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What is bisexual panic? Definitions and examples from TikTok and beyond

Robyn Exton

Feb 14, 2023

What is bisexual panic? Definitions and examples from TikTok and beyond

The LGBTQ lexicon continues to expand, but don’t panic! 

We’ll walk you through our latest addition: bi panic. It’s taken a life of its own on social media, and we’re here for it. But what does bi panic mean?

Bi panic is kind of an enigmatic term, used in different ways depending on the context. But to put it simply, it refers to the flustered feeling bisexuals may experience when coming across unexpected attraction to people of one or more genders. You might have heard of a similar term, “gay panic,” which refers to the same feeling for same-gender attraction.

Let’s use bi panic in a sentence. For example, I had such a bi panic moment last night at the club. So many hot people in one place!

If you still struggle with understanding the term, we’ve got more explanations and some excellent bi panic examples in the following article. Just read on!

What is the meaning of bisexual panic?

Bi panic has flourished online as a term to describe the confusing and sometimes exhilarating experience bisexuals feel when they come across one or more attractive person(s) of varying genders, whether or not they are a fictional person. 

It’s sometimes used in a cheeky and fun way, as it’s often used on TikTok, for example. 

But the truth is that when you live your life with straight being the default, it can be so scary to suddenly experience and acknowledge attraction to different genders for the first time. 

This feeling can be similar to – you guessed it – panic. 

Bisexual panic attack: Is there such a thing?

Panic attacks are a pretty serious diagnosis, so the last thing we want to do is say there is a real diagnosis like “bisexual panic attack,” but it’s definitely possible to experience intense distress over newfound attraction, especially if you are just awakening to your bisexuality. 

Related reading: are you wondering if you’re bi? Here are 12 Signs That You’re Bisexual from the HER blog

As we said, bi panic can be used cheekily, but the potential stress of coming out and experiencing bi-phobia is real. 

That being said, consider the following list of symptoms of bi panic as a spectrum of sorts. It varies from a temporary flustered feeling, like when you see a beautiful couple on the street, to intense anxiety stemming from an identity crisis that could potentially affect your everyday life. In the second case, you should absolutely talk about it with a trusted friend, family member, or counselor who supports your feelings and experience.

Bi panic symptoms may include:

  • Stuttering when interacting or thinking about the person(s) in question
  • Losing your train of thought 
  • Sweating

If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should know that you’re not alone. Finding community is one of the best things you could do to transform feeling anxious about being bisexual to feeling empowered about your attraction to multiple genders!

And one of the best ways to find community is to get out there and make new friends, which you can certainly do on the HER app. Whether looking for friends, something casual, or a monogamous or polyamorous relationship, it’s only a matter of time before you find someone who will fit perfectly into your life. It’s why HER is one of the best bisexual dating apps out there!

Our favorite bi panic examples from TV shows

It’s been said a million times: representation matters! 

Bisexuals in television and beyond are more visible now than ever before. Thankfully, they are falling less and less into harmful stereotypes about bisexuals not being able to “choose a side” or simply being promiscuous partners that you can’t trust. Biphobia is real, and it contributes to a lowered quality of life for bisexual people

To put some light onto some experiences bi people might go through, here are some examples of bi panic from some of our favorite iconic (canonically or otherwise) bisexual characters.

Nick Nelson in Heartstopper

One of my favorite examples of “bi panic” is Kit Connor’s performance in Netflix’s Heartstopper as the canonically  bisexual character Nick Nelson.

[Video from TikTok showing Nick Nelson’s bisexual awakening]

This is quite a vulnerable scene in which Nick knows he has real feelings for Charlie Spring, the show’s main character, but is struggling to reconcile it with his previous experience of attraction towards girls.

It’s a scene that many non-straight people can relate to when they have their first experience of same-gender attraction. Bisexuals, specifically, can experience confusion because they’re trying to bargain their attraction to the “opposite” sex with their newfound attraction. 

Another heartwarming thing I love about this scene is how Charlie comforts Nick by hugging him as Nick’s going through this. Whether it’s a partner or friend, they should be supportive and not dismissive of your experience.

Nick’s line in this scene is iconically, “I’m having a proper full-on gay crisis!” But we can also agree that “bi panic” can easily be swapped into the script, since (spoiler alert!) Nick comes to terms with his bisexuality by the end of the season.

Source: Twitter, Netflix

Dean Winchester from Supernatural

It’s kind of a running joke in the Supernatural fandom that the Winchester brothers were in dire need of counseling throughout the entire 15-season-long series. So much emotional conflict could have been dealt with in healthy ways if they only had some emotion skills! This difficulty to express their feelings often gives us hilarious moments of bi panic from Dean Winchester.

From his comedic interaction with Dr. Sexy in season 5 all the way to pretty much all his interactions with Castiel – Dean Winchester gives us so many signs that he’s a bisexual icon. And fans held on to that until the very end, Destielgate and beyond. 

[Watch this TikTok: Dean Winchester experience bi panic in this hilarious scene from Supernatural.]

Supernatural is the quintessential example of queerbait, but LGBT+ fans have loved and claimed this character for years, and for good reason. Dean Winchester has got too many moments of bi panic to count! 

Phebe Bouffay and Chandler Bing from Friends

The 90s and 00s sitcom Friends broke many boundaries in the TV industry for its time, showing the first lesbian couple to marry in American sitcom history. But even then, it wasn’t the best representation of the LGBT+ community. The show often had transphobic and homophobic jokes at the expense of some of the characters, which can contribute to homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in everyday life.

That being said, fans have still pointed out moments of clear bi panic from beloved characters like Chandler Bing and Phoebe Buffay, even if they have never been canonically confirmed as bisexual characters. 

TikTok trends: show us your bi panic movie or bi panic couple

We’ve previously spoken about how Gen Z and TikTok brought bisexuality the validity it deserves on the HER blog, and the hilarious way people use TikTok to “show their bi panic” is just another example of people normalizing the bisexual experience.

One of our favorite trends is bi panic TikTok, wherein the hashtag #bipanic bisexual people share images or scenes from media of fictional characters which evoke “bi panic” in the original poster. Here are some of our favorites:

Here are some relatable bi panic comments TikTok users have left on these kinds of videos:

Being bisexual can be a beautiful experience, but it doesn’t always come easy when you have to deal with biphobia and stereotypes. Bi panic gaining popularity as a term shows us how bisexual people wholeheartedly own their experiences and accept who they are. 

Just remember that if you find yourself extremely worried and anxious about your experiences, you are not alone, and you deserve community, support, and love. 

We hope making sense of bi panic can reduce the panic itself – and who knows? Maybe you’ll experience bi panic yourself browsing through the HER app, and if so, we hope it’s a beautiful experience!

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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