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What Is Bicurious?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD

Bicurious is the term used for someone who typically has sexual relations with one gender, but is curious about having sex with a different gender. Often, the term is used for people who identify as heterosexual and are curious about exploring a same-sex relationship or sexual experience. 

“Heteroflexible” is another term that is similar to bicurious. However, heteroflexible specifically refers to people who identify as heterosexual and may be open to same-sex relationships. Bicurious can refer to that, but can also be used for people who identify as gay and are curious about heterosexual relationships. 

Some people believe that the term bicurious is discriminatory because it implies that you have to have sexual experience before you can claim that you are bisexual. However, others believe that bicurious is a useful term for those who are exploring their sexual orientation.

What Is the Difference Between Bicurious and Bisexual?

Bisexual people are attracted to both men and women, and make up more than half of the LGBTQ community. But while people who identify as bisexual know that they are sexually attracted to both genders, those who identify as bicurious may still be navigating their sexuality.

Sometimes, people who identify as bicurious will eventually identify as bisexual. Other times, people who identify as bicurious will learn that they only enjoy sexual relations with one gender and will identify as gay or straight. 

How Being Bicurious Works in Relationships

Realizing that you may be attracted to another gender can come at any phase in your life. Some people realize it in middle school or high school before they’ve ever had any sexual relationships; others may be married or in long-term relationships.

If you are in a relationship and find yourself interested in exploring bicuriousity, consider talking to your partner. Some partners are able to talk about their attraction openly and honestly. If you and your partner have been able to talk about attraction in the past, you may be able to open up about new feelings of bicuriosity as well. Your partner may be open to your exploring these feelings and sharing their comfort level with you. Whether you can talk with your partner or not, it may be helpful to find other sources of support, such as through meetups, therapy, or even empathetic friends. 

It’s perfectly okay to acknowledge attraction without acting on it. If you’re attracted to and in love with your current partner, having occasional sexual attraction to another gender isn’t a reason to throw your current relationship out the window. The most important thing is to ensure that both you and your partner are happy and are having your emotional and physical needs met. 

Helping Your Loved Ones to Understand Bicurious

It can be hard to explain to your loved ones that your sexual orientation is not cut and dry. Although bisexuality accounts for more than half of the LGBTQ comminuty, people who identify as bisexual or bicurious still receive more stigma and discrimination than those who identify as straight or gay. 

Keep in mind that it is your choice when or whether to tell your loved ones that you are bicurious. If you choose to tell your loved ones that you are bicurious, it’s important that you have a support network in place in case the conversation doesn’t go as planned.

Know that many families have little knowledge about supporting LGBTQ family members, and it may take time for them to understand your identity. Some ways to help your family members understand your identity include: 

  • Giving your loved ones space to think after you come out to them
  • Providing educational material or pamphlets so they can learn more about bicuriosity and the LGBTQ community as a whole

If necessary, you can make an appointment with a counselor or therapist to speak to your family together about your sexual orientation and what it means. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Bisexual Resource Center: “Coming Out as Bi+.”

Ditch The Label: “9 TIPS FOR COMING OUT AS LESBIAN, GAY OR BISEXUAL TO YOUR PARTENS.”

LGBT Map: “INVISIBLE MAJORITY: THE DISPARITIES FACING BISEXUAL PEOPLE AND HOW TO REMEDY THEM.”

Lighthouse: “A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Your Partner’s Bisexuality.”

Men’s Health: “What It Means If You’re Attracted to Other People.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “bi-curious.”

Refinery29: “What Does It Mean to Be Bi-Curious?”

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