Beyond Either/Or: How I Am Bisexual Everywhere & All The Time

by Rev . Dr. Janet Edwards

“…in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

I was recently with a friend who also identifies as bisexual, and we began talking about the widely-held presumption that bisexuals “become” straight or gay depending on the gender of our partner.

For instance, since I am faithful in marriage with a man, it is assumed that I am living what is “straight” in me.

It is as if being bisexual means that there are distinct facets to my identity—gay or straight—and my partner determines which “side” I’m living out. For my friend, who is married to a woman, this means that many people assume she is living out the “gay” side of her bisexuality and forsaking her “straight” side.

My friend confessed that, when she was young and identified as lesbian, she deeply resented bisexual people who were in a relationship with the other gender. She took offense at what she saw as hiding behind a “straight life,” which led her to strongly object to bisexuals participating in LGBT political activity.

At one meeting, she became especially vocal about this topic. After the meeting, someone pulled my friend aside and told her how offensive her words were. This person shared with my friend that she identified as bisexual, and she did not become gay when she was with her female partner.

She explained she was bisexual whether she was with a man or a woman.

There were no bifurcated sides of her sexual orientation, and she did not switch between aspects of herself in her loving relationships. If she were with a man, she would not be living a “straight” life. She was herself: bisexual in sexual identification, everywhere and all the time.

This assumption that a bisexual person morphs into being straight or gay depending on the sex of the partner is unfortunately common in both LGBT and straight communities. I have also encountered it among Christians I have talked with about my experience.

One commented that what I do in my marriage is exercise my “heterosexual tendencies.” I confess, I had not thought about this very much until the conversation with my friend.

Am I bisexual everywhere, and all the time? As far as I know myself, I am.

What I have come to see is that the heart of the matter resides in the “and” of the verse from Genesis.

For me, the beauty of bisexuality is in the both/and experience. Identifying as bi allows me to further explore the reality that the Divine and the human are comprised of male AND female. Being sensitive to both/and allows me to encounter the immensely complex nature of God and of humans, who are made in God’s image.

Inside every human is a mix of male and female dimensions. For my friend, and myself, intimacy means choosing one person, bringing our love of more than one gender into the relationship as a way of loving the male and female richness inside each of us.

God knit me together as bisexual in my mother’s womb.

It took me a long time to grasp this complexity, and I am still discovering what it means for me. I am grateful for those who help me know I dwell in a place of both/and, not either/or, where I can appreciate the wholeness of God and every human being.

I am bisexual everywhere and all the time. I so hope you can see that.

Image via flickr user James Wheeler

Comments (24)


Thank you!
Thank you!

Sarah Wildt

I am also bisexual, and have
I am also bisexual, and have only come out a little over a year ago. I still struggle with this concept, as we live in an “either/or” world. Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me greatly.

craig barth

If someone identifies
If someone identifies themselves as being bi, does this pose any unusual challenges if/when they wish to commit themselves in fidelity to one person?

Janet Edwards

I think this probably varies
I think this probably varies for each person. Fidelity is a spiritual discipline in my experience. The only difference being bisexual makes for me is that temptation can come in the the form of both men and women. It’s potentially more frequent. I hope that makes sense to you.

Janice Best


Dr. Dustin D Bowman, PhD.

Bisexuality doesn’t determine
Bisexuality doesn’t determine the construct of a relationships. Just like the people who make up the relationship, it too is just as unique in the relationship’s make up, expectations and promiscuity of the partners. Being bisexual doesn’t give a person the right to be promiscuous. Relationships of heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual partners can be committed to their partners exclusively, committed to their partners openly (relationships where both partners consent to sexual relations outside of the other partner), and then there are relationships where one or both partners have sexual relations without the consent of the partner. As a bisexual male I am married to a heterosexual female. We have lived as a committed exclusive relationship for 11 years. Promiscuity is part of the stigma attached to bisexuality. My wife makes me happy. She fulfills me sexually. Being attracted to both sexes doesn’t mean I need to experience both sexes sexually to be fulfilled sexually.


I am bisexual as well,
I am bisexual as well, however, I have never been in a committed ‘gay’ relationship. I explored while younger, married two men, and found I wasn’t happy with them. I may decide to marry a woman, I may marry another man or I may not get married. I am still attracted to both women and men and feel like I don’t fit in anywhere.

Emiko Hall

Interesting insight for us to
Interesting insight for us to consider. Thank you for sharing.


I don’t identify as bisexual,
I don’t identify as bisexual, but — the more you consider being attracted to a heart, soul or mind, vs. physical attributes like muscles or plumbing, the mores sense it makes. Thank you for your witness.


Thank you for writing this! I
Thank you for writing this! I’m 22 and I feel that the label of bisexual really encapsulates my sexuality. Your article helps explain the fully faceted nature of bisexuals. Thank you!!!

Malcolm Blue

Thank you for this very
Thank you for this very sincere and very well stated explanation. I think I finally understand! Blessings!


I remember being told by
I remember being told by friends: “Even among misfits you’re a misfit”…. I remember the anger, accusations, disbelief…. I remember how naïve I was—assuming one group or the other would claim, embrace me;, and how shocked I was that neither did. I didn’t really expect to be accepted by heterosexuals, but I certainly didn’t expect the outrage from the gay community. This was a long time ago, and my life has removed me from these issues until recently. I’d be very curious to see if/how much the attitudes and reception has changed since the mid 80s, when my heart was so broken…

Alice Johnson

Great article, and thanks for
Great article, and thanks for it!

During the decade of my life that included high school and some work and some university, I was confused because everyone I knew was extremely sure of their sexuality. I wanted to be that certain! However, as the politics of teh gay heated up, as everyone took sides and even manned the barricades, it wasn’t important anymore. Now, you’re gay if you say you are, and except for some philosophical conversations, people (in my generation) don’t seem to feel the need to parse it any further.

Edith Sutterlin

Well said, Janet.
Well said, Janet.

Jennifer Williams

Thanks for this very
Thanks for this very informative article!

Bob Vance

I have come to think of
I have come to think of bisexuality as outside the parameters of the gay/straight, male/female bifurcation of the expression of “parts” of the self. The self is whole. It is unified and one.

The idea that bisexual people are somehow divided and express one side or the other of that divide is fraught with misconception and a vision of sexuality that comes from those who do not experience sexuality in the way that bisexual people do. It has a certain level of prejudice and ignorance built in, much like a race supremacist or the old discredited race “science” thinks in terms of Black or White when the nature of what we call race is no where nearly as neatly divided and comes closer to spectrum and range.

Besides, splitting one’s sexual preferences into neat completely divided compartments cannot be seen as psychologically healthy. My attractions come from the same well, and are satisfied by attaching to a number of different attributes, not genders.

Tom Moe

It is hard to figure out the
It is hard to figure out the real issue to this. While sexuality is the battlefield it appears that the issue continually is, “if you are taking the name of my God you must take my identity.”


Rev. Edwards,
Rev. Edwards,
My name is Jessica and I just finished reading your blog on being bisexual, and I am a trans-woman that has an interest in both women and men. Although I do agree with you about “bisexual is a sexual identification, everywhere and all the time”. There were points you made that I shall I say that I have a different point of view.
The first being:
…in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.”
To me this is just God “getting things going” after that it was hands off. God put this in the hands of “mother nature” I can not believe God is making the decision of each and every creature born on earth whether they will be female or male. God has given us free will which to me means God will not interfere with human life, doing so no matter in the form would be considered interfering. So the decision of a male or female child is not a decision at all but just the laws of nature.
The other statement:
“God knit me together as bisexual in my mother’s womb. ” This too would also be God interfering with human life. So if God is not deciding what is? nature would which is why I say nature has a strange sense of humor, one that I feel is cruel.
This is why we hear, God made you a man or woman and it is wrong to undo what God has done. Which just fuels the hate towards the LGBT community. People need to understand the concept of what is meant by Free Will. I feel a lot of the problem is people quoting the bible and not understanding what the words mean.
Okay time to get off my soapbox but I felt this needed to be said. My pastor always said I see things a little different than the majority. Thank you for listening

Janet Edwards

Jessica, I understand the
Jessica, I understand the view you express here and I know there are many Christians who share it with you. My Presbyterian tradition within the Christian family holds firmly to God being sovereign over all and my views in this post reflect that. This does not, for me, lead to the conclusion you suggest, however, that “it is wrong to undo what God has done.” One of the mysteries of God is that we also have freedom to perceive ourselves and the world around us and to make choices. This is a paradox (another both/and).

Jill Schaeffer

I appreciate Rev. Edward’s
I appreciate Rev. Edward’s candor and reflection. What I am discovering on my own journey is the gradual realization that being human does not, at least for me, begin with sexuality at all but rather how we develop and experience relationships. A married woman – and former friend, unfortunately – spent years trying to persuade me and/or suggest to me that I was gay and did indeed enjoy same sex relationships when I had not. I found this abusive and hardly a plus in our own relationship. Reflecting upon her insistence, I realized that she believed that only if I practiced homosexuality could I be considered gay or bi, whereas I never thought that “practice” alone determined character or disposition. Eventually, she left off the topic.

I am wondering if it would not be helpful to arrange seminars on the difference between disposition and practice in order help clarify what “bi” may mean to a person celebrating his or her identity without (or with) enjoying relationships with both men and women. Perhaps my former friend was right – in a way – she is unclear herself in what “bi” means.

Janet Edwards

What you bring up for me is
What you bring up for me is the present situation in which the words “bisexual” or “bi” are giving way among younger people to “pan” or “omni” or “fluid.” The binary mindset that gives rise to either/or thinking is being replaced with a much wider understanding. Perhaps this is we would do well to teach rather than to introduce people to the concept of “bisexual” which is swiftly becoming passe.

Daphne Shaed


Great writing. Thank you for putting this out there. However, I have a critique. The conflation of sex and gender makes many people invisible. Bisexuality is the love shared between two people of different or same sex, or different or same genders(for example a male bodied women loving other women and another gender type). The other problem that arises in this article is the erasure of intersex persons in discussing only male and female. Bisexuality does not have to appeal to the binary categories of sex or gender, but when it does it erases a lot of people.

Janet Edwards

Yes, you are right, even as
Yes, you are right, even as bisexual, paradoxically, contribute to the disintegration of a binary approach to life, it does, as you say, erase a lot of difference varieties of people and experience. This is why I think the rising generation is helping us all by using “pan,” “omni” and “fluid” instead of “bi.” Perhaps, someday, I will take this leap in describing myself, rather than “bi.”

Pearl Friis

Yes Thank You! So well put
Yes Thank You! So well put and this so needed to be said. I’ve been so frustrated by this issue for so long… people’s need to put bisexuals in one box or the other is disheartening. I was always going to be faithful to my chosen mate but that doesn’t change the core of who I am. Nor would my chosen mate (who truly understands me and embraces my bisexuality) ever expect it to.

Thank you so much again for putting this into words in a way I never could.

God bless you! 🙂

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