Bisexuality refers to sexual attraction to genders that are the same as oneself, as well as genders that are different from oneself. This definition is currently accepted and used within the bi community, and rejects other possible cissexist models of attraction directed at the two ends of the gender binary i.e. only "males" and "females." By the same token, biromantic means a romantic attraction to same and other genders. Exclusive attraction to only one gender is known as monosexuality or monoromanticism.
The "bi" (meaning two) prefix in modern times is sometimes misinterpreted to imply that bisexuals have a double orientation and thus having stronger sexual appetites than monosexual individuals; combined with distrust and biphobia this results in the damaging stereotype of bisexual individuals being hypersexual or greedy. However, "Bisexual" as a term (along with "monosexual") was coined and came to prominence in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a different meaning.
"Bisexual" initially meant a person who presented with biological characteristics of both "sexes", who would now would be called intersex; later moving on to mean a person who displayed behavioral characteristics of both classical genders, who would likely now be called bigender. Care must be taken when reading Freud and his contemporaries on bisexuality as in his contextual time and dialogues gender, reproductive organs, and orientation, were all seen as part and parcel. These attitudes are highly cissexist and conflate sex with gender and furthermore sexuality: an attitude that has been proven conclusively otherwise in contemporary times.
In the 1990s, the USA and UK bisexual movements reclaimed the word, using it with essentially its present day meaning: uninvolved with gender or gender roles or biological makeup and merely a sexual identity attracted to same and other genders.
- Some differences and similarities between bisexuality and pansexuality, by Shiri Eisener
- Bisexuality and Binaries Revisited, by Julia Serano