Saye Bennett: Where the Bisexuals At? 


Most of my readers likely know Saye Bennett, lesbian femme blogger and partner of Dirt. My followers also know that I’m doing a series on bisexuality and I invited Saye to do a series of blog posts to bring in the opposing side. So without further ado…here goes!

Bi? Get Real!

If I had been asked to do a guest post on bisexuality a month ago, it would have been a very short post, LOL!  But: reading joannadeadwinter’s first 2 posts regarding her theory of bisexuality has been very interesting and informative. Plus, I am always willing to take a closer look at my views and having a back-and-forth discussion is a good way to look at all angles of a topic. So this first guest post will address what I have always believed and why I have come to these conclusions.

My view on bisexuality has always been the same: I have never believed true bisexuality really exists.  I know that probably sounds harsh, but I truly don’t mean it that way. I am not denying anybody’s rights to do whatever they please as long as it’s legal, and I am not encouraging discrimination of any sort; rather, I am stating my opinion on the matter based on my observations.  

So please hang in there and allow me to explain my views: (Please note that I am talking about females because I don’t know any males who say they are bisexual, and male sexuality does not interest me enough to research it). 

Okay, so, here goes: I have been out as a lesbian and involved in the lesbian community for many years now, and I know many lesbians and know of many more. But I have never in all these years…I repeat, NEVER…met or heard of a woman who claimed to be bisexual who wasn’t really a straight woman.  The few I knew of in my teens and 20’s were all adventurous, curious, and exciting women who then married men and become soccer moms before the age of 30. The ones who I have known of who claimed to be bisexual later in life have been straight women who are sick of men and are thinking the grass was greener on the other side; and once they had a fling with a woman, they returned to men…where they stayed. Of course, I won’t name any names since they are private citizens who are entitled to their privacy, but I have kept up with them through the grapevine as a sort of informal research into the topic. And they are ALL still with men now. Granted, even though I have been out for years and know a lot of people in the lesbian community, I admit that my sample size is limited and can’t possibly encompass every single instance.  

But: even the most well-known celebrities who have claimed to be bisexual have ended up with men:  Amber Heard, Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan…just to name a few.  (And this doesn’t even count the numerous Straightbians like Anne Heche who have called themselves lesbian but are really straight, but that is another topic).

In regards to the often-asked question as to why would anyone say they are bisexual when they are really straight: there could be many reasons, including but not limited to: curiosity, adventurousness, rebelliousness, wanting to be different/cool, wanting attention, feeling close to female friends and mistaking that closeness for romantic feelings, performance for men, confusion about feelings, trauma, etc.  The main argument against my theory that these are really straight women usually is: “Well, if someone is bisexual, then there’s a 50/50 chance she will end up with a man, right?”  Well, not even addressing all the ways that this question itself is faulty, the main question when faced with that argument is: Then why do they ALWAYS seems to end up with men?  If it were truly a coin-toss situation, wouldn’t approximately half of them end up with women?  But, no, that doesn’t happen, at least not that I have observed.  

The other argument that people bring up against my theory is that it is simply easier and more socially acceptable for a woman to partner with a man, thereby explaining why most/all end up with men. Although I agree that a stigma to have a same-sex partner remains, I don’t think this simplistic explanation is the reason that most/all end up with men. Plus, if a woman is bold enough to publicly declare that she is bisexual, I think she is unlikely to be the cautious, do-what-society-expects-of-me type anyway.

So while I realize that bisexual behavior obviously can and does exist, I still question: is bisexuality an actual orientation?  One thing that has always struck me as impossible is being equally attracted to both sexes; because the differences between men and women are so significant that I cannot imagine someone being equally attracted to both.  joannadeadwinter makes the point that there is a leaning toward one or the other, which certainly makes much more sense than the 50/50 theory.  

Whatever the case, I think that the term bisexual is misused and overused. Just yesterday, I was reminded of this when I was getting my hair cut.  A woman who appeared to be in her mid-late 50’s (and was very upper-middle-class, conservative looking, and Martha Stewart-ish) was seated next to me while getting her hair done, so I could clearly hear the conversation that this woman and her stylist were having. They were talking about how they are different now than when they were in their 20’s, and this woman suddenly stated, “Oh, when I was in my 20’s, I was a crazy bisexual bitch!” Needless to say, that statement got my attention, so I continued to listen. She went on to explain that her boyfriend at the time had wanted to have a threesome, so they picked up another woman at a bar and even had a three-way relationship with her for a brief time. It didn’t end well, unsurprisingly. The woman went on to say that soon afterwards, she met and married the man who still is her husband and she “turned into a Republican”. I didn’t interject my thoughts, but you can imagine what they were: This woman was never a bisexual (or lesbian) at all.  She engaged in a threesome to please her man. Period. She was, and still is, straight, but this example illustrates how the term bisexual is misused and overused, which undoubtedly leads to some of the stigma and confusion associated with the term.  

I will close this post by saying that I still have my opinions about this topic (obviously, LOL!), but I am always very open to further thought and discussion, and thanks to joannadeadwinter for suggesting this conversation!   

Comment away!

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34 comments

  1. purplesagefem · August 5

    It’s completely ridiculous to suggest that bisexuality doesn’t exist. People who have romantic and sexual relationships with both sexes are bisexual. Bisexuals don’t have a 50/50 chance to end up with men or women because of the numbers of people who are same-sex attracted. Since about 95% of people are heterosexual, any bisexual person is going to meet tons more candidates of the opposite sex than of the same sex. It’s just statistical, it’s not because they prefer one over the other.
    Dirt and Saye are determined to believe that true lesbians are very rare and that many lesbian and bisexual women are actually straight. This is quite nonsensical and silly. Women who are attracted to women and have romantic and sexual relationships with women are not straight.

    • joannadeadwinter · August 5

      This is why I posted this, to start a discussion and get it out in the open. I believe bisexuality is real and I identify as bisexual, as you know. Saye and Dirt aren’t the only people that I’ve met that have these views and I want to get why. Thank you for your honest comments, and yes, you’re right that statistics are a factor.

      Lesbians, gays, and bisexuals aren’t as common as queer activists make them out to be, but they’re not rare either.

      • purplesagefem · August 5

        Dirt has already accused me of being a “STRAIGHTBIAN” (in all caps.)

      • joannadeadwinter · August 5

        Which is totally uncalled for, I will certainly stand up for you, and I hope your real friends who know you will do the same.
        My goal, and Saye Bennett’s goal, is to talk about bisexuality as a concept, discuss facts and research, etc. I don’t allow personal attacks on anyone on my blog, and I will not all anyone to make accusations against you or anyone else. Ooh, all caps? How persuasive, I’m shaking.;)

    • Saye Bennett · August 5

      purplesagefem:

      Thanks for commenting. I would like to address your comments, please.

      1). I didn’t say that I was the one who said it was 50/50 attraction, I said that people who argue about why they typically end up with men it will often say that (“If bisexuals are attracted to both, there’s a 50/50 chance they would end up with a man”). Please note that (whether correct or not), it is indeed a very common belief that bisexuals would be (at least for the most part) equally attracted to both sexes, but as I already said in the post, joannadeadwinter’s assertion of a leaning one way or the other makes much more sense.

      2). joannedeadwinter and I wanted to do this so we could open up a honest, open discussion, so obviously, we are both open to listening to each other’s thoughts and to other people’s opinions and we are both open to challenging our assumptions. So to simply dismiss my opinions (or anybody’s opinions, for that matter) as “ridiculous”, “silly”, “nonsensical” (etc.) is missing the entire point of having an open, honest, even blunt, but civil dialogue. If you have any other data, ideas, theories, experiences, examples, or thoughts besides basically “it happens so it’s real”, please present them. Let’s please discuss the topic, not our opinions of each other.

      3). Re: your comment: “People who have romantic and sexual relationships with both sexes are bisexual.”: I am not disputing that some people do have romantic/sexual relationships with both sexes (obviously they do), but I do question if it is an actual orientation like heterosexual or homosexual. The central question I am asking is about behavior versus orientation. And questions are allowed.

      4). If you have a problem with Dirt, please address Dirt.

      5). This is obviously quite a sensitive topic, and it is understandable that sometimes people will get defensive/upset, and when that happens, it is always a good time to realize that a nerve has been touched and to further examine thoughts/feelings about the topic. Shutting down discussion by dismissing will only further polarize people and will effectively stop any hope of understanding each other’s perspectives.

      Thanks for listening, and I do realize that we won’t agree on this, but at the same time, I truly do hope that it is possible to have a civil discussion about this (or anything else) without name-calling or dismissing without further consideration.

      Saye 🙂

    • Saye Bennett · August 5

      PS to purplesagefem: I didn’t notice something earlier, so I wanted to follow up. You said that Dirt and I are “determined to believe that true lesbians are very rare”, which is actually not what either of us have said. We have said that Butches/Femmes are very rare (because we are), but not lesbians in general. (Of course, lesbians in general are a small portion of the general population, but that is not what is being discussed). Just wanted to clarify that we have never said that and we don’t think that.

  2. Miep · August 5

    Not being able to imagine being more or less equally attracted to both sexes really doesn’t mean anything if one is only attracted to one sex. I don’t think it’s possible for people to imagine a sexual orientation they don’t share, other than as an abstraction.

    • joannadeadwinter · August 5

      Truth! Lots of people can’t imagine pain being sexy…but BDSM is a thriving scene.

      • Miep · August 5

        Sexualizing trauma is not really comparable to sexual orientation, any more than sexualizing children is. These are both abuse-related distortions of sexuality. Being sexually attracted to men, women, or both, has nothing inherent to do with abuse.

      • joannadeadwinter · August 5

        I’m aware of this, my purpose was only to make the point that not understanding a proclivity doesn’t mean it’s not real. Bad example, I admit. Maybe a better example is, many men don’t understand being attracted to butch women, but obviously, lots of people, particularly lesbians, prefer butch women. These people and attractions do, in fact, exist outside other people’s ability to imagine them.

    • Saye Bennett · August 5

      Hi Miep, thanks for commenting! You make an excellent point that it is difficult to imagine an orientation different than our own, and indeed that is one reason why we have opened this topic up for discussion, so we can share thoughts/experiences/theories/ideas/etc. in the hopes of better understanding each other’s perspectives.

  3. grumpyoldnurse · September 2

    Very late to the party, but here’s my two cents; I’m a 40something bisexual woman long time partnered with a man. The last woman I dated dumped me when I told her I’m bi, not lesbian. It is hella easier to be with a man in a patriarchal, misogynistic, virulently lesbophobic society. I like to think that I chose my mate for his intrinsic characteristics, rather than my own cowardice, but I am self aware enough to admit that societal acceptance probably had something to do with my choice of partner. I don’t frequent lesbian spaces, because I’m not a lesbian. It would feel disingenuous to push my way into lesbian spaces, and it did even when I was not partnered with a male.

    As for lesbian and bi alliances, I think we can be allies, rather than in exactly the same demographic. It’s like how a good man can be a feminist ally, but never an actual feminist. So, as a bisexual woman, I tend to STFU about Lesbian issues, because I’m more of a visitor than a local.

    • joannadeadwinter · September 2

      Bingo, Grumpy, you got it!

    • Saye Bennett · September 2

      It’s never too late to come to our party, LOL! Thanks for commenting, and I agree that an alliance is a good idea and a good way to approach this topic. 🙂

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 2

        Well, thank-you! I just found joanna’s blog and have been reading the heck out of it all day! Splendid stuff, this.

        As for bisexuality existing as an orientation or not? I have no idea what so ever. I just know that I feel attracted to certain people, and their sex has very little to do with whether or not I find someone attractive. I don’t have a particular physical type of person that I find attractive, either.

      • joannadeadwinter · September 2

        FYI, I have a series on bisexuality that you might like, and I’m still working on it. Biggest project to date.

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 2

        Do you have any links, or will I find it if I just keep binge reading your blog? Also, can’t wait for more posts.

      • joannadeadwinter · September 2

        They’re fairly recent, so if you binge read a little more you should find them. Try searching Behavioral Theory of Bisexuality. And yay, I have a binge reader! Milestone! Thank you!

      • grumpyoldnurse · September 2

        YAY!!

  4. joannadeadwinter · September 2

    Again, thank you from one bi to another.

  5. joannadeadwinter · September 2

    BTW, I don’t think you’re a coward. Few people are willing to partner with people they can’t stand just for the social capital if they have a choice. None of us is immune to cultural influence. Men can be physically attractive and good people, even to lesbians and bisexuals who aren’t sexually into them. If you happen to like men sexually on top of that? Enjoy. 😁

    • grumpyoldnurse · September 2

      Thank-you! It helps that the man is a certified unicorn. 🙂

  6. dépaysement · September 2

    GON has led me here!

    I’m heterosexual, but find it somewhat baffling that imagining being attracted to both sexes should be considered hard. I don’t find it at all difficult to imagine being attracted to women as well as men, even though I am not. Is this another case of people not grasping that not everyone shares their orientation/preferences/proclivities? That’s rather how it reads to me.

    • joannadeadwinter · September 2

      I can’t speak for SB, but I think it makes more sense when you see sexual orientation as social/historical/cultural as well as personal sexual interest. Lesbians who are part of lesbian culture tend not to get straight culture and see it as oppressive, and wonder how bisexuals can straddle them and be satisfied. When you have seen bisexuals straddling the line and then going back to straight culture, that belief is reinforced. Just a theory.

      • Saye Bennett · September 2

        Yes, joannadeadwinter is correct…thanks J! Yes, I agree that this topic is definitely not as simple as me “not grasping” the concept that people have different attractions. Although I (personally) do have much difficulty imagining being attracted to a man (in fact, I can’t imagine it at all!), I do have the cognitive ability to grasp that some people are attracted to men, or that some people are attracted to different types of women than I would be attracted to. So, although imagining a different attraction (I mean for myself, personally) is difficult, this discussion really can’t be reduced to such a basic concept.

      • dépaysement · September 3

        A very interesting one, though. I tend not to think of culture in these matters, which is probably the “fish don’t notice water” thing, since I’m heterosexual.

      • Saye Bennett · September 3

        Hi dépaysement, Thanks for replying! 🙂

        Yes, I know exactly what you mean about that reaction (“ew”, “that’s not right”, etc.) that some people have when thinking of an orientation different than their own.

        I have occasionally received variations of that reaction when new people learn I am a lesbian; needless to say, I don’t get close to anybody who feels that way about lesbians. 🙂

        That specific type of completely dismissive feeling/thought/reaction is not what I meant in my post; I’m sorry if it came across that way.

      • dépaysement · September 3

        Hi Saye!

        It was probably me not reading carefully enough, so no worries! 🙂

      • joannadeadwinter · September 3

        I love you guys! I have the best readers ever!

      • dépaysement · September 3

        Quality attractin’ quality. 😉

      • joannadeadwinter · September 3

        😉👍

      • Saye Bennett · September 3

        Thanks, I’m glad you said something so we could address any misunderstandings! 🙂

      • dépaysement · September 3

        Saye, thanks for replying! It’s so often that there’s a blank “how can someone be attracted to the same/other/both sex”, sometimes with a touch of “ew” or even worse, “that’s unnatural” that I suspect I read that in any suggestion of whether any of the aforementioned orientations are real.

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