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Dating is difficult––and truth be told, I don't know how anyone can do it right now, what with a pandemic going on and all. Just the thought stresses me out. Dating is especially hard for people who defy expectations in a heteronormative society. Take bisexuals, for example.

Bisexuals have been open about their struggles maintaining relationships with both men and women, even having to lie about their sexuality if they want to date certain people.

"I feel like if I end up in a straight relationship, I'll look like I was just experimenting all these years, but if I end up in a gay relationship people will say I was never actually bisexual," one man told the BBC in 2019. "Then if I don't have a monogamous relationship people will say I'm just greedy."

Indeed, the pressure to be either gay or straight can be a lot to navigate. After Redditor Trevor-on-Reddit asked the online community, "Bisexual people who have dated both genders, what are some notable differences you've learned about dating both men and women?" bisexuals spoke candidly about their experiences. Take note: You might learn something new.

    "They both think..."

    They both think their signals are clear. They are not.


    I knew this was universal!

    Practically everyone I've ever met and gotten to know has complained about communication issues at some point.

    "Both genders are bad..."

    Both genders are bad at communicating but in completely different ways.

    Men are more likely to not tell you information that would be important to you simply because they don't deem it important. They gave you the important information. If you can't understand it, then you're either trying to complicate the issue or you're not listening to them.

    Women are more likely to not tell you information important to them because they see it as obvious. If they have to tell you the issue, then you're not paying attention to them and the issue at hand or you're not as invested in the relationship as they are.


    This sounds like the basis of every family sitcom ever made.

    It does get tiring to see those same tropes rehashed over and over again, I'll admit.

    "They both still have that same tenderness..."

    Dating a man feels like one of your male best friends decided he likes dick one day. Dating women feels "softer" and even though common interests are there, there's more of that listening to their interests because they like it and you're interested in them and not because you care about the subject at hand.

    They both still have that same tenderness and butterfly feeling. That's been my experience so far anyways.


    "I find the dynamics of trust..."

    I'm a bisexual man. I find the dynamics of trust to be vastly different between my male and female companions. Men have been quicker to trust me, but became more nervous over time; women needed more time to build that trust, but once it was there, it was solid.

    I've generally thought of that as not being inherent to their gender and instead tied to how they relate to my maleness. In the same-sex relationships, there's a lot more risk involved because of societal heteronormativity — there's the initial pressure to be out and proud that prompts these men to engage in their relationships with passion, but then there's a worry that the relationship will fail because of the toxic aspect of queer pride. With the women, there's a general fear of violence from men, so there's more caution early on.


    "It's much easier to find a man..."

    So keep in mind that this is my own experience, and is in no way meant to apply to everyone.

    I'm a bi male.

    Non-sexually, men are much more straightforward in almost every way. Everything from what they want to eat, to whether or not they're interested in you. Women rely much more on cues or non-verbal communication.

    In my experience, gay men have been the least receptive to the fact that I'm bi. Straight women tend to be hesitant, but if they've already shown interest in me they usually are still interested after I tell them I'm bi.

    Sexually, with men it's about finishing. With women it's about the journey. With men, I've had more than one occasion where we're playing video games and someone starts getting frisky. We pause, get each other off, and are back to playing games in like 10 minutes. Women, on the other hand, tends to like getting frisky, then foreplay, then sex, then winding down.

    It's much easier to find a man to be with than a woman, at least for me.

    I'm below average in the looks department (like a 3, maybe a 4 on a good day). The women who are interested in me tend to be around there, and I've never had an objectively"hot" one show interest in me. While most of the men I've been with also fall somewhere around there, I've slept with a couple of genuinely hot guys. Muscular, tanned, well-endowed. There's a certain set of guys that really like chubby guys and apparently I fit the bill for them.

    Everyone likes cuddles though.


    Cuddling is incredible.

    I can confirm I've been aghast when I've had a partner who didn't like cuddling.

    "One thing I noticed..."

    One thing I noticed back when I was dating was that women have a lot more baggage when it comes to physical intimacy. Women go through a lot, they have tons of pressures put on them, many have had negative sexual experiences. It's, well, just more complicated. The guys I dated were frankly much more direct and more simplistic about it. I'm not saying either of these descriptions apply to all women or men, but that was my experience. With guys it was like 'hey, wanna make out?' and just sort of that simple.


    To which this person replied:

    As a woman, that's definitely contributing to it. For women, sex is wrapped up with so much bs. It's wrapped up in the ambient (or direct) shaming crisscrossed with our sexualized bodies plastered everywhere that we grow up with, it's wrapped up with the adult men who harassed us when we were preteens and teens, it's wrapped up in the frightening moments when a boy corners us thinking he's being smooth when really he's been aggressive and scary, in the nerves about walking alone, in the fear of giving a man 'the wrong idea' and being told it's our fault when he hurts us, in the stigma and burden of unwanted pregnancy and the choices or lack thereof in that...

    It's really hard for sex to be simple for women. I'd bet money that by the time any woman in the world has hit the age of twenty, she has a story of being harassed or victimized in some way. It becomes a minefield.


    "Other than that..."

    It's much harder to find a girl who wants to date you than a guy if you're a girl. Either you keep finding straight women, or you both are afraid of being too forward and no one makes the first move. Guys are way less shy about it. But since it's so much harder to get a girlfriend, the relationships with women tend to last longer, because we wouldn't have gotten together if we weren't pretty sure we were compatible.

    Other than that, there's not a huge difference. Individual people are more unique than men are from women, if that makes sense. But I will say I've never had to fight with or teach a woman why something that happened to me was misogynistic. It's more likely that she's experienced something similar.


    "I've dated enough personalities..."

    I'm a bi woman.

    There's not much difference, in my experience. I've dated enough personalities to dismantle virtually any stereotype about gender lol. The most romantic and clingy were guys, the most aloof was a woman. People are just so different.

    Dating women does come with the queer element though, where you have awkwardness over who to be "out" to. I've been lucky enough to mostly steer clear of biphobia but I did briefly date a girl who I think just wanted to be queer because that was her idea of herself (for activist reasons or something?) but I am skeptical if she was actually queer. Needless to say, that didn't last.

    Conversely, when I date guys, I sometimes get anxious about being perceived as straight or "gay until she found a dude". Not that what people think matters, but it's funny. When I date women I worry about homophobia, when I date guys, I worry about being erased.

    Oh, small difference - I always insist on splitting the bill, which is pretty typical for same-sex dating. I think sometimes guys think that means I don't like them.


    "While dating a woman..."

    Bi woman. The biggest one was trust/biphobia and the way the two interrelate.

    While dating a woman, having close male friends has always been off the table. It seems to really threaten/make uncomfortable my girlfriend and tends to turn into a never-ending "But are you SURE you don't have feelings for him? you're REALLY not attracted to him?" So many lesbians genuinely hate bi women and think they're always going to cheat or leave for a guy.

    Conversely, men don't give a damn if I have close female friends while dating them, but are far more likely to fetishize the knowledge that I've had past female partners. Which is obviously really uncomfortable if done in any sort of excess.


    Dating isn't easy, people.

    When you're someone attracted to both genders, that can come with a host of baggage, namely the weight of everyone else's expectations and prejudices. Try talking to your bi friends sometime––you might glean some brilliant insights that you otherwise might not hear.

    Have some of your own stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.f

    Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.


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