Writer Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli’s new book Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women seeks to debunk stigmas associated with bisexuality. Especially those surrounding men and the women who date them by showing that bisexual men, in fact, are prone to be better boyfriends, husbands, and fathers. The book also aims to show that bisexual men are not more prone to cheating or transmitting STIs to their partners, as stigmas suggest, but actually more monogamous than most.
Seventy-Eight women between the ages of 16 and 65 who had been in a serious relationship with a bisexual man were interviewed and asked a series of personal questions. Pallota-Chiarolli found that the women all pretty much held the same ideologies surrounding bisexual men versus straight men: they were more sexually attentive, emotionally available, and made better fathers.
Mixed-orientation relationships, or “MOREs” as Pallota-Chiarolli describes, are just as valid as any other relationship, yet 63 percent of women say they are not willing to date a guy who has a known history of hooking up with other men, according to Glamour.
Ironically, in the same survey 47 percent of women said they’ve experienced same-sex attraction before, and 31 percent had acted on it. Clearly the idea of masculinity blinds everyone to what sexuality is — it’s fluid by its very nature. But when it comes to biphobia, it’s the men who seem to suffer the most.
Men have a particularly hard time maneuvering around biphobia. Social pressure threatens their masculinity that more often than not, bisexual men choose to suppress their feelings. As a result, acting up through higher risk sexual behaviors can be an option. Many are too embarrassed to get tested or treated for potential STIs, which creates a higher risk of STI transmission, says Medical Daily. While this is the case for many, it still goes back to cultural acceptance — or in this case, the unacceptance of bisexuality in men.
44 percent of bisexual teens contemplate suicide, compared to 7 percent of straight teens, according to studies. In many cases, when a bisexual person happens to be in a relationship with someone of the same sex, the media categorizes them as “gay” without properly thinking it through, which ends up making the bisexual community feeling ignored.
But the truth is bisexuality is real, and without proper education we are left to only understand its validity through the eyes of people who know nothing about it. It’s time to open our eyes and listen to each other. We are not iPhones, we are human beings with different variations of truths. None of us are built the same, so why do we judge each other as if we ought to be?
“While we found [the stigmas] are certainly out there, and we don’t shy away from discussing them,” Pallotta-Chiarolli said, “we need to lift the stigma for the women who choose to be in relationships with bisexual men.”
Love is love.