Bisexual refer to individuals who are sexually attracted to both the genders (i.e. opposite gender as well as the same gender as they are). It is not necessary to maintain/ engage in sexual relations to be classified as a bisexual. In other words, emotional, physical or sexual attachment to members of both sexes (whether in reality or in fantasy) is referred to as bisexual orientation (1).
After a number of clinical and psychological studies conducted in the past 10 years, bisexuality is now considered a hot topic and scientists are conducting extensive research to prove that bisexuality is normal and have a solid scientific origin and explanation.
According to the data reported in 2002 by National Survey of Family Growth, the prevalence of bisexuality in males is 6%; whereas about 13% females admitted that they are attracted to both males and females (1).
What Are Some Bisexual Health Concerns And Issues?
Individuals who practice bisexuality are exposed to a wide range of physical and mental health problems. This is mainly because, these individuals are exposed to heterosexual health issues as well as ailments that are unique to homosexuals.
According to the comprehensive report compiled by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (1), investigators highlighted some unique health concerns that are experienced by bisexual individuals:
- Compared to heterosexual females, bisexual women are twice as likely to never become pregnant or give birth to a child (1).
- Nulliparity (no pregnancy) significantly increases the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer in these women.
- Limited research and clinical data is available on bisexual individuals which is why it is difficult to derive meaningful conclusions on long term complications and health issues in this group. For example, limited data is available on the prevalence of different sexually transmitted diseases in these individuals.
- Bisexual women are also more likely to develop cardiovascular issues and obesity (as well as metabolic disorders and alcoholism) as compared to heterosexual women, according to a study reported in the American Journal of Public Health (4).
Some common mental health concerns in bisexual individuals are discussed as under:
According to a new report, bisexual males are more likely to suffer from depression and other mental health problems as compared to straight men because:
- They are less likely to find people who understand or respect their sexuality choices.
- They often find it confusing to determine their actual sexuality and sexual preferences.
- General population usually look down upon bisexual individuals when compared to gay or lesbians. These individuals also finds it difficult to get appropriate medical health and periodic screening in lieu of their sexual orientation.
Several research and clinical trials suggested that bisexuals (both males and females) are a more frequent victim of suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety and self-harm than gays and lesbians. Also bisexual females are a more frequent victim of sexual offenses such as sexual violence, stalking and rape.
Depending upon the sexual identity of their partner, most bisexuals ended up masking or hiding the other aspect of their sexuality to avoid social confrontation. Also, since hiding or masking one part of their identity/ personality is a suffocating process, a lot of these very talented individuals find it very hard to advance much in their careers and personal life (by committing to a monogamous relationship).
On the other hand, a lot of investigators and healthcare specialists believe that bisexual individuals are more liberal and free in taking decisions regarding their social relationships. Unlike gay and lesbians who are free to engage in same-sex relationships in certain states only, bisexuals can choose their partner from a larger pool of people of either gender.
What Can Be Done To Improve The Bisexual Health?
Healthcare professionals believe that counseling and professional health can help in untangling the complex knots in such individuals and allow them to live a much happier and fun-filled healthy life. Additionally:
- Bisexual individuals can join/ form support groups to participate in community building affairs.
- Participate and support programs like BiHealth to learn more about screening of different STIs as well as maintenance of optimal health.
2. Friedman, M. R., Dodge, B., Schick, V., Herbenick, D., Hubach, R. D., Bowling, J., … & Reece, M. (2014). From bias to bisexual health disparities: Attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the United States. LGBT health, 1(4), 309-318.
3. Schick, V., & Dodge, B. (2012). Introduction to the special issue: Bisexual health: Unpacking the paradox. Journal of bisexuality, 12(2), 161-167.
4. Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Kim, H. J., Barkan, S. E., Muraco, A., & Hoy-Ellis, C. P. (2013). Health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults: results from a population-based study. American journal of public health, 103(10), 1802-1809.