Sunday 2 May 2021

Book Review: Bi by Ritch C. Savin-Williams (Non-Fiction)

Title: Bi
Author: Ritch C. Savin-Williams
Publisher: NYU Press
Publication Date: 21 September 2021
eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Despite the increasing visibility of LGBTQ people in American culture, our understanding of bisexuality—perhaps one of the least visible sexual orientations—remains superficial at best. Yet five times as many people identify as bisexual than as gay or lesbian, and, if we were to include the many bisexual people who remain hidden from sight, including those who simultaneously identify as pansexual, fluid, genderqueer, and no label, as much as 25 percent of the population is estimated to be bisexual.

In Bi, Ritch C. Savin-Williams brings bisexuality out of the shadows, particularly as Gen Z and millennial youth and young adults increasingly reject traditional sexual labels altogether. Drawing on interviews with bisexual youth from a range of racial, ethnic, and social class groups, he reveals to us how bisexuals define their own sexual orientation and experiences—in their own words. Savin-Williams shows how and why people might identify as bisexual as a result of their biology or upbringing; as a bridge or transition to something else; as a consequence of their curiosity; or for a range of other equally valid reasons.

Savin-Williams provides an important new understanding of bisexuality as an orientation, behavior, and identity. Bi shows us that bisexuality is seen and embraced as a valid sexual identity more than ever before, giving us timely and much-needed insight into the complex, fascinating experiences of bisexual youth themselves.


Bi by Ritch C. Savin-Williams is an interesting read. For newbies wanting to understand LGBT terminology, this book offers such explanations; however, it also looks at how society and science approach bisexuality, pansexuality etc. and comments on the lack of reliable data from surveys and the erasure of anything but the three key 'positions' of straight, gay and lesbian. The book includes excerpts from interviews with young people from diverse backgrounds who identify in some manner as bisexual, and it is fascinating to see how different people categorise their experiences and self-identify in different terms, especially for someone like me who has long questioned my own sexuality and gender expression. If you are keen to understand more about bisexuality and the many ways it can be expressed and understood, this is a book worth reading as it offers a non-judgmental review of various current views on the topic.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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