Female bisexuality: Identity, fluidity, and cultural expectations

Breanne Fahs, Kimberly M. Koerth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter closely examines female bisexuality by looking at the differences between how it has worked as a self-identity (i.e., women saying or deciding that they are bisexual) compared to the behavioral components of women who do not identify as bisexual but nevertheless engage in sexual behavior with both men and women. We also contrast self-identity with the social beliefs that female bisexuality is "just a phase," We first survey these literatures in order to unpack the tension between self-identity and social scripts about bisexuality, including historical invisibility and emerging issues in self-identity. We then focus on sexual fluidity, or the notion that many women "become" (and unbecome) bisexual over their lifetimes. This includes a detailed examination of performative bisexuality (Fahs. Journal of Bisexuality, 9(3), 431-449, 2009; Fahs. Performing sex: The making and unmaking of women's erotic lives. Albany, NY, 2011), where women engage in same-sex behavior in front of men in order to please male partners or audiences. We conclude the chapter by examining cultural framings of female bisexuality, particularly how bisexuality appears in popular culture, followed by a brief examination of and possibilities for the future of female bisexuality. All in all, this chapter looks at the intersections between female bisexuality and power, agency, and (in)visibility in order to situate it within our contemporary context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBisexuality
Subtitle of host publicationTheories, Research, and Recommendations for the Invisible Sexuality
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783319715353
ISBN (Print)9783319715346
StatePublished - Mar 7 2018


  • Performative bisexuality
  • Sexual fluidity
  • Social scripts
  • Women's bisexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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