Bisexuality

Sarah Albert

Prior to hooking up with Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Heche dated men exclusively. Now that Heche and DeGeneres are no longer an item, there has been a lot of speculation about who Heche will date next. Is Heche straight now that she is no longer part of arguably the most famous lesbian couple to date? Is she bisexual?

"Bisexual" is a term that gets bandied about like a birthday piqata. While the meanings of "straight" and "gay" are clear to most people, "bisexual" is harder to define. Some people think bisexuality describes a period of same-sex sexual experimentation in the life of an otherwise heterosexual person, while others use bisexual as a transitional term, describing the period that precedes a person's identifying as gay.

"Many lesbians and gay men have claimed a bisexual identity and later came out as lesbian or gay," says Lisette R. Lahana, LICSW, a psychotherapist in Northampton, MA, who specializes in bisexuality. "They may see bisexuality as a transition because that was their individual experience," she says.

Another common belief in the LGBT communities as well as in the straight world is that people who are bisexual are just "confused." Lahana disputes this notion. "Just as there are lesbians and gay men who later identify with being bisexual, bisexuals can also transition to another sexuality. This does not necessarily mean someone is confused," she says.

For some people, bisexuality is about much more than experiments or transitions. "I am bisexual," says Dana, a 20-year-old from New Orleans, LA. "As much as I am an active part of the LGBT communities, I don't want people to think I just can't make up my mind. I choose to fall in love with the people I fall in love with, not out of confusion or indecision. I choose not to choose, but to be who I truly am," she explains.

Sexuality Is Fluid
So where does this leave you if you are confused because you've had a Jill Sobule "I Kissed a Girl" moment, or if you've had a sex dream about your same-sex best friend? Experimenting with different genders during adulthood or childhood doesn't necessarily make you bisexual. In other words, a fantasy or a single experience does not define your sexuality.

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