1. "Want to have a threesome with my boyfriend and me?"
I want you to know that I very seriously considered just listing this one 10 times and calling it good. In fact, go back and read it nine more times—that's how important it is. Responding to a woman telling you she's bisexual by requesting a threesome is not remotely cool, polite, or acceptable. Above all, it is not remotely going to work. Just because someone is attracted to both men and women doesn't mean she's attracted to both you and your boyfriend—or that she's into group sex. And treating bisexual women like sex objects makes them want to sleep with you less, not more.
2. "That's awesome—you get twice as many dates!"
First of all, bisexuals aren't necessarily attracted to twice as many people as monosexual (straight or gay) folks—just a somewhat broader variety. "Bisexual" doesn't mean "indiscriminate." We still have types. Also, lots of gay women and some straight men won't date bisexual women because of rampant stereotypes about cheating, dishonest bisexuals, so being out as bi might actually mean a person gets fewer dates.
3. "Oh, sure, everyone experiments in college."
Do not treat people's orientation like a phase. In fact, unless you're talking about the moon, try to avoid using the word "phase" altogether—it's insulting and dismissive. A person's sexual identity is real, even if that person is young or uncertain or eventually settles on a label that suits them better. Besides, lots of people who end up being gay have straight sex when they're young and still figuring things out, and no one ever writes that off as "experimenting with heterosexuality."
4. "Bi chicks always go straight in the end."
Anecdotally, I will agree that I know more bisexual women in long-term partnerships with men than in long-term partnerships with women. But can we talk about why that is? It's not because bisexuality isn't real or because it's just a phase. It's because more men than women are attracted to women. The population of straight and bisexual men is just plain bigger than the population of gay and bisexual women, so, assuming that all other factors are equal, of course bi women will more often find male partners. Also, sadly, biphobia in the gay community often means it's easier for a bisexual woman to get a date with a dude than with a lady.
5. "Isn't that just another way of saying slutty?"
Bisexuality and promiscuity are two totally different things, and while I'm in favor of both, it's important that people not confuse them. You can be attracted to men and women and still only have sex with one person in your entire life.You probably don't go around nailing literally everyone you ever think is cute, because you are a person and you have some self-control; why wouldn't you assume the same is true for bisexuals?
6. "But which do you like better, men or women?"
Neither. Both. It depends on who's in the room. It depends on which one I more recently broke up with. Men, but only when Mercury is in retrograde. Rihanna. I don't know, this isn't really a question that has an answer. Bisexuals aren't attracted to all men or all women in a uniform way, any more than straight people are. Attraction is complicated! I know you're hoping for a simple answer like, "I'm 70 percent interested in women and 30 percent interested in men," but that's not what it's like in real life (to say nothing of the fact that some people I'm attracted to don't identify as either women or men).
7. "You're just saying that to get attention from guys."
If I were, I would have stopped saying it about five seconds after I started. Yes, there is a particular breed of guy that tends to lavish attention on professed bisexual women, but neither the guys nor the attention are the kind you actually want. It's the creepy, hypersexualized, objectifying kind of attention that never leads to a good relationship (or even a good lay). No guy is ever like, "You're bisexual? Awesome! So tell me more about your thoughts on post-colonial literature." If bisexuality is what gets their attention, that's the only thing they're interested in. They don't want to know me as a person, and I don't want to know them at all.
8. "So you're gay now?" (when you date a girl) or "So you're straight now?" (when you date a guy)
Bisexuality doesn't disappear just because someone is in a monogamous relationship! I don't know why this is such a difficult concept for people to grasp. We don't switch back and forth from gay to straight depending on who we're seeing at the time. That would be really confusing and hard to keep track of. "Man, Naya Rivera is so hot. Wait, is she hot? Am I gay this week? I've got to start writing this down."
9. "I'd like to date you, but I just know you'd end up cheating on me."
Again, just because you have an attraction doesn't mean you have to act on it. Bi folks are no more or less likely to cheat than gay or straight people. Also, if someone cheated on you and told you it was because they're bisexual, they were lying. It was because they're a jerk. Don't date jerks, but do date bisexuals! We're fun!
10. "Bisexuals have it so much easier."
Yep! Between biphobia in the gay community, biphobia in the straight community, sexual objectification, erasure of our identities, and hurtful stereotypes about our dishonesty and infidelity, not to mention all the usual rejection and discrimination faced by queer people, you're right, bisexuality is a nonstop party. (Well, we do all seem to have really great hair, for some reason.) Instead of writing bi people off as greedy, slutty, dishonest, or desperate for attention, take some time to get to know the issues they face, and treat them as people, not porn tropes. You'll be glad you did. (Still no on the threesome, though.)
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor changes have been implemented by Cosmo.ph editors.