As a feminine woman who identifies as queer, I experience daily erasure of my identity from both the heterosexual world and from the queer community. A lot of folks assume that because I present as feminine, and because I am with a cis hetero man, my life experiences prior to my relationship are erased. I came out to my parents when I was fifteen, and I was lucky to have never been chastised by them.
Unfortunately, that did not save me from the torture of being queer in a small southern town in which the main pastimes were going to the rodeo, cooking meth, lots of statutory rapes, and going to church. It was an enormous relief when we ended up back in my hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, but then I was too feminine to be taken seriously as a potential partner in a lesbian relationship. When I was able to date other femmes, most of our dates ended up with men trying to pick up my girlfriend and assuming that I was just the fat friend. I ran into the same erasure as I came into my own as a femme living in Portland, Oregon. I am an assertive, confident femme who is attracted to all genders, but I was never masculine enough to attract other femmes.
Three years ago, I fell in love with a cisgender heterosexual man who would prove to stay with me through thick and thin. It is difficult to be with him at times, as I am still very attracted to other women, but also very aware that I cannot be in a polyamorous relationship, and he most likely couldn’t function well in one, either. When people think about queer/bisexual/pansexual women in a relationship with hetero men, they typically assume it’s going to be threesomes with other women all of the time. They hit on us and think that we are an easy target under the assumption that bisexual people are non-monogamous.
Here’s 7 things you need to know about being in a relationship with a bisexual woman
- This is not a phase.
If anything, the person that I am with is more likely to be a phase than my sexual identity. I am not confused – I am a complex person who figured it out long before you or they came along. Take your assumptions to the internet or bookstore and read a bit about gender theory and sexuality.
- Being in a relationship with a non-hetero person does not mean that you are going to have threesomes.
Regardless of sexual urges and curiosities, not everyone is emotionally ready to open themselves (and their legs) to multiple partners to quench these desires. I may fantasize about being with another woman at times, but the thought of my partner penetrating another woman literally nauseates me. I’m not that woman, but have no judgment against those who are.
- If you are in an open relationship in which you share partners, you will not necessarily have the same taste in folks as your partner.
You may even fight over it. My partner loves me and my body, but he is often attracted to plainly dressed or hippie-ish thin, avian-like women with long noses, olive skin, and dark eyes. I am built like a Valkyrie, blue eyes, ample ass and cupid’s bow lips. I like thick or fat, glamorous women that remind me of myself in some way or another, be it demeanor or physique. It is unlikely that you will see me bed a hippie woman, as they remind me of my mother. If we were to step outside of the confines of our relationship, we would have to compromise on the partners that we shared, just as I had to do with previous partners. Same would go for a femme partner and I sharing a masculine bed guest. It’s not just this giant bonerfest, as some (especially cis hetero men) think it will be.
- Queer/Bisexual/Pan/, etc. folks are just as capable of monogamy as anyone else.
I can’t imagine personally being able to keep a family together if I introduced other partners into the mix and I am trying to plan a future with my fiancee. Now, monogamy means different things to everyone. What we consider “common sense” when it comes to monogamy might not be common sense to your partner. Sometimes, the simple act of consistently prioritizing another person before your partner is sufficient to be considered cheating. You don’t have to kiss someone or have sex with them to break a covenant between you and your partner. I’ve had a partner who had sex with other people, and I was less bothered by it than when they spent their time and gave their emotional energy to another person, meeting clandestinely to talk late at night like we used to. True intimacy is what I thirst for, and it ended up destroying our relationship.
- We’re not all kinky.
I’m actually not a kinky person at all and have excellent, deeply fulfilling vanilla sex that I am thrilled with. However, one person’s vanilla is another person’s kink and vice versa.
- This is especially angering and invasive – I’ve had people assume that I was a victim of sexual abuse. While I am a victim of sexual abuse, my crushes on other girls started with my Malibu Barbie doll (her name was Sara) and then my best friend in kindergarten (Jenny). Many men feel that they have to explain away a woman’s sexuality by asserting an assault from a man, therefore putting the power back into a man’s hands. While I have met some women that have chosen to no longer date men because of a traumatic assault, I am not one of them. However, you will certainly have to prove your trustworthiness and lack of misogyny for me to be down with you.
- I am not down to hear you objectify women.
“I’m not your bro,” says Zora Harvey, “Just because I’m down for multiple genders does not mean that I am just down in general. It doesn’t mean that I want to do you. People assume that being bi or pansexual just means you are down to sleep with anyone.” If I am with a feminine partner, I certainly do not want to hear about how you want to have sex with them, ignoring the boundaries of our relationship which are unknown to you.
Before you think about committing to someone, you need to drop all assumptions that you have about them and really get to know them. This goes for anyone, any gender, and any sexuality. Ask questions and reflect what they are saying. The less you act like you know, the more you actually can learn about the person you are with.