Ask A Bi Dad: How can I explore my bisexuality without objectifying or using people?

By Lewis Oakley

April 30, 2023



Hi Lewis,

I’m a 28-year-old cis woman who has only recently started to acknowledge her bisexuality. I was a very non-sexual person for a long time, following some traumatic incidents; so I’ve only recently begun to feel attraction, love, and romance.

In hindsight, it sometimes feels so obvious that I’ve always been bi — there were friends I wanted to kiss and hold, situations that I found overwhelming, and so on. Other times, I have doubts: Is it curiosity in a time of life stagnation? Was it just an interesting conversation? Is it that she’s wearing a cool outfit?

I’ve been out on a few dates, and I think I’ve been honest about my bisexuality, my romantic history (only men, only a few), and the fact that I’m “new” to this.

How do I safely explore my bisexuality without objectifying, using, or experimenting on real people with real feelings? I don’t feel very confident in my bisexuality yet, because I haven’t “tried” to act on it before, and I don’t want to lead anyone on or make anyone feel like they were a phase.

Thank you!

A Twenty-Something SomewhatSexual

Two cheerful young girlfriends sitting at the cafe indoors, having cup of coffee.
Bigstock/Dean Drobot

Hi there, thanks for reaching out.

When you’re ready to start acting on bi feelings, it can be a scary time, but it can also be a truly exciting and liberating time. From your message, it’s clear that you’re worried your bisexuality might hurt people. My advice would be to let go of that fear.

Particularly on the subject of objectifying people, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating someone’s appearance and wanting to have some intimate time with them because of it. Experimenting, which is really just trying new things to see what you like, is also not wrong — that’s what your 20s are for!

It sounds like you’re being clear with people about where you are and what you’re feeling — that’s all you can do. Let them know you’re new to being openly bi, you’re not sure what you are looking for but you’d like to see where things go with them. You can’t do any more than that, and if they choose to excuse themselves, that’s fine. But if they choose to stay, you can’t hold on to the fear that you are going to hurt them.

Love and dating is a messy game. People do get rejected, and people do get hurt. Trying to go into dating while completely eliminating those risks rarely works out. The chances are, you’re a nice person who is compassionate and caring. But there can be a dark side to caring too much. You could end up leading people on or feeling obligated to stay when you know deep down it isn’t right.

All I can say is be nice to people and be transparent, but don’t be afraid to kiss someone, have sex with someone, or date someone just because they might get hurt. As long as they are also a consenting adult, you aren’t doing anything wrong. You don’t owe anyone your affection, and, if after a few dates or tussles in the hay, you realize it isn’t for you, tell them, “Thank you very much, it’s been great but I don’t see this going any further.”

Good luck, have fun and never be afraid of exploring your bisexuality.


Lewis Oakley standing confidently and smiling against a brick building.

Bisexual people often have few other bi people to turn to for support or to ask questions. This means we often can’t build on the experience of other bi people and improve things for the next generation. Ask a Bi Dad is aimed at tackling this.

Lewis Oakley is one of the leading bi advocates and writers in the UK, campaigning to improve the public’s perception of bisexuality. Recognised by the Pride Power List 2021 and with various award nominations under his belt, Lewis has been successful in making bisexuality national news.

Lewis knows more than most how lonely being bisexual can feel, particularly in those early years. Now, confident in himself, his relationship, and a dad of two, Lewis recognises how rare and lucky he is. This is why he wants to help where he can by answering the questions of bi people from all around the world.

If you have a question that you would like a perspective on, email at [email protected]

*Lewis is not a licenced therapist, and the advice offered in this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological, or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.