LGBT Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth, Western Australia
Phone 0401 316 977
for enquiries or appointments
Bisexuality refers to an individual who experiences an attraction to both men and women. The attraction may be sexual, romantic, affectionate or emotional. The attraction does not have to be equally split between genders, and there may be a preference for one gender over another. Bisexuality is not ‘a phase that an individual is going through’ or ‘a state of confusion’. It is a legitimate sexual orientation. For many people, disclosing bisexuality is not an easy or straightforward process.
As with any identity, it’s important for individuals to choose their own label. The most commonly used label is bisexual or 'bi'. However, some people prefer to identify as heterosexual as they are rarely attracted to the same gender. Similarly, some may choose to identify as gay or lesbian as they are only occasionally attracted to another gender. Some individuals may not wish to label themselves at all.
There is a common social misconception that people who identify as bisexual need to have relationships with men and women simultaneously. The decision to be in one relationship at a time (monogamous) or open to multiple relationships (polyamorous) is not connected to a person’s sexual orientation. After all, there are monogamous and polyamorous people who identify as heterosexual, gay or lesbian.
There is also no evidence to suggest that people who identify as bisexual are any more or less interested in sex with multiple partners, or likely to cheat, than people who identify as heterosexual, gay or lesbian.
Individuals who identify as bisexual may experience discrimination, social stigma and disapproval because of cultural, religious and social norms. Bisexual people may also be mistakenly criticised from both the heterosexual community and from some members of the gay and lesbian communities, for a perceived inability to make up their mind.
Exposure to ongoing social stigma and discrimination, rather than bisexuality itself, may often result in people who identify as bisexual experiencing poorer mental health than gay men, lesbians and the heterosexual community. Research has consistently indicated that bisexual people report experiencing heightened feelings of social isolation, distress and self-doubt. There are also higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance misuse, self-harm and suicidal ideation than those who identify as either gay, lesbian or heterosexual.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your sexual orientation or need support with how best to work through any social or relationship pressures you are experiencing, please contact me to make an appointment. Talking to a counsellor is an effective way to manage and gain a better understanding of your struggles. My approach is warm and respectful, and I offer a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to support people through their difficult times.