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“Bisexual” is an adjective describing individuals who do not identify as only heterosexual or only homosexual. The prefix “bi-” indicates that these individuals are drawn to both sexes, although certain scientists have argued about the existence of more than two sexes.

“Bisexual” is perhaps best understood as an umbrella term that means different things to the people who use it to describe themselves. Some people who identify as “bisexual” experience their sexuality differently from other “bisexuals.” For instance, certain individuals who identify themselves as bisexual are attracted to others regardless of biological sex, but only have sexual relations with one sex.

Bisexuality is nothing new. However, through media visibility it has gained widespread recognition as a social category only in the latter part of the twentieth century. Before the term “bisexual” was coined in the 1890s, there were people who were attracted to others regardless of biological sex. However, they did not perceive themselves as “bisexual,” because the group “bisexuals” could not have been said to exist.

Bisexuals traditionally have been and today still are widely regarded with suspicion by both heterosexual and homosexual individuals. One common stereotype states that bisexuals are sexually indecisive fence-sitters. The biphobic also see bisexuals as sexually promiscuous individuals. To counter these beliefs, the young bisexual community has fought for recognition as a legitimate sexual option, and has worked to discredit the myth of sexual excess.

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