February 4, 2013

Q&A: How Can I Know If I’m Bisexual?

Not even all scientists who study sex agree on how to best describe or measure a person’s sexual orientation.

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people carrying bisexuals banner

people carrying bisexuals banner

Question: I don’t know whether to classify myself as bisexual. Although I find myself attracted to both men and women, I can’t imagine myself having sex with them, and the only thing I find pleasurable is masturbation.

Sexual orientation is complex and some people have different ideas about how they come to label their own sexual orientation.

Not even all scientists who study sex agree on how to best describe or measure a person’s sexual orientation.

Do You Need A Label?

You might ask yourself why it matters to you to have a label for your sexual orientation.

Can you just be a person who finds yourself attracted to both men and women, without having sex with anyone? Are you feeling pressured to have sex with people you don’t want to have sex with? Or are you feeling like you want to be romantically connected to another person, but avoid sex?

These kinds of questions might help you explore more about your feelings and attractions.

Some people find others romantically attractive but don’t want to have sex with anyone, either because they simply lack sexual interest in other people or because they experience shame, guilt, or disgust about the idea of having sex with other people.

You Can Take It Slowly

Other times, sexual desire just takes time to develop.

You didn’t mention how old you are, but rest assured that sometimes sexual interest comes later for people.

It’s not unusual for me to hear from some of my college students that while they find people attractive, they’re not interested in having sex with other people at this time in their lives.

I like to remind people that they can take romantic and sexual relationships slowly if they want to.

It’s okay to just spend time with someone before ever becoming sexually involved with them. It’s also okay to start out kissing and making out, without touching each other’s breasts or genitals.

When you’re both ready to move on and try other sexual behaviors, that’s something you can do. And if you never become interested in that, that’s all right too.


For more information about sexual orientation you might find it helpful to connect with Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

You  might also like looking at some of the It Gets Better Project videos, as they feature women and men talking about their development and in some cases how they came to term with identifying as bisexual, gay, or lesbian.

Next Question:My Wife Is Uninterested In Certain Sexual Activities

What do I do if my wife is uninterested in sexual activities that I desperately would like? For instance, I think that I would greatly enjoy her performing oral sex on me and having intercourse with her from behind, but she says she’s either uninterested or doesn’t enjoy them.

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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