So . . . As a bisexual person, if I have an “affair” with a woman, is it “a lesbian affair”?

Well, at least one publication seems to be suggesting that it would be a lesbian affair. The Daily Mail has an article about Marilyn Monroe, who it says had a “lesbian affair” with her drama teacher as well as “lesbian flings” with a few other actresses.

Sounds to me like Marilyn was a bisexual person . . . and, yes, we are many, even if a lot of people don’t really acknowledge bisexuality.

Personally, I don’t see a bisexual woman’s relationship with another woman as “a lesbian affair,” even if the other woman self-defines as a lesbian. Because both people would have to identify as lesbians for it to be a true “lesbian affair,” yes? (And Marilyn did have relationships with men, too.)

OK, I know I am splitting hairs here, as copy editors are wont to do sometimes. We can be the geeks of the words business sometimes. And my head is hurting . . .

It’s just that too often in media reports, our bisexual identity seems to get wiped out by the other sexual orientation identities.

So, in defence of Marilyn and me and all the other bisexuals out there: if people must use labels — and I bet Marilyn didn’t — we have “bisexual affairs.” But maybe it would be better to leave out the labels altogether.

Of course, for a newspaper headline, “Marilyn Monroe had lesbian affair” probably has more reader click appeal than “Marilyn Monroe had an affair with a woman.”

Which is another subject I plan to write about: the difference between good SEO (search engine optimization) journalism headlines and click-bait headlines.

— Jillian