It's Bi Visibility Day, a time for bisexual people to celebrate who they are as well discuss areas in which things could improve. One area that desperately needs change is bisexual people's mental health.
To give you some context on the situation, bisexual people have a lower amount of overall life satisfaction and feel less worthwhile than straight, gay and lesbian people do, they are nearly 80% more likely to report feeling anxious than the average person, and 40% more likely to describe themselves as unhappy according to a recent Office for National Statistics report. Sadly, those findings aren't a one off, The Bisexuality Report also found that of all the larger sexual identity groups, bisexual people have the worst mental health problems, including high rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidality.
There could be many reasons for this and in past articles I've examined the factors of biphobia, society and a terrifying lack of resources.
However, there is one factor in our mental health I haven't discussed - ourselves. Can being attracted to both genders pose unique hardship on our mental wellbeing?
A lot of bisexuals that reach out to me struggle with handling attraction to men and women in a relationship. It's important to remember that bisexuals live in a society where we are told we are greedy, unsatisfied people, just waiting to cheat. Therefore, when we feel an attraction to another person that's not our partner we do tend to feel stressed, disappointed and a bad person. This is where a lot of mental strain can come, society has made bisexuals paranoid.
As I've told other bisexuals countless times, your hormones don't turn off just because you're in a relationship. I've been with my girlfriend for over a year and a half, our relationship is perfect, the sex is great, I'm the happiest I've ever been. That doesn't mean I don't see men and women every day that I think are hot. As I write this on the morning commute, I'm noticing how the guy opposite me is HOT!!!! However, I'm in a monogamous relationship, this glance of appreciation for his physical mastery is as far as it goes. That's the distinction many bisexuals struggle with. Many feel guilty simply for the act of being attracted to the gender opposite the one they are dating.
It could be a mix of society and guilt but the truth is even married men see women all the time that they are attracted too, they don't make themselves feel guilty about that. A relationship doesn't turn off your hormones and bisexual people need to stop feeling bad that sometimes they are attracted to a different gender than their partner.
Sadly, It is reinforced by those around us time and time again. The amount of times I've said to a gay friend 'omg he's hot' and they've replied along the lines of 'omg I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away from dick forever' is ridiculous.
Porn is also something I'm asked about a lot, since I'm dating a girl do I only watch gay porn? To which my reply is always 'I live with my girlfriend why would I be watching porn in the first place you sad single?' All jokes aside, bi people watch a mix of gay and straight porn they shouldn't be made to feel bad about it and its not a sign of anything. Nothing kills your bonner quicker than thinking 'I shouldn't be watching this because it's straight and I'm dating a guy.'
Take deep breath bisexuals and breath, if your partner accepts your bisexuality they accept that you are going to feel attraction to someone with genitalia different to theirs. It's no different from straight or gay people in a relationship. And if those around you try to tell you it's a sign you're just getting one step closer to cheating make sure they know that cheating is a personality trait not a sexuality trait.