Bisexual people are attracted to similar qualities that straight or gay people find attractive.
Some research has found that bi people are more likely to be sexually curious.
Another study found that bisexual men prefer traits like tallness in men and a small waist in women.
About 4% of Americans identify as bisexual, meaning they’re attracted to more than one gender.
That’s according to a 2021 survey, and it’s up from just 1% in 2010.
There’s limited research around what bisexual people find attractive.
Yet, the qualities bi people are attracted to are likely similar to the traits that straight or gay people are attracted to, Joni Ogle, a certified sex addiction counselor who has worked with bi people and is CEO of Heights Treatment Center, told Insider.
“The only difference is that for most straight or gay people, their attraction is gendered, meaning they are aware of being attracted to a particular gender,” said Cay Crowe, a certified sex therapist with Orchid Toys who works with people across the sexuality spectrum.
“For bisexuals, their attraction is not necessarily gendered.”
Here are the qualities that Crowe, Ogle, and limited studies suggest bisexuals are most attracted to.
People who are curious and unafraid of intimate conversation
People who are innately curious about others are more likely to have intimate conversations, even with strangers.
Some research has also shown that bisexual men and women report more sexual curiosity than straight or homosexual people.
“Bisexual individuals might value the ability to connect with someone on a deeper level and appreciate those who can relate to their experiences,” Ogle said.
Having an open mind and accepting different sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions
Openness to experience is one of the big five personality traits that psychologists often study.
One study among heterosexual Chinese couples found that openness can lead to better relationships and that people who are more open are more likely to interact with diverse groups of people.
Many bisexual people face bi erasure, the bias that questions or denies that bi people really exist. So, while there’s not necessarily research to confirm bi people find openness attractive, it’s probably safe to suggest that open-mindedness may be particularly important to them, Ogle said.
“This could include being accepting of different sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions,” she said.
Someone who is self-confident and secure with their identity
Research on heterosexual people has shown that confidence is very attractive in both men and women, but this almost certainly holds true for bi people, too.
That’s because self-confidence is linked to overall wellness for LGBTQ+ folks, especially bi people, who can struggle more with sexual self-acceptance than straight or gay people.
“Someone who is secure in their own identity may be more attractive to a bisexual person due to their self-assurance,” Ogle said.
Those with a sense of humor, but what type of humor matters
It’s no surprise that humor is attractive, but the type of jokes you’re cracking, as well as your attachment style, matter.
Overall, positive, self-elevating humor is seen as more attractive than self-deprecating humor. After all, people love self-confidence.
However, one study found that those with an insecure attachment style were more attracted to negative, self-deprecating humor than more positive humor.
While just about anyone can enjoy some form of humor and find it attractive, the type of humor you gravitate toward may have more to do with your attachment style than your sexuality.
Being highly intelligent
Whether a person is looking for a short- or long-term partner, research on heterosexual couples has found that intelligence is often considered an attractive quality in both men and women.
Moreover, some bi people also identify as sapiosexual, aka attracted to high intelligence (although other sapiosexual people can be straight, gay, or other orientations).
Physical traits like tallness in men and big breasts in women
The looks, smells, and even sounds that your partner makes play a huge role in attraction.
In short, most people want to get with someone they’re physically attracted to, and bisexual people are no different.
Research involving bisexual men found they are attracted to the qualities stereotypically seen as attractive in men and in women. And those qualities differ depending on the gender of the person being considered.
For example, a bisexual person may be attracted to males who are tall or have a masculine appearance, and women who have small waists and larger breasts.
“Some bisexual people may find themselves attracted to different traits in men compared to women,” Ogle said.
Others may find that they’re physically attracted to the same type of look (masculine, feminine, androgynous, or others) no matter the gender of the person.
Marching to the beat of your own drum and ignoring social norms
The stereotype goes that men prefer submissive, or conforming, women whereas women prefer non-conforming men. But research on heterosexual couples found that both men and women prefer a partner who marches to the beat of their own drum.
There’s no bisexual equivalent to this research, but Ogle said that people who embrace their own differences may be more attractive to bisexual people, who want a partner who is ok with a bit of nonconformity.
“Knowing their partner will accept them no matter their identity can give bisexual people the confidence to be open about themselves and create a supportive, trusting relationship,” she said.
Someone who shares your core beliefs
Whether we’re looking for a casual fling or to build a life together, most of us want partners who we can have fun with and talk to about our passions.
“People are attracted to those individuals with whom they have common interests, values, and beliefs,” Crowe said.
Like others, bi people are more likely to be attracted to people who share their love of rescue animals, cliff jumping, or whatever hobbies and values get your heart pumping.
Willing to be romantic and connect on a deeper level
Bisexual people, just like others, want emotionally rich, fulfilling relationships — not just sex. So it’s no surprise that they’re attracted to romance.
One study (where males rated female attractiveness, and vice versa, regardless of orientation) found that romantic connection is an important quality in both men and women.
Romance means different things to different people: maybe it’s petals on the bed, a candle-lit dinner, or just taking the kids out so you can have some time to yourself.
Whatever your particular brand of romance is, it’s important for feeling satisfied in both short- and long-term relationships.
Having a comforting and trustworthy personality
Warmth and trustworthiness are desirable qualities in both men and women, especially for people looking for long-term partners. These qualities make people feel safe and close, and can even predict marital happiness.
Attraction is highly individual, for people who are gay, straight, bi, or of another orientation altogether.
“Everyone’s attractions are unique and highly personal because everyone experiences different levels of sexual and romantic attraction in different ways,” Ogle said.
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