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Noizchild
06-08-2015, 02:37 AM
I had an interesting thought. I came to notice that majority of main characters are either straight or gay. We rarely see any bisexual characters. Do any of you have bisexual characters in your works and how many are the main character?

BenPanced
06-08-2015, 02:53 AM
Depends on your genre. I know of a few romance authors who are releasing novels with bisexual characters.

Roxxsmom
06-08-2015, 03:01 AM
Bisexuals do seem to get ignored. I've run into people who dismiss the orientation as either being straight people who are experimenting, or gay people who are still in denial, or they shrug bisexuals off as people who can, and probably will, end up in hetero relationships, so they've got what amounts to straight privilege.

I don't agree with their assessment.

I do wonder if the under representation of bisexuality in fiction is because there's a tendency to focus on one relationship in a given story, and if it's with someone of the same gender, readers assume the character is 100% gay/lesbian, and if it's with the opposite gender, readers tend to assume the character is 100% straight? Explaining about the character's past relationships or attractions to other people, of course, is possible, but if the person isn't a pov character, or if there's no focus on their backstory, then it might not come out at all.

Of course, it's much more complex than that, because even if one is monogamously involved with someone of the opposite gender, that person would still have the attractions they have to your own gender too, and that's part of who they are (or vice versa). But there's such a tendency to paint people in fiction as if their "true love" is the only person they're even remotely attracted to or think about sexually, which is pretty unrealistic for someone of any orientation.

My own novel I'm shopping has a pov character who is gay. He's had some affairs with women in the past, but his dominant romantic and sexual attraction is towards his own gender. He's not the plot-driving protagonist in the first book, though in the sequel he becomes more important as a character who drives part of the lot, and he ends up in a long term relationship with a man who is bisexual.

One novel (started a while back, so there are some ways the situation is portrayed that might be less than ideal) where the main characters are bisexual is Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner books. One of the two men in the central relationship seems to have a strong preference for his own gender, but occasionally has had dalliances with women. The other two seemed to be more frankly bisexual, as in he maybe even leaned a bit more towards women overall, but he fell for the other man and ends up in a monogamous relationship with him.

Some of MZB's stuff has bisexual female characters as well.

Layla Nahar
06-08-2015, 03:10 AM
I'm with Roxxmom - there are most def bisexual people. & I imagine there are might be much more than we think.

Interesting point - I *have* seen bisexual minor characters, but yet to see any major ones.

TessB
06-08-2015, 03:52 AM
I'm most definitely in the romance genre, so that may skew things. But one of the main POV characters in my current release is bisexual (albeit homoromantic) -- he freely admits to having had sexual relations with women before, but prefers relationships ​with men. Two of the three in the menage in my second book are bisexual women, though, again, one prefers relationships with women to those with men. The other is about 50-50.

(And for the record, I'm also bi. We're around. ;) )

DancingMaenid
06-08-2015, 05:20 AM
I write about bisexual characters pretty frequently. I'm bisexual myself, so I think it comes pretty naturally to me to imagine my characters being bisexual. I have a few who are absolutely either straight or gay, though.

Emermouse
06-08-2015, 05:34 AM
I've written about a character who is bisexual. Initially when I created her, I saw her more as a villainous character, that she was in a relationship with another girl more out of manipulation rather than love, but between thinking and actually writing, her character changed into a more heroic character, and the relationship between the two characters became a genuine one.

Viridian
06-08-2015, 05:55 AM
Here's a new idea:

I think there's more bisexual characters than we realize. The problem is that they're not viewed as bisexual. For example: in the TV show How I Met Your Mother, Lily occasionally fantasizes about kissing another woman, but I bet most viewers would probably consider her straight.

In the Marvel universe, Starfire has had female lovers.

In the Scott Pilgrim comic books, Kim Pines and Knives Chau have drunken sex. Most readers probably consider them straight.

When a male characters has sex with other men, it's assumed he's gay. When a female character messes around with other women, it's brushed off as experimentation. Super frustrating to deal with in real life, let me tell you.

Lynn Flewelling's Nigthrunner series handles bisexuality really well, IMO.

SBibb
06-08-2015, 08:35 AM
I've seen reference to bisexual characters in Tamora Pierce's Will of the Empress. I have a hard time really thinking of anyone in other stories, though.

In my own stories I do have bisexual characters.

One is the main character in a science fiction space story. Rough draft complete, but I still need to make edits. For that one, she shows interest in both male and female characters, though the romance subplot veers toward a woman in my outline for the second book. She is still interested in both genders, though.

In my YA/NA science fiction story, one of the antagonists is bi. She flirts with the MC (who shows more inclination toward men, but in all fairness doesn't show much sexual interest in anyone), and in a later story we find out she's had a strong relationship with a male character. She remains interested in both genders.

Another MC in that same universe (unwritten story, but I have the plot), is either bi, leaning toward women, or lesbian. Not sure yet.

But their orientation might not be super obvious in those stories since the romance isn't really at the forefront of anyone's mind.

gingerwoman
06-08-2015, 09:07 AM
My two published novels both have bisexual characters.

Usher
06-08-2015, 11:29 AM
Yes - if I have a gay main or major character then giving them a bisexual main or major character as a partner or love interest can make creating tension easier later.

KateH
06-08-2015, 12:44 PM
I do wonder if the under representation of bisexuality in fiction is because there's a tendency to focus on one relationship in a given story, and if it's with someone of the same gender, readers assume the character is 100% gay/lesbian, and if it's with the opposite gender, readers tend to assume the character is 100% straight? Explaining about the character's past relationships or attractions to other people, of course, is possible, but if the person isn't a pov character, or if there's no focus on their backstory, then it might not come out at all.

I think this is part of the reason for the lack of bisexual characters, yeah. And it's also why they're sometimes mistakenly labelled as either gay or straight by readers.

Kristin Cashore's Fire is a YA fantasy novel with a bisexual protag. It's been a while since I read it, but IIRC, the only acknowledgement that the main character was bi was a mention of a past relationship with a woman. She had a romantic storyline in the book with a man. I've encountered readers who forgot or misinterpreted that mention of her past, so they assumed the character was straight.

Malinda Lo, an author whose books have bisexual and lesbian protagonists, wrote in a blog post (http://www.malindalo.com/2013/04/on-bisexual-characters-and-ya-literature/):

Finally, I think there may be a perception floating around our culture that bisexuals are sort of a watered-down version of gay, and this is a big problem. This perception enables mainstream cultural creators to think: Oh, I should have some LGBT representation, let’s stick in a bisexual girl (this would never happen with a bisexual boy, because of a host of issues around homophobia). Then that bisexual female character can have a fling with another girl to attract attention/check the “diversity” box, but meanwhile she can mostly be involved in a relationship with a man, so she largely appears straight. (This has been the story line of so many TV shows involving “bisexual” characters over the decades.)
In case it’s not clear, I want to underscore the fact that I think this is wrong. This kind of representation of “bisexual” women essentially erases the existence of people who are bisexual.

(To be clear, that quote wasn't about Cashore's writing (or anyone's in particular), just about the general issue.)

EMaree
06-08-2015, 01:40 PM
I have a few bi characters, but sadly none of them are in print yet.

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series has bisexual warlock Magnus Bane, but (as ViridianChick mentions) he's frequently mis-labelled as gay. The fandom seems quite good at correcting that though, thankfully -- I know they called me out for 'bi erasure' when I mentioned him casually on Tumblr as a gay warlock, and I really appreciated the correction.

Laura Lam, a regular poster around here, includes bisexual main characters in her PANTOMIME series, and Malinda Lo includes them in all her works.

Julia Joy
06-08-2015, 03:11 PM
Another contributing factor to the lack of bisexual representation in fiction is the unwillingness to just use the word "bisexual", ever. So characters that otherwise might be termed bisexual instead "don't like labels" or are just assumed to be gay or straight. There's a perception that the word carries a negative connotation along with it.

EMaree
06-08-2015, 03:37 PM
Dahlia Adler has an interesting post about her choice to specifically call her character bisexual. (http://www.gayya.org/?p=2501)

Nathaniel has an interesting breakdown on sexuality across YA (http://www.gayya.org/?p=2325), discussing how bi people are more commonly seen in genre fiction, and a theory that they're less often seen in contemp because they don't fit into the traditional "coming out" narrative.

Gilroy Cullen
06-08-2015, 03:38 PM
Another thing to consider, I think, is the fact that many people, when they see a character with more than one person (say the bisexual person has both a same gender and an opposite gender lover at the same time), it's immediately assumed to be a love triangle. Which throws all sorts of problems into the actual characterization that might be part of having a character in the two relationships.

mayqueen
06-08-2015, 04:40 PM
I think there's more bisexual characters than we realize. The problem is that they're not viewed as bisexual.
I suspect the same reason that we don't see many bisexual characters is the same reason we don't see many bisexual people in our regular lives. I'm bisexual and I'm in a long term relationship with another woman. Most people, even close friends, tend to default to lesbian. So being bisexual is, for me, a never-ending process of actively reminding people, hey, yeah, I'm bi. It's the same for the bisexual women I know in relationships with men, except they get the default "straight".

So I think that unless the writer labels the characters bisexual and keeps reminding the reader (which honestly I would probably find tedious), it would probably slide past most people.

I mostly read historical fiction, though, so relationships tend to go unnamed or just are (when there isn't some sort of gay tragedy death thing going on). That's how I tend to write my characters, too.

Viridian
06-08-2015, 07:07 PM
Another thing to consider, I think, is the fact that many people, when they see a character with more than one person (say the bisexual person has both a same gender and an opposite gender lover at the same time), it's immediately assumed to be a love triangle. Which throws all sorts of problems into the actual characterization that might be part of having a character in the two relationships.
That sounds more like a poly problem than a bisexual problem.

TessB
06-08-2015, 07:39 PM
Definitely. That can also be a problem, of course, but it's not directly related to bi erasure -- I have the feeling that our proportion of poly folks is about the same as in the monosexual groups.

Melanii
06-08-2015, 08:13 PM
I'm bi, so I tend to make my MCs bi as well. I'm a bit nervous about putting it into print one day since certain people don't know I'm bi, but whatevs. I think the book FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe, the MC is bi. My memory is poor, but yeah.

They aren't represented well at all. :(

Like I mentioned in another thread, I tend to see more gay/bi males than females. Probably because females are often labeled as "experimenting" like someone said above.

Viridian
06-08-2015, 08:23 PM
Definitely. That can also be a problem, of course, but it's not directly related to bi erasure -- I have the feeling that our proportion of poly folks is about the same as in the monosexual groups.
Yeah, exactly.

("Monosexual." Heehee. That's wonderful.)

TessB
06-08-2015, 08:31 PM
(It's that or type out most of QUILTBAG + straight. I'm just lazy. XD)

Jo Zebedee
06-09-2015, 03:05 AM
I have a bisexual male in mine, although we don't learn that until book two. He's not the mc, but one of the three central characters. No plot reason why, it was just the way the character developed. It forms part of his conflict but not because of a love triangle (although he has more than one lover) - I'm not convinced our sexuality impacts at all on our relationship approach. ButI might be incredibly naive.

Filigree
06-09-2015, 05:06 AM
I have two male bisexual main characters in a published space opera.

TGrace
06-09-2015, 05:36 AM
As someone who is bisexual, the urge to read and write about bisexual characters is super high. Whenever I come across one and the representation is well done, I get all starry eyed. (It's astonishing to me how little the word 'bisexual' is actually used, especially in television/film. It may be silly, but I want to hear/see the word!!!!)

In my current wip the boyfriend of the main character is bisexual. It's stated clearly because a major part of the story revolves around his previous relationship, which was with a woman. (Although if he were bisexual 'just because,' I would still want to make it clear that he was bisexual, not gay, in some way that was natural for the story.) One of my more important minor characters is also bisexual, and it's mentioned as part of the storyline.

Layla Nahar
06-09-2015, 06:12 AM
It's interesting - why should there be so few? I have to admit I find bisexuality quite mystifying - even though I believe human sexuality runs on a continuum with people at varying places between straight and gay. They say about what, 10% of the population is gay, right? Well, maybe only 10% is straight & then everyone else is distributed along the line. Is there any research on this? hmmm

Noizchild
06-09-2015, 07:14 AM
Bisexuals do seem to get ignored. I've run into people who dismiss the orientation as either being straight people who are experimenting, or gay people who are still in denial, or they shrug bisexuals off as people who can, and probably will, end up in hetero relationships, so they've got what amounts to straight privilege.

I don't agree with their assessment.

I do wonder if the under representation of bisexuality in fiction is because there's a tendency to focus on one relationship in a given story, and if it's with someone of the same gender, readers assume the character is 100% gay/lesbian, and if it's with the opposite gender, readers tend to assume the character is 100% straight? Explaining about the character's past relationships or attractions to other people, of course, is possible, but if the person isn't a pov character, or if there's no focus on their backstory, then it might not come out at all.

Of course, it's much more complex than that, because even if one is monogamously involved with someone of the opposite gender, that person would still have the attractions they have to your own gender too, and that's part of who they are (or vice versa). But there's such a tendency to paint people in fiction as if their "true love" is the only person they're even remotely attracted to or think about sexually, which is pretty unrealistic for someone of any orientation.

My own novel I'm shopping has a pov character who is gay. He's had some affairs with women in the past, but his dominant romantic and sexual attraction is towards his own gender. He's not the plot-driving protagonist in the first book, though in the sequel he becomes more important as a character who drives part of the lot, and he ends up in a long term relationship with a man who is bisexual.

One novel (started a while back, so there are some ways the situation is portrayed that might be less than ideal) where the main characters are bisexual is Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner books. One of the two men in the central relationship seems to have a strong preference for his own gender, but occasionally has had dalliances with women. The other two seemed to be more frankly bisexual, as in he maybe even leaned a bit more towards women overall, but he fell for the other man and ends up in a monogamous relationship with him.

Some of MZB's stuff has bisexual female characters as well.

You do have strong points there. I do notice that bisexuals seem to be at the bottom of the totem pole in the LGBT circle.

TessB
06-09-2015, 07:37 PM
I have to admit I find bisexuality quite mystifying

At the risk of derailing slightly, why so? (Honest question. I've been bi since birth, basically, and nothing could feel more natural.)


even though I believe human sexuality runs on a continuum with people at varying places between straight and gay. They say about what, 10% of the population is gay, right? Well, maybe only 10% is straight & then everyone else is distributed along the line. Is there any research on this? hmmm

Always. It started with Ye Olde Kinsey Scale, which has gone through extensive critique and modification over the past few decades.

Here's the basics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_scale

The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid
(http://www.americaninstituteofbisexuality.org/thekleingrid/)
And a summary of the problems with Kinsey's sampling and reporting methods. (http://www.canonandculture.com/alfred-kinsey-a-brief-summary-and-critique/)

A pdf of a 2007 study that purports to redo Kinsey's experiments more appropriately (http://psyc158-sp09.pbworks.com/f/ARTICLE%C2%A0-%C2%A0Sexual%C2%A0Orientation%C2%A0Lies%C2%A0Smoot hly%C2%A0on%C2%A0a%C2%A0Continuum%C2%A0~%C2%A0Epst ein%C2%A02007.pdf)

-- as a fun note, this last one states that "The study suggests that less than 10 percent of the population has the exclusive kinds ofattractions suggested by the terms “straight” and “gay.” For once, I'm a majority! :hooray:


And so on, and so forth.

amergina
06-09-2015, 08:18 PM
If all goes well, my next two romances will specifically feature bisexual men.

There are bi characters in the fantasy I'm working on, too. (And yeah, I'm bi.)

Viridian
06-09-2015, 08:56 PM
All this talk has made me realize something.

Despite the fact that three of my five heroes are bisexual, the word "bisexual" never appears in any of my fiction.

Hrm.

Lissibith
06-09-2015, 09:22 PM
All this talk has made me realize something.

Despite the fact that three of my five heroes are bisexual, the word "bisexual" never appears in any of my fiction.

Hrm.
Huh. Guilty as well. Mine's the MC, and when he gets asked about it once (his love life doesn't come up much, what with the being a virtual prisoner, the impending war and the "you really need to master your magic. Like, yesterday" stuff) he just says he's "interesting people sexual" and that interesting people don't come in one type of package.

Maybe I should be more blunt

eyeblink
06-09-2015, 11:04 PM
Partings and Greetings is a YA (14+) novel in which the three main characters are: gay female (the narrator), bi female, straight male. It then gets more complicated. While there's nothing in this novel, content or language-wise, that I haven't read before in other 14+ YA novels published in the UK, USA or Australia, I've yet to find out if there is a market for this in the UK.

Conor and Me, the WIP in my sig is a YA novel which specifically deals with bisexual erasure.

Layla Nahar
06-09-2015, 11:49 PM
At the risk of derailing slightly, why so? (Honest question. I've been bi since birth, basically, and nothing could feel more natural.)

"The study suggests that less than 10 percent of the population has the exclusive kinds of attractions suggested by the terms “straight” and “gay.” For once, I'm a majority! :hooray:

Yes, no problem - and derail, or ... in-depth exploration of related ideas.

I'm on one of those poles. I'm pretty darn straight. And *it seems* to me that most of the women I've been close to have also been pretty darn straight - although - who knows... so, I can get my head around 'ok, my sexual attraction is reversed' (and again, maybe from having gay friends who are like me - no interest in women.) In any case, because of my own sexuality, sexuality where attractiveness is indifferent to a person's sex - as I said, it's mystifying. But I like the openness of it.

and - coming back to the original question - if people on the poles are the minority, why do such characters dominate stories?

DancingMaenid
06-10-2015, 12:10 AM
In any case, because of my own sexuality, sexuality where attractiveness is indifferent to a person's sex - as I said, it's mystifying. But I like the openness of it.

This is just me, and this isn't the case for every bisexual person, but I'm definitely not indifferent to gender/sex. I'm not attracted to all genders exactly the same, and I'm definitely attracted to different things, physically, with men vs. women.

I'm not super rigid in that. Like, I have no problem dating a non-op trans person. But a person's gender or sex isn't irrelevant to me. If I were dating someone I saw as a woman, and he came out to me as a trans man, it's not like it would make absolutely no difference to me. I'd need to adjust to finding him attractive as a man, because that's a different feeling.


and - coming back to the original question - if people on the poles are the minority, why do such characters dominate stories?

I think people who are 100% gay or straight are rarer than people assume, but because sexuality is a spectrum, there are a lot of people who could call themselves bisexual but are so close to the poles that they don't. A woman who fantasizes about women sometimes but only dates men might ID as straight. A woman who had a couple boyfriends she really liked but has been exclusively into women since then might feel that "lesbian" is the most accurate label.

Labeling oneself is often less a matter of describing one's sexuality precisely, and more a matter of finding the closest fit.

A lot of people may not really realize that calling themselves bisexual is an option, or that what they do/feel "counts."

mayqueen
06-10-2015, 12:16 AM
This is just me, and this isn't the case for every bisexual person, but I'm definitely not indifferent to gender/sex. I'm not attracted to all genders exactly the same, and I'm definitely attracted to different things, physically, with men vs. women.
This is me as well.

Viridian
06-10-2015, 12:31 AM
This is just me, and this isn't the case for every bisexual person, but I'm definitely not indifferent to gender/sex. I'm not attracted to all genders exactly the same, and I'm definitely attracted to different things, physically, with men vs. women.

Came here to say this.

Some bisexual people are absolutely indifferent.

I'm not. Emotionally, I'm more attracted to women. Physically, I'm more attracted to men.

My husband, bless his heart, is the best of both worlds. A very confident and sensitive soul. Mind of a woman, body of a man.

TessB
06-10-2015, 12:35 AM
Same here. I do know some folks who find no real difference, but there's definitely a distinction in the way I'm attracted to men vs the way I'm attracted to women physically.

(TMI zone, but there's also a difference in the type of physical attraction I feel towards each gender. 'Imma ride that' vs 'Imma top the hell out of that,' if you will. Call it ingrained performative gender roles if you must, but it is another ingredient to add in to the mix.)

I'm also primarily homoromantic, which puts an extra spin on things. (ie, physically attracted to both male and female, but with romantic feelings almost exclusively towards women.) If you have bi folks who are homoromantic or heteroromantic rather than biromantic, maybe part of that can feel like a nudge more towards one pole or another.

Someone who's bisexual and heteroromantic may really enjoy threesomes with their opposite gender partner and a same-gender third, for instance, without questioning why. A woman who's closer to the heterosexual pole and biromantic may have deeply passionate and emotional female friendships, and not connect the dots.

Melanii
06-10-2015, 12:40 AM
I'm not indifferent, either. With women, I find them physically attractive easily and would love to glomp them! For men, I'm not particularly attracted to them at all, but I enjoy their hugs and security.

Now, I may be an odd one, but despite being bisexual, I've never been with someone of the same gender (female). Why? Because an opportunity never comes up. I haven't met a woman who'd be interested in me, and 99% of my lady friends are straight.

I only consider myself bisexual because I find women very attractive and I've been dating men.

Nothing I'm saying probably makes any sense. :(

DiloKeith
06-10-2015, 12:52 AM
I suspect the same reason that we don't see many bisexual characters is the same reason we don't see many bisexual people in our regular lives. I'm bisexual and I'm in a long term relationship with another woman. Most people, even close friends, tend to default to lesbian. So being bisexual is, for me, a never-ending process of actively reminding people...

So I think that unless the writer labels the characters bisexual and keeps reminding the reader (which honestly I would probably find tedious), it would probably slide past most people.

I mostly read historical fiction, though, so relationships tend to go unnamed or just are...

I agree, except that I think many fictional relationships go unnamed regardless of the time period. My same-sex pairings don't announce labels, so no one knows if they're bi unless the topic is introduced or they have sex with someone else. I've been writing about established couples, so we just see them living together and no labeling is needed. If monogamous, bisexuals are pretty much invisible, as several here have said. So, that leaves me wondering how to introduce it without being too obvious or confrontational (if my characters are monogamous). I have some ideas, but it does raise an interesting question.

I'm bi with a preference for women, but I'm with a man now and feeling invisible (as a queer) most of the time. I usually write M/M or F/F, partly as a way to keep something queer in my life. One day I'll write about a character dealing with these issues; for now, my character's bisexuality is mostly in my head.

LJD
06-10-2015, 01:31 AM
I'm on one of those poles. I'm pretty darn straight. And *it seems* to me that most of the women I've been close to have also been pretty darn straight - although - who knows...

I doubt anyone I know would think of me as anything other than straight, but I don't think of myself as 100% straight. More like mostly straight.



I think people who are 100% gay or straight are rarer than people assume, but because sexuality is a spectrum, there are a lot of people who could call themselves bisexual but are so close to the poles that they don't. A woman who fantasizes about women sometimes but only dates men might ID as straight. A woman who had a couple boyfriends she really liked but has been exclusively into women since then might feel that "lesbian" is the most accurate label.

Labeling oneself is often less a matter of describing one's sexuality precisely, and more a matter of finding the closest fit.

Yeah, this.

ETA: Just thought I'd mention, in case anyone's interested: Tiffany Reisz's Original Sinners series (erotica) has a lot of bisexual characters.

Layla Nahar
06-10-2015, 01:46 AM
^And interestingly enough - I've had people wonder if I liked girls - but I think that's because I rarely date and I do a lot of boyish things. I ride a bike (I do tricks wheelies, that kind of thing) and people have told me I ride like a boy.

I wanted to say thanks to the people who have been open and explained 'how they are bi' (<-for want of a better wording - and sorry for my clumsy wording upthread).

EMaree
06-10-2015, 01:49 AM
I think people who are 100% gay or straight are rarer than people assume, but because sexuality is a spectrum, there are a lot of people who could call themselves bisexual but are so close to the poles that they don't. A woman who fantasizes about women sometimes but only dates men might ID as straight. A woman who had a couple boyfriends she really liked but has been exclusively into women since then might feel that "lesbian" is the most accurate label.

Labeling oneself is often less a matter of describing one's sexuality precisely, and more a matter of finding the closest fit.

A lot of people may not really realize that calling themselves bisexual is an option, or that what they do/feel "counts."

This. *SO MUCH* this.

I know (and I am one of) a lot of ladies who pass as straight but aren't. Most of them speak more freely online about where we sit on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but our real life situations aren't really safe for that kind of honesty.

I can feel the culture shifting and changing, though, and I hope as time goes on more and more of us will be able to be open about this.

Viridian
06-10-2015, 02:27 AM
I know (and I am one of) a lot of ladies who pass as straight but aren't. Most of them speak more freely online about where we sit on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but our real life situations aren't really safe for that kind of honesty.

I can feel the culture shifting and changing, though, and I hope as time goes on more and more of us will be able to be open about this.
Yeah. I'm in a heterosexual marriage, so I pass for straight, and I don't really talk about it in real life.

As a bisexual lady living in the United States: coming out isn't dangerous. At least, not for me. It's just insanely irritating. I usually get one of these responses:



"No, you're not."
"But I thought you had a husband."
"Oh... um, okay. I'm not interested in you, sorry."
*begins flirting with me*


Drives me up the wall. Why do people try to argue with me about my sexual orientation? Why do women assume I'm hitting on them?

As a sidenote -- it's really heartening to know that there are so many other bisexual people here. Especially bisexual people dealing with the same issues. I get assumed straight a lot. Probably because I write m/m. I don't think people realize how many queer women write m/m.

Bolero
06-10-2015, 02:37 AM
On authors writing bisexual - Tanya Huff has several characters that read bi to me (from their relationships) without using the word as such. Especially in the Enchantment Emporium series.

Laurel Hamilton has an explicitly stated bisexual male character in one of her later books in the vampire series - I do remember a conversation to the effect of "my family think I am gay", "But you are bisexual" "To them that is gay lite" (The gay lite phrase stuck in my head).

TessB
06-10-2015, 03:03 AM
I'm in the privileged position of being able to be out-- I live in Canada where we're protected by federal law, and my day job is with theatre people. It ain't even a thing. And yet I'm still in a place where I 'read' straight unless I'm wearing pride wear or something of the sort.

Coming out is never a one-time event, and that's the pain-in-the-neck part about it. Unless you're wearing rainbows 24-7 or you fit one of the current stereotypes, it's a constant push-back against the notion that straight is the default setting.

Layla Nahar
06-10-2015, 04:07 AM
I don't think people realize how many queer women write m/m.

^I think I'd kind of noticed that... Which makes me wonder (& maybe a topic for another thread) why that instead of F/F

As I've been thinking about it, I remember some story where a 2ndary character is male & bi, he makes some reference to it (or, the narration does) noting how he's interested in women for sex but his more personal relationships are with men.

wonder what book that was...

Melanii
06-10-2015, 04:17 AM
^I think I'd kind of noticed that... Which makes me wonder (& maybe a topic for another thread) why that instead of F/F

As I've been thinking about it, I remember some story where a 2ndary character is male & bi, he makes some reference to it (or, the narration does) noting how he's interested in women for sex but his more personal relationships are with men.

wonder what book that was...

I made a thread asking about the lack of f/f and why so many m/m romances here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?300167-Regarding-F-F-Couples-in-Lit). It's still ongoing! Yay!

Viridian
06-10-2015, 04:43 AM
^I think I'd kind of noticed that... Which makes me wonder (& maybe a topic for another thread) why that instead of F/F
Well, for me, it's cuz...


I find heteronormative relationships difficult to relate to.
M/M has a much larger market than F/F.
Women, I think, are used to identifying with male characters.

If I ever write a novel that isn't romance, the main character will probably be a lesbian or a bisexual woman. Until then, though, I'm writing m/m.

DiloKeith
06-10-2015, 04:54 AM
^I think I'd kind of noticed that... Which makes me wonder (& maybe a topic for another thread) why that instead of F/F...

One of my posts (withe references) about why queer women read/write gay erotica:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?288371-On-gender-and-self-insertion-(no-pun-intended)&p=8807979&viewfull=1#post8807979

Viridian
06-10-2015, 05:07 AM
You know, I kind of hate the "why do women like m/m" question, but that is a damn good post, DiloKeith. I've been struggling with my own feelings about it for a long time, and those points sum it up very nicely.

Emermouse
06-10-2015, 06:18 AM
The Kinsey Scale fascinates me. I've often wondered what if any sexuality I have, seeing as I've been in a relationship with one guy and it ended not because one of us was an asshole, but because I felt nothing for him, either good or bad. Also while I have crushes, so far they tend to be confined to celebrities or other unobtainable figures. Also in all honesty, I would be freaked out by doing anything more than just talking and hanging out.

I do read Shortpacked, though. I know that webcomic probably isn't to everyone's taste, but I was pulling for Robin and Leslie and was so happy when things worked out and they wound up together. While I don't know if I'm Gay, Straight, or Bi, but all I can say is that if I wind up in a relationship like theirs, I will be happy, regardless of the other person's gender.

But I also wonder, based on the one relationship I've been in, whether I'm capable of romantic feelings for anyone.

Samsonet
06-10-2015, 06:51 AM
You could be ace (and/or aro). It's a legit orientation, if extremely rare in fiction.

EMaree
06-10-2015, 12:49 PM
I do read Shortpacked, though. I know that webcomic probably isn't to everyone's taste, but I was pulling for Robin and Leslie and was so happy when things worked out and they wound up together. While I don't know if I'm Gay, Straight, or Bi, but all I can say is that if I wind up in a relationship like theirs, I will be happy, regardless of the other person's gender.


For webcomics that deal with different orientations respectfully, I can highly recommend Go Get a Roomie (http://www.gogetaroomie.com/) and Girls with Slingshots (http://www.girlswithslingshots.com/): light-hearted, NSFW comics that cover a massive amount of relationship types.

GGAR keeps a fairly even-handed portrayal of everything. Girls with Slingshots starts off with with some stereotypical jokes because its protagonist is a kinda close-minded straight girl, but she develops through the story and the comic explores a lot of areas (such as asexuality, and homosexual-with-asexual relationships) that GGAR doesn't cover.


You could be ace (and/or aro). It's a legit orientation, if extremely rare in fiction.

Yeap, this is well worth looking into -- and the ace/aro difference is important, you can be asexual while still experiencing romantic attraction.

Layla Nahar
06-10-2015, 03:30 PM
One of my posts (withe references) about why queer women read/write gay erotica:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?288371-On-gender-and-self-insertion-(no-pun-intended)&p=8807979&viewfull=1#post8807979 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?288371-On-gender-and-self-insertion-%28no-pun-intended%29&p=8807979&viewfull=1#post8807979)

^ I don't have access to that forum - would you mind summarizing or posting the content here? (with the latter, I'm assuming the material in the post would be acceptable here)



I made a thread asking about the lack of f/f and why so many m/m romances here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?300167-Regarding-F-F-Couples-in-Lit). It's still ongoing! Yay!

^cool! Reading it now!

Layla Nahar
06-11-2015, 06:57 AM
You could be ace (and/or aro). It's a legit orientation, if extremely rare in fiction.

The MC of Garth Nix's Cloriel (Chloriel?) is ace - she thinks of herself as a 'singleton'.

ETA: ClAriel ... Garth Nix's "Clariel"

harmonyisarine
06-11-2015, 08:43 AM
The Kinsey Scale fascinates me. I've often wondered what if any sexuality I have, seeing as I've been in a relationship with one guy and it ended not because one of us was an asshole, but because I felt nothing for him, either good or bad. Also while I have crushes, so far they tend to be confined to celebrities or other unobtainable figures. Also in all honesty, I would be freaked out by doing anything more than just talking and hanging out.

[...]

But I also wonder, based on the one relationship I've been in, whether I'm capable of romantic feelings for anyone.

I'm pretty sure I'm aromantic, as my very few relationships have ended for the same reasons (it's always fun to try to explain this without coming across as insulting or cliche: "It's not you, it's me, really!"). The only difference I'm really seeing is that I don't get crushes, either. I can't recall seeing a specifically aromantic character in a novel, or show, or movie. Honestly, though, I don't mind that I don't see them. I know YMMV and that representation is very important to some people (and thus, we should try to include more aro/ace characters), but I love romance in my stories too much. I don't feel like I'm missing anything in my own life, as has been very rarely and quite rudely suggested to me, I just can't get enough of love stories.

That said, I'm certainly not asexual, and am attracted to all type of persons. I ended up slipping bisexual characters into my works years before coming to this realization, I think probably because I am slightly confused by finding only one gender sexually attractive. I do certainly appreciate the very rare bisexual characters I see in fiction, but it's almost always mentioned in passing. Probably because of the above "They're identified by the gender of the person they're in a relationship with."

(Please pardon any ramblings, it's late and I've been very short on sleep for a few weeks. My brain isn't quite working well until Saturday afternoon.)

andiwrite
06-11-2015, 08:52 AM
I had an interesting thought. I came to notice that majority of main characters are either straight or gay. We rarely see any bisexual characters. Do any of you have bisexual characters in your works and how many are the main character?

I have a thriller/horror/mystery (Not good at defining genre lol) series in which one of the MCs is bi. He's actually part of a committed guy-guy-girl threesome until the other guy is murdered. I'm not sure what will happen in the future books as I've only written a rough draft for book one, but I'd like him and his lady to find a new guy to be their third at some point.

Noizchild
06-12-2015, 06:53 AM
I have a thriller/horror/mystery (Not good at defining genre lol) series in which one of the MCs is bi. He's actually part of a committed guy-guy-girl threesome until the other guy is murdered. I'm not sure what will happen in the future books as I've only written a rough draft for book one, but I'd like him and his lady to find a new guy to be their third at some point.

Sounds interesting.

NRoach
06-13-2015, 03:28 PM
My MC is bisexual. She eventually starts calling herself a lesbian as a kick back against an abusive relationship (which, I know is pretty cliché, but I think i.d rather that than fall into the 'magical healing penis' trap).
For the most part, she's involved with a another girl, and if I had to, I'd describe her as homoromantic.

I also have a short story character about whom I need to write more who's in a lesbian relationship despite being asexual.

For the record, I'm as straight a guy as comes.

Ravioli
06-13-2015, 04:46 PM
I had an interesting thought. I came to notice that majority of main characters are either straight or gay. We rarely see any bisexual characters. Do any of you have bisexual characters in your works and how many are the main character?
Bisexuality is largely neglected both by mainstream media and society, including the LGBT community. This may be because bisexuals are in that vague middle between the absolute that is being heterosexual, and the other absolute that is being homosexual. Bisexuals swing both ways, but in any monogamous relationship will only be seen either with the opposite, or the same sex, appearing either gay or straight. Nobody cares what the ex was, or who the next will be, because it could be either. Although I do have bisexual friends with a clear tendency towards one sex.

I have characters in my WIP who "behave bisexually", but I'm not sure they should be called that.
One is a man who is only known to sleep with one other man, the MC, but otherwise he's attracted to women (he says he's in no way gay).
The MC is raised religiously, and has said and been said to be attracted only to women - married one, too - and only has a morbid attraction to aforementioned character for emotional reasons. Plus he's a callboy and the biggest clientele for those are men, but he hates it.
So both of those guys do it both ways, but aren't really wired accordingly. They're also not described as bisexual in the manuscript, as I don't want to spread a load of crap about bisexuals to potential bi- or homophobes. Just as I'd never refer to a character getting tied up and smacked in bed out of sheer contempt, as BDSM *throws shade*

Melanii
06-13-2015, 06:29 PM
I noticed that a lot of people are writing m/m, especially around here. I'm still confused why that is more popular than f/f. It's strange, and I may be "bi" (should I even use that term...?), but because I'm not totally physically attracted to me, I tend to move away from m/m. It can be difficult for me to find f/f books. :(

In my current WIP YA urban fantasy, the MC is bisexual. She has a crush on her sister's boyfriend in the beginning. A bit later, when she meets a girl around her age who keeps protecting her, she falls in love with her.

Emermouse
06-14-2015, 01:22 AM
I wonder about that too, Miss Strawberrii. While I know many on this board have issues with fanfiction, I have a certain affection/respect for it. It's where I cut my story-telling teeth and eventually helped me gain the confidence to create original stuff.

But anyway, a casual browse of any fanfiction archive will tell you that slash or m/m shows up a lot more often than femmeslash or f/f. The theory regarding that is that the bulk of fanfiction writers are heterosexual girls; therefore, they'd probably be more into seeing two hot guys doing it, rather than two girls.

I suppose that is a shallow interpretation, but there's also the theory that given that friendships between girls tend to be much more intimate than friendships between guys, so they have an easier time interpreting a pair of girls as being just friends, than they do guys. Though I like to think that the stereotype "girls tell each other everything, while guys just hang out" isn't completely true, that guys do form close bonds with their friends that have nothing to do with sex.

That was one of the things that bothers me about people who ship male friends. I understand why people interpret Frodo/Sam from Lord of the Rings that way, but given that Tolkien based the friendships that arose between the members of the Fellowship on the kinds of bonds formed between men in the trenches, reducing Sam's devotion and loyalty to him just wanting to have sex with Frodo, just seems to cheapen it. Can't people be nice to each other without secretly lusting after them? Plus, as anyone who read the appendices will tell you, Sam did eventually marry Rosie Cotton and have thirteen kids with her, so if he was gay, he hid it well.

Yeah, sorry for the extended rant about fanfiction. Don't know if I made any cogent points, but hopefully I did contribute to the discussion. But regarding original works, I'm not entirely sure why we see more slash than femmeslash. Maybe someone else can try to take that question on.

TessB
06-14-2015, 01:37 AM
Plus, as anyone who read the appendices will tell you, Sam did eventually marry Rosie Cotton and have thirteen kids with her, so if he was gay, he hid it well.

... do I need to point out the irony of this being said in a thread about the lack of bisexual visibility in narrative fiction? :kiss:

As far as the lack of f/f goes, both in pro fic and fanfic, there have been a lot of debates in fanfic circles about whether it's a symptom of internalized misogyny, especially when there's a concurrent trend of erasing canon female love interests in favour of the m/m slash pairing of the moment. That may well have some truth to it. I do think that the publishing side stems from sales -- straight women are the majority of the readership of romance and erotica, and many of them are uninterested unless there's at least one dick involved. So if it doesn't sell, it doesn't get bought by the trade publishers in the first place.

shivadyne
06-14-2015, 07:29 AM
yes, i do have bisexual characters. two or three, i think. one was a main character, but it was a story i abandoned since i was writing it when i was, like, 15 or something. the other two aren't main characters, no, but one of my main characters in the story is demisexual so it's not a "you're either straight or gay" mentality (i hope).

i think the main reason is that people won't accept things if they aren't within the two binary system that is the norm. it's a bit like the issue with gender where we go above and beyond to try to stick to being "male or female" with nothing else in-between. we don't like to think it could be on a scale (even though the kinsey scale is, well, a thing).

eyeblink
06-14-2015, 11:54 AM
This. *SO MUCH* this.

I know (and I am one of) a lot of ladies who pass as straight but aren't. Most of them speak more freely online about where we sit on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but our real life situations aren't really safe for that kind of honesty.

I can feel the culture shifting and changing, though, and I hope as time goes on more and more of us will be able to be open about this.

You're not the first woman I've met online and/or in person who has said that and I don't think you'll be the last. There are probably others I know I'm not aware of.

Culture has shifted and changed in the last twenty or thirty years, so I certainly hope that will be ongoing.



i think the main reason is that people won't accept things if they aren't within the two binary system that is the norm. it's a bit like the issue with gender where we go above and beyond to try to stick to being "male or female" with nothing else in-between. we don't like to think it could be on a scale (even though the kinsey scale is, well, a thing).

Following up my reply to Emma above, I've more than once seen people quite prepared to accept female bisexuality exists but claim that male bisexuality doesn't. Which I think is nonsense, personally, and I would call myself bi if anyone asked. How someone identifies is their own business, but I'm sure there are more men than you'd think of who have had sexual experience with both men and women, whether or not they identify as straight or gay. I've written such men now and again in published stories of mine.

thethinker42
06-14-2015, 12:15 PM
I had an interesting thought. I came to notice that majority of main characters are either straight or gay. We rarely see any bisexual characters. Do any of you have bisexual characters in your works and how many are the main character?

(chiming in late)

I'd say probably 30% of my main characters are bisexual.

thethinker42
06-14-2015, 12:21 PM
Now, I may be an odd one, but despite being bisexual, I've never been with someone of the same gender (female). Why? Because an opportunity never comes up. I haven't met a woman who'd be interested in me, and 99% of my lady friends are straight.

That's probably more common than you think. I didn't realize I was bisexual (it's not just a river in Egypt anymore...) until after I'd married my husband, which sort of...limited my opportunities to date women. That was in my early twenties, and it's only now in my mid-thirties that I have a girlfriend for the first time (with my husband's blessing, of course). But I've met quite a few bisexual people whose situations are similar to mine, or who just never met the right person of this or that gender.

Viridian
06-14-2015, 08:38 PM
But anyway, a casual browse of any fanfiction archive will tell you that slash or m/m shows up a lot more often than femmeslash or f/f.
I don't think it's a big mystery. Most characters are men. Most readers are female.

In the My Little Pony fandom, it's reversed. Most characters are women. Most readers are male. Guess what: in that fandom, there's a whole lot more f/f than m/m.

Plus, as anyone who read the appendices will tell you, Sam did eventually marry Rosie Cotton and have thirteen kids with her, so if he was gay, he hid it well.
Hey.

If you think that Sam is straight, that's fine. I think he's straight, too. But being in a monogamous relationship does not make a person straight or gay. We were just discussing this. As a bisexual woman currently married to a man, I have to deal with this stereotype every day. It's a sore spot for me. Especially because otherwise sane, reasonable, polite, educated people make this assumption all the time.

My mother is liberal as hell. She believes in gay marriage. She's fine with LGBT people. I had to argue with her when I came out of the closet. Her first response? "Bisexuality is a phase." Her second? "You're married."

So I'm sure you're a sane, reasonable, polite person. I'm sure you mean well. Don't use this logic. Please.

Melanii
06-14-2015, 08:52 PM
That's probably more common than you think. I didn't realize I was bisexual (it's not just a river in Egypt anymore...) until after I'd married my husband, which sort of...limited my opportunities to date women. That was in my early twenties, and it's only now in my mid-thirties that I have a girlfriend for the first time (with my husband's blessing, of course). But I've met quite a few bisexual people whose situations are similar to mine, or who just never met the right person of this or that gender.

I have my boyfriend's blessing, luckily, to get a girlfriend. How did you figure out you were bi? o.o It's really difficult to find one, and one who would like what I like or whatever. XD It's also weird, but I like two girls, and I like two guys not my boyfriend, but I also LOVE my boyfriend. This is how I know I'm bi. :P

thethinker42
06-14-2015, 09:05 PM
How did you figure out you were bi?

Let's just say it involved a stripper in Guam. (No, really.)


It's really difficult to find one, and one who would like what I like or whatever. XD It's also weird, but I like two girls, and I like two guys not my boyfriend, but I also LOVE my boyfriend. This is how I know I'm bi. :P

I wasn't looking for a girlfriend. I mean, I've known for a long time I'm interested in women, but had never pursued anything because...married. I had my husband's blessing, but didn't really have the time or inclination to *look*. And then I met this girl, and one thing led to another, and... well, here we are. :)

kuwisdelu
06-15-2015, 12:43 AM
Another contributing factor to the lack of bisexual representation in fiction is the unwillingness to just use the word "bisexual", ever. So characters that otherwise might be termed bisexual instead "don't like labels" or are just assumed to be gay or straight. There's a perception that the word carries a negative connotation along with it.

Some people who are attracted to both men and women feel the word "bisexual" doesn't accurately describe them, because it implies they are only attracted to two binary genders.

Lillith1991
06-15-2015, 01:27 AM
Some people who are attracted to both men and women feel the word "bisexual" doesn't accurately describe them, because it implies they are only attracted to two binary genders.


And that it implies equal attraction as well. What do you for example call yourself if for every 10 people you're attracted to, only on or two of those people are the same/opposite gender? In theory you're still bisexual, but saying you're Les/Gay or straight may actually make interacting with people easier. Which is strange when you think of it, because it doesn't seem like it would. But it really does.

thethinker42
06-15-2015, 01:41 AM
Some people who are attracted to both men and women feel the word "bisexual" doesn't accurately describe them, because it implies they are only attracted to two binary genders.


And that it implies equal attraction as well. What do you for example call yourself if for every 10 people you're attracted to, only on or two of those people are the same/opposite gender? In theory you're still bisexual, but saying you're Les/Gay or straight may actually make interacting with people easier. Which is strange when you think of it, because it doesn't seem like it would. But it really does.

This is why labels and categories get so frustrating. I would actually describe myself as pansexual, but a lot of people don't know what that means. So I tend to use "bisexual" for brevity/simplicity, especially in a situation where I just want to get my point across without having to go off on a side trip to explain the terminology. Like when I came out to my extended family last year -- in that situation, it was easier just to refer to myself as bisexual. Once that settles in, I'll work "pansexual" in there.

Sometimes I'm afraid that I'm dumbing down my language for the sake of heteronormative understanding. And sometimes, yes, that's probably what I'm doing. But sometimes, if I'm struggling just to get someone to grasp the idea of something besides heterosexuality, baby steps are a good thing. My extended family now understands bisexuality. They're beginning to understand gender identity, especially since I had a transgender friend with me at the time. Considering this is a fairly conservative bunch who are still struggling to -- but trying to! -- understand anything about queer people, the mere fact that I was coming out as any flavor of queer on the same night that I brought my openly transgender friend to Thanksgiving dinner....I'll take that as a positive step.

/ramble

TL;DR - I agree that "bisexual" oversimplifies a lot of people's identities. I can also see where simplifying things for the sake of helping people begin to understand is sometimes beneficial, so long as the more accurate information is forthcoming. Baby steps, in a way.

eyeblink
06-15-2015, 02:27 AM
"Bisexual" is easier for me to say than "probably more homo- than heterosexual but certainly more heteroromantic than homoromantic...oh and on the spectrum of the T in QUILTBAG as well." It's taken me a long time to work that out (I'm fifty now) and I suspect that will be ongoing.

I don't know how many people are unequivocally straight or unequivocally gay (even if they say they are) but I do know that if I had been either of those my life would be different. Maybe better, maybe worse, certainly different.

amergina
06-15-2015, 02:36 AM
I think it also depends on the age of people. I'm more familiar with bisexual as a term (though I'm attracted to all spectrum of genders) than I am pansexual. I've only known that one for a few years, where as bi has been around me for longer.

I think it's hard being in between. For the longest time, I thought I *had* to be straight, 'cause I liked guys. That I liked women *must* be a phase, since I couldn't be a lesbian and still be hot for men. Which, you know, is true. But there is this pressure to be either or but not and.

kuwisdelu
06-15-2015, 02:52 AM
I'd be hesitant to say pansexual because I'd be afraid people would think I'm sexually attracted to cooking ware.

But I'm also too lazy to explain that my sexuality is different for different aspects of my gender identity.

So if anyone asks, I usually just say "it's complicated".

If they're lazy enough to just ask "do you like [people of gender X]?" then I usually just say "yes" and leave sorting out the rest of the evidence as an exercise for the reader.

Viridian
06-15-2015, 03:12 AM
I'm lazy as well.

My go-to phrase is "I'm attracted to a personality type, not a gender."

TessB
06-15-2015, 04:12 AM
I started using 'queer' yonks ago because it was the simplest thing. I also like the fact that the only information I'm actually giving out with it is "not straight," and any other details can be shared on a case by case basis.

shivadyne
06-15-2015, 06:03 AM
I've more than once seen people quite prepared to accept female bisexuality exists but claim that male bisexuality doesn't. Which I think is nonsense, personally, and I would call myself bi if anyone asked. How someone identifies is their own business, but I'm sure there are more men than you'd think of who have had sexual experience with both men and women, whether or not they identify as straight or gay.

i think some of that might have to do with the, well, oversexualization of women in general. i've heard a lot of people also be willing to accept homosexual women while they denounce homosexual men. their reasoning? usually something along the lines of "two girls are hot though".

as for the talk about how little sexuality awareness there is unless you're homosexual, i agree 100%. i still tell people i'm asexual, but that's because it is the only sexuality i'm comfortable sticking with. i say i'm gay a lot, too, but that's because i feel like the LGBT+ community (or a small portion of us, anyways) have started using the term "gay" to stand for any sexuality, not just homosexuality. after all, a lot of people want to root for gay marriage, not same sex marriage. this sort of, well, erasure has been a problem for a while, i think.

BeeGem
06-15-2015, 11:41 AM
I'm another bisexual who feels that term is too simple, but also easier than explaining all the complex nuances, especially when (I find, in my experience) a lot of people still don't seem to accept that bisexuals even exist. Sigh.

I write bisexual characters and I name them as such in the stories, because I'm sick of being erased (sorry if that's a little bit ranty, this is a bit of a sore point for me). I find that if you don't spell it out, people assume straight or gay, even if a character is involved with people of different genders.

Noizchild
06-16-2015, 01:51 AM
I'm another bisexual who feels that term is too simple, but also easier than explaining all the complex nuances, especially when (I find, in my experience) a lot of people still don't seem to accept that bisexuals even exist. Sigh.

I write bisexual characters and I name them as such in the stories, because I'm sick of being erased (sorry if that's a little bit ranty, this is a bit of a sore point for me). I find that if you don't spell it out, people assume straight or gay, even if a character is involved with people of different genders.

I can see what you are saying.

Tocotin
06-16-2015, 07:08 PM
All of my MCs, current or future, are bisexual, I guess, for many reasons, the main of them being that it just feels natural to me. Many of my other characters are too. I'm writing historical fiction however, so I don't use the word itself, and the characters don't make any declarations. It's all up to the reader.

Right now, I'm writing a story set in early modern Japan. The concept of sexual orientation didn't exist for the Japanese at that time – it was slowly being imported from the West (and it was fairly new there too). What mattered in sex was the social position and obligations of the participants, more than anything. So my MC sleeps mostly with men, but he doesn't really know if he prefers them to women – he does what is required of him, and has no idea that it could be a matter of preference at all.

Marianne Kirby
06-16-2015, 07:29 PM
I identify as queer and I identify my characters as queer when describing them -- though the main character of my sold novel has already been labeled bisexual by my publisher and I'm fine with that though the character herself doesn't identify in any particular way so much as she simply IS queer.

Kimber, in the Jem and the Holograms comic, is canon bisexual. And Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are both bisexual and nonmonogamous in a canon sense now as well (http://www.themarysue.com/harley-ivy-girlfriends/)

Noizchild
06-18-2015, 06:50 AM
I identify as queer and I identify my characters as queer when describing them -- though the main character of my sold novel has already been labeled bisexual by my publisher and I'm fine with that though the character herself doesn't identify in any particular way so much as she simply IS queer.

Kimber, in the Jem and the Holograms comic, is canon bisexual. And Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are both bisexual and nonmonogamous in a canon sense now as well (http://www.themarysue.com/harley-ivy-girlfriends/)

I did not know this about Harley.

Viridian
06-18-2015, 07:07 AM
There's a fair amount of bisexual female superheroes.

Wonder how many bisexual male superheroes there are.

I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say "less."

EMaree
06-18-2015, 12:45 PM
There's a fair amount of bisexual female superheroes.

Wonder how many bisexual male superheroes there are.

I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say "less."

Definitely less. Constantine is the one that sticks with me, though the recent TV Show glossed over it, and Loki is another... though his whole sexuality is a complicated thing, as is his gender. Young Avengers recently specifically stated one of their cast is bi, because Young Avengers is amazing. A good article about bisexuality in comics is over here (http://comicsalliance.com/where-are-superhero-comics-big-name-bisexual-characters/).

TessB
06-18-2015, 04:16 PM
I have Opinions about the second volume of Young Avengers, but David Alleyne was one of the few good things about it (America Chavez was the other). Noh-Varr (Marvel Boy) is more of an anything-that-moves guy.

Other bi male heroes in Marvel -- does Wolverine count? He had a (canon) relationship with Hercules in an alternate universe. Bobby Drake (Iceman) got outed in a recent X-Men issue, though he was outed as 'gay' specifically and not given a chance to define himself for himself. I'm pretty sure he was being presented as bi during the run-up to Northstar's wedding to Kyle, but it wasn't stated explicitly.

There's Catman (DC), Loki, Shatterstar and Rictor (I so called that back in the X-Force days, but I squealed audibly when Peter David made it formally canon in X-Factor). Daken.

That's all I can think of!

crunchyblanket
06-20-2015, 11:05 PM
Definitely less. Constantine is the one that sticks with me, though the recent TV Show glossed over it, and Loki is another... though his whole sexuality is a complicated thing, as is his gender. Young Avengers recently specifically stated one of their cast is bi, because Young Avengers is amazing. A good article about bisexuality in comics is over here (http://comicsalliance.com/where-are-superhero-comics-big-name-bisexual-characters/).

I enjoyed the TV show for what it was, although the 'straightwashing' was bothersome - hilariously, I got into a debate (read: argument) with some dude on the interwebs insisting that Constantine's bisexuality was a recent invention and it only happened the one time. I re-read my Hellblazer comics and found a pretty obvious hint in the first TPB, never mind the multiple instances that followed.

On the subject of comic books, isn't Deadpool canonically bi?

pinkbowvintage
06-23-2015, 11:37 AM
Yes! One of my main characters in my YA contemporary is a bisexual guy. He doesn't outright say, "I'm bisexual," but he says it in other ways.

As someone who is bisexual, I think it's so important we have more representation in literature, including YA!

Noizchild
06-24-2015, 06:18 AM
Yes! One of my main characters in my YA contemporary is a bisexual guy. He doesn't outright say, "I'm bisexual," but he says it in other ways.

As someone who is bisexual, I think it's so important we have more representation in literature, including YA!

That's interesting. What is it called?

Taylor Kowalski
06-24-2015, 09:08 AM
Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but a lot of the conflict in NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED by Hannah Moskowitz focuses on how her bisexual main character Etta is socially/publicly perceived. As a bi lady, I found it to be incredibly thoughtful and genuine look at reality of being bisexual, that (to paraphrase Moskowitz) your identity is defined based on the gender of the person holding your hand.

that redhead
06-24-2015, 07:55 PM
In my contemporary YA that I'm about to begin subbing, my MC is gay but he's got a bisexual female friend.

I'm also planning/brainstorming my next book, which will be YA, and the MC is a bisexual teenage girl with lesbian separatist parents. There's a lot more, but I won't bore you with it.

As bisexual myself, I usually get lesbian or straight, depending on who I'm dating. Since I'm not planning to sleep with most of the population, I see no need to correct them on my orientation. When anyone asks my genderfluid son, his response is usually some version of "go coitus yourself."

anastasiareeves
06-24-2015, 08:48 PM
- - - Updated - - -


I enjoyed the TV show for what it was, although the 'straightwashing' was bothersome - hilariously, I got into a debate (read: argument) with some dude on the interwebs insisting that Constantine's bisexuality was a recent invention and it only happened the one time. I re-read my Hellblazer comics and found a pretty obvious hint in the first TPB, never mind the multiple instances that followed.

On the subject of comic books, isn't Deadpool canonically bi?

Deadpool's inner voice is very open to flirting with both men and women. In at least three books he outwardly flirts with Thor, Captain American and Wolverine. In a Wolverine/Deadpool team up he cross dresses as Phoenix. I am not sure any of the writers have labeled him "Bisexual" but they are certainly writing him as sexually fluid.

It occurred to me after reading through this thread, that I tend to write bisexual characters in all of my M/M erotica. And not just gay men who play at bisexual and then come out. But bisexual, as in can and will fall in love with men and or women. In my current attempt at hetero erotica, the MCs love interest identifies as homosexual but has the ability to fall in love with a person, not their gender.

KimJo
06-25-2015, 12:53 AM
One of my male/male romances, under the Karenna Colcroft pen name, has a main character who is bisexual and identifies as such. Another male/male novel, and an entire series, have male main characters who identify as bisexual, but neither particularly enjoys sex with women nor are actually sexually attracted to them; they've had sex with women because it was expected of them. (The one in the novel is a rock singer; the one in the series is an alpha werewolf.)

One of my YA novels, under the Jo Ramsey pen name, has a 16-year-old female main character who is bisexual as well, though the realization that she's attracted to girls as well as guys came as a surprise to her.

Melanii
06-25-2015, 03:32 AM
How can they be bisexual if they don't enjoy sleeping with women or don't find them sexually attractive? D: *is confused*

I still see a lot of m/m here... Way more tha f/f. That makes me want to write my story more (bi mc female yeah). I haven't felt well enough to be creative recently, so I'm not pleased with my lack of writing it. :(

shivadyne
06-25-2015, 05:45 AM
How can they be bisexual if they don't enjoy sleeping with women or don't find them sexually attractive? D: *is confused*

I still see a lot of m/m here... Way more tha f/f. That makes me want to write my story more (bi mc female yeah). I haven't felt well enough to be creative recently, so I'm not pleased with my lack of writing it. :(

um, i guess they could be bisexual in that they like nonbinary people and men? but otherwise... i don't get that either. if they're only interested in men, and have only ever been with women because it's expected of them, then i think they'd be more likely homosexual.

there's not much f/f in a lot of areas, huh? guess we'll just have to make up for it with our own stuff. :P

Melanii
06-25-2015, 10:18 AM
Glad I'm not the only confused one. Yay!

thethinker42
06-25-2015, 10:52 AM
um, i guess they could be bisexual in that they like nonbinary people and men? but otherwise... i don't get that either. if they're only interested in men, and have only ever been with women because it's expected of them, then i think they'd be more likely homosexual.

Obviously people can identify however they want, but yeah, that sounds more like someone who is homosexual, not bisexual. If there's no *attraction*, just sex out of obligation, I wouldn't expect a person to call themselves bisexual. Just like a gay man who's married to a woman out of obligation (because he's closeted, because of outside/political pressure, or what have you) would still be gay.


there's not much f/f in a lot of areas, huh? guess we'll just have to make up for it with our own stuff. :P

There is definitely a demand for it. My first lesbian novel came out in December, and it's sold much better than I expected.

Viridian
06-25-2015, 11:12 AM
How can they be bisexual if they don't enjoy sleeping with women or don't find them sexually attractive? D: *is confused*
IDK. Sometimes, though, there is a fine line between bisexual and gay/straight.

I have one character -- his name is Crow. He's very vain, very handsome. He has a deep-rooted need for people to like him. He does a lot of sleeping around. He grew up in a society where bisexuality is normal, so he has sex with both men and women.

Deep down, he's pretty much gay. But he's not aware of it. The concept of monosexuality doesn't exist in his mind.

thethinker42
06-25-2015, 11:31 AM
IDK. Sometimes, though, there is a fine line between bisexual and gay/straight.

I have one character -- his name is Crow. He's very vain, very handsome. He has a deep-rooted need for people to like him. He does a lot of sleeping around. He grew up in a society where bisexuality is normal, so he has sex with both men and women.

Deep down, he's pretty much gay. But he's not aware of it. The concept of monosexuality doesn't exist in his mind.

In the previous example, though, characters who have sex with women out of obligation or because it's just what you do are readily identifying as bisexual. Which, again, everyone defines their identity however they're comfortable, but I find it puzzling in that scenario. We're defining someone's sexuality based on who they've had sex with, rather than who they want to have sex with. By that logic, a girl who experimented with girls as a teenager out of curiosity, but eventually figured out she was straight, would be classified as bisexual just like the girl who dated boys (because that's the norm) until she realized she was actually into girls.

I think my primary objection to it is that it brings to mind "you're only a lesbian because you haven't met the right man." I just don't believe that all it takes to redefine someone's sexuality is sex (regardless of why they're having it).

Again, people identify as they will. It's none of my business. But from the POV of a writer creating and defining a character, I do question the use of bisexual as part of the identity of someone who has no sexual desire toward men or toward women, since that's contrary to the very definition of bisexual.

scrub puller
06-25-2015, 01:01 PM
Yair . . .

Hello folks.

This is my first post on this board.

I see bi-sexuality as relatively common, it's no big deal and I write of it in that context. Some years ago, I sent a love story to a manuscript assessment agency for some very expensive comment and I was given a very heartening report on the writing.

I was told though that the story was unpublishable and "unbelievable" in that one of the women in the tale was in a relationship with another woman and then ended up back with the male main character.

I did a quick Google and sent some links to the assessors and suggested they educate themselves and broaden their minds, the ignorance out there truly is amazing.


I might add that I am an old(ish) Australian bushman much more at home behind the controls of a bulldozer or on a horse than tapping on a key board.

Well look at that! The side bar tells me I joined in 2012 and I've got three posts. (big grin)



Cheers.

Nakhlasmoke
06-25-2015, 02:28 PM
In When the Sea is Rising Red I had characters at varying places along the scale, but I don't know if no one seems to notice them, or they decide that depending who they end up with that now makes them gay/straight. *scratches head*

It can feel very frustrating. I would love to see more bi characters just being part of the overall story-world and narrative, especially in fantasy.

amergina
06-25-2015, 04:07 PM
I think there *is* a difference between a man who has only had sex with the women because they feel obligated, but they're not sexually attracted to them but is hot for men and... a man who is hot for both men and woman.

It's a desire thing; an attraction thing. It's not a "having sex with someone" thing.

Viridian
06-25-2015, 11:27 PM
I think there *is* a difference between a man who has only had sex with the women because they feel obligated, but they're not sexually attracted to them but is hot for men and... a man who is hot for both men and woman.

It's a desire thing; an attraction thing. It's not a "having sex with someone" thing.
This, absolutely.

But I think there's some people who could go either way (in the sense that they might call themselves bisexual, or they might call themselves gay/straight). With Crow, I find myself struggling with his identity. He definitely enjoys having sex with women, and he feels a weak attraction towards women, but he has a strong preference for men.

Viridian
06-25-2015, 11:28 PM
In the previous example, though, characters who have sex with women out of obligation or because it's just what you do are readily identifying as bisexual. Which, again, everyone defines their identity however they're comfortable, but I find it puzzling in that scenario. We're defining someone's sexuality based on who they've had sex with, rather than who they want to have sex with. By that logic, a girl who experimented with girls as a teenager out of curiosity, but eventually figured out she was straight, would be classified as bisexual just like the girl who dated boys (because that's the norm) until she realized she was actually into girls.

I think my primary objection to it is that it brings to mind "you're only a lesbian because you haven't met the right man." I just don't believe that all it takes to redefine someone's sexuality is sex (regardless of why they're having it).

Again, people identify as they will. It's none of my business. But from the POV of a writer creating and defining a character, I do question the use of bisexual as part of the identity of someone who has no sexual desire toward men or toward women, since that's contrary to the very definition of bisexual.
Yeah, that's true. I read it that way as well, and I agree.

But we're only getting a brief description. There might be more to that story or that character. That's all.

Latina Bunny
06-26-2015, 01:33 AM
Couldn't someone be bi-romantic (is that a word), but not bisexual? Like, they could like someone romantically, but not interested sexually?

Noizchild
06-26-2015, 04:15 AM
Couldn't someone be bi-romantic (is that a word), but not bisexual? Like, they could like someone romantically, but not interested sexually?

I never heard of that.

Latina Bunny
06-26-2015, 04:37 AM
Oh, I just googled it, and apparently biromantic is a real (slang?) term used. I think I've heard it used once in an LGBTA/Ace community forum.

http://bn.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=biromantic

http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Biromantic

"A person who is romantically attracted (http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Attraction#Romantic_Attraction) to two sexes or genders. Biromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to biromantic is bisexual (http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Bisexual)."

shivadyne
06-26-2015, 06:50 AM
Couldn't someone be bi-romantic (is that a word), but not bisexual? Like, they could like someone romantically, but not interested sexually?

yeah, they could be biromantic. i considered bringing it up briefly, but the attraction (towards men and not towards women) for this character seemed to be sexually based for the most part. he could be a biromantic homosexual, i guess? i don't really know and i'd need more information to be sure.

i mostly know the term because i identify as a panromantic ace lol.

thethinker42
06-26-2015, 11:58 AM
Sure, I suppose someone could be bi-romantic. There again, there's a level of attraction, even if it's romantic versus sexual. My only objection is labeling someone based on who they've had sex with, because there are people who've never had sex with one gender or another (I knew I was bi for years before I slept with a woman), and there are people who've had sex outside the spectrum to which they're attracted. Having sex with someone out of obligation no more defines a person's sexuality than a lavender marriage makes a gay man straight.

Noizchild
06-26-2015, 10:55 PM
Oh, I just googled it, and apparently biromantic is a real (slang?) term used. I think I've heard it used once in an LGBTA/Ace community forum.

http://bn.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=biromantic

http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Biromantic

"A person who is romantically attracted (http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Attraction#Romantic_Attraction) to two sexes or genders. Biromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to biromantic is bisexual (http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Bisexual)."

I guess you learn something new every day.

Latina Bunny
06-27-2015, 01:55 AM
Sure, I suppose someone could be bi-romantic. There again, there's a level of attraction, even if it's romantic versus sexual. My only objection is labeling someone based on who they've had sex with, because there are people who've never had sex with one gender or another (I knew I was bi for years before I slept with a woman), and there are people who've had sex outside the spectrum to which they're attracted. Having sex with someone out of obligation no more defines a person's sexuality than a lavender marriage makes a gay man straight.

Ah, I see.

Ooh, I had a recent incident in which a co-worker doesn't believe that I could identify as LGBTQA (attracted to female sex or just not interested at all) because I never had the sexual experience. Guys in particular don't attract me sexually at all so far, (but I do like pretty/handsome faces and admire fit physiques in an abstract way, but not aroused or interested in a romance with guys), but she asks how I would I know if I never dated or had sex with one, and that maybe I just needed to find the "right man". So very frustrating. :rant:

...Ironically, I write sweet m/m and m/f more than f/f. F/f I read more erotica for.

EtA: I might be interested in a romance with dudes maybe in the future, but it would have to a submissive or laid back dude. I'm very stubborn and I would like to be the assertive (or aggressive?)/dominant one in a relationship.

shivadyne
06-27-2015, 07:32 AM
Ah, I see.

Ooh, I had a recent incident in which a co-worker doesn't believe that I could identify as LGBTQA (attracted to female sex or just not interested at all) because I never had the sexual experience. Guys in particular don't attract me sexually at all so far, (but I do like pretty/handsome faces and admire fit physiques in an abstract way, but not aroused or interested in a romance with guys), but she asks how I would I know if I never dated or had sex with one, and that maybe I just needed to find the "right man". So very frustrating. :rant:

...Ironically, I write sweet m/m and m/f more than f/f. F/f I read more erotica for.

EtA: I might be interested in a romance with dudes maybe in the future, but it would have to a submissive or laid back dude. I'm very stubborn and I would like to be the assertive (or aggressive?)/dominant one in a relationship.

i think that's an issue a lot, surprisingly. as an asexual, i've had a lot of people tell me that i'll "get it when i'm older" or that i just need to "find the right man". interesting how everything always revolves around a man in such circumstances, even when it has nothing to do with them.

and yeah, i get what you mean about being disinterested in dating overly aggressive guys. i'm pretty much the same in those respects.

thethinker42
06-27-2015, 10:52 AM
i think that's an issue a lot, surprisingly. as an asexual, i've had a lot of people tell me that i'll "get it when i'm older" or that i just need to "find the right man". interesting how everything always revolves around a man in such circumstances, even when it has nothing to do with them.

and yeah, i get what you mean about being disinterested in dating overly aggressive guys. i'm pretty much the same in those respects.

And people think misogyny is dead. >.< Female sexuality is always, it seems, defined by men. If we're bi, we're a jackpot for men who want threesomes. If we're straight, that's awesome, but we'd better put out for him and not want sex with other guys because then we're sluts. If we're lesbians, then we just need to find the right guy to show us how straight we are, and/or we're personally insulting a man and his penis by saying he isn't what we want. Our sexual orientation can never be about what we want. This is why, at the extreme end of things, corrective rape exists. A woman is attracted to women for her own sexual pleasure, not the viewing pleasure of a man, and along comes a jackass who sees that as a personal insult to his masculinity, so he decides to, well, you get the idea.

Also, I don't notice anyone telling straight people "you just haven't found the right same-sex person..." *eyeroll*

Melanii
06-27-2015, 05:55 PM
That'd be humorous though! Next time a straight person says something silly, do it right back at them!

in all seriousness, I think they are dumb for thinking" you haven't met the right man yet", because if you didn't already find him/them attractive, you probably won't be interested in sleeping with them either. I dunno.

amergina
06-27-2015, 06:26 PM
And people think misogyny is dead. >.< Female sexuality is always, it seems, defined by men. If we're bi, we're a jackpot for men who want threesomes. If we're straight, that's awesome, but we'd better put out for him and not want sex with other guys because then we're sluts. If we're lesbians, then we just need to find the right guy to show us how straight we are, and/or we're personally insulting a man and his penis by saying he isn't what we want. Our sexual orientation can never be about what we want. This is why, at the extreme end of things, corrective rape exists. A woman is attracted to women for her own sexual pleasure, not the viewing pleasure of a man, and along comes a jackass who sees that as a personal insult to his masculinity, so he decides to, well, you get the idea.

Also, I don't notice anyone telling straight people "you just haven't found the right same-sex person..." *eyeroll*

This is OT, but misogyny about female sexuality is also why romance, as a writing genre, tends to be put down by people. It's "mommy porn" or not real writing because it's generally written for women by women about what women want and what pleases women.

God forbid we have our own sexual fantasies.

anastasiareeves
06-27-2015, 07:03 PM
And people think misogyny is dead. >.< Female sexuality is always, it seems, defined by men. If we're bi, we're a jackpot for men who want threesomes. If we're straight, that's awesome, but we'd better put out for him and not want sex with other guys because then we're sluts. If we're lesbians, then we just need to find the right guy to show us how straight we are, and/or we're personally insulting a man and his penis by saying he isn't what we want. Our sexual orientation can never be about what we want. This is why, at the extreme end of things, corrective rape exists. A woman is attracted to women for her own sexual pleasure, not the viewing pleasure of a man, and along comes a jackass who sees that as a personal insult to his masculinity, so he decides to, well, you get the idea.

Also, I don't notice anyone telling straight people "you just haven't found the right same-sex person..." *eyeroll*

I do. I have. I continue to. They think I'm doing it ironically. But I am 100% serious. I also say things like "how do you know you're straight?" and "when did you choose to be straight?" Needless to say it doesn't go over well. :)

A lot of people discount or flat out deny the existence of anything they do not understand. A man who cannot see himself in any sort of relationship with another man, be it sexually or romantically, will argue the existence of bisexuality or homosexuality, same goes for women. We are also a society of, pardon the term, black and white. You are either man or woman. You are either gay or straight. There are no blurred lines. We know that in reality the lines are nearly impossible to see.

We are all complicated people who would love to just be simple. Some push that simplicity on to others in order to simplify themselves. Sadly it is these people that are in charge, or are the loudest.

Ana, pointer outer of the hypocritical.

KimJo
06-27-2015, 07:52 PM
How can they be bisexual if they don't enjoy sleeping with women or don't find them sexually attractive? D: *is confused*

I still see a lot of m/m here... Way more tha f/f. That makes me want to write my story more (bi mc female yeah). I haven't felt well enough to be creative recently, so I'm not pleased with my lack of writing it. :(

I didn't say they *are* bisexual; they *identify* that way. (As the author/independent observer, I would consider both of them gay, but I give my characters the same consideration as real people: Their identification of themselves is more valid than my identification of them.)

I agree with what's been said about whether those characters would actually be considered bisexual, and as I said, *I* consider both of them gay. But *they*, in the context of their respective stories, firmly identify as bisexual; that's part of their characterization and self-description within the stories.

They aren't repulsed by having sex with women; it just isn't their thing. But also, I had this debate with an editor and a couple of readers when the werewolf one was published; while I stated that despite the character's self-identification, I considered him gay, the response from all three of the people who debated with me was "If he's had sex with women, he's bi." Which is the basis for the werewolf alpha's self-identification, written before I had those conversations; to *him* (bearing in mind he grew up in the 1970s-1980s with very conservative parents), having sex with women but being sexually attracted to men makes him bisexual.

The other character is harder to define; he enjoys sex in general, regardless of who he's having it with, because it feels good. So from that perspective, he doesn't have any issue having sex with a woman. But as far as sexual and romantic *attraction*, he tends to be attracted to men. He's had male/male encounters that not even his best friend knows about, but publicly he's been only with women because he wants to keep the rock star image going.

Samsonet
06-27-2015, 10:02 PM
I have a question...

In the YA story I'm plotting for July, the main character is bi. Thing is, due to the nature of the story and the character herself, she hasn't been in a relationship with a boy, let alone a girl, even though she's attracted to both sexes and has a few crushes on different people. Do you think readers would still realize she was bi? For the story I have in mind I suppose it doesn't really matter whether she is or not, but still.

Also, do you think I could have a love triangle where one of the love interests is male and the other female without it coming across as "pick a side" sexuality-wise? I'm sick of the stereotype that you're only bi if you're sleeping with a man and a woman at the same time, but worried that having the character date only one person will look like she was just confused as to her "real" sexuality.

Noizchild
06-27-2015, 10:12 PM
I have a question...

In the YA story I'm plotting for July, the main character is bi. Thing is, due to the nature of the story and the character herself, she hasn't been in a relationship with a boy, let alone a girl, even though she's attracted to both sexes and has a few crushes on different people. Do you think readers would still realize she was bi? For the story I have in mind I suppose it doesn't really matter whether she is or not, but still.

Also, do you think I could have a love triangle where one of the love interests is male and the other female without it coming across as "pick a side" sexuality-wise? I'm sick of the stereotype that you're only bi if you're sleeping with a man and a woman at the same time, but worried that having the character date only one person will look like she was just confused as to her "real" sexuality.

Is she confused about her sexuality or does she know that she's bi?

Latina Bunny
06-27-2015, 10:13 PM
I have a question...

In the YA story I'm plotting for July, the main character is bi. Thing is, due to the nature of the story and the character herself, she hasn't been in a relationship with a boy, let alone a girl, even though she's attracted to both sexes and has a few crushes on different people. Do you think readers would still realize she was bi? For the story I have in mind I suppose it doesn't really matter whether she is or not, but still.

Also, do you think I could have a love triangle where one of the love interests is male and the other female without it coming across as "pick a side" sexuality-wise? I'm sick of the stereotype that you're only bi if you're sleeping with a man and a woman at the same time, but worried that having the character date only one person will look like she was just confused as to her "real" sexuality.

If she has crushes or get aroused by both sexes, I would think she's bi, I would think?

thethinker42
06-27-2015, 10:26 PM
I didn't say they *are* bisexual; they *identify* that way. (As the author/independent observer, I would consider both of them gay, but I give my characters the same consideration as real people: Their identification of themselves is more valid than my identification of them.)

I agree with what's been said about whether those characters would actually be considered bisexual, and as I said, *I* consider both of them gay. But *they*, in the context of their respective stories, firmly identify as bisexual; that's part of their characterization and self-description within the stories.

Yes, I understand that, and how a person identifies is up to them as an individual. I'm not judging that. That said, we're talking about fictional characters, and I would find it incredibly puzzling to be reading about a character who considers himself bisexual when he's clearly only attracted to men unless there was an explanation for why he felt that way. Why he was holding onto the label bisexual even though it doesn't sound like it describes him at all. And maybe there is in your story - obviously I can't say one way or the other because I'm only going by what's posted here. But based on what I've read here, I would struggle very hard to understand why the person was identifying as bisexual unless he was (for example) trying to rationalize/explain the sex he'd had with women, trying to claim some agency for something he'd had to do, etc. As it's presented here, I find it confusing.


They aren't repulsed by having sex with women; it just isn't their thing.

They don't have to be repulsed by it. There are plenty of gay men who aren't repulsed by the idea of sex with women. But saying sex with women isn't their thing is a direct contradiction to the term bisexual. Being bisexual means sexual attraction to both sexes IS their thing. That's the meaning of the word.


But also, I had this debate with an editor and a couple of readers when the werewolf one was published; while I stated that despite the character's self-identification, I considered him gay, the response from all three of the people who debated with me was "If he's had sex with women, he's bi." Which is the basis for the werewolf alpha's self-identification, written before I had those conversations; to *him* (bearing in mind he grew up in the 1970s-1980s with very conservative parents), having sex with women but being sexually attracted to men makes him bisexual.

(bolding mine) I don't understand this argument at all. Not even a little. In fact, it's exactly the kind of thing that makes me feel like I'm beating my head against a wall when I discuss bisexuality with people who don't understand it. My assertion that I was bisexual was laughed off because I *hadn't* had sex with a woman, just like it's written off now because I'm married to a man (and very few people know I have a girlfriend). My identity is deemed invalid because people have it in their heads that we're defined by who we fuck, not who we're attracted to. Bisexuals constantly have to fight off the assertion that your orientation is defined by the person you're currently having sex with, or that being bisexual means you'll have sex (or have had sex) with anything that moves. Having your identity defined by people you've had sex with in the past -- even if you were just experimenting, or you did so out of obligation, etc -- is even more frustrating. So when I see a fictional character reinforcing that notion without a clear explanation as to why and how he completely misses the point of what bisexuality is, it's even worse than when bisexuals simply don't exist at all.

Being from the 1970s/1980s in a conservative household doesn't really lend itself to using bisexuality as a label either, because conservative households in those decades could barely speak the word "gay." Bisexuality is barely understood today. Hell, I grew up in Seattle in the 1980s/1990s and didn't have the first clue about bisexuality until my twenties.


The other character is harder to define; he enjoys sex in general, regardless of who he's having it with, because it feels good. So from that perspective, he doesn't have any issue having sex with a woman. But as far as sexual and romantic *attraction*, he tends to be attracted to men. He's had male/male encounters that not even his best friend knows about, but publicly he's been only with women because he wants to keep the rock star image going.

Again, seeing this person label himself as bisexual would definitely make me do a double take. An individual's identity is their business, but in fiction, I would assume there'd be a reason to use the label like that. What I'm gathering from your post is that if a man isn't repulsed by sex with a woman, and he doesn't have any issue with having sex with a woman, then having sex with a woman makes him bisexual. I'd be very, very curious about how the character(s) reached that conclusion, especially since bisexuality is generally *less* understood than homosexuality. If a person is self-aware and accepting enough to realize they're queer, I'd be curious why they'd choose bisexual over gay when they don't actually have any bisexual tendencies.

Yes, of course, a person can identify however they want. But as a reader I'd be thrown out of the story very quickly unless it was clear that the character misunderstood what bisexual meant, and that it was a deliberate choice for whatever reason. Because the only thing more frustrating than bisexual erasure is the reinforcement of stereotypes that undermine what it even means to have a sexual orientation. I have loads of gay friends who've had sex with women because they were closeted, experimenting, or what have you, and I guarantee it would not go over well to try to label them as bisexual. They struggled hard to come to terms with their sexuality. I struggled hard to come to terms with mine. And yes, I struggle very hard with characters in fiction who identify themselves according to stereotypical criteria without at least some acknowledgment (even a minor character commenting or whatever) that their identity and the accepted definition of that label don't line up.

Viridian
06-27-2015, 10:49 PM
(bolding mine) I don't understand this argument at all. Not even a little. In fact, it's exactly the kind of thing that makes me feel like I'm beating my head against a wall when I discuss bisexuality with people who don't understand it. My assertion that I was bisexual was laughed off because I *hadn't* had sex with a woman, just like it's written off now because I'm married to a man (and very few people know I have a girlfriend).
*hugs* MY COMPATRIOT.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/48/96/bd/4896bdc7789cdc5bc872a36d1f9d9b1c.jpg

I had this exact same conversation so many times. Have had sex with a woman; can't tell anyone.

Why should I have to "prove" my sexuality, anyway?

Viridian
06-27-2015, 10:56 PM
In the YA story I'm plotting for July, the main character is bi. Thing is, due to the nature of the story and the character herself, she hasn't been in a relationship with a boy, let alone a girl, even though she's attracted to both sexes and has a few crushes on different people. Do you think readers would still realize she was bi?
If you indicate in the story that she's bi, readers might pick up on it. I guarantee you'll have readers question it, though.

You could just outright use the word "bisexual."

Also, do you think I could have a love triangle where one of the love interests is male and the other female without it coming across as "pick a side" sexuality-wise? I'm sick of the stereotype that you're only bi if you're sleeping with a man and a woman at the same time, but worried that having the character date only one person will look like she was just confused as to her "real" sexuality.
Some people may read it that way. However, if you work hard not to present it that way, fewer will misunderstand it.

Why not give her an ex-girlfriend? Maybe someone she's still heartbroken over. Don't question her attraction to women; make it a given. Maybe that person broke up with her for completely unrelated reasons.

Also, get a bisexual beta reader and listen to them.

thethinker42
06-27-2015, 11:08 PM
*hugs* MY COMPATRIOT.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/48/96/bd/4896bdc7789cdc5bc872a36d1f9d9b1c.jpg

FIST BUMP.


I had this exact same conversation so many times. Have had sex with a woman; can't tell anyone.

Why should I have to "prove" my sexuality, anyway?

Yes, yes, and yes. It's aggravating as fuck. It's bad enough I can't be "out" with my girlfriend for a lot of reasons. I'm just getting people in my life to understand what bisexuality is enough that I might be able to tip my hand about a few things, but the misconception game is starting to feel a lot like Whack-A-Mole.

amergina
06-27-2015, 11:15 PM
I still get told my attraction to women is a phase (I'm 43--trust me, it's not a phase). I'm *either* straight or a lesbian, depending on who I'm having sex with. Or a complete slut if I'm having sex with a man and a woman at the same time. (And straight, since there's a guy involved, so I must just be with her for him, you know because he's got a dick and if you've touched a dick as a woman you are straaaaaaaaight!)

I don't like seeing those incorrect stereotypes reinforced in fiction (without some acknowledgement that they are incorrect) because it's actually *damaging* to both bi/pansexuals and to gays and lesbians.

It's okay to identify as gay if you've had sex with the opposite gender if you're, you know, gay. You're only sexually/romantically attracted to your gender. It's also okay to identify as bi without ever having sex with the same gender if you're sexually/romantically attracted to both the same and other genders.

I mean, it's like claiming someone couldn't possibly be asexual because they've had sex.

I mean, yes, people do think that (and it's wrong)... and it can be put in a book and characters can think that (and the character would be wrong)... but I also think as authors of queer books, we have a responsibility to let the readers know when our characters are wrong, you know?

thethinker42
06-27-2015, 11:17 PM
I don't like seeing those incorrect stereotypes reinforced in fiction (without some acknowledgement that they are incorrect) because it's actually *damaging* to both bi/pansexuals and to gays and lesbians.

This. 1,000 times, this.

Viridian
06-27-2015, 11:31 PM
I still get told my attraction to women is a phase (I'm 43--trust me, it's not a phase).
Hahaha.

Can you imagine your funeral? A person stands next to your casket: "Wow, ninety years old and she still insisted she was bisexual. It's a pity she died before she came out of that phase."

KimJo
06-28-2015, 03:39 AM
Lori, I completely understand what you're saying, and I'm not explaining myself very well here. It is explained in a more logical way in the werewolf books why Tobias chooses to identify as bisexual. The character in the other books... I can't remember if he actually says he's bisexual, or if his love interest assumes he is because he's been sexually involved with women and therefore the love interest assumes he's sexually *attracted* to them. Though as I think I said in my last post, that character, I think, would be considered biromantic, because he does experience *romantic* attraction to women.

As I said, I'm not explaining things well here, and kind of wish I'd kept my mouth shut because I don't want to be offensive and I feel like I am being. I know my characters and my books, but the rest of you, as Lori said, only know what I'm posting. To be a little clear (I hope), *I* don't believe that who you have sex with defines your sexual orientation. And in my books, I try to be accurate and way more clear than my posts here would indicate.

I apologize if I did offend anyone.

Samsonet
06-28-2015, 04:43 AM
If you indicate in the story that she's bi, readers might pick up on it. I guarantee you'll have readers question it, though.

You could just outright use the word "bisexual."

Some people may read it that way. However, if you work hard not to present it that way, fewer will misunderstand it.

Why not give her an ex-girlfriend? Maybe someone she's still heartbroken over. Don't question her attraction to women; make it a given. Maybe that person broke up with her for completely unrelated reasons.

Also, get a bisexual beta reader and listen to them.

This is the thing -- I identify as bi for similar reasons as my character does. Crushes, yes, attraction, yes​... but no experience. It's leaving me paranoid as to whether I'm "bi enough" to be writing about a bi character, especially if I end up writing the love triangle as an actual love triangle. This is probably why this character is bothering me so much.

Maybe I should just keep the triangle as a non-romance-related choice.

DancingMaenid
06-28-2015, 05:41 AM
(bolding mine) I don't understand this argument at all. Not even a little. In fact, it's exactly the kind of thing that makes me feel like I'm beating my head against a wall when I discuss bisexuality with people who don't understand it. My assertion that I was bisexual was laughed off because I *hadn't* had sex with a woman, just like it's written off now because I'm married to a man (and very few people know I have a girlfriend). My identity is deemed invalid because people have it in their heads that we're defined by who we fuck, not who we're attracted to. Bisexuals constantly have to fight off the assertion that your orientation is defined by the person you're currently having sex with, or that being bisexual means you'll have sex (or have had sex) with anything that moves. Having your identity defined by people you've had sex with in the past -- even if you were just experimenting, or you did so out of obligation, etc -- is even more frustrating. So when I see a fictional character reinforcing that notion without a clear explanation as to why and how he completely misses the point of what bisexuality is, it's even worse than when bisexuals simply don't exist at all.

Well said. I don't expect fictional characters' sexuality to always fit strict definitions, or for characters to always describe their own sexuality in ways that I would agree with, but it can be frustrating to feel like stereotypes and misinformation is being spread. Especially when publishers encourage it by not understanding how sexual orientation works.

I'm a little sensitive to characters (and real people) being defined as bisexual based on flimsy pretext because I feel like it can lead to rather meaningless "representation" at times. Sometimes it's frustrating to seek out something specifically to read about bisexual people, only to find that whoever described the characters as bisexual were using "bisexual" very loosely.

I also see a tendency sometimes to insist that queer historical figures were bisexual (not gay/lesbian) if they ever had heterosexual relationships, and sometimes people can be very insistent that calling them anything other than bisexual is bi erasure. But the thing is, if someone lived in a time/culture that didn't recognize labels like "gay" or "bisexual," or where entering into a heterosexual marriage by default was strongly expected, it's tough to know how that person would identify if they were alive today. Maybe Oscar Wilde was bisexual. Maybe he was a gay man. He didn't really have the vocabulary back then to differentiate between the two the way we do. We just know that he was a man who was married to a woman but had relationships with men.

The same thing happens with trans characters and historical figures, too. I've seen Joan of Arc described as a transgender figure in history because she's famous for wearing men's clothes, but as far as I know, there's no reason to think that she necessarily identified as male/third gender or experienced dysphoria like many trans people do. On the one hand, I get why people want to look for any possibilities they can find. We have no way of knowing, for the most part, which historical figures might have been trans, so focusing on gender-nonconforming individuals is the next best thing. But it can be frustrating.

So I think there's a lot to be said for avoiding a label if it doesn't really fit well. Obviously, sometimes people and characters do self-identify in a particular way that may not match everyone's definition, and if there's a good reason for a character to identify as bisexual without really fitting the definition of being bisexual, I can buy it. But I think it's fine to not label someone if their sexuality doesn't really fit a label.

I have a character in one of my WIPs whom I think is generally straight. Given a choice between being with a man and being with a woman, he'll choose a woman. And the characters he falls for romantically are all female. But he has sex with men sometimes and can enjoy it. I don't really see him as bisexual, necessarily, because he's not interested in men. But I've decided it's easiest not to label him.


Being from the 1970s/1980s in a conservative household doesn't really lend itself to using bisexuality as a label either, because conservative households in those decades could barely speak the word "gay." Bisexuality is barely understood today. Hell, I grew up in Seattle in the 1980s/1990s and didn't have the first clue about bisexuality until my twenties.

My experience, personally, has been that conservative environments are more likely to foster a much more black-and-white view of sexuality that isn't conducive to people acknowledging the possibility of bisexuality.

In general, I think the incidence of bisexuality is far underreported through self-identification. A lot of people who could reasonably call themselves bisexual don't identify as such because society can have some pretty rigid ideas about what "counts" and what doesn't. And then there are people whose bisexual feelings just aren't strong enough for them to feel like it counts. Maybe they're into men 95% of the time but they like to fantasize about female celebrities sometimes, for example.

So I would be surprised by someone identifying as bisexual when they don't have any bisexual attraction/tendencies at all. I could believe it, but it would depend a lot on how it was written.

Melanii
06-28-2015, 07:46 AM
This is the thing -- I identify as bi for similar reasons as my character does. Crushes, yes, attraction, yes​... but no experience. It's leaving me paranoid as to whether I'm "bi enough" to be writing about a bi character, especially if I end up writing the love triangle as an actual love triangle. This is probably why this character is bothering me so much.

Maybe I should just keep the triangle as a non-romance-related choice.

This is me as well. I'm still going to do it, anyway. XD

BusyHoneyBee
06-30-2015, 05:08 PM
In my current WIP, the relationships are about 50:50 hetero:homo, and out of all of the characters (including those not in a relationship), I'd say they are 1/3 bi, 1/3 gay and 1/3 straight. It's not a major part of the book (which has a predominantly sci-if plot) but as someone who likes to know their characters well, I try to slip in tidbits of information about them through dialogue or observations of the 1st person POV MC, including their sexuality but also things like favourite colours or foods, and what sort of family they come from :) and as a straight woman who has had bi and gay friends of both genders, I think it's important to represent them in fiction, but not make it a big deal (unless it's part of the plot of course)