Smash Talks: May-Bi, Baby

Ashera is a Marriage and Family Therapist with an extensive background in sexual health education. You can ask her stuff anonymously and she won’t get weirded out. Seriously, try her. Send your queries through our anonymous contact form here.

Dear Smashera,

I’m a woman who’s always been in hetero-paired relationships, but lately, the idea of dating a woman has felt more like something I might want. It seems like everyone who falls outside of the cisgendered heterosexual monogamy norm has always “just known” that this is who they are, but I haven’t always known, and I’m still not sure. I *think* it would work, but I can’t see myself knowing for sure until I’ve tried. 

I’ve heard women who date women say that dating newly-out bisexual women is a bad idea because being experimented with really sucks. I don’t want to fuck someone over for the sake of my own self-discovery! Does my uncertainty mean my suspicions are wrong? If I don’t already “just know” that I’m 100%, definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt oriented in a way that allows me to be completely in a relationship with a woman, is it even ethical to seek one out? 

– Yes, No, May-Bi?

Dear May-Bi,

I’m glad that you’re concerned with being an ethical person.  You’re absolutely right, it’s 100 percent not fair to fool around with a woman a few times, decide it’s not for you and then bounce. It’s not fair to do that with anybody, really. Unfortunately, that’s a stereotype that many lesbians hold regarding bisexual women, and some will not date a lady who “swings both ways” for a multitude of reasons.

The thing is, nothing in life and relationships is a sure-bet. Your sexuality can change throughout your life and your sexual identity can (and probably will) evolve over time. While there are plenty of people who are born wired with the knowledge of who they desire, for others it’s a process of coming into themselves.

I don’t think it’s unethical for you to want to gain greater insight into your desires. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that there’s something that you’re curious about. After all, in a society that still has violently homophobic tendencies, choosing to live out your truth can be dangerous. However, I think that it’s very possible for you to seek out a Sapphic partner in a way that allows you to figure yourself out and be ethical along the way.

While there are lesbians out there who will not date a bisexual women, there are plenty that are open to the idea. As with any potential relationship, honesty is key. Be upfront that you’re still figuring it out and that you’ve never dated a woman before. If someone is put off by that, that’s their right. No one owes anyone their time, energy, or body to experiment with.

There are some excellent resources out there for you to set the stage. The app HER is super user-friendly and makes meeting women a bit easier. They have all sorts of orientations to choose from, including bi-curious, so you can throw that out there right away and not have to have an awkward conversation about it later.

It might be helpful for you to chat with some of your friends in the queer community. They know what dating in the scene is like and can help you avoid some of the caveats of newfound bi-ness. Who knows, maybe they know someone that you would get along with!

Lastly, do some soul-searching to figure out what it is that you are looking for. I recommend the book What You Really, Really Want by Jaclyn Friedman on nearly a daily basis.  When you’re questioning your desires, it’s a really, really good idea (see what I did there?) to strip away some of the toxic cultural messages and distill what it is that you’re looking for.

Again, be upfront and honest with any potential partner. It’s important to process your feelings and to keep it real with the people you end up kickin’ it with. Be kind out there.