I didn’t know I was bisexual until I was 25. This doesn’t mean that my sexuality changed: it just means that it took me time to figure it out. My assumption was always that I was heterosexual (an assumption I think many of us make.) I fell in love with guys and I thought my ‘girl crushes’ were a normal thing that straight women had. Not once did I ever think it was unusual.
I did my fair share of fantasizing about having sex with women, but I honestly thought that it was just something that straight women did. My ‘girl crushes’ seemed to be a little bit more intense. Instead of ‘wanting to be like her’, it was very much ‘wanting to be with her’. I never really talked about it because I genuinely thought everyone felt the same.
Bi the way: realising you're LGBTQ isn't always straightforward © shutterstock/delpixel
So you can image the shock I felt when I learned that not everyone was like this. I'd gone my whole life with this idea of everything I did, thought and fantasized about was normal. Then suddenly one conversation stole that stability out from under me.
Apparently, I have a unique feeling about my sexuality, as I thought it was totally normal. This could come from the fact I had pretty high self-acceptance. I was comfortable with who I was and what I was. There were no doubts in my mind that everyone else felt this way. Many other people I've read about and talked to have had quite the reverse experience.
“I thought my fantasies about women were normal. It wasn't until I was talking with a group of cis females that I learned what I thought and dreamt about wasn't what everyone else was dreaming about...”
Instead of feeling like an outsider, I just didn’t act on my desires because I thought I was straight. Yes, it is confusing. You can only imagine how confused I was when I realised that this whole time, my identity had been bisexual but I had just been confusing it for heterosexual.
I can remember the moment I realised that I wasn’t straight. I was talking to a group of cis female friends about homosexuality and none of them could picture ever going down on a woman. A few of them mentioned that their minds “went blank” if they tried to think about it. As if they couldn’t process the idea because it was never something they had imagined doing or ever wanting to do. Totally shocked, I asked: “But wouldn't you want to try it? At least once?”
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At this point, you can probably guess their answers, and my mind slowly started realising that I was the odd one out. I spent a few months thinking more deeply about my sexuality. I read countless ‘coming out’ stories, focusing on bisexual or lesbian women who only realised their sexual orientation later in life. I poured over articles about how you can be bisexual without having ever acted on it.
It isn’t your actions that matter; it is your heart and brain. Just like if a bisexual woman marries a man, it doesn’t invalidate her bisexuality. Which is true about any sexuality. It's not necessarily something you can do much about, it's just who and what you are. Sort of like having green eyes; they're just green.
Even after all this research and self-reflection, it still took me a year to tell my boyfriend. I kept it hidden inside. I was embarrassed by my delayed realisation, and terrified that he would be offended. The idea he might be worried that I would leave him because of it was unsettling.
Helping hand: accepting your bisexuality can lead to happiness
I didn’t know how to handle this realisation for myself and I had no idea how someone romantically involved with me would handle that information either. It was a completely unknown field for me. I was full of uncertainty and with questions spinning around. When I finally did tell him his response was something I will never forget.
Luckily for me, none of my fears were validated when I finally told him. It hit the point in my mind where I couldn’t hide it anymore. Even if I never acted on my bisexual feelings, it didn’t invalidate my sexuality. I couldn't continue hiding who I was. He held me close and thanked me for sharing. He asked me a bunch of questions and was a bit saddened that I had waited so long to tell him. Then he looked at me and said: “I want you to explore that part of you. I never want you to feel like you’ve missed out on part of who you are”.
I’m not going to go into the details about exploring my bisexuality together with my partner, but I do want to detail how close this made us. This new chapter of honesty with myself and him took our relationship to another level. One that I've learned a lot from and can say has infinitely helped me in becoming a happier, healthier person.
“Even if I never acted on my bisexual feelings, it didn't invalidate my sexuality. I couldn't continue hiding who I was.”
Opening up about my sexuality was the icebreaker for so many parts of our life together. It made me feel lighter. I felt like myself. I had accepted my sexuality to the point of expressing it to the person I loved, and it made all the difference. As we continued to dig deeper into to each other, he opened up to me about his life in deeper ways, too.
We trust each other because we are able to communicate about everything. Together, we continue to speak openly and honestly about other aspects of our lives. We continue to explore different parts of our sexualities and kinks. We go on adventures together. Most importantly, we trust each other because we are able to communicate about everything. These things would never be possible without that first step of acceptance and honesty.
This openness and trust is not something that came about because of my bisexuality, but it's true this was the initiation for it. The starting point, so to speak. Somewhere we could jump off into a deeper pool of trust in our relationship. That, in the end, made me look at myself and what I truly craved and needed to create a satisfying life. I was very fortunate to have such an open and accepting partner.
Realising and then accepting my sexuality made me love myself more for who I am. As well as deepen the connection to my partner. In fact, if I could change anything, I would have hoped to realise it sooner! ●
Main image: Colorbox.com
Abi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewellery.
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