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Things You Didn’t Know About Bisexual Health

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Jul 18, 2022

Things You Didn’t Know About Bisexual Health

Being bisexual comes with a unique set of health concerns. Many people don’t realize the mental and physical issues that can come from bisexual invisibility in medical spaces.

The bias and stigma that surrounds identifying as bi can cause improper treatment or lack of resources. This might cause an immense mental health toll on many bi people, who already suffer from a lack of support in the queer and heterosexual communities.

What does it mean to be bi?

Bisexual is defined as having an attraction to more than one gender. It can be a sexual and/or romantic attraction to people of a different gender as well as their own.

Bisexuality is a spectrum, with some people being equally attracted to men and women, while some people have a stronger attraction to one gender or another. They also can be in exclusively heterosexual or same-sex relationships or alternate between the two.

How can being a bisexual person affect your health?

There are pieces of evidence of the correlation between health problems and identifying as a bisexual person. Both bisexual men and women are more likely to experience gastrointestinal problems, arthritis and obesity. Women are also more likely to have a generally poor health-related quality of life, while men have a higher risk of high cholesterol, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Mental health is also highly affected, with bi women and trans people having higher rates of substance use, depression and suicide. 

The mental cost of invisibility

Bisexual people tend to be overlooked when it comes to health and medical research, as well as care received. Bisexual people are the largest sexual minority group but have the least research done on their health. There’s less research on bi health and less funding available than for lesbian and gay people. 

Being forgotten when it comes to medical research and care makes it very impersonal and challenging for bisexual people who need to visit a medical professional. Knowing you’re part of a group that’s often medically overlooked can cause anxiety when going to a doctor or sadness and shame from visiting at all. 

On top of the regular stress of being part of a marginalized group, many bisexual people find their mental health suffering along with their physical health.

Why are bisexual people likely to encounter health issues?

Bisexual people face many factors that make health problems more likely. Minority stress- stress related to negative stereotypes surrounding being bisexual- is one of the main factors causing poor health.

It’s not uncommon to hear that being bisexual is a phase, bisexual men have HIV or women want to hook up with everyone. Not only degrading but often untrue, many bi people are stuck defending themselves against these stereotypes. These words can leave an immense amount of shame and mental distress. 

Along with stereotypes, bi people also face a lack of support from both the heterosexual and queer communities. Lesbian and gay communities can oust bi people from those groups for not fitting in enough since they may be attracted to the opposite sex.

There’s also the assumption that if you’re in a heterosexual relationship, you can’t be attracted to the opposite sex. The heterosexual community judges bisexual people for not being fully straight. Attraction to the opposite sex is often shunned.

Bi people also face problems with the quality of medical care offered. Invisibility affects the quality of medical care offered. Doctors may assume that a woman is a lesbian if she mentions having sex with women, which leads to being offered improper medical treatment. Access to birth control or treatment for STIs is important for bisexual women who have sex with men as well.

Doctors may have a bias against bisexual patients as well because queer people are still stigmatized against. 

What to do about it?

Making the medical space a more comfortable place for bisexual people is imperative to ensuring better health.

If you’re bisexual, let your doctor know immediately

Letting your doctor know about your identity ahead of time can ensure that they tailor your medical care to the specific needs that bi patients have. 

Seek community from other bisexual people.

For the best help, tips and support, seek community from other bisexual people. If you’re not sure where to meet people, on HER app is an excellent place to start. HER is not only a bisexual dating app but where you can find over 10M+ queer folks and share an interest in more than 35 communities, including dedicated spaces for bi people.

Having the support of people who understand can have a tremendous effect on your mental state and help you to feel less alone.

Be your own biggest advocate.

Using your voice to speak up to doctors or medical professionals about your experiences is the first step to making a change. If your doctor uses improper terms or makes assumptions, be willing to correct them and stand up for what you deserve.

Also, using your voice on social media or protesting can shed more light on changes that need to be made.

Non-bisexual people should also try to make a more comfortable space for bi people in medical spaces as well.

Examine bias

Often times people don’t realize the harmful language or rhetoric that they have surrounding marginalized communities. Look at the ways in which your actions or ideologies may be harmful to the bisexual community and make active strides to change those ways.

Challenge stereotypes

With both yourself and others, look at the ways in which the stereotypes surrounding bisexual people affect your views and treatment of them. Be willing to use your voice when those around you are spreading harmful ideas about the bi community.

Learn more with HER

HER is a queer dating & community app for connecting with LGBTQ+ women, nonbinary, and trans folks in your area 🙂

Unlike most dating apps, HER is for making authentic, lasting connections with others. Download HER app today to connect with fellow women-loving women near you and find your community (or even your special someone!).

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Alexandra hails from Boston, MA but is currently living in the DC Area. She's passionate about social justice, self-care, spirituality, and watching documentaries. She's no stranger to telling her story through writing and has written for a variety of freelance publications. You can find her on Instagram at @lexlexlexlexlex__.

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