In recent years, this term is seen more and more – particularly online. It implies bisexuality extra-lite, focusing on the sex. But is that all it is?
What, precisely, bi-curious means is very much up for grabs and indeed seems not to have been publicly discussed - as far as I can discover - except here.Two sorts of (not mutually exclusive) people describe themselves as bi-curious: either mainly straight people who are playing down their interest in the “wrong” sex while wanting to have sex with them (or perhaps playing up a scarcely existent interest for the benefit of, say, gaining a gay audience for their product); and people who are genuinely unsure about their sexuality.
I'll talk about the first group in a future post; this is about the second - people who are literally curious in some way about their sexuality.
These days, it seems there are quite a few people who actually don’t know if they are interested in the “wrong” – usually the same – sex. They might be literally curious as to what this experience might be like. Perhaps – having had a fair bit of sexual experience with one gender, they wonder what it would be like to do it with the other. That’s what the women in the book A Straight Girl’s Guide to Sleeping with Chicks were doing – putting sex with women on their “to do” list. It’s a sentiment that doesn’t speak of any great desire, but rather of experimentation and seeing if you are missing out. (I've written about experimentation on this blog before, but I'm badgered if I can find the link.)
Then again, some predominantly straight people consider themselves bi-curious because they want to experience what they think their girlfriends/boyfriends feel. They don’t have any desire for same-sex partners per se.
Some people who say “I think I’m bi-curious” might, in the past, have said, “I think I’m bisexual” instead. Lindy, who I interviewed for my book, describes herself as bi-curious, rather than bisexual. I asked what that meant to her, and how it differed from calling herself bisexual.
For me, it means that you have been straight in practice, but have had same sex leanings that you have not explored. I think it is different to being bi-sexual. I once said to a bi-woman that I dont feel that i can yet call myself bi-sexual because I have not had a same sex sexual experience. She countered with the argument that the world is filled with virgins who know they are straight. She had a point, which made me think. I guess in the end, I'd rather "try it out" before I make up my mind.
Bi-curious in this context is about questioning your sexuality – something that is generally considered acceptable by lesbian/gay and straight society as long as you come out with a decisive answer at the end of the process.
This is the most popular stereotype of bisexuality per se, indeed what many non-bi people consider it to be. Some lesbians and gay men feel such people are taking advantage of them – trying to get their pleasure without any of their pain and some politicised bisexuals feel similarly - yet I think this is a little harsh. Not everyone actually is sure of their sexuality. They may indeed feel tentative about their desires. Bi-curious is, true, an apolitical definition; there is nothing “out and proud” about it. But so what? Groups to promote safer sex that want to attract the biggest number of men who “behave bisexually” have found that putting the word “bi-curious” in their title has helped reach their target audience.
Bi-curiosity may mean, literally, people being curious about their desires and once their curiosity is satisfied they can go back to their usual sexuality. Or, alternatively, they may change it completely. It is ridiculous to expect everyone to spring out, all guns blazing, to shout out their one true sexuality.
So when, if ever, might you stop thinking of yourself as bi-curious and move on to actually being bi? According to Lindy:
I think if I had some positive experiences, I would class myself as being bi. If I had negative ones though, I would not be quick to discount the possibility of me being bi though...You probably click with some women and not with others - just like with men!
Sites specifically geared towards bi-curious people are:
For women, a fairly extensive site which I am surprised is not better known (by me, certainly.
For men, although I think this is mainly porn.