This is Real Sex, Real Answers: An advice column that understands that sex and sexuality is complicated, and worth chatting about openly and without stigma — and that, sometimes, that means reaching out to a stranger on the internet for help.
Rachel Charlene Lewis is a long-time reader and writer within the sexual wellness space, and is never not talking about sexuality. So why not join the conversation?
I feel like more and more, I hear about bisexuals being greedy and “slutty” and not knowing what they want. It’s an awful, harmful stereotype. I know that. But what if it’s… true? For me?
I’m married (monogamous) and I want to explore my sexuality, and it’s pretty much a nightmare come to life. I don’t want to give any more validity to a stereotype that has made my life, and the life of bisexual people, hard for so long. But I also feel like I’m denying myself the right to be who I am, which just might be a messy bisexual.
Do I hold my feelings in and just act like they aren’t there? Or do I risk ruining my entire relationship and causing even more damage to the bi community’s reputation?
First things first: It’s not your job to change who you are to avoid being a stereotype.
Just one of the many unfair, damaging things that marginalized people have to deal with is constantly navigating the space between being our most honest, truest selves and not wanting to feed into stereotypes.
It’s not your job to be someone you aren’t because you’re afraid of somehow egging on a world that — regardless of what you or I or any other bisexual do in their day-to-day life — has a lot of issues with bisexuals.
Not to be cheesy, but your only job is to be yourself.
But let’s talk about the rest of this, which is the simple fact that you’re married, and monogamous, but want to maybe try dating someone else. That’s where things get more complicated.
I don’t know you or your partner. But I can say that at the center of healthy relationships is honesty, and the ability to be yourself.
I would recommend figuring out the answers to the below questions, for yourself, and then making a move from there.
1. Does your partner know you’re bisexual? Hey, not making any assumptions here. While it’s nice to share your sexuality with your partner, it’s a thing that’s very much yours, and there’s no requirement to give your partner 100 percent of yourself until you feel ready.
2. If they don’t, are you in a space where you’d be safe coming out to your partner as bisexual? And, if not, do you have friends or loved ones you can discuss it with?
3. Is this about one specific person you want to try dating/sleeping with/holding hands with, or otherwise engaging in some sort of romantic relationship with? Or is it about the general concept of exploration and trying something new?
4. Can you try either of these options within the bounds of your current relationship? Is your partner open to reshaping your relationship to include other people, for one or both of you? Do they support you in this exploration?
5. And, finally, if not — is your current relationship something you’d give up to explore your sexuality? Think it through, and give yourself time.
Dealing with feelings for another person when you’re already in a monogamous relationship can be hard. It’s even harder when, at the crux of these feelings, lives a general curiosity.
It’s one thing to have a crush on someone specific and need to find a way to discuss it with your partner. It’s another to be curious about the idea of dating someone to explore your own sexuality and your own queerness in a new context.
Trust me when I say you are not the only person who has ever felt this way — bisexual or not.
Give yourself the space to really think this through without the pressure of not wanting to be a bisexual stereotype, and I’m confident that you will come to a solution that feels real and honest to who you are as an individual human being.
You’ve got this.