Your guide to creating Bi visibility in monogamous relationships

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Graphic by SGN Staff / Original photo by Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels
Graphic by SGN Staff / Original photo by Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

After exclusively dating men and secretly making out with girls for the majority of my life, I finally decided to come out and embrace my Bisexuality at age 22 after I got out of a disastrous heteronormative relationship. There were numerous other factors that stalled this milestone, including internalized biphobia and the double discrimination that Bisexuals experience from both the heterosexual and Queer communities.

But when I finally was ready to shout "I am Bi!" from the rooftops, I was faced with a plethora of new challenges related to biphobia that I had yet to experience, especially given that I was in a long-term relationship with a man.

Graphic by SGN Staff / Original photo by Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels  

"People particularly struggle to read people as Bisexual if they are in a long-term relationship with one person. This means that, in a sense, once people are married, the gender of their partner is indicative of their 'real' sexuality," according to Julia Shaw, author of Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality. (1) This stereotype, paired with the rise in consensual nonmonogamy (romantic relationships in which all partners allow for sexual, romantic, and/or emotional relationships with others), has created pressure for Bisexuals to "prove" their sexuality beyond just coming out.

I too have found myself wondering if I can still be Bisexual if my partner and I don't regularly engage in threesomes with other women (something that is also a stereotype of Queer people). Thanks to lots of therapy and open dialogue with other Bisexuals, I know that my misconception is just that.

The truth is, whether you have sex with tons of people of the same gender or not, your Bisexuality is still just as valid, although it does create challenges for Bisexuals who are looking for ways to explore and express their sexuality without also challenging monogamy at the same time.

This is crucial because, as Julia Hartman-Linck, scholar, feminist activist, and author of "Keeping Bisexuality Alive: Maintaining Bisexual Visibility in Monogamous Relationships" (2) writes, "Being visible as a Bisexual woman was important not in terms of being recognized by potential sexual partners, but rather being recognized for who they 'are,' for their authentic selves."

Luckily, there are plenty of ways for Bisexuals to keep their sexuality alive when they aren't behaviorally Bisexual. Here are a few ideas:

  • Expand your vocabulary to include "mixed-orientation relationships." Using this type of terminology helps fight Bi erasure by allowing us to move beyond the terminology of "Gay" and "straight" relationships.
  • Create a "Bisexual display" in your space. Whether it's pieces of art that feature naked women, or a shelf of books written exclusively by Queer authors, having a "Bisexual display" allows Bisexuals to remind themselves that their sexuality is still valid, despite being in a long-term relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
  • Watch Queer porn. If threesomes or an open relationship are out of the question, or you just aren't ready to have that conversation yet, another alternative to embracing your Bisexuality is to watch ethical Queer porn with your partner. Some popular sites include The Indie Porn Revolution, Pink Label TV, and Good Dyke Porn. For more options, a quick Google of "ethical Queer porn for women" will do the trick.
  • Engage in Queer arts and entertainment. Nowadays there is plenty of Queer content at your disposal, even for Bisexuals. I mean, just look at Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine! Some other shows with prominent Bisexual characters include Hacks, Orange Is the New Black, Schitt's Creek, and Broad City, to name a few.
  • Own your Bisexual "look." According to Hartman, some Bisexual people try to get around their invisibility by combining the style norms of straight people with those from the Gay or Lesbian community. "The result can be a unique, hybrid, bisexual style that takes a bit of each to create something new," Shaw writes in her book on this research. For me, this resulted in chopping my hair, something I was always terrified to do out of fear that I would be misidentified as a Lesbian. But after making that change, I can safely say that I have never felt more Bisexual and beautiful in my life, despite my fears.
  • Get involved in the Bisexual community. If you are reading this story, then you are already on the right path to finding the Queer community of your dreams. But believe it or not, there are organizations in the United States, and even right here in Seattle, that cater exclusively to Bisexuals. For local events, check out the Seattle Pan Bi Alliance on Facebook. To find others online or in your community, check out

    1. Shaw, J. (2022). Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality. Abrams Press.
    2. Hartman-Linck, J. E. (2014). "Keeping Bisexuality Alive: Maintaining Bisexual Visibility in Monogamous Relationships." Journal of Bisexuality 14(2), 177—93.

    Isabel Mata is a full-time lifestyle and wellness writer whose work has been published in more than 50 outlets across the world. She is also the host of "Being Yourself Loudly," a Queer podcast destigmatizing mental illness. Connect with Isabel on Instagram at