While significant strides have been made in society toward granting greater equality toward LGBTQ individuals, anyone who is thought as being different from mainstream society may still experience challenges, including stereotyping and discrimination. Regardless of your age or how long you have struggled with issues regarding sexuality, it’s important to seek help with those issues. For some people, such issues might include fear of disappointing or shaming their family. Others may struggle with issues related to the way they thought their life would be and what their life actually is.

Many people identity as being either attracted to partners of the opposite sex, meaning they are heterosexual, or of the same sex; meaning they are lesbian or gay. A significant portion of the population; however, does not fit into either category. This is because they experience emotional and sexual attractions for people of different sexes at various times in their lives. Most commonly referred to as being bisexual, such individuals may also prefer to be known as non-preferential, pansexual, ambisexual, sexually fluid, or omni-sexual.

Around the world, millions of people are bisexual, but many people prefer to keep their orientation secret due to fear of rejection or discrimination. As a result, bisexual individuals have become a nearly invisible societal group. While lesbian women and gay men have formed tight communities that have led to human and political rights gains, bisexual individuals have been much more reluctant to take their place in society.

Many bisexual individuals feel as though they are outsiders in both gay/lesbian and straight groups. They feel as though they do not really fit in anywhere. In fact, some studies have shown that individuals who identify as bisexual feel even more socially isolated than do lesbians or gay men because they lack role models and a community where they can find acceptance.

Although being bisexual is not a disorder, coping with the many emotional and practical challenges associated with being different from mainstream society can result in a number of issues. You might feel isolated and lonely. This can lead to other problems, such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

By working with an experienced therapist, you will have the opportunity to explore the many emotions surrounding your sexuality. As part of therapy, you will be able to discuss and analyze your relationships and determine how to help those relationships thrive while accepting your sexuality. A variety of therapies are available, including cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling to assist you with identifying and understanding any difficult or painful emotions you might experience related to your sexuality.

What Are Some Possible Issues?

Each individual is different and may experience varying issues, but among some of the more common experienced by individuals who identify as bisexual include:

  • Social isolation: Feeling as though you do not belong, feeling confused and isolated.
  • Inability to conform to the ethics of either the straight world or the gay community
  • Fear of how family members and friends will react.
  • Struggling to develop your own identity
  • Confusion regarding your attraction to both genders
  • Wondering whether there is something wrong with you
  • Lack of role models within the community

Among the most central issues of individuals who identify as bisexual is an inability to form one’s own identity. A therapist experienced with such issues can provide assistance in helping clients form their own unique identity. As a counselor, therapists can help clients search for and find their own distinctive place in society.

Stages of Bisexual Identity

The four stages of bisexual identity are:

  • Confusion regarding sexual orientation
  • Decision to identity as bisexual
  • Developing and maintaining a bisexual identity
  • Overcoming adversity

While research on the topic remains somewhat limited, existing literature does indicate that young individuals struggling with bisexual issues do seem to be more prone to experiencing mental health issues due to a sense of not belonging in society. Pressure may stem from family and friends for the individual to decide whether they are either straight or gay. This is sometimes due to a perception that the individual is actually gay rather than not genuinely bisexual.

Furthermore, individuals who are openly bisexual may experience problems with discrimination. As soon as they reveal they are bisexual, they may begin experiencing an onslaught of problems. This is usually due to a pressure for the individual to make up their mind one way or another.

Contributing Factors

Just as there has been much debate regarding what makes one gay, there has also been similar discussion regarding the issue of bisexuality and even whether bisexuality actually exists. Regardless of current debate on the subject, the reality is that individuals who do identify as being sexually attracted to both genders experience a wide-ranging arc of issues, including discrimination and a struggle to fit into society. By working with an experienced therapist, you will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of sexual orientation and the impact of discrimination as well as other issues that bisexual individuals often face.

Getting Help

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you found yourself struggling with your own sexual orientation? Are you looking for a community to help you define your own identity and find a place within society? If you are experiencing challenges with bisexual issues, it is important that you seek help from an experienced therapist. When issues related to bisexuality are not addressed, feelings of isolation and loneliness can deepen, which in turn can lead to anxiety and depression. Therapy can help to alleviate those feelings while helping you to find your own place within society. Whether you have recently identified as bisexual or whether this is the way you have identified for a long time, if you are experiencing struggles, it’s important to seek help. There is no need to continue feeling alone and as if you do not belong.

When seeking help from a therapist, it is imperative that you seek a therapist who is non-judgmental and who has experience working with members of the LGBTQ community.

If you find you relate to the information in this article and would like some help, please contact Rita with Sioux Falls Wellness Counseling at (605) 610-9228.