Stability of Bisexual Behavior and Extent of Viral Bridging Behavior Among Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women


Mackey R. Friedman
Ron Stall
Michael Plankey
Steve Shoptaw
A. L. Herrick
Pamela J. Surkan
Linda Teplin
Tony Silvestre


Bisexual men experience significant health disparities likely related to biphobia. Biphobia presents via several preconceptions, including that bisexuality is transitory, and that bisexual men act as viral bridges between men who have sex with men and heterosexual populations. We analyzed data from a prospective cohort of gay and bisexual men, the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, to test these preconceptions. Men reporting both male and female sexual partners (MSMW) between 2002 and 2009 (n = 111) were classified as behaviorally bisexual. We assessed five hypotheses over two domains (transience of bisexual behavior and viral bridging). No evidence was found supporting the transitory nature of bisexuality. Trajectories of bisexual behavior were not transient over time. We found little evidence to support substantial viral bridging behavior. Notably, HIV-positive MSMW reported lower proportions of female partners than HIV-negative MSMW. Our results provide no empirical support for bisexual transience and scant support for viral bridging hypotheses. Our results provide key data showing that male bisexual behavior may be stable over long time periods and that behaviorally bisexual men’s risk to female sexual partners may be lower than expected.