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Misrecognition and managing marginalisation: Bisexual people’s experiences of bisexuality and relationships

Hayfield, Nikki; Campbell, Christine; Reed, Elizabeth


Christine Campbell

Elizabeth Reed


© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Many negative portrayals of bisexuality within Western culture relate to relationships, yet only a small body of research has explored bisexual people’s experiences of their bisexual identity within their partner relationships, particularly in relation to the wider cultural context of binegativity. Twenty qualitative interviews were conducted with bisexual men, women, trans and genderqueer/non-binary people in relationships. Participants were based in the United Kingdom and ranged from 18 to 40years old. We conducted a thematic analysis of the data and identified two key themes: 1) The case of the disappearing bisexual: Invisible identities and unintelligible bisexual relationships and 2) That’s not my bisexuality and not my bisexual relationship: Defending self, relationships, and partners against bisexual negativity. In the first theme, we report how bisexual identity was understood by participants as largely invisible, particularly when they were in relationships, and discuss how the notion of a ‘bisexual relationship’ was seemingly unintelligible. In the second theme, we discuss how participants engaged in identity and relationship work to defend themselves and their partners against binegativity in order to protect their bisexual identity, their partners and their relationships. These results contribute novel findings to our understandings of how bisexual people experience and manage their identities and relationships within the wider context of binegativity. We conclude with a discussion of the importance and implications of our findings.


Hayfield, N., Campbell, C., & Reed, E. (2018). Misrecognition and managing marginalisation: Bisexual people’s experiences of bisexuality and relationships. Psychology and Sexuality, 9(3), 221-236.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 20, 2018
Online Publication Date May 14, 2018
Publication Date Jul 3, 2018
Journal Psychology and Sexuality
Print ISSN 1941-9899
Electronic ISSN 1941-9902
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 3
Pages 221-236
Keywords biphobia, bisexual relationships, identity work, invisibility, partner relationships, relationship work, romantic relationships
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology and Sexuality on 14th May 2018, available online:


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