexual orientation may be determined by genetic or other prenatal factors plays a role in political and social debates about homosexuality, and also raises fears about genetic profiling and
prenatal testing Prenatal testing consists of prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis, which are aspects of prenatal care Prenatal care, also known as antenatal care, is a type of preventive healthcare. It is provided in the form of medical checkups, consisti ...
.
Magnus Hirschfeld Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935) was a German physician and sexologist Sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves Human sexual activity, sexually. ...

Magnus Hirschfeld
argued that adult sexual orientation can be explained in terms of the bisexual nature of the developing fetus: he believed that in every embryo there is one rudimentary neutral center for attraction to males and another for attraction to females. In most fetuses, the center for attraction to the opposite sex developed while the center for attraction to the same sex regressed, but in fetuses that became homosexual, the reverse occurred.
Simon LeVay Simon LeVay (born 28 August 1943 in Oxford, England) is a British-American neuroscientist. He received a bachelor's degree in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1966, a Ph.D. in Neuroanatomy at the University of Göttingen in ...
has criticized Hirschfeld's theory of an early bisexual stage of development, calling it confusing; LeVay maintains that Hirschfeld failed to distinguish between saying that the brain is sexually undifferentiated at an early stage of development and saying that an individual actually experiences sexual attraction to both men and women. According to LeVay, Hirschfeld believed that in most bisexual people the strength of attraction to the same sex was relatively low, and that it was therefore possible to restrain its development in young people, something Hirschfeld supported. Hirschfeld created a ten-point scale to measure the strength of sexual desire, with the direction of desire being represented by the letters A (for heterosexuality), B (for homosexuality), and A + B (for bisexuality). On this scale, someone who was A3, B9 would be weakly attracted to the opposite sex and very strongly attracted to the same sex, an A0, B0 would be asexual, and an A10, B10 would be very attracted to both sexes. LeVay compares Hirschfeld's scale to that developed by Kinsey decades later.
Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of medicine M ...

Sigmund Freud
, the founder of
psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis (from Greek language, Greek: + ) is a set of Theory, theories and Therapy, therapeutic techniques"What is psychoanalysis? Of course, one is supposed to answer that it is many things — a theory, a research method, a therapy, a bo ...

psychoanalysis
, believed that every human being is bisexual in the sense of incorporating general attributes of both sexes. In his view, this was true anatomically and therefore also psychologically, with sexual attraction to both sexes being an aspect of this psychological bisexuality. Freud believed that in the course of sexual development the masculine side of this bisexual disposition would normally become dominant in men and the feminine side in women, but that all adults still have desires derived from both the masculine and the feminine sides of their natures. Freud did not claim that everyone is bisexual in the sense of feeling the same level of sexual attraction to both genders. Freud's belief in innate bisexuality was rejected by Sándor Radó in 1940 and, following Radó, by many later psychoanalysts. Radó argued that there is no biological bisexuality in humans. The psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler argued in '' Homosexuality: Disease or Way of Life?'' (1956) that bisexuality does not exist and that all supposed bisexuals are homosexuals. Alan P. Bell, Martin S. Weinberg, and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith reported in ''
Sexual Preference Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic ...
'' (1981) that sexual preference was much less strongly connected with pre-adult sexual feelings among bisexuals than it was among heterosexuals and homosexuals. Based on this and other findings, they suggested that bisexuality is more influenced by social and sexual learning than is exclusive homosexuality. Letitia Anne Peplau et al. wrote that while Bell et al.'s view that biological factors may be more influential on homosexuality than on bisexuality might seem plausible, it has not been directly tested and appears to conflict with available evidence, such as that concerning prenatal hormone exposure. Human bisexuality has mainly been studied alongside homosexuality. Van Wyk and Geist 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 point 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. In the current debate around influences on sexual orientation, biological explanations have been questioned 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, with men 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. The critic
Camille Paglia Camille Anna Paglia (; born April 2, 1947) is an American feminist academic and social critic. Paglia has been a professor at the University of the Arts (Philadelphia), University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1984. She is crit ...

Camille Paglia
has promoted bisexuality as an ideal. Harvard Shakespeare professor Marjorie Garber made an academic case for bisexuality with her 1995 book ''Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life,'' in which she argued that most people would be bisexual if not for repression and other factors such as lack of sexual opportunity.


Brain structure and chromosomes

LeVay'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 3 INAH-3 is the short form for the third wiktionary:interstitial, interstitial nucleus (neuroanatomy), nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus, and is the sexually dimorphic nucleus of humans. The INAH-3 is significantly larger in males than in female ...
nucleus of the anterior
hypothalamus The hypothalamus (from Ancient Greek wikt:ὑπό, ὑπό, "under", and wikt:θάλαμος, θάλαμος, "chamber") is a portion of the brain that contains a number of small Nucleus (neuroanatomy), nuclei with a variety of functions. One of ...

hypothalamus
of homosexual men was smaller than that of heterosexual men and closer in 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. Some evidence supports the concept of biological precursors of bisexual orientation in genetic males. According to Money (1988), genetic males with an extra
Y chromosome The Y chromosome is one of two sex chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genome, genetic material of an organism. Most eukaryotic chromosomes include packaging proteins called histones which, aided by Chaper ...
are more likely to be bisexual,
paraphilic Paraphilia (previously known as sexual perversion and sexual deviation) is the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations, fantasies, behaviors, or individuals. There is no scientific consensus for any precise border bet ...
and impulsive.


Evolutionary theory

Some 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. Brendan Zietsch of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research proposes the alternative theory that men exhibiting female traits become more attractive to females and are thus more likely to mate, provided the genes involved do not drive them to complete rejection of heterosexuality. Also, in a 2008 study, its authors stated that "There is considerable evidence that human sexual orientation is genetically influenced, so it is not known how homosexuality, which tends to lower reproductive success, is maintained in the population at a relatively high frequency." They hypothesized that "while genes predisposing to homosexuality reduce homosexuals' reproductive success, they may confer some advantage in heterosexuals who carry them" and their results suggested that "genes predisposing to homosexuality may confer a mating advantage in heterosexuals, which could help explain the evolution and maintenance of homosexuality in the population." In ''
Scientific American Mind ''Scientific American Mind'' was a bimonthly American popular science magazine A magazine is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may re ...
'', the scientist Emily V. Driscoll stated that homosexual and bisexual behavior is quite common in several species and that it fosters bonding: "The more homosexuality, the more peaceful the species". The article also stated: "Unlike most humans, however, individual animals generally cannot be classified as gay or straight: an animal that engages in a same-sex flirtation or partnership does not necessarily shun heterosexual encounters. Rather, many species seem to have ingrained homosexual tendencies that are a regular part of their society. That is, there are probably no strictly gay critters, just bisexual ones. Animals don't do sexual identity. They just do sex."


Masculinization

Masculinization Virilization or masculinization is the biological development of adult male characteristics in young males or females. Most of the changes of virilization are produced by androgens. Virilization is most commonly used in three medical and Sex diff ...
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 homosexual women. Bisexuals were found to have fewer personal insecurities than heterosexuals and homosexuals. This finding defined bisexuals as self-assured and less likely to suffer from mental instabilities. The confidence of a secure identity consistently translated to more masculinity than other subjects. This study did not explore societal norms, prejudices, or the feminization of homosexual males. In a research comparison, published in the ''Journal of the Association for Research in
Otolaryngology Otorhinolaryngology ( , abbreviated ORL and also known as otolaryngology, otolaryngology–head and neck surgery (ORL–H&N or OHNS), or ear, nose, and throat (ENT), is a surgical subspecialty within medicine that deals with the surgical an ...
'', women usually have a better hearing sensitivity than males, assumed by researchers as a genetic disposition connected to child bearing. Homosexual and bisexual women have been found to have a hypersensitivity to sound in comparison to heterosexual women, suggesting a genetic disposition to not tolerate high pitched tones. While heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual men have been found to exhibit similar patterns of hearing, there was a notable differential in a sub-group of males identified as hyperfeminized homosexual males who exhibited test results similar to heterosexual women.


Prenatal hormones

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 or bisexuality. Studies providing evidence for the masculinization of the brain have, however, not been conducted to date. Research on special conditions such as
congenital adrenal hyperplasia Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of Genetic disorder#Autosomal recessive, autosomal recessive disorders characterized by impaired cortisol synthesis. It results from the deficiency of one of the five enzymes required for the Biosynthe ...

congenital adrenal hyperplasia
(CAH) and exposure to
diethylstilbestrol Diethylstilbestrol (DES), also known as stilbestrol or stilboestrol, is a nonsteroidal estrogen medication, which is presently rarely used. In the past, it was widely used for a variety of indications, including pregnancy support for women with a ...

diethylstilbestrol
(DES) indicate that prenatal exposure to, respectively, excess
testosterone Testosterone is the primary sex hormone and anabolic steroid in males. In humans, testosterone plays a key role in the development of Male reproductive system, male reproductive tissues such as testes and prostate, as well as promoting secondar ...
and
estrogen Estrogens or oestrogens, are a class of natural or synthetic sex hormone Sex hormones, also known as sex steroids, gonadocorticoids and gonadal steroids, are steroid hormone A steroid hormone is a steroid that acts as a hormone. Steroid ho ...

estrogen
s are associated with female–female sex fantasies in adults. Both effects are associated with bisexuality rather than homosexuality. There is research evidence that the digit
ratio In mathematics, a ratio indicates how many times one number contains another. For example, if there are eight oranges and six lemons in a bowl of fruit, then the ratio of oranges to lemons is eight to six (that is, 8∶6, which is equivalent to ...

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 estrogen. 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 estrogen concentrations is one cause of homosexuality whereas exposure to very high testosterone levels may be associated with bisexuality. Because testosterone in general is important for sexual differentiation, this view offers an alternative to the suggestion that male homosexuality is genetic. The prenatal hormonal 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 unbound 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 could be over-masculinized.


Sex drive

Van Wyk and Geist summarized several studies comparing bisexuals with hetero- or homosexuals that have indicated that bisexuals have higher rates of sexual activity, fantasy, or erotic interest. These studies found that male and female bisexuals had more heterosexual fantasy than heterosexuals or homosexuals; that bisexual men had more sexual activities with women than did heterosexual men, and that they masturbated more but had fewer happy marriages than heterosexuals; that bisexual women had more orgasms per week and they described them as stronger than those of hetero- or homosexual women; and that bisexual women became heterosexually active earlier, masturbated and enjoyed masturbation more, and were more experienced in different types of heterosexual contact. 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. Similarly for most bisexual women, high sex drive is associated with increased sexual attraction to both women and men; while for bisexual men, high sex drive is associated with increased attraction to one sex, and weakened attraction to the other.


Community


General social impacts

The bisexual community (also known as the bisexual/pansexual, bi/pan/fluid, or non-monosexual community) includes members of the
LGBT community The LGBT community (also known as the LGBTQ+ community, GLBT community, or the gay community) is a loosely defined grouping of lesbian A lesbian is a Homosexuality, homosexual woman.Zimmerman, p. 453. The word ''lesbian'' is also used ...
who identify as bisexual, pansexual or fluid. Because some bisexual people do not feel that they fit into either the gay 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. Some who identify as bisexual may merge themselves into either homosexual or heterosexual society. 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 tend to internalize social tensions related to their choice of partners and feel pressured to label themselves as homosexuals instead of occupying the difficult middle ground where attraction to people of both sexes would defy society's value on monogamy. These social tensions and pressure may affect bisexuals' mental health, and specific therapy methods have been developed for bisexuals to address this concern. Bisexual behaviors are also associated in popular culture with men who engage in same-sex activity while otherwise presenting as heterosexual. The majority of such men — said to be ''living on the down-low'' — do not self-identify as bisexual. However, this may be a cultural misperception closely related to that of other LGBT individuals who hide their actual orientation due to societal pressures, a phenomenon colloquially called ''"being
closeted ''Closeted'' and ''in the closet'' are metaphors for lesbian A lesbian is a homosexual Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the sa ...
"''. In the U.S., a 2013
Pew survey The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan Nonpartisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward, a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's ...
showed that 28% of bisexuals said that "all or most of the important people in their life are aware that they are LGBT" vs. 77% of gay men and 71% of lesbians. Furthermore, when broken down by gender, only 12% of bisexual men said that they were "out" vs. 33% of bisexual women.


Perceptions and discrimination

Like people of other LGBT sexualities, bisexuals often face discrimination. In addition to the discrimination associated with
homophobia Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the same sex or ...

homophobia
, bisexuals frequently contend with discrimination from gay men, lesbians, and straight society around the word ''bisexual'' and bisexual identity itself. The belief that everyone is bisexual (especially women as opposed to men), or that bisexuality does not exist as a unique identity, is common. This stems from two views: In the heterosexist view, people are presumed to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex, and it is sometimes reasoned that a bisexual person is simply a heterosexual person who is sexually experimenting. In the monosexist view, it is believed that people cannot be bisexual unless they are equally sexually attracted to both sexes, regulating sexual orientation to being about the sex or gender one prefers. In this view, people are either exclusively homosexual (gay/lesbian) or exclusively heterosexual (straight),
closeted ''Closeted'' and ''in the closet'' are metaphors for lesbian A lesbian is a homosexual Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the sa ...
homosexual people who wish to appear heterosexual, or heterosexuals who are experimenting with their sexuality. Assertions that one cannot be bisexual unless equally sexually attracted to both sexes, however, are disputed by various researchers, who have reported bisexuality to fall on a continuum, like sexuality in general. Male bisexuality is particularly presumed to be non-existent, with
sexual fluidity Sexual fluidity is one or more changes in sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves Human sexual activity, sexually. This involves biological, erotic, Physical intimacy, physical, Emotional intimacy, emotiona ...
studies adding to the debate. In 2005, researchers Gerulf Rieger, Meredith L. Chivers, and used
penile plethysmography Penile plethysmography (PPG) or phallometry is measurement of bloodflow to the human penis, penis, typically used as a proxy for measurement of sexual arousal. The most commonly reported methods of conducting penile plethysmography involve the mea ...
to measure the arousal of self-identified bisexual men to
pornography Pornography (often shortened to porn) is the portrayal of Human sexual activity, sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal.
involving only men and pornography involving only women. Participants were recruited via advertisements in gay-oriented magazines and an alternative paper. They found that the self-identified bisexual men in their sample had genital arousal patterns similar to either homosexual or heterosexual men. The authors concluded that "in terms of behavior and identity, bisexual men clearly exist", but that male bisexuality had not been shown to exist with respect to arousal or attraction. The assertion of Bailey that "for men arousal is orientation" was criticized by
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting Fairness or being fair can refer to: * Justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fiel ...
(FAIR) as a simplification which neglects to account for behavior and self-identification. Further, some researchers hold 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. The
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force The National LGBTQ Task Force is an United States, American social justice advocacy Non-profit organization, non-profit Community organizing, organizing the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community ...
called the study and ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' coverage of it flawed and biphobic. The
American Institute of Bisexuality The American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB) is a charity founded on July 23, 1998, by sex researcher, psychiatrist A psychiatrist is a physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations ...
stated that Bailey's study was misinterpreted and misreported by both ''The New York Times'' and its critics. In 2011, Bailey and other researchers reported that among men with a history of several romantic and sexual relationships with members of both sexes, high levels of sexual arousal were found in response to both male and female sexual imagery. The subjects were recruited from a
Craigslist Craigslist (stylized as craigslist) is an American classified advertisement Classified advertising is a form of advertising, particularly common in newspapers, online and other periodicals, which may be sold or distributed free of charge. Cla ...

Craigslist
group for men seeking intimacy with both members of a heterosexual couple. The authors said that this change in recruitment strategy was an important difference, but it may not have been a representative sample of bisexual-identified men. They concluded that "bisexual-identified men with bisexual arousal patterns do indeed exist", but could not establish whether such a pattern is typical of bisexual-identified men in general.
Bisexual erasure Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, the news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include th ...
(or bisexual invisibility) is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
,
academia An academy (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociol ...

academia
,
news media The news media or news industry are forms of mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advert ...
and other
primary source In the study of history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populatio ...

primary source
s. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure includes denying that bisexuality exists. It is often a manifestation of biphobia, although it does not necessarily involve overt antagonism. There is increasing inclusion and visibility of bisexuals, particularly in the LGBT community. American psychologist Beth Firestone writes that since she wrote her first book on bisexuality, in 1996, "bisexuality has gained visibility, although progress is uneven and awareness of bisexuality is still minimal or absent in many of the more remote regions of our country and internationally."


Symbols

A common symbol of the
bisexual community The bisexual community (also known as the bi+, bisexual/pansexual, or bi/pan/fluid community) includes members of the LGBT community The LGBT community (also known as the LGBTQ+ community, GLBT community, or the gay community) is a loosely defi ...
is the , which has a deep pink stripe at the top for homosexuality, a blue one on the bottom for heterosexuality, and a purple one – blending the pink and blue – in the middle to represent bisexuality. Another symbol with a similarly symbolic color scheme is a pair of overlapping pink and blue triangles, forming purple or lavender where they intersect. This design is an expansion on the
pink triangle A pink triangle has been a symbol for various LGBT, LGBTQ identities, initially intended as a badge of shame, but later Reappropriation, reclaimed as a positive symbol of self-identity. In Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, it began as one of t ...

pink triangle
, a well-known symbol for the homosexual community. Some bisexual individuals object to the use of a pink triangle, as it was the symbol that
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
's regime use to tag and persecute homosexuals. In response, a double crescent moon symbol was devised specifically to avoid the use of triangles. This symbol is common in Germany and surrounding countries.


In BDSM

In Steve Lenius' original 2001 paper, he explored the acceptance of bisexuality in a supposedly pansexual
BDSM BDSM is a variety of often erotic Eroticism () is a quality that causes sexual feelings, as well as a philosophical contemplation concerning the aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nat ...

BDSM
community. The reasoning behind this is that "coming-out" had become primarily the territory of the gay and lesbian, with bisexuals feeling the push to be one or the other (and being right only half the time either way). What he found in 2001, was that people in BDSM were open to discussion about the topic of bisexuality and pansexuality and all controversies they bring to the table, but personal biases and issues stood in the way of actively using such labels. A decade later, Lenius (2011) looked back on his study and considered if anything has changed. He concluded that the standing of bisexuals in the BDSM and kink community was unchanged, and believed that positive shifts in attitude were moderated by society's changing views towards different sexualities and orientations. But Lenius (2011) does emphasize that the pansexual promoting BDSM community helped advance greater acceptance of alternative sexualities. Brandy Lin Simula (2012), on the other hand, argues that BDSM actively resists gender conforming and identified three different types of BDSM bisexuality: gender-switching, gender-based styles (taking on a different gendered style depending on gender of partner when playing), and rejection of gender (resisting the idea that gender matters in their play partners). Simula (2012) explains that practitioners of BDSM routinely challenge our concepts of sexuality by pushing the limits on pre-existing ideas of sexual orientation and gender norms. For some, BDSM and kink provides a platform in creating identities that are fluid, ever-changing.


In feminism

Feminist positions on bisexuality range greatly, from acceptance of bisexuality as a feminist issue to rejection of bisexuality as reactionary and anti-feminist
backlash Backlash may refer to: * Backlash (engineering), clearance between mating components * Backlash (sociology), a strong adverse reaction to an idea, action, or object * Backlash (pressure group), a UK group opposing the 2008 law criminalising possess ...
to
lesbian feminism Lesbian feminism is a cultural movement and Critique, critical perspective that encourages women to focus their efforts, attentions, relationships, and activities towards their fellow women rather than men, and often advocates lesbianism as t ...
. A number of women who were at one time involved in lesbian-feminist activism have since come out as bisexual after realizing their attractions to men. A widely studied example of lesbian-bisexual conflict in feminism was the
Northampton Northampton is a market town A market town is a European that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the , a market right, which allowed it to host a regular ; this distinguished it from a or . In Britain, small rural towns with a ...
Pride March during the years between 1989 and 1993, where many feminists involved debated over whether bisexuals should be included and whether or not bisexuality was compatible with feminism. Common lesbian-feminist critiques leveled at bisexuality were that bisexuality was anti-feminist, that bisexuality was a form of
false consciousness False consciousness is a term used by some to describe ways in which material, ideological An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world ...
, and that bisexual women who pursue relationships with men were "deluded and desperate." Tensions between bisexual feminists and lesbian feminists have eased since the 1990s, as bisexual women have become more accepted in the feminist community, but some lesbian feminists such as
Julie Bindel Julie Bindel (born 20 July 1962) is an English radical feminist Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a Political radicalism, radical reordering of society in which androcentrism, male supremacy is eliminated in a ...
are still critical of bisexuality. Bindel has described female bisexuality as a "fashionable trend" being promoted due to "sexual hedonism" and broached the question of whether bisexuality even exists. She has also made
tongue-in-cheek The idiom An idiom is a phrase In syntax and grammar, a phrase is a group of words which act together as a grammatical unit. For instance, the English language, English expression "the very happy squirrel" is a noun phrase which contains the ad ...
comparisons of bisexuals to cat fanciers and .
Sheila Jeffreys Sheila Jeffreys (born 13 May 1948) is a former professor of political science at the University of Melbourne. An English expatriate and lesbian feminism, lesbian feminist scholar, she analyses the history and politics of human sexuality. Jeffre ...
writes in ''The Lesbian Heresy'' that while many feminists are comfortable working alongside gay men, they are uncomfortable interacting with bisexual men. Jeffreys states that while gay men are unlikely to sexually harass women, bisexual men are just as likely to be bothersome to women as heterosexual men.
Donna Haraway Donna J. Haraway (born September 6, 1944) is an American Professor Emeritus, Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and Feminist studies, Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, United States. She is ...
was the inspiration and genesis for
cyberfeminism Cyberfeminism is a feminist Feminism is a range of social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the ...

cyberfeminism
with her 1985 essay "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" which was reprinted in ''Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature'' (1991). Haraway's essay states that the cyborg "has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labor, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all powers of the parts into a higher unity." A bisexual woman filed a lawsuit against the magazine '' Common Lives/Lesbian Lives'', alleging discrimination against bisexuals when her submission was not published.


History

Ancient Greeks and Romans did not associate sexual relations with well-defined labels, as modern Western society does. Men who had male lovers were not identified as homosexual, and may have had wives or other female lovers.
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
religious texts, reflecting cultural practices, incorporated bisexual themes. The subtexts varied, from the mystical to the didactic.
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
ns thought that love and erotic relationships between experienced and novice soldiers would solidify combat loyalty and
unit cohesion Unit cohesion is a military concept, defined by one former United States Chief of staff in the early 1980s as "the bonding together of soldiers in such a way as to sustain their will and commitment to each other, the unit, and mission accomplishmen ...
, 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. For example,
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athe ...

Aristophanes
calls them ''euryprôktoi'', meaning "wide arses", and depicts them like women. Similarly, in
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
, gender did not determine whether a sexual partner was acceptable, as long as a man's enjoyment did not encroach on another's man integrity. It was socially acceptable for a freeborn Roman man to want sex with both female and male partners, as long as he took the penetrative role. The morality of the behavior depended on the social standing of the partner, not gender ''per se''. Both women and young men were considered normal objects of desire, but outside marriage a man was supposed to act on his desires only with slaves, prostitutes (who were often slaves), and the '' infames''. It was immoral to have sex with another freeborn man's wife, his marriageable daughter, his underage son, or with the man himself; sexual use of another man's slave was subject to the owner's permission. Lack of self-control, including in managing one's
sex life In human sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves Human sexual activity, sexually. This involves biological, erotic, Physical intimacy, physical, Emotional intimacy, emotional, social, or Spirituality, spiri ...
, indicated that a man was incapable of governing others; too much indulgence in "low sensual pleasure" threatened to erode the elite male's identity as a cultured person.
Alfred Kinsey Alfred Charles Kinsey (; June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) was an American biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living orga ...
conducted the first large surveys of homosexual behavior in the United States during the 1940s. The results shocked the readers of his day because they made same-sex behavior and attractions seem so common. His 1948 work ''
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male Image:Kinsey-Male.jpg, The 1948 first edition of ''Sexual Behavior in the Human Male'', the first of the two Kinsey Reports The Kinsey Reports are two scholarly books on human sexual behavior, ''Sexual Behavior in the Human Male'' (1948) and ''Sexua ...
'' stated that among men "nearly half (46%) of the population engages in both heterosexual and homosexual activities, or reacts to persons of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives" and that "37% of the total male population has at least some overt homosexual experience to the point of orgasm since the onset of adolescence." Kinsey himself disliked the use of the term ''bisexual'' to describe individuals who engage in sexual activity with both males and females, preferring to use ''bisexual'' in its original, biological sense as
hermaphroditic In reproductive biology, a hermaphrodite () is an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, properties of life ...
, stating, "Until it is demonstrated
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

hat
taste in a sexual relation is dependent upon the individual containing within his anatomy both male and female structures, or male and female physiological capacities, it is unfortunate to call such individuals bisexual." Although more recent researchers believe that Kinsey overestimated the rate of same-sex attraction, his work is considered pioneering and some of the most well known sex research of all time.


Media

Bisexuality tends to be associated with negative media portrayals; references are sometimes made to stereotypes or mental disorders. In an article regarding the 2005 film ''Brokeback Mountain'', sex educator Amy Andre argued that in films, bisexuals are often depicted negatively: 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 black bisexual man is often described as a ''duplicitous heterosexual'' man spreading the HIV/AIDS virus. Alternatively, the white bisexual man is often described in pitying language as a ''
victimized Victimisation ( or victimization) is the process of being victimised or becoming a victim Victim may refer to: Films and television * ''The Victim'' (1916 film), an American silent film by the Fox Film Corporation starring vamp Valeska Suratt * ...
homosexual'' man forced into the closet by the heterosexist society around him.


Film

In 1914 the first documented appearance of bisexual characters (female and male) in an American motion picture occurred in ''
A Florida Enchantment ''A Florida Enchantment'' (1914) is a silent film A silent film is a film with no synchronized Sound recording and reproduction, recorded sound (and in particular, no audible dialogue). In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed ...

A Florida Enchantment
'', by
Sidney Drew Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Drew were an American comedy team on stage and screen. The team initially consisted of Sidney Drew (August 28, 1863 – April 9, 1919) and his first wife Gladys Rankin (October 8, 1870 – January 9, 1914). After Gladys died in 19 ...
. However, under the censorship required by the
Hays Code The Motion Picture Production Code was a set of industry guidelines for the self-censorship Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own discourse Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation Conve ...
, the word ''bisexual'' could not be mentioned, and almost no bisexual characters appeared in American film from 1934 until 1968. Notable and varying portrayals of bisexuality can be found in mainstream movies such as ''
Black Swan The black swan (''Cygnus atratus'') is a large waterbird A water bird, alternatively waterbird or aquatic bird, is a bird that lives on or around water. In some definitions, the term ''water bird'' is especially applied to birds in freshwater ...
'' (2010), ''
Frida ''Frida'' is a 2002 American biographical A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experien ...

Frida
'' (2002), ''
Showgirls ''Showgirls'' is a 1995 Erotic film, erotic Drama (film and television), drama film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. Starring Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon, it centers on a "street-smart" drifter wh ...

Showgirls
'' (1995), ''
The Pillow Book is a book of observations and musings recorded by Sei Shōnagon was a Japanese author, poet, and a court lady who served the Empress Teishi (Sadako) around the year 1000 during the middle Heian period The is the last division of classic ...
'' (1996), ''
Alexander Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great, the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Etymology T ...
'' (2004), ''
The Rocky Horror Picture Show ''The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' is a 1975 musical Musical is the adjective of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General ...
'' (1975), ''
Henry & June ''Henry & June'' is a 1990 American Biographical film, biographical drama (film and television), drama film directed by Philip Kaufman, and starring Fred Ward, Uma Thurman, and Maria de Medeiros. It is loosely based on the posthumously published ...
'' (1990), ''
Chasing Amy ''Chasing Amy'' is a 1997 American romantic comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cinema and in par ...
'' (1997), ''
Velvet Goldmine ''Velvet Goldmine'' is a 1998 Musical film, musical Drama (film and television), drama film written and directed by Todd Haynes from a story by Haynes and James Lyons. It is set in Britain during the glam rock days of the early 1970s; it tells ...
'' (1998), ''
Kissing Jessica Stein ''Kissing Jessica Stein'' is a 2001 American independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, are ...
'' (2001), '' The Fourth Man'' (1993), ''
Basic Instinct ''Basic Instinct'' is a 1992 neo-noir erotic thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. The film follows San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas), who is investigat ...
'' (1992), ''
Mulholland Drive Mulholland Drive is a street and road in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. It is named after pioneering Los Angeles civil engineer William Mulholland. The western rural portion in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties is nam ...
'' (2001), ''
Sunday Bloody Sunday "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is a song by Irish rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Che ...
'' (1971), '' Something for Everyone'' (1970), ''
The Rules of Attraction ''The Rules of Attraction'' is a satirical black comedy Black comedy, also known as black humor, dark humor, dark comedy, morbid humor, or gallows humor, is a style of comedy that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered ta ...
'' (2002), ''
Brokeback Mountain ''Brokeback Mountain'' is a 2005 American Romance film, romantic Drama (film and television), drama film directed by Ang Lee and produced by Diana Ossana and James Schamus. Adapted from the 1997 short story of the Brokeback Mountain (short sto ...
'' (2005), and '' Call Me by Your Name'' (2017).


Literature

Virginia Woolf Adeline Virginia Woolf (; ; 25 January 1882 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist Modernism is both a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a ...

Virginia Woolf
's '' Orlando: A Biography'' (1928) is an early example of bisexuality in literature. The story, of a man who changes into a woman without a second thought, was based on the life of Woolf's lover
Vita Sackville-West Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, CH (9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962), usually known as Vita Sackville-West, was an English author and garden designerA garden designer is someone who designs the plan and features of gardens, eit ...
. Woolf used the gender switch to avoid the book being banned for homosexual content. The pronouns switch from male to female as Orlando's gender changes. Woolf's lack of definite pronouns allows for ambiguity and lack of emphasis on gender labels.Livia, Anna (2000). ''Pronoun Envy: Literary Uses of Linguistic Gender.'' Oxford University Press, Her 1925 book ''
Mrs Dalloway ''Mrs Dalloway'' (published on 14 May 1925) is a novel by Virginia Woolf Adeline Virginia Woolf (; ; 25 January 1882 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist Modernism is both a philosop ...
'' focused on a bisexual man and a bisexual woman in sexually unfulfilled heterosexual marriages in later life. Following Sackille-West's death, her son
Nigel Nicolson Nigel Nicolson (19 January 1917 – 23 September 2004) was an English writer, publisher and politician. Biography Nicolson was the second son of writers Sir Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West; he had an elder brother Benedict Nicolson, B ...
published ''
Portrait of a Marriage ''Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson'' is the 1973 biography of writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West compiled by her son Nigel Nicolson from her journals and letters. Synopsis The book relates to Sackville-West's ...
'', one of her diaries recounting her affair with a woman during her marriage to
Harold Nicolson Sir Harold George Nicolson (21 November 1886 – 1 May 1968) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependenci ...

Harold Nicolson
. Other early examples include works of D.H. Lawrence, such as ''
Women in Love ''Women in Love'' (1920) is a novel by English author D. H. Lawrence. It is a sequel to his earlier novel ''The Rainbow'' (1915), and follows the continuing loves and lives of the Brangwen sisters, Gudrun and Ursula. Gudrun Brangwen, an artist, ...

Women in Love
'' (1920), and
Colette Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (; 28 January 1873 – 3 August 1954), known Mononymous person, mononymously as Colette, was a French author and woman of letters. She was also known as a Mime artist, mime, actress, and journalist. Colette is best rem ...

Colette
's '' Claudine'' (1900–1903) series. The main character in
Patrick White Patrick Victor Martindale White (28 May 1912 – 30 September 1990) was an Australian writer who published 12 novels, three short-story collections, and eight plays, from 1935 to 1987. White's fiction employs humour, florid prose, shifting n ...

Patrick White
's novel, '' The Twyborn Affair'' (1979), is bisexual. Contemporary novelist Bret Easton Ellis' novels, such as ''Less Than Zero (novel), Less Than Zero'' (1985) and ''The Rules of Attraction'' (1987) frequently feature bisexual male characters; this "casual approach" to bisexual characters recurs throughout Ellis' work.


Music

Rock musician David Bowie famously declared himself bisexual in an interview with ''Melody Maker'' in January 1972, a move coinciding with the first shots in his campaign for stardom as The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Ziggy Stardust. In a September 1976 interview with ''Playboy'', Bowie said, "It's true—I am a bisexual. But I can't deny that I've used that fact very well. I suppose it's the best thing that ever happened to me." In a 1983 interview, he said it was "the biggest mistake I ever made", elaborating in 2002 he explained "I don't think it was a mistake in Europe, but it was a lot tougher in America. I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners or be a representative of any group of people. I knew what I wanted to be, which was a songwriter and a performer [...] America is a very puritanical place, and I think it stood in the way of so much I wanted to do." Queen singer Freddie Mercury was also open about his bisexuality, though he did not publicly discuss his relationships. In 1995, Jill Sobule sang about bi-curious, bi-curiosity in her song "I Kissed a Girl", with a video that alternated images of Sobule and a boyfriend along with images of her with a girlfriend. Another I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry song), song with the same name by Katy Perry also hints at the same theme. Some activists suggest the song merely reinforces the stereotype of bisexuals experimenting and of bisexuality not being a real sexual preference. Lady Gaga has also stated that she is bisexual, and has acknowledged that her song "Poker Face (Lady Gaga song), Poker Face" is about fantasizing about a woman while being with a man. Brian Molko, lead singer of Placebo (band), Placebo, is openly bisexual. Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has also identified himself as bisexual, saying in a 1995 interview with ''The Advocate (LGBT magazine), The Advocate'', "I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of 'Oh, I can't.' They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing." In 2014 Armstrong discussed songs such as "Coming Clean" stating, "It was a song about questioning myself. There are these other feelings you may have about the same sex, the opposite sex, especially being in Berkeley and San Francisco then. People are acting out what they're feeling: gay, bisexual, transgender, whatever. And that opens up something in society that becomes more acceptable. Now we have gay marriage becoming recognized... I think it's a process of discovery. I was willing to try anything."


Television

In the Netflix original series ''Orange is the New Black'' the main character, Piper Chapman, played by actress Taylor Schilling, is a bisexual female inmate who is shown having relationships with both men and women. In season one, before entering the prison, Piper is engaged to male fiancé Larry Bloom, played by actor Jason Biggs. Then, upon entering the prison, she reconnects with former lover (and fellow inmate), Alex Vause, played by Laura Prepon.Zeilinger, Julie
"5 Myths 'Orange Is the New Black' Has Accidentally Dispelled About Bisexuality."
Mic Network Inc., 12 June 2015. Web. 17 October 2016.
Another character who is portrayed as bisexual in the show is an inmate named Lorna Morello, played by actress Yael Stone. She has an intimate relationship with fellow inmate Nicky Nichols, played by Natasha Lyonne, while still yearning for her male "fiance", Christopher MacLaren, played by Stephen O'Reilly (actor), Stephen O'Reilly. The Fox Broadcasting Company, FOX television series ''House (TV series), House'' features a bisexual female doctor, Thirteen (House), Remy "Thirteen" Hadley, played by Olivia Wilde, from season four onwards. The same network had earlier aired the television series ''The O.C.'', which for a time featured bisexual Alex Kelly (The O.C.), Alex Kelly (also played by Olivia Wilde), the local rebellious hangout spot's manager, as a love interest of Marissa Cooper. In the HBO drama ''Oz (TV series), Oz'', Chris Keller was a bisexual serial killer who tortured and raped various men and women. Other films in which bisexual characters conceal murderous neuroses include ''Black Widow (1987 film), Black Widow'', ''Blue Velvet (film), Blue Velvet'', ''Cruising (film), Cruising'', ''Single White Female'', and ''Girl, Interrupted (film), Girl, Interrupted''. Beginning with the 2009 season, MTV's ''The Real World (TV series), The Real World'' series featured two bisexual characters, Emily Schromm, and Mike Manning. The Showcase (Canadian TV channel), Showcase supernatural crime drama, ''Lost Girl (TV series), Lost Girl'', about creatures called Fairy, Fae who live secretly among humans, features a bisexual protagonist, Bo (Lost Girl), Bo, played by Anna Silk. In the story arc she is involved in a love triangle between Dyson, a wolf-shapeshifter (played by Kris Holden-Ried), and Lauren Lewis, a human doctor (played by Zoie Palmer) in servitude to the leader of the Light Fae clan. In the BBC TV science fiction show ''Torchwood'', several of the main characters appear to have fluid sexuality. Most prominent among these is Jack Harkness, Captain Jack Harkness, a pansexual who is the lead character and an otherwise conventional science fiction action hero. Within the logic of the show, where characters can also interact with alien species, producers sometimes use the term "omnisexual" to describe him. Jack's ex, Captain John Hart (Torchwood), Captain John Hart, is also bisexual. Of his female exes, significantly at least one ex-wife and at least one woman with whom he has had a child have been indicated. Some critics draw the conclusion that the series more often shows Jack with men than women. Creator Russell T Davies says one of pitfalls of writing a bisexual character is you "fall into the trap" of "only having them sleep with men." He describes of the show's Torchwood: Miracle Day, fourth series, "You'll see the full range of his appetites, in a really properly done way." The preoccupation with bisexuality has been seen by critics as complementary to other aspects of the show's themes. For heterosexual character Gwen Cooper, for whom Jack harbors romantic feelings, the new experiences she confronts at Torchwood Institute, Torchwood, in the form of "affairs and homosexuality and the threat of death", connote not only the Other but a "missing side" to the Self. Under the influence of an alien pheromone, Gwen kisses a woman in Day One (Torchwood), Episode 2 of the series. In Everything Changes (Torchwood), Episode 1, heterosexual Owen Harper kisses a man to escape a fight when he is about to take the man's girlfriend. Quiet Toshiko Sato is in love with Owen, but has also had brief romantic relationships with a female alien and a male human.


Webseries

In October 2009, "A Rose By Any Other Name" was released as a "webisode" series on YouTube. Directed by bisexual rights advocate Kyle Schickner, the plot centers around a lesbian-identified woman who falls in love with a straight man and discovers she is actually bisexual.


Among other animals

Some non-human animal species exhibit bisexual behavior. Examples of mammals that display such behavior include the bonobo (formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee), orca, and the bottlenose dolphin. Examples of birds include some species of gulls and Humboldt penguins. Other examples of bisexual behavior occur among fish and flatworms.


See also

* Bisexual theory * Bicurious * Bisexual chic *
Bisexual erasure Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, the news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include th ...
* ''Journal of Bisexuality'' * List of bisexual characters in literature * Lists of bisexual people, List of bisexual people * List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people * List of LGBT characters in television and radio * List of LGBT-related organizations * List of media portrayals of bisexuality * Situational sexual behavior


References


Further reading


Historical

* Eva Cantarella. ''Bisexuality in the Ancient World'', Yale University Press, New Haven, 1992, 2002. * Kenneth J. Dover. ''Greek Homosexuality'', New York; Vintage Books, 1978. * Thomas K. Hubbard. ''Homosexuality in Greece and Rome'', U. of California Press, 2003. * William Armstrong Percy, III, W. A. Percy III. ''Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece,'' University of Illinois Press, 1996. * Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, et al. ''Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature,'' New York: New York University Press, 1997. * J. Wright & Everett Rowson. ''Homoeroticism in Classical Arabic Literature''. 1998. (pbbk)/ (hdbk) * Gary Leupp. ''Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan,'' Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995. * Tsuneo Watanabe & Jun'ichi Iwata. ''The Love of the Samurai. A Thousand Years of Japanese Homosexuality,'' London: GMP Publishers, 1987. *
Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of medicine M ...

Sigmund Freud
. ''Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex''.


Modern

* ''Bisexuality:'' ''Theories, Research, and Recommendations for the Invisible Sexuality'' by D. Joye Swan and Shani Habibi, Editors * ''Dual Attraction: Understanding Bisexuality'' by Martin S. Weinberg, Colin J. Williams, & Douglas W. Pryor, * ''Bi Any Other Name : Bisexual People Speak Out'' by Loraine Hutchins, Editor & Lani Ka'ahumanu, Editor * ''Getting Bi : Voices of Bisexuals Around the World'' by
Robyn Ochs Robyn Ochs (born 1958) is an United States, American bisexual activist, professional speaker, and workshop leader. Her primary fields of interest are gender, sexuality, identity and coalition building. She is the editor of the ''Bisexual Resource G ...

Robyn Ochs
, Editor & Sarah Rowley, Editor * ''The Bisexual Option'' by Fritz Klein, MD * ''Bi Men : Coming Out Every Which Way'' by Ron Suresha and Pete Chvany, Editors * ''Bi America : Myths, Truths, And Struggles of an Invisible Community'' by William E. Burleson * ''Bisexuality in the United States : A Social Science Reader'' by Paula C. Rodriguez Rust, Editor * ''Bisexuality : The Psychology and Politics of an Invisible Minority'' by Beth A. Firestein, Editor * ''Current Research on Bisexuality'' by Ronald C. Fox PhD, Editor * Bryant, Wayne M.. ''Bisexual Characters in Film: From Anais to Zee''. Haworth Gay & Lesbian Studies, 1997.


External links


American Institute of Bisexuality

American Psychological Association's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Office

"Bisexuality" at the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

The Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality
* {{authority control Bisexuality, Same-sex sexuality