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Typically, bisexual individuals and their health and well-being are not studied independently of lesbian and gay individuals. Thus, there is limited research on the health issues that affect bisexual individuals. However, the research that has been done has found striking disparities between bisexuals and heterosexuals, and even between bisexuals and homosexuals.

It is important to consider that the majority of bisexual individuals are well-adjusted and healthy, despite having higher instances of health issues than the heterosexual population.

Body image and eating disorders

Youth who reported having sex with both males and females are at the greatest risk for disordered eating, unhealthy weight control practices compared to youth who only have same- or other-gender sex. Bisexual women are twice as likely as lesbians to have an eating disorder and, if they are out, to be twice as likely as heterosexual women to have an eating disorder.

Mental health and suicide

Bisexual females are higher on suicidal intent, mental health difficulties and mental health treatment than bisexual males. In a survey by Stonewall Scotland, 7% of bisexual men had attempted suicide in the past year. Bisexual women are twice as likely as heterosexual women to report suicidal ideation if they have disclosed their sexual orientation to a majority of individuals in their lives; those who are not disclosed are three times more likely. Bisexual individuals have a higher prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts than heterosexual individuals, and more self-injurious behavior than gay men and lesbians. A 2011 survey found that 44 per cent of bisexual middle and high school students had thought about suicide in the past month.

Substance abuse

Female adolescents who report relationships with same- and other-sex partners have higher rates of alcohol abuse and substance abuse. This includes higher rates of marijuana and other illicit drug use. Behaviorally and self-identified bisexual women are significantly more likely to smoke cigarettes and have been drug users as adolescents than heterosexual women.


Bisexual women are more likely to be nulliparous, overweight and obese, have higher smoking rates and alcohol drinking than heterosexual women, all risk factors for breast cancer.[63] Bisexual men practicing receptive anal intercourse are at higher risk for anal cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

HIV/AIDS and sexual health

Most research on HIV/AIDS focuses on gay and bisexual men than lesbians and bisexual women. Evidence for risky sexual behavior in bisexually behaving men has been conflicted. Bisexually active men have been shown to be just as likely as gay or heterosexual men to use condoms. Men who have sex with men and women are less likely than homosexually behaving men to be HIV-positive or engage in unprotected receptive anal sex, but more likely than heterosexually behaving men to be HIV-positive. Although there are no confirmed cases of HIV transmitted from female to female, women who have sex with both men and women have higher rates of HIV than homosexual or heterosexual women.

In a 2011 nationwide study in the United States, 46.1% of bisexual women reported having experienced rape, compared to 13.1% of lesbians and 17.4% of heterosexual women, a risk factor for HIV.


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