A new study for The Journal of Sex Research has found that many heterosexuals deduce that bisexual women are promiscuous, simply because they're attracted to both men and women.
“Bisexual people (who are attracted to more than one gender) live in a constant conflict," said study author Alon Zivony of Tel Aviv University. "But unlike what is commonly assumed, this conflict is external rather than internal, caused by society’s negative attitudes towards bisexuality."
He continued: “On the one hand, society habitually ignores bisexuality. Whenever a person professes any bisexual tendencies, they are automatically categorized as ‘gay, straight, or lying’. On the other hand, bisexuality is associated with immaturity and inability to maintain a relationship. My hope is that shedding light on this prejudice can help reduce it and the heavy toll it takes on bisexual individuals.”
“Bisexual stereotypes seem to be deduced based on the idea that men and women are opposites: if one holds two opposing attractions, then it stand to reason that this person will be confused."
However, Zivony says that it's becoming clearer that gender should not be viewed as binary, making it easier to see why bisexuality cannot determine a person’s personality.
“The idea that some stereotypes can be deduced, rather than learned, is new and therefore still tenuous," he added.
"More research needs to be done before we can understand the mechanism behind such stereotypes and how they are maintained."
The study also indicates that educating individuals about bisexuality could reduce stereotyping.
Zivony, who authored the study alongside Tamar Saguy, said his findings were "encouraging to some degree".
“It means that educating the public about bisexuality can help reduce prejudice and therefore improve the lives of bisexual individuals," he concluded.
"As a society, we need to talk more about bisexuality.”