This article originally appeared on Women's Health US
As a sex educator who identifies as bi, I’ve struggled deeply with my own identity at times—and I'm candid about sex for a living!
Being bisexual isn't quite as cut-and-dry as being gay or straight, and figuring out if it feels like the right fit can be confusing.
In fact, according to research from the Pew Institute, only 28 percent of bisexual people say they've come out about their identity to loved ones, compared to 71 percent of lesbians.
The best way to bash stigmas surrounding bisexuality? Share experiences! If you’re questioning, curious, or just need a little extra encouragement, here are five women on the moments they knew they were bi.
'I HAD AN EROTIC DREAM ABOUT A WOMAN'
"My journey in understanding my sexuality began in high school when I had a dream about being with a woman, and I found that I enjoyed this dream a bit too much. From there, I explored my sexuality, dating both males and females.
"During university, I lost my desire for men and dove head first into the lesbian lifestyle for about four or five years. I joined a lesbian sorority and was deeply involved in the LGBTQ lifestyle and community in Atlanta.
"Around 2010, I found my attraction to men had been rekindled, but my love for women hadn't waned. My life in the lesbian community had become a large part of my identity, so I struggled reconciling my sexuality for a while, but in due time, I returned to my original identity from when I first explored my sexual orientation: I love people. Male and female, one at a time—I love people. But technically, I'm bi." —Cat, 35
'I HAD A THING FOR MY BEST FRIEND'
"I knew I was bisexual when I wanted to date my best friend in high school. I still liked boys, but I knew I liked her, too. I actually didn’t know I was bi then because I didn’t know what bisexual even meant. I thought I was a total freak.
"In university, I had sex with a woman for the first time after a party. It wasn’t awkward or weird. We were both very chill about it the next day. I knew I wanted to see where this adventure would take me.
"As of now, I’m in a poly relationship with a man and a woman. It’s a lot of work, but I’m very happy." — Lilly, 31
'I'D NEVER FELT THAT WAY ABOUT ANY GUY'
"I truly realised I was bisexual at the end of my junior year of high school. Heteronormativity made me think I only liked guys for so long, and then I met this girl and I just realised I had never felt that way about any guy I had been with.
"I ended up dating that girl for a bit but also treated parts of senior year as most people (stereotypically) treat their first year of university—I explored a lot. It was freeing. It’s now nearly six years later, and while I’m in a committed relationship with a girl I've love for almost two years, I still identify as bisexual. I think that’s a major misconception, that your relationship status dictates your identity." —Ilana, 22
'I DIDN'T REALISE UNTIL UNIVERSITY'
"To most of my peers, I came out ‘late’ at 19 years old. I am physically disabled and didn't know how to express interest and be appealing to someone I thought was cute because of a lot of internal self-doubt. Thoughts like, ‘Who would want to be with someone like me?'
"I was worried if I were bi, I wouldn’t be worthy of a man’s love."
"But then, after I graduated high school, and went to university, I started hearing stories from peers that sounded like [the] thoughts in my head that I didn't know how to express out loud. I do remember as a young teen watching a music video of a female singer and biting my lip or something, but I didn't realise at the time it was because I thought the girl was cute.
"After some time in university, and figuring myself out, I had to figure out a way to tell my parents and family. I went to my local Pride event, which was held at my church. I went past the 'Resource Table' maybe three or four times, then tried to discreetly pick up a 'How to Come Out' pamphlet.
"I blurted out to my mum, ‘Mum, I've known for a while, but I'm bisexual. I hope you're not mad, because I denied it when you asked if I was gay last year.’ Then, my mum, hugged me and said, ‘I love you, goofball. There's probably more bisexual people here than you realise.'" — Allie, 27
'I THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS "HETEROFLEXIBLE" UNTIL LAST YEAR'
"I’ve openly identified as bisexual for about a year, even though I dated a girl for some time in univeristy. I always thought of myself as more ‘heteroflexible.’ It wasn’t until my last relationship with a man ended that I fully embraced my bisexuality. I guess deep down I was worried if I were bi, I wouldn’t be worthy of a man’s love. How f*cked up is that?
"Anyway, I now know who I am and if someone didn’t want to be with me because I’m bi—I wouldn’t want to be with them!" — Gracie*, 27