We all know the joke about the internet: the men are men, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents. But what about the bisexuals?
There’s no doubt that bisexuals exist, at least, in the minds of those who have done their homework. But there’s another question to start with, which is just as important: is there a place for us?
In search of a site to call home…
As I explored dating sites, I discovered that different online dating sites cater to bisexuals very differently. Plenty of Fish, for instance, doesn’t have any mechanisms for dealing with us. We’re forced to literally create and maintain two separate profiles if we want to appear in the search results of both guys and girls. (This is one of the reasons why I faded into the sunset on that site.)
Then, I explored other popular dating sites, including eHarmony, Lavalife, Match.com, Perfectmatch, Yahoo Personals, and Matchmaker. On most of these sites, you have to choose one gender or the other to display in your “seeking” field, and this affects whose search results you show up in.
Finally, tired of the antics of trying to be included on other big sites and desperate for a change, I stumbled on OkCupid. They actually included an option for bisexuals as I was signing up… the first time I’d seen that. “Whoa, impressive,” I said to myself, but I reserved judgment until I finished signing up. A search or two later, I was sold on the idea that OkCupid is the best site for me… at least, for now.
Maybe someday, bisexuals can flock to any dating site they want and feel that little thrill of, “Hey, I’m included!” when they go to sign up. For now, our options are more limited unless we want to create multiple profiles (if that’s even allowed in the sites’ terms of service).
Who’s bisexual today?
OkCupid keeps a blog with some awesome hints and tips based on statistics. They might not always be completely accurate, but they’re interesting to think about.
Recently, they made a post called “The Big Lies People Tell in Online Dating”… oh, admit it, you’re intrigued already. Can you wait until you’re done this post to go look at it? Pretty please? (The link’s on the bottom if you just can’t wait.)
OkCupid analyzed the bisexuals in their database of users and compiled some fascinating facts. Here’s some to get the debate rolling…
23% of bisexuals send messages to both sexes.
41% send messages to only guys.
36% send messages to only girls.
This means that even if a user only sent one message to a guy and ninety messages to girls, they were included under the “both” category. After all, maybe that user is into girls but would swing for that particular guy, which technically speaking makes him or her bisexual.
Next, we have a few charts that they compiled:
Over half of the young bisexual men on this site ignored the ladies entirely, but on the other side of the chart, barely a quarter of the bisexual men messaged exclusively men. “True” bisexuals – those I’m right now defining as those who message both sexes – are rare on both sides of the chart, but around twenty percent of young bisexual men fall into this category, and ten percent of older men.
There’s definitely a shift in stated, versus actual, bisexuality here, but it’s hard to say why.
Time to analyze the women now!
This is more of a flat line over time. While 12% of OkCupid’s female population under 35 identify as bi, these preferences just don’t materialize on the site. Just over a quarter of the bisexual women on OkCupid message both sexes, a quarter message women, and somewhat under half only message guys.
What does this mean? Only about a quarter of the bisexuals on OkCupid have actually messaged both sexes – more women than men in general, but even so, three in four bisexuals… just aren’t that bisexual right now.
The debate about bisexuality
Of course, we can’t extrapolate from these statistics that people are lying, trying to get attention or wanting to seem edgy, and so on.
After all, bisexuality is another label we can apply to ourselves even if we don’t want to pursue it right now. Maybe some of those bisexuals who only message one sex are just not that into guys or girls at this time, but feel like they could be again. Others might not feel safe messaging people in their current small town, but would be willing to consider it if some life circumstances changed. And still others might have crushed on or even had relations with someone from the sex they don’t message in the past.
So let’s not be too hasty to condemn these people for attention-seeking or lying. We can’t judge each other’s preferences, after all!
What about you?
If you list yourself as bisexual on dating sites, do you really message both sexes?
If you’re not bi, have you dated or messaged bisexuals before, only to be surprised somehow?
A big thanks to the source for this post: The Big Lies People Tell in Online Dating, by OkCupid!