Bisexual is a sexual orientation that describes a person who is attracted to people across two or more genders.

The prefix “bi” in the word bisexual comes from Latin, and it means “two.”

Sometimes “bisexual” is abbreviated simply to “bi.”

There are two common misunderstandings about what bisexual means.

Misunderstanding #1: a bisexual person is someone who is equally attracted to women and men.

Misunderstanding #2: a bisexual person is someone who is attracted to both their own gender and a different gender.

These are both ways someone can be bisexual, but the term encompasses both of these and more.

Yes, a man who is attracted to men and women is bisexual, and that fits both of those descriptions above. But a bisexual person could also be a woman who is attracted to nonbinary people and men. A genderqueer person who is attracted to people of every gender is also an example of a bisexual person.

In fact, both of the orientations polysexual and omnisexual fall under the bisexual umbrella. Some folks consider pansexual to be part of this group, too—but it has its own distinctions. I wrote about the differences between these four orientations in this article if you want to learn more.

People of any gender identity can be bisexual.

Bisexual was a term that came to exist before the terms polysexual, omnisexual, and pansexual, so it’s sometimes used as an umbrella term to encompass all of those identities. In the acronym LGBTQ, it’s the B.