Bisexuality: no straight answers to online dating

A senior biology major reflects on her bisexuality while using the dating app HER.


My bisexuality is like my invisibility cloak which only other bi and queer people see through and (usually) understand.

It’s only the people close to me who know, and who hear all of my bi-related puns. I don’t usually date and have very little interest in dating. 

Here’s the bisexuali-tea on my experiences with online dating. 

I try my best to project my queer-ness, but it’s hard and tiring. People question what percent queer I am and if I’ve ever been with a woman, as if that information determines the validity of my identity.

Through other friends’ experiences and my own, I’ve witnessed many straight people who just don’t understand bisexuality or don’t want to get it. 

Popular dating apps like Tinder aren’t my cup of tea. Instead, I use an app called HER, which is a women’s/femmes’ dating app. Something about possibly meeting guys online creeps me out, especially when they find out I’m bi. This doesn’t happen much with other women. 

Despite my positive experiences on HER, there are a couple of interactions I’ve had on the app that were somewhat negative.

The first was a fling of sorts with a girl who goes to another university in Philadelphia. We spoke on the phone a lot, met up a couple times and cuddled on the couch with my cat. I made a lot of bi puns, and we went out to see an amazing dance performance. It was OK, but I decided to stop talking to her. She, a fellow bisexual, said in response one of my puns, “You know, if I didn’t know you were bi, I’d think you were hella homophobic.” 

It was incredibly offensive to me and once she said it, I was over it. I expected another bi woman to understand me better, but the identity has different meanings and significances to different people.

The second interaction, and common scenario among bisexual women, was the first time I got a notification saying, “Guy’s name and girl’s name has liked you.” 

I was initially confused. I opened the app, and I realized a couple liked me just to be a third for a threesome. I rolled my eyes and showed it to my friends, who also shared my annoyance. 

The stereotype that bi women only want threesomes with a straight couple is another symptom of the lack of bivisibility. It’s hard to see bisexuality explicitly. It’s in threesomes and poly-relationships where bisexuality can be seen without being outrightly told, giving the impression that those the only examples of what bisexuality looks like.

I use HER because I generally don’t need to explain myself to the people on the app. They find out I’m bi and, rather than interrogating me, we just talk and see where things go. 

I’m trying to figure out just how to make my identity more visible, but it’s exhausting having to explain myself and prove how “gay” I am at every turn.

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