A provocative, eye-opening, and original book on the science of sexuality beyond gender from an internationally bestselling pop-psychologist
Despite all the welcome changes that have happened in our culture and laws over the past few decades in regards to sexuality, the subject remains one of the most influential but least understood aspects of our lives. For psychologist and bestselling author Julia Shaw, this is both professional and personal—Shaw studies the science of sexuality and she herself is proudly and vocally bisexual.
It’s an admission, she writes, that usually causes people’s pupils to dilate, their cheeks to flush, and their questions to start flowing. Ask people to name famous bisexual actors, politicians, writers, or scientists, and they draw a blank. Despite statistics that show bisexuality is more common than homosexuality, bisexuality is often invisible.
In BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Shaw probes the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary. From the invention of heterosexuality to the history of the Kinsey scale, as well as asylum seekers trying to defend their bisexuality in a court of law, there is so much more to explore than most have ever realized. Drawing on her own original research—and her own experiences—this is a personal and scientific manifesto; it’s an exploration of the complexities of the human sexual experience and a declaration of love and respect for the nonconformists among us.
About the Author
Dr. Julia Shaw is a psychological scientist at University College London. She is the founder of the Bisexual Research Group, and in 2017 Shaw co-founded the memory science and artificial intelligence start-up Spot, which helps employees report workplace harassment and discrimination. She is the author of The Memory Illusion, which was published in 20 languages, and Evil, a bestseller in Canada and Germany. Besides her research, she is a regular keynote speaker on the topics of memory hacking, tackling workplace harassment, and artificial intelligence, and is the cohost of the BBC podcast Bad People. She lives in London.
“An accessible, often insightful consideration of a misunderstood sexual identity...The largely informal and always lively style of Shaw’s writing helps make her case. She is persuasive in her insistence that bisexuality is an important and overlooked dimension of the human story.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Her writing remains colloquial and engaging...Forthright and empowering, this is a call for understanding and supporting bisexuality.”
“This book beautifully illustrates the common and quiet struggles that many bisexuals experience… Julia draws on her own experiences to deliver an honest look at the hidden culture of bisexuality in this extremely important book.”
— SheReads, “Best Nonfiction Books and Memoirs Coming in 2022”
"With wit and humour Shaw introduces the milestones and celebrities of bi history . . . We can all be grateful to her for her skillful and sympathetic presentation of her discoveries."
— New York Journal of Books
“Bi is a lively roller-coaster ride through all things bisexual. Full of fascinating facts, up-to-date stats, pop culture references, and thoughtful analysis, the book covers everything from bisexual animals to political scandals, from exclusions in queer spaces to threesomes. Julia writes eloquently and engagingly, sharing moments from her own journey along the way. A must-have for every queer bookcase.”
— Meg-John Barker, author of Queer: A Graphic History
“It’s fabulous, amazing, brilliantly done, and so important. Julia Shaw has written the bi bible. The hidden history and public face of millions of people. Fun, moving, and skillful all at once.”
— Professor Andrew Reynolds, founder of Queer Politics at Princeton University
“Endlessly illuminating, challenging and compelling. Bi is a vivid and vital read.”
— Musa Okwonga, author and openly bisexual soccer journalist
“An incredible resource for anyone wishing to learn more about bisexuality. Whether you're a beginner or expert, this book is certain to teach you something new...This is a fascinating read.”
— Shiri Eisner, author of Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution
"The book opens up conversations that might just lead to more visibility, understanding and empathy for all people, however they define themselves. If those conversations could become the latest big thing, we’d all benefit."
— the Guardian (UK)
“Well-researched, cogent and compelling…Shaw is always an engaging guide.”
— the Independent (UK)