Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access


Media & Communication Studies

Faculty Mentor

Sheryl Goodman

Project Description

Although the coming out process has ample literature spanning multiple disciplines and applying a number of different conceptualizations, the lack of attention to bisexuality and the bisexual coming out process is evident. Despite the statistical prevalence of bisexuality, with over half of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals identifying as bisexual according to Gates (2011), works on sexuality and coming out either exclude bisexuality and bisexual individuals from their study, such is the case with Guittar’s (2014) book, or provide a limited study and only include a smaller subset of bisexual individuals, as compared to homosexual individuals, into their study, as demonstrated by Li and Samp’s (2019) work. In this study, bisexuality and the coming out experiences of college-aged bisexuals were examined through 10 in-depth interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of how these individuals view bisexuality and the coming out process. The phenomenological approach revealed several themes that characterized their experiences. One theme highlighted the important and complicated role that close female friendships played in the participants’ bisexual journeys, either prompting the initiation of bisexual self-realization as the participants realized their feelings were more than platonic or undermining the self-realization process as these feelings were disregarded by the participants due to the gendered standards placed upon girls that normalize affection among other female friends. Further implications of this study and suggestions for further research were presented.


Presented during the 23rd Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 23, 2021 at Ursinus College.


Available to Ursinus community only.