Our NYC therapy practice works with patients with a wide range of sexual identities and orientations, including bisexual, as well as those who are questioning. Perhaps this is why Women’s Health recently reached out to Tribeca Therapy in order to talk about bisexuality.
Citing GLAAD’s statistic that about 13 percent of people identify as bisexual, writer Macaela Mackenzie spoke with our director Matt about the definition of bisexuality, which he explains as “a sexual attraction, consummated or not, to individuals of both sexes and/or to individuals who define their sexuality in a non-sexed or gender fluid way.” The article also notes that bisexuality isn’t the same as pansexuality, fluid sexuality or queer sexuality, which are all terms explored in the piece. However, Matt notes that the distinction between these terms is often a question of the preference of the individual asserting his, her or their identity.
Mackenzie also asked Matt how a person might come to identify as bisexual, to which Matt encouraged people to let their feelings exist and be okay with the complexity of sexuality. While not explored in the Women’s Health article, Matt also notes that he has a lot of private conversations with New Yorkers in therapy about all sorts of things they aren’t inclined to share with others and have discovered that same-sex attraction, even among people in opposite-sex relationships or who have been exclusively or primarily been in opposite-sex relationships, is quite common. In these cases, it’s up the individual on whether they want to define themselves as bisexual in that context.
With an approach that tends to fall into a particularly non-essentialist camp when it comes to sexual orientation, Matt notes that this discussion of bisexuality is particularly important. There’s been a strong presence both within the gay community and among those who we would today consider anti-gay that is critical or skeptical of the notion of bisexuality, suggesting that identifying this way is a product of some measure of denial of one’s “true” sexuality. If we insist that people are essentially (i.e. at their core or biologically) one orientation or another, the whole concept of bisexuality confuses that model. Instead, we should appreciate that sexuality and sexual orientation are influenced by a myriad of factors.