Bi-curious?

Ever find yourself thinking ‘damn, they’re hot’ but it’s directed at someone who’s not the opposite gender? Well, that doesn’t definitively mean you’re bi or gay but it could point towards the fact that you’re bi-curious. These days there are a lot of different terms to help you figure out what you’re feeling and The Mix is here to help you start to understand them.

A young man is walking down the street. He is bi-curious. This is a wide-angle image.

Bi-curious meaning

So, what is bi-curious? Everyone’s got a type. Some people go for blondes, others for redheads. But every now and then, you have a crush on somebody who doesn’t quite make sense. You fall for someone either romantically or sexually not because of their hair colour, or height, but because of who they are. Sometimes their gender might come as a surprise. The bi-curious meaning and the term bicurious implies just that. 

“It’s certainly not unusual to have feelings for multiple genders, whether it’s someone you know in person or someone you see on TV or in a film,” says Phil Nicol, Co-Chair of the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. “Gender isn’t always the defining factor in why people find others emotionally or sexually attractive. But it can sometimes be confusing or upsetting to have these feelings. Especially when you always thought that you could clearly define your sexual orientation.”

Am I bi-curious?

Now that we’ve answered the foundational ‘What is bi-curious’, it’s time to get a little more personal. While it’s totally normal to experience bi-curiosity, it’s not always easy to know what to do about it – especially if you’ve got a crush on a friend, or you’re surrounded by people who might not understand. 

“After having been brought up in a conservative background, I was very reluctant to think that I was anything but straight,” says James Harrison, 22. James dated girls at school, but gradually began to realise that he fancied guys as well. 

“I used to rationalise being attracted to men to myself by claiming that I was ‘admiring their style, clothes, etc’,” he explains. But it wasn’t until university that James felt able to explore his sexuality further in a safe environment. He later set up Bisexual Butterfly, a charitable organisation that helps change perceptions about bisexuality.

It’s OK to be curious

Googling ‘What does bi-curious mean?’ is completely normal, and honestly really good. It’s a sign that you’re aware of who you are and what you’re interested in exploring. But it’s also important to remember that there’s no rush to define your sexuality. We’re so used to putting labels on people, and ourselves for that matter, that sometimes it’s tempting to jump to conclusions. Our sexuality is our own business, and if things don’t feel clear cut, there’s no need to try and define anything

“Terms like ‘gay’ and ‘bi’ can be quite limiting,” explains Phil Nicol. “For many people, their sexuality may change over time and may depend on the particular people they meet,  so plenty of people don’t want to put themselves in a box by defining their sexuality in simple terms like ‘gay’, ‘straight’ or ‘bisexual’ – and there’s no reason why you need to.”

Coming out as bisexual

Unfortunately, if you’re interested in exploring your sexuality, it can still be a difficult thing, especially if you’re in a non-accepting environment. “Particularly for young people, coming out can be really risky and when it goes badly can lead to bullying, ostracism, domestic abuse and homelessness,” says Petra Davis, a Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) sex and relationships advice columnist. “Throughout a queer person’s life they’ll constantly have to come out, with some reactions being better than others.”

 If you don’t feel supported or safe, just know that you are never alone. There is help and a loving community waiting with open arms to accept you. One way you can talk about your sexuality safely is by contacting an LGBT+ youth group. Most areas now have LGBT+ youth groups that have either drop in or telephone services, and many run youth events or activities that allow you to talk to others in a safe space. For example, talking to bisexual people might help if you’re bi-curious.

Treat others with respect

It’s not just straight people that you need to worry about, though. Just because you’re experiencing these feelings doesn’t mean that the gay community will welcome you with open arms. Annoyingly  Bisexuality has a negative reputation in some sections of the lgbt community. So bi-curious people may be stereotyped as untrustworthy, confused or just out to have some fun, new experiences before going back to their straight life. 

“None of these views are true,” says James Harrison. “I can’t deny that they may be correct in some circumstances, but 99% of the time a bisexual is no more promiscuous or confused than the next person.” 

Try not to reinforce negative stereotypes. If you’re curious about exploring or experimenting with bisexuality, beware of actually treating people as experiments. It might be a learning experience or something casual for you, but the people on the other end of that fling are real human beings with real emotions. This goes without saying but gay relationships can be just as complicated and emotionally charged as straight ones. 

Be your own person

Maybe you identify as bisexual. Perhaps you’re gay. Maybe you thought you were straight, but you just Googled, ‘What is bi-curious?’ At the end of the day what does bi-curious mean? What does gay mean? These are all valid questions. People identify their sexuality in a variety of different ways. For example, you can identity as bisexual without having had any sexual experience with the same sex. The important thing to remember is that it’s your decision how you label yourself, if at all – and you have the right to decide in your own time. “It’s OK not to know what’s going on,” says Petra Davis. 

Next Steps

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Tags:

sexuality

By Louis Pattison

Updated on 17-Oct-2021