There's also a double standard at play, says Barker: “Bisexual women tend to be sexualised, with bisexuality regarded as something that women do for the pleasure of men, as in mainstream porn. Bisexual men tend to be disbelieved entirely,” they tell me. “In both cases it is assumed that bisexual people are really into men and not women. So bisexual women are often assumed to be in it to titillate men, whereas bisexual men are assumed to be gay men who are not brave enough to come out as gay. It's often assumed that both will end up with men eventually.”
These occurrences of daily biphobia and bi erasure can generate a very complicated scenario to land in for those coming to terms with their sexuality today, for someone of any gender. And yet, although women are twice as likely to identify as bisexual
, it’s necessary to question if that’s because there really are less bisexual men around, or if men are simply less likely to identify as bi or go outside of the gay-or-straight binary because of social expectations – like the expectation that a man's masculinity is contingent on his heterosexuality.
Diego, a 21-year-old bisexual man, has experienced this double standard first hand. “For two and a half years of high school, I was in a serious relationship with a girl who was my first love, so trying to juggle that while still knowing I felt something for men was difficult. I didn’t have any resources to turn to at the time, or, more accurately, I didn’t seek them out."
He continues: “The initial responses have varied from the people I’ve dated. For example, a guy I dated in February didn’t really give much of a response; he was completely understanding from the start. As opposed to a girl I dated last year, where the idea of being bisexual really didn’t rub her the right way. She said it was hard for her to grasp the idea of me being able to do that. We didn’t last long after that. I think people think a bisexual man is just a gay man. Or that a bisexual man is confused. I haven’t seen this preconception being projected upon women as much as it is toward men."