Just Because I’m Bisexual Doesn’t Mean I’m Your Unicorn

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Tanya M

A raging liberal who challenges all ideas and destroys boxes and expectations.

Fall has arrived and with it the desire to snuggle up with someone special, awaiting the end of winter. But it’s not just the singles who are looking to couple up to get through the cold and dark season. Some couples are also on a search to add one more person.

Ever since I’ve openly came out as bisexual, I started receiving threesome requests. Couples were looking for their third — or the unicorn — and I seemed to be a good fit since I am sexually attracted to both genders.

At first, I saw the chance to be with a couple as an opportunity to fully embrace my sexuality. I was excited about the possibility to be able to have a relationship with both a man and a woman; however, brutal reality shattered my expectations.

I remember the most recent conversation I had with a couple. It took place less than a year ago. We exchanged pictures and basic information over text and were going to meet as soon as they caught up with work, having just gotten back from vacation in the Alps. We were all the same age, loved the mountains and being active outdoors, and found each other intellectually stimulating and sexually attractive. The first red flag came up in my conversation with Ben* when I asked him about his vacation.

“It was incredible,” he said. “We spent every day on the slopes and the evenings at the lodge were so peaceful.”

I responded with “Great to hear!” and asked follow-up questions, which Ben was happy to answer.

However, toward the end of the conversation, he mentioned: “But Kate* and I didn’t have sex the whole trip.”

“Why?” I asked, perhaps being too forward.

“Kate seemed so busy,” he answered, to which I had no good response. Ben read the silence and added: “Maybe you can help us out?”

I did not.

Couples looked to me when they were fighting, not having sex, or were merely bored with each other. I found that men spent hours texting me every day in an attempt to set up a new sexual configuration, while dedicating a few brief moments to sporadically communicating with their partners.

I had no desire to help anyone fix their relationship or to even be there while they figured it out. I didn’t want to be the unicorn that appears and makes everything fun and reignites the magic. I refused to be used as a tool.

So, I stopped responding to messages from couples, but it didn’t mean they stopped contacting me. Just having “bisexual” as the label on my profile invited a continuous stream of unsolicited requests. Some started off respectfully as attempts to get to know me and some took a sexual direction right away. I was not flattered by either and quite repulsed by the latter. Embracing my sexual identity not only brought inner liberation, but it actually made me a fetishized object, especially by straight cis men. I felt my identity being stripped away from me as my value was interpreted as some unique sexual being who is supposed to be down with whatever. When straight women get treated as sexual objects with their looks and age measuring their worth, a bisexual woman’s experience is supercharged because they are not only evaluated based on their looks but fetishized because they can be with other women.

Several dating apps have stepped up to protect bisexuals against unsolicited unicorn requests. OkCupid allows bisexuals to make themselves invisible to straight people. Her (a dating app just for women) allows its users to report profiles of couples looking for a third. But there are several apps out there, such as Feeld (previously 3nder), who just pour fuel on the fire, exclusively promoting the unicorn hunt.

Only 28% of bisexuals vocally communicate their sexual orientation to family and friends. When I came out, I felt an inner sense of liberation. The dating world, however, received me much differently. When meeting people in person, I continuously had to come out, to remind those around me that my sexuality did not depend on the gender of my partner. I had to reiterate that I was not straight if I dated a man and I had not turned gay when I dated a woman. When single, I was often asked: but, which gender do you prefer more? My coming out was met with praise, confusion, explicit questions about my sex life, and threesome requests.

I thought there was a place for me in the straight community among couples looking for a third, but instead of being treated as an equal partner, I was fetishized as the unicorn.

I do not regret coming out. I still come out almost on weekly basis. I embrace my sexual identity fully, but I do not let anyone influence my sexual behavior. I take the time to explain that even though bisexuals are attracted to both genders, they do not want to have sex with every person they meet.

Experiences like mine are too common, but they don’t have to be. Relationships of any configuration are acceptable as long as every person is treated as an equal partner and receives the respect they deserve.

*The names in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of those mentioned.