Ask any bisexual; they’ve probably heard the word ‘greedy’ a lot. In fact, if you were to do a word association game with the general population on the word ‘bisexual’, I’m pretty sure ‘greedy’ would be up there in big flashing lights.
One of the biggest sexual stereotypes around is that bisexuality signals a voracious sexual appetite, a whim-driven dating life, and promiscuity. These stereotypes abound, especially when it comes to women, whose sexuality is scrutinised and fetishised in a particularly voyeuristic way. But if you dig a little deeper, don’t you start wondering what’s wrong with any of those things?
Haven’t you ever wondered what’s actually wrong with a voracious sexual appetite, what’s actually wrong with a whim-driven dating life, and what’s actually wrong with promiscuity?
Look, I get it: there’s a negative stereotype about being greedy. You get accused of being the negative stereotype; you push back against the negative stereotype. That seems to be the cycle that bisexual people find themselves in when it comes to the word ‘greedy’.
But these days, I simply can’t motivate myself to push back against the label. I simply don’t care about being called greedy. In fact, I actively think wanting things is good, when there is an infinite supply of those things. I want things! I love wanting things! I love being hungry for the many and varied elements of human life that I can experience in my brief time on this earth! Maybe I’m bisexual precisely because I’m greedy, and that’s something I’m more than happy to own.
‘Greedy bisexual’ falls into the same category for me as the accusations of being a ‘selfish child-free person’. Of course, my initial reaction used to be to push back against it, my instinctive impulse to defend against a culturally loaded label, but when I gave it more than ten seconds of thought, I realised I was more inclined to ask about what that cultural load is, what it means for me and for other people.
I’ll be a selfish, child-free person if it means not bringing another unwanted child into the world! I’ll be a greedy bisexual if it means I get to express my enthusiastic desire for people of more than one gender! Sure! Sign me up! Maybe accepting and owning those supposedly negative traits makes the cultural load lighter for myself and for others on the receiving end of the same stereotypes.
I can’t help but wonder if what underpins the fear of the ‘greedy bisexual is actually the fear that Greedy Bisexuals In Your Area Are Coming To Steal Your Man (Or Woman, Or Partner Who Is Neither). Even though sexuality is a pretty much infinite resource (unlike coal or Hermes bags), we’re so locked into the scarcity mindset that we have to attach a fear of loss to everything in our lives, and bisexuals are a convenient place to hang those fears. I would argue that while greed is not something I’m interested in rejecting, the idea that we’re inherently untrustworthy, immoral and prone to unethical dating behaviour is, in fact, deeply biphobic and a characteristic I’m more than happy to reject.
Maybe I’m less scared of being called greedy because it’s a word I’ve felt haunted by my whole life. I’ve been some variety of ‘chubby’, ‘fat’ or ‘plus size’ pretty much since birth, and spent much of my adult life unpacking the stigma, figuring out how I feel about myself, how I want to move or dress or use my body on my own terms. Maybe it’s the knowledge that because of the way my body looks, I’ll always be perceived as greedy, no matter what I do, that has made it easier to just shrug my shoulders at the stereotypes around bisexuality.