The popular Netflix series Orange Is the New Black (based on a memoir of the same name) centers around the love triangle between Piper, her fiancé, Larry, and her ex-girlfriend, Alex. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Piper is in prison with Alex for crimes they committed while together. But the series portrays the fluid sexuality of Piper in a progressive light. She loves Larry, but she loves Alex, too — and that's OK. It seems these days we're quick label someone as gay or straight, but bisexuality is still far from understood. Even Johnny Depp's girlfriend Amber Heard felt the need to defend her bisexuality recently.
We've had many bisexuality-related questions brought up in our Group Therapy community, and our helpful readers have been quick to share their words of wisdom on the topic. Click through the following questions for advice on everything from first same-sex crushes to coming out as bisexual to your significant other.
"I recently started seeing someone (of the opposite sex) and for the first time in years, it's actually going well. After years of questioning, I have recently come to the conclusion, through therapy and several 'ah-ha! moments' that I am bisexual. While this isn't really a problem for me personally, my boyfriend is very Catholic and very conservative. My question is how do I tell him, or should I?"
Reader advice: While I do think you have the right to privacy, I also think that he has the right to know. I don't think that your sexuality needs to be discussed on the first date, but it does need to be discussed before things get really serious. You do NOT want him to find out when you run into an ex together or a friend or family member mentions it inadvertently, because then it comes across as lying to him.
"When she came out to me she told me that she liked me, and then I started realizing I like her, too! My question is, am I bisexual or am I just attracted to her? I don't look at other girls and think damn she's hot or anything like that. It's just her!"
Reader advice: Possibly! As others have said, though, forgot the label for now. Go for what you are comfortable with. 20 is a wonderful age to find out. I was much older and regret missing those younger years. Take care and have fun; passed the curious stage!
"I've come out to three of my gay friends, but that's it. I was voted most optimistic for favorites, but people don't know how really miserable I am. I'm in love with a girl, and I want to give myself to her completely. To kiss her, to hold her. But I don't want to be hidden, and I don't want to lose everything I have."
Reader advice: If you know deep down that it is someone else and not him you want to be with, then break up with him. You don't have to tell him all the details of why you are ending it — just that it isn't working for you right now. Then you can have some space and time to think through the issue of your bisexuality without the anxiety of betrayal.
"I've been in my current relationship for three years, he proposed, and I said yes. I feel like I've been pushing myself further and further into this relationship and commitment, because I feel like I'll reach a point where I'll be completely happy and satisfied. He is honestly everything I should want. But I'm not happy."
Reader advice: I can relate to what you are going through. I am engaged and before I got into a serious relationship with this man, I was into a woman, one which I still think about and I don't understand why. She was just a great [person and things ended bad because I ended up with the man I am with now. I sometimes wonder if I am a lesbian, but I know in my hear that I am not. But if you really believe that you are not, then you have to be honest with yourself, stay single for a while and figure yourself out. Good luck to you.
"I have a fantasy of hooking up with a girl. The problem is that my boyfriend, who I've been in a relationship with for years, thinks of it as cheating if I even so much as kissed another girl. I have a friend who is very curious as well, but her boyfriend says the same thing. I wouldn't want to ruin the friendship anyway, but I don't know what to do about these thoughts that keep plaguing my mind."
Reader advice: I had some of the same feelings, but my boyfriend now husband understood. We set some ground rules and explored our sexual desires and fantasies. It helped that I wanted him to participate, kind of a safety blanket for me and a fmf was a fantasy of his. I enjoyed it very much, but I still consider myself straight. After a few times, we both seemed to be realize that making love was better with just the two of us, but I am glad I was able to see what it was like and that he was so understanding about my curiosity. I think in the long run we are stronger because I am not wondering if I am missing something and it is not some forbidden fruit.
"There's this girl I think is super sexy. She is also my first female crush. She goes out with somebody, but calls me cute when she knows I think she's cute. I really like her and want her to be mine, but she's taken. Should I continue talking to her or just move on?"
Reader advice: Flirt for fun when you're around her but don't put all your eggs in one basket. There is no guarantee that there will be some "inevitable time when she realizes that you are actually the one she needs"; you might be setting yourself up for some serious disappointment if you wait around for that. If it happens it happens, but don't be afraid to explore your new-found bisexuality with other women.
"He's always known that I'm bisexual and it hasn't been an issue for years. I've been able to kind of ignore it so it's been a nonissue with him. But for the last couple months all I can think about is women, and being with another woman. I'm worried that this is going to cause an issue between my husband and I, and worried about how long I can keep this from him. Do I tell him or try to struggle through with a secret that's eating away at me?"
Reader advice: BE OPEN!! If you can't talk to him without him judging you or getting angry, then that's a separate thing you should also work on. If he will be loving and understanding and talk with you about it, then you have an amazing person that you should share all of you with.
"I've finally admitted to myself that I am attracted to both men and women; it wasn't a conscious decision to be bi, but when I realized that I feel the same feeling towards some women as I do towards some men, I had to take a step back and look at myself objectively and accept the truth."
Reader advice: I took almost two years after admitting it to myself until I came out. I told my best friend first, and she was completely accepting and supportive. Then I took some time to experiment, read, watch movies, figure it out for myself. It's not something I understood in a day. Take your time, go at your own pace definitely. You sound like you know what you're doing. My only request is to not ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist. But you seem like you won't be doing that anyway. Oh, and congrats!
"I never really wanted to have a threesome or have sex with a woman. But since I have bad luck with men, maybe I should?"
Reader advice: Listen, a relationship is a relationship. Regardless of the sex/gender of those involved in a relationship, they still have their ups and downs. If the reason you want to try your hand at women is simply because you're fed up with men, you may be in for a big surprise when you discover that the relationship will still have similar issues to deal with. If you're honestly interested in experimenting, that's a different thing. Make sure you're up front and honest with any women you decide to experiment with.