Let’s Talk About Sex(uality), Baby

I told myself I was going to write a discussion post every month this year, thinking it would be mostly about bookish things. But since then, a problem has become glaringly obvious to me, and I thought where better to talk about it then here?

The problem is the lack of representation and understanding of sexuality in the world. And I’m not talking about straight or gay people; there’s plenty of shows that talk about them, or books featuring them as main characters. I’m talking about the rarer ones, like bi, pan, asexual, etc., although I’ll only be talking about bi people in this particular post.

Here’s something you should probably know before we carry on with this post; I’m bi. This is the first time I’ve said this online, so this is kind of a huge deal for me… I feel nervous just writing it, let alone posting it. Only a handful of my real life friends know, but I think I can trust you guys not to judge me. I don’t think it’s a huge thing, but for some reason it’s become a huge thing. And I think part of that is because of a lack of representation.

Okay, pause for a second. How many bi characters can you think of? Or even real life people who are in the spotlight? I can think of one; Brittany, from Glee. Oh, and Captain America, but I only found out he was bi when I did some more research into it for this post. When we’re so poorly represented, how can anyone be expected to know what bisexuality even is?

Captain America

When I told my parents, they didn’t believe me. My mum said she would accept me if I was a lesbian, but she doesn’t really believe in bi people. I mean, what? Am I a unicorn or something?!? (that would be way cooler to be honest). It’s not at all that she has a problem with homosexuality, it’s just that she thinks bi people don’t know what they’re talking about. We’re straight people who are experimenting, or lesbians who can’t accept that about ourselves. But I can tell you that I perv at hot guys on the street just as much as hot girls. In fact, there’s some stat saying that a majority of women are bi. So why was it so hard for her to grasp? This isn’t me saying I don’t like my mum for this, or anything like that. I think all too many people think exactly the same thing as her. And I don’t hate you for that – I just wish it wasn’t that way.Β Bi

I guess it makes it hard for me, and anyone else who’s in one of these minorities. Whether you’re bi, pan, asexual, and so many countless other things that I can’t even name, we’re not well represented at all. It makes it hard for so many reasons; how can I even know that I’m bi if I don’t know anything about bi people? How can you explain to someone that you’re asexual, if that’s something they might not even know it exists?

Here’s where we get to the discussion part. If you’re one of these people that doesn’t fit into the gay or straight camp, I want you to know that I’m here for you, for whatever you might need (ew, not that!). Can any of you think of books with a minority in them? Is this something you’ve noticed? Do you think it’s enough of a problem that I can do a media studies study on it for scholarship?

26 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sex(uality), Baby

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  1. I love your post! The 100 is a tv show with a bi girl as the lead!! It’s amazing, you should check it out πŸ˜€ We need more diversity in books, more non-straight characters. Also there’s a lot of celebrities that are bi, but the media usually erases their identity and says they’re gay or straight (depending on the gender of the person they’re currently in a relationship with) -.- that’s a massive problem in itself, I could rant for hours on that.

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  2. I think you could definitely find enough material to do a media studies on it. πŸ™‚ There is a HUGE lack of representation, even within diverse books, sadly – most LGBTQ+ YA is about cis white gay guys. It’s very hard to find books about queer women, bi/pan/ace characters, trans and/or nb characters, and queer people of color.

    *hugs you because coming out is hard* I’m sorry your mom said that to you… there’s a lot of misinformation about bisexuality.

    AHAHA CAPTAIN AMERICA. ❀ It's funny that you said that, because he actually /isn't/ canonically bi, but there's been a huge push for the writers of the MCU to confirm him as such, because a ton of people headcanon him as bi. I saw a tumblr post a while ago that was basically, "I want the bi!Cap headcanon to be so widespread that people just accept it without question and think he actually is bi so that the writers are forced to acknowledge it," so yeah. πŸ˜€ I headcanon a ton of MCU characters as bi – Steve, Bucky, Peggy, Nat, Howard Stark, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, and for some reason that counts as us being an accepting society? But you’re right, we’re still missing so many people. I hadn’t even thought about the race thing until you pointed it out!
      Thank you so much β™₯ Hopefully we can sort that out soon…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry that you have to go through such a hard situation. You’re right, bi people aren’t represented – or even often believed. It sucks. I’m straight, but since I’m little I’m very engaged to help society understanding that there is no need to put labels on love. You love girls? Nice. Boys? Nice. Both? Nice. No difference at all on who you are as a person! So, if you ever need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to talk to me πŸ™‚

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  4. …aaaaand I’m continuing my comment because I realized I hadn’t even answered the question at the end of your post! πŸ˜› Here are some books I recommend:

    Ash by Malinda Lo (bisexual retelling of Cinderella & one of my fave books EVER!)
    Adaptation (& its sequel, Inheritance) by Malinda Lo (bi characters and aliens and a dystopia!)

    P.S. I’m pretty sure the study about most women being bisexual was discredited, actually – it measured whether or not they were aroused by having them view porn, and apparently women tend to be turned on by any kind of sex? Which is just a fact of biology, and doesn’t really say anything about who they’re actually attracted to.

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  5. It’s a big step to come out and say it so congratulations! πŸ™‚ I used to come out as bi, but now I just say that I love who I love without putting a label on it because that’s what works for me. I agree that there aren’t a whole lot of characters out there that aren’t the majority. Come to think of it, I can’t think of any right now. I can’t wait to read about a story about a character who is different! I think it would make for an interesting media studies study! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! πŸ™‚ That completely makes sense – it’s annoying that everything is labelled as something, but that’s a post for another day haha πŸ˜› Yeah, I’ve got a few recommendations now, and I’m excited to read them!

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  6. Your are totally right! I have a couple of bi friends that have spent a long time trying to get people to understand their sexuality, but it just isn’t reasonable in some people’s minds which is quite frustrating, because people can love who they love. Also, on the “bi’s in the media” I honestly couldn’t think of any… AND didn’t know Captain America was bi! I think the media study sounds really cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that must be really hard for your friends, I feel for them. I’m glad you’re so accepting of it! It’s sad that so few people can actually think of any… I don’t even know if Cap is, or if fans just think that πŸ˜›


  7. I totally agree that there’s a lack of real exploration into things other than gay or straight. I thin YA is doing a good job of chasing up on the gap of gay relationships as there’s a good handful of books sprouting into existence in that area (Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda being my all time FAV), but then that’s as far as it goes. Every now and then a character reacts in a way and I think YES THEY’RE BI which is probably a strange reaction but I always get excited when an author does something different.

    The number one example that comes to mind is actually from Doctor Who – Captain Jack Harkness. Funniest character in the series. Hands. Down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think gays are being much more widely represented, and that’s such a good thing. Still a long way to go though πŸ™‚ I know what you mean – there’s a bi character in the show I’m watching at the moment, and I’m SO HAPPY! I haven’t seen Doctor Who, but yay him!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So, 7 Ways We Lie has a pansexual character in it, but with 7 POVs it’s difficult to give each character the right amount of page time. This Song Is (Not) For You is a great story about three people falling in love, one of them being asexual. Magnus Bane from the Mortal Instruments is bisexual.
    People already mentioned Jack Harkness, Doctor Who and The 100. Hmmm … who else? Brenna on Chasing Life was bi, too bad that show got cancelled. Sara from Arrow was dating both men and women. There were a couple transgender characters on Glee. All the characters of Sense8 sort of experiment with sexuality in general.
    That’s all I can think of for now hahaha hope that helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post, and who better than book bloggers to bring up the lack of diversity in books ? I’m somewhere on the asexual spectrum (and bi too – technically I “swing both ways”, it’s just that I don’t swing very often at all) and while there are characters here and there that can fit in that category (Ronan from the Raven Cycle, or another character from one of my favorite webcomics), it’s never said explicitly, you know. I can rec Coda by Emma Trevayne which has a bisexual male character as its protagonist ; Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown features almost only minorities (in terms of race and sexuality). I can’t think of any book with a bisexual girl as the main character, though …

    Liked by 1 person

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