Are the people very straight and very gay

Bisexuality - "You don't belong to us!"

"You have to make a decision!" That was the comment from Peter's friend, whom he confided when he was 23 years old, that he considered himself bisexual. "I was always thought to be gay," says the now 51-year-old. "But that's not true. I'm not gay. But I'm not straight either." He is bi.

Peter is married to a woman, lives monogamous, their daughter is 17 years old. He is happy, can stand by his bisexuality and does not care what others think of him. Still, it wasn't easy for Peter.

For some, he wasn't "queer" enough. "I was extremely bullied by gay men. They said it was totally disgusting what I do with women." The straight people were a bit more tolerant, says Peter.

Patrick, on the other hand, never had problems with homosexuals. In his school days, he was mainly abused as a "fagot" - that was before his outing. Since he has been open about his sexuality, he has the impression that apparently heterosexual men in particular often distance themselves from him. Patrick is also bisexual. Just like Peter, he lives with a wife and their son.

Loneliness worsens mental state

Peter and Patrick have something else in common: They are not so easy to pigeonhole. According to an American study, this can lead to particular psychological suffering for bisexuals. The fact that they are discriminated against, excluded or not taken seriously by both heterosexuals and homosexuals leads to a higher risk of mental illness. Depression, anxiety and also suicide can be the result.

More about sexuality: Man? Mrs? Both? - What exactly is intersex?

According to the researchers, a catalyst for the poor mental state of bisexuals is a very specific feeling: loneliness. And to feel lonely, the impression that you are not taken seriously or that you are permanently misunderstood is enough.

Pia is also bisexual and has the impression that bisexuals do not appear at all in the whole LGBT * debate [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender]. "This invisibility annoys me," says the 31-year-old. More and more young people are gaining both homosexual and heterosexual experiences, blurring the boundaries between sexual orientations. According to a 2015 survey by polling institute YouGov in the UK, almost half of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 consider themselves bisexual. However, the degree to which the bisexuality is pronounced varies. The Kinsey scale formed the basis of the survey.

It was the attempt of the sex researcher Alfred Charles Kinsey to break down the complexity of a person's sexual orientation into a single numerical value. While "0" means exclusively heterosexual and "6" means exclusively homosexual, everything in between is somehow bi, with more or less inclination in one direction or the other. Or just an equal preference for the sexes.

Disregard and discrimination - from all sides

Pia is married - to a man. The couple lives monogamous and this fact alone is enough for some to completely deny Pia bisexuality. "'You have to live it out, otherwise you can't really be bi', I've already heard," says the young woman.

In fact, the assumption that bisexuals are naturally promiscuous, i.e. constantly looking for a partner, is widespread. According to a survey by the Institute for Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Research (IDA), almost 30 percent of bisexuals in Germany have heard that they probably went to bed with everyone (see graphic).

The 24-year-old Marie, for example, already knew when she was at school that she was not committed to any gender. Some men in Marie's environment had interpreted her bisexuality in such a way that she was generally much more open sexually and would do anything with anyone at any time. Sexual assault occurred.

That's one side: The straight men love the idea that Marie has something with women. "I was the bisexual who was always asked about threesomes with other women." Lesbian acquaintances, however, did not take them for full. After all, you are either heterosexual or homosexual. "Cross-border commuters, yes," says Marie, "I can do a lot with that term."

Partnership: doesn't have to be a problem

Bisexuals face another challenge - at least potentially: a monogamous relationship means renunciation. Peter and Pia don't see this as a problem. They both say they fell in love with the person and not the gender.

Peter met his wife in 1997 and has not had anything with a man since. "I am not missing anything," he says. It is completely different for Patrick. He doesn't want to give up intimate contact with men, despite his relationship. That's why he has agreed on an open relationship with his girlfriend. Marie does not live monogamous either, just like her boyfriend by the way - agreed and with sexual freedom not only for the bisexual partner.

More about partnership: Lies make you sick and lonely

Bisexuals threaten pigeonhole thinking

Not only the sex researcher Kinsey assumed that the group of people who have a more or less pronounced bisexuality is much larger than those who define themselves as purely straight or homosexual. Kinsey therefore rejected the theory that humans represent two separate populations, one heterosexual and one homosexual. Not all things are either black or white.

Harvard professor Marjorie Garber is also of the opinion that bisexuality describes the nature of human sexuality most authentically. In her book "Bisexuality and the Erotisicism of Everyday Life" she writes: "The erotic discovery of bisexuality is the fact that it reveals sexuality as a process of growth, transformation and surprise [...]." Sexuality is not necessarily a stable state.

The bisexuals know that. And not infrequently suffer from the fact that so "many people prefer to separate the world into goats and sheep" - to put it in Kinsey's words.

More about sexuality and nature: Gays, lesbians and bisexuals - quite normal in the animal kingdom

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