Issue 11: Bi Me A River 💦

Because hookup anxiety is real.

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Hi my loves,

Happy last day of July! As I type this, I’m sitting on the couch next to Brinley—they’re watching Okja because we’re on a Bong Joon-Ho kick (we watched The Host a few days ago and . . . damn). I’m a wee bit hungover because last night I had “going away” work drinks with my current team in preparation for my new gig!

I’m so excited to dive into the world of VR/AR/XR, and to learn about all the people and orgs doing impactful things with this emerging technology. I’m fascinated by the ways VR can help people boost empathy, confront trauma, and stay connected. Will keep you posted on what I learn, do, and make. 🤗

There’s lot of new things going on in my life rn—almost all of them good. Which brings me to a tiny lil PSA that you *might* have heard me say once or twice before:

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER MY BOOK!

If you’ve ever heard that writing a book makes someone insufferable, know that this is an understatement. I’m still repairing my relationships from this process (and the process began on October 15, so I didn’t even have that long to f*ck things up). I called in favors, sent desperate emails, and learned how to swap statements like, “You don’t have to do that,” for ones like “Tell me what you need to get started!” Nothing has ever made me more selfish (ahem: GREEDY), and that’s guaranteed to get even worse as we get closer to launch (October 5). Thankfully I’m shameless, and on top of that, I really want people to read it.

Plus, if I dare say so, I think the book might be . . . good? It just got included on this Oprah Daily roundup of 2021's best queer books (they called it “provocative and profound, funny and frank” baby!!!) and there’s so many other incredible books on this list. 😩 I definitely poured my heart into it, and it’s nice seeing that effort counts for something. 😊

TL;DR: If you haven’t already preordered, it would truly mean the world for you to do so. To show my gratitude (and to offset my begging), here’s a fun BTS book anecdote: Right after I signed with Atria, I called some friends to have a brainstorm around potential titles. The hilarious David Burris suggested a very brilliant, very bisexual spin on a classic: Maybe Dick. 🐳 My editor vetoed it (for good reason since several bookstores wouldn’t have carried it that way), but still—it might be the best pun I’ve ever heard.


The Bi Issue No One Talks About: Queer Hookup Anxiety

No, it’s not just you.

The first few dates I went on with women were abysmal. Some of these are mentioned in my book (oh I’m sorry—you thought I was done plugging it?) but others I’ve kept close to my chest. There are too many dates and interactions too embarrassing to share, even in a “tell-all” memoir.

I can, however, give you the gist of most of these interactions, since they usually played out in one of two ways:

Version 1:

  • Girl meets girl on dating app

  • Girl assumes that being nice will convey flirtation (her first mistake!), thus opens the conversation a thoughtful message complimenting girl’s appearance, outfit, or travel history

  • Girl waits for a response but one doesn’t come (presumably because Girl’s first message was platonic af)

  • Girl says “fuck it” and starts swiping on men again—they all message her back immediately, so she sleeps with one later that night

Version 2:

  • Girl meets girl on dating app

  • Girl is shocked when girl agrees to get drinks

  • Girl panics about wtf to wear, recognizing that heels don’t exactly project queer vibes

  • Girl shows up in oversized sneakers, then nervously talks about herself the whole time, resulting in zero chemistry

  • Girl doesn’t get a second date

I knew deep in my soul (yep, my wet hot “soul”) that I wanted to be with people besides just cis men. But every time I tried to flirt, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I couldn’t make any of those relationships take off.

As a result, I tumbled through every possible thought process: Maybe I’m bisexual and not biromantic. Maybe I’m biromantic and not bisexual. Maybe I’m demisexual. Maybe I’m a lesbian and I’m just that far in the closet. Maybe I’m just straight.

It took years (and lots of bi TikTok) for me to realize that I was exactly who I thought I was, and to see that this sense of self-doubt wasn’t exactly a unique feeling. Apparently, discomfort while dating, flirting with, and hooking up with women was a standard sentiment among bi women & femmes. It’s not something every bi femme person experiences, but it’s something too many of us do.

But why?

I have a few theories:

  • Impostor syndrome. I could write a whole newsletter about this (and I basically did write a whole book about it) but on every one of those bad dates, Impostor Syndrome was running at full force, telling me I didn’t deserve to be there. There’s nothing sexy about feeling like you don’t belong somewhere—it’s no wonder I never could figure out what to wear on those dates, since no pair of shoes could ever make me feel like myself. Each date—hell, even each dating app exchange—had an underlying sense of self-sabotage.

  • Internalized misogyny. Not me blaming patriarchy for my problems again! You’ve probably heard this through a viral tweet and/or TikTok, but the reason bi women are always perceived as being “in a phase” and bi men are always perceived as being “actually gay” is because patriarchy makes us think everyone is only attracted to men. We internalize this, and the misconception feeds the aforementioned impostor syndrome.

  • Femme invisibility. Having to “look queer” in order to be taken seriously pisses me the hell off. Yes, femme invisibility comes with privilege, but in exchange for that privilege, we get more and more impostor syndrome. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t result in seriously devastating stats about our mental health. Bi people have higher rates of anxiety and depression than gay or straight people. Femme invisibility certainly protects us against violence or microaggressions that happen to folks who “look queer,” its also responsible for keeping us closeted from the world at large.

  • The comphet sex script. Compulsive heteronormativity is one of the hardest things for all queer people to unlearn, and it’s especially relevant in the context of queer sex. Straight sex has a preexisting script (albeit a flawed one): Start with foreplay, then progress into penetration, then get off—ideally at the same time. But queer sex is different. It requires communication. It requires asking questions. It requires creating our pleasure together. And developing that skillset isn’t exactly easy. It’s definitely not waltz-into-a-first-date-and-be-seductive effortless. It takes lots of unlearning and internal work. And it’s hard to get through through that work before you have a deeply satisfying (thus deeply affirming) sexual experience, because how do you even know the importance of that work without having had queer sex? A vicious cycle if I’ve ever heard one.

I’m the worst kind of complainer today, because I only come bearing problems—no solutions. I do think that if I’d known this—if someone had told me that it was normal to feel like I don’t belong, and to have that feeling fuck with everything from my ability to flirt to my sex drive—it would’ve been easier to get past it.

Not knowing what to expect was one of the hardest parts of coming out, and honestly, it speaks to bi erasure in a bigger way that the info wasn’t readily available.

Does the issue resonate? Have you found tactics to deal with it? Comment on this post if so—your words might help someone else too 💗💜💙


Follow This Bisexual: Capri Campeau

This section of the newsletter was written & compiled by my amazing intern, Macy Harder! Macy (she/her) is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota—not to mention another bisexual you should follow!

Capri Campeau (she/they) is a queer content creator on Instagram and TikTok, as well as a Bi+ relationship coach (you can even book a free consult here). She creates content to entertain and educate the bisexual community with the goal of helping all people who fall under the bisexual umbrella feel seen and validated in their queer experience.

You've amassed quite the following on TikTok! What are some things you strive to accomplish on your platform there?

The biggest thing for me has always been maintaining a healthy and thriving community where bi+ individuals feel like they are validated. I would love to keep expanding the community and finding people who had no clue this would be a safe space for them.

My goal within the next year is, either through coaching or content, to have over one million bi babies who I’ve been able to help find themselves & love themselves as who they are.

Eventually, I’d love for that to look like some sort of online or live session where everyone can meet as frequently as they’d like and feel heard. These sessions could help people get advice from others who have been there and want to help support.

What's a common misconception that people have about bisexuality?

There are so many misconceptions about bisexuality. Something that I love about our bisexual community is that it is SO DIVERSE. Bisexuality can mean, look, and feel differently for every member of the bisexual+ community- and guess what? That’s totally okay!

One misconception I’ve been coming across lately is: Biseuxal people always feel attraction “50/50,” as in “50% of their attraction goes to the primary gender they’re attracted to and the other 50% goes to another gender.” This could be totally true for some people, but absolutely wrong in others. For one, attraction is not cake. Saying you’re attracted to one gender doesn’t mean you only have x amount of attraction left for the others.

Bisexuality is also valid if its “90% to one gender” & “10% attraction to nonbinary people,” or any way you want to spin it. There’s not only one way to be bisexual, and that’s what makes our community so beautiful.

Do you think becoming comfortable with your bisexuality has also helped you better understand your gender identity? If so, how have these journeys intersected?

Absolutely! As a kid growing up in the 2000’s I never thought too much about my gender, but as I started expressing my bisexuality online and really studying sexuality and gender, I have begun to do more unpacking about what my gender means to me. As of right now, I feel most at home identifying as a woman, but I do believe where I live in my womanhood is fluid. The coolest thing about understanding your gender and sexuality is that it is a lifelong process. No one is ever “done”—at least that's how I feel about myself. So right now, I identify as a woman, but I allow myself the grace to explore what other things may also feel like home.

Whether on Instagram or TikTok, your content promotes messages of self love and bi+ positivity. How would you say these two things are connected?

(Content warning mention of depression and mental illness)

There have been many studies that have shown bisexual individuals show higher levels of depression than other members of the LGBTQ+ community. They are more likely to be unsure of their identity and hide their sexuality because of fear of ostracization from both the gay and straight communities. This can have a huge impact on mental health, and if not addressed, can be extremely damaging.

Loving yourself as a bi person (especially a newly bi person—if this is you, hi! So proud of you!) can be extremely difficult. We’re living in a world with very little bisexual representation, and often that representation feels super two dimensional, or shows a minute part of the bisexual experience. For me growing up, it made me feel dirty and wrong. The fun and cool people on TV shows were never actually bi—they usually came out as gay/lesbian later or let it just be a phase in the plot line. Educating bisexual people on finding themselves without talking about how to love yourself [at the same time] would be dangerous.

My job is to be the person who lifts that veil (if someone is ready) with love, and hold your hand until you feel safe walking out by yourself. That’s why, along with my videos, I offer coaching, because some people need a little bit more help than others, and that’s okay.

Is there a meme or TikTok that you've been laughing at recently?

YES! I found a meme that said the baseball scene in twilight (you know exactly what I’m talking about) is the epitome of bisexual culture, and every time I think about it, I laugh.


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