It's not unusual for a bisexual woman to be unidentifiable at first glance. And why should we be? There's no uniform for nonconformity. Sexual orientation shouldn't warrant a certain look or dress, or some occult tattoo. It is a state of being and taking unapologetic ownership in who you are and what you desire. It might come as a surprise to learn that despite how much I own and love my bisexuality, I've had to stop talking to my friends about being interested in and attracted to women almost entirely.
Unfortunately for me, and many others, being open and honest about who you are and who you desire doesn't eliminate the long-standing cognitive dissonance that straight men experience when you try to inform them of this.
Just last week a guy friend of mine—and I'm using the term "friend" very loosely— texted me and asked me if I'm bi. Out of the blue, I might add. I quickly prepared for the f*ckery that was about to ensue and started to consider that a learning opportunity for my “friend."
"I didn't know you consider yourself that. I got somebody we can have fun with."
My first reaction wasn't visceral, although my temper was reaching a fever pitch.
I remained cool and politely began to educate him on all the ways that women do just fine enjoying sex in the absence of men. And then, I respectfully declined his offer and sent him on his way with a “now go f*ck yourself, have a nice day" text.
What's even more surprising is my exchanges with straight women aren't much better.
They assume that I must've had a threesome before, or I'm at least interested in having one. They want to know how many girls I've been with. They may start scouring the room to identify which girl looks like my type or feel compelled to ask about my religious beliefs. Or worse, they misinterpret me owning my sexuality as an invitation for them to “explore" their own sexuality using my body.
That's no different than a man objectifying a woman.
Lucky for them, I'm always available to help women identify when they're operating from a heterosexist disposition. In fact, I once had a three-year on-again, off-again situationship with a woman.
This woman just so happened to also have an on-again, off-again boyfriend the entire time. She knew my family and friends. We'd go on trips, spend birthdays and holidays together. But after coming to the realization that she herself didn't consider herself bisexual, and that she associated bisexuality as something to be ashamed of, the secrecy of it all began to smother me.
During that same three-year time span, I dated men. One of them, after learning I was bisexual, began thinking I would cheat on him with my then off-again girlfriend. I later determined it had nothing to do with me but that my sexuality in and of itself was an attack on his male ego. And the other decided that my being bisexual meant he was free to date and sleep with whomever. He tried to use my sexuality against me to argue this to his advantage.
The overarching theme in all of this?
Women should be allowed to own their sexuality without being deemed sexual deviants. It perpetuates the idea that there's a “norm" to deviate from. I'm not knocking open relationships or promiscuity. In fact, women should feel empowered in expressing their sexuality. But monogamy and bisexuality are not mutually exclusive, in the same way that women's agency cannot be trivialized to the heterosexual women's refusal to be objectified by men.
The brain has a natural tendency to categorize people and things to make easier to understand, sure. But leaning on someone's sexual orientation to determine his or her sexual behavior is a reach.
The notion that bisexual women are having twice the fun: false.
I can't speak for all bisexual women but I can say my sex life far less exciting than the common misperception suggests.
Bisexuality is self-defining in the same way that any other woman chooses to express her sexuality. Imagine if we labeled every woman who has had sex before marriage as a hoe. We don't. Instead, we champion women who are single mothers, encourage women who speak out to dismantle rape culture, we commend women for their fearlessness in making all body types sexy and recognize them as being worthy of having love, too, regardless of whether they're promiscuous or not.
As we should.
That should apply to bi women as well. We should protect one another against prejudices rooted in the heteronormative and misogynistic ways of thinking that objectify women or reduce them to their sexuality.
So much of understanding others is about challenging preconceived notions with conversation.
If nothing else, take from this that being open to connecting and expressing a genuine interest in someone of the same sex is a far cry from being casual and unselective in a person's approach to sex and relationships.
It would be truer to say, then, that anyone has the potential to be promiscuous regardless of who they're attracted to.
Featured image by Getty Images
- Why This Woman Chooses To Embrace Polyamory In Her Marriage ... ›
- 'Harlem' Black Male Bisexuality, Evolution On-Screen ›
- Bisexual meaning | 11 common misconceptions about bisexuals that ... ›
- 7 Misconceptions About Bisexuality We Need To Get Over ›
- Bisexuality: the definition and misconceptions | British GQ ›
- 16 Misconceptions About Being Bisexual | Teen Vogue ›
- Are Bisexuals Really Less Monogamous Than Everyone Else ... ›
- The Myth Of Bisexuality, the Shame of Promiscuity, and Other ... ›
- Bisexual Women, Non-Monogamy and Differentialist Anti ... ›
DeJanae Evins is a certified cannabis educator, consultant and the creator of GreenGoddessGlow, a digital resource at the intersection of cannabis and wellness encouraging mindful cannabis self-care practices. Evins is also a freelance health and wellness writer often discussing topics around sexual health and women's empowerment. Since learning about the Plant Queendom and the many ways we can use plant medicine to heal ourselves both individually and on a global scale, Evins has been vocal in both the cannabis and wellness communities about integrating cannabis in her approach to holistic health. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @dejanaetanye.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If the recurring strikes and scandals didn't give you an inkling of how seedy the entertainment industry can be, surely you can look to stories of former child stars whose fame of yesteryears can, at times, be a source of the conflict and inner turmoil they encounter today. While some child stars were able to keep riding the Hollywood wave to new levels and heights in a decades-spanning career, some found success occupying other lanes like retail, and some still look to the past as if it were yesterday with heavy regret due to the career that could have, or even should have, been.
Tiffany Evans' claim to fame happened early on in her childhood as her powerhouse vocals caught the attention of many during her time as a contestant on Star Search in 2003. At the time, she wasn't even 12, but she was racking up perfect scores with every performance, a competition first. Unsurprisingly, she scored a record deal shortly thereafter. Tiffany would go on to release her self-titled debut album in 2008 with singles like "I'm Grown" and perhaps her biggest hit, "Promise Ring," which featured Ciara. In 2005, she also had a minor role in the Tyler Perry film Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Two decades later, Tiffany is now reminiscing on being able to spend her childhood years doing something she loved but regrettably having "nothing to show for it" as an adult, all due to greed and because the industry will either lift you up or spit you out.
Recently, an Instagram post published by The Neighborhood Talk shared a comment Tiffany left on the Instagram account @flyandfamousblackgirls regarding her experience with childhood fame. The post she commented on was a picture of herself from February 2003, when she appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The comment she left felt like an open letter to her inner child. In it, she recounted manipulation, missed opportunities, and abuse she encountered during that time.
"If I knew then what I know now I would have done things differently. I wish I could've changed so much that was going around this little girl. Everybody took from me. All of the hard earned money I made. The work I put in. They took from me, ruined some relationships in this business for me, squandered some opportunities that if you guys knew about it, you would've wanted to get it back in blood for me.
"I spent years doing something that I love, to become an adult and have nothing to show for it. It bothers my mental a lot some time. The ones who know the truth, really know... from a teenager to my adult years I went out looking for love in wrong places, was manipulated, and terribly abused."
Tiffany then expressed that her journey to where she's grown to since her time in the limelight brought her beauty that she has so much gratitude for. Since music will always be a priority for her, what she has been through doesn't stop her from wanting to see her career go further than it was allowed to go in the past.
Her comment continued, "Out of that kind of life I gained beautiful children, I met my soulmate but I really want to see what I worked so hard for all my childhood finally come to life! And I love music so I'm really working at it still y'all. I trust the Lord. Thank you for always rooting for me love y'all!"
"Please keep rooting for me." Tiffany ended her comment, prompting people to follow her music page. "we're dropping music together and some solo stuff soon too."
We're always rooting for you, Tiffany!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images