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What kind of Bi?

May 7, 2009

We just ran across a very interesting article on the wide range of desires and experiences that are included within the broad definition of bisexuality. Kathy Labriola, R.N., is a bi- and poly-friendly counselor in the SF Bay area whose writings on bisexuality and polyamory have been published on line by a friend of hers. In “What is bisexuality? Who is bisexual?” she describes thirteen specific types based on the work of J. R. Little. There are probably many more permutations and combinations out there, but we like this approach as a place to start.

Sometimes we write heroines who’ve been chiefly heterosexual but expand their horizons and discover that they’re also attracted to women. Some of these would fall under the “alternating bisexuals” designation in her typology – persons who have relationships serially, with one gender and then the other. Martha Richards of The Mistress of Purgatory Point most resembles this type. Others are more like “concurrent relationship bisexuals.” They have a primary relationship with a single gender, but at the same time have “casual or secondary relationships” with persons of the other gender. If things work out for Merry Delaney in The Merry Widow, that would be her hope.

Mistress 150        Merry 150

Luci Parker, heroine of Writing Skin, is altogether different. She’s known she is bi for a long time. She’s not sure she could ever settle for a primary relationship with one or the other, and she’s pretty much given up trying. Loving both is part of who she is. Her first choice would be what Labriola calls “integrated bisexuals,” persons who have “more than one primary relationship at the same time, one with a man and one with a woman.”

Skin 150

The story of how she finds her partners – a man and a woman – is tender, funny, fraught with anxiety and uncertainty, soul-searching and heartwarming. You can find an excerpt here – enjoy!

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