If, like me, you’re a bisexual woman in a relationship with a man, you might be looking for some great fictional representations that look somewhat like your life. I know I am. But although I pride myself on my LGBTQ+ book knowledge, I have to say I haven’t read too many novels that really fit the bill. I know plenty of books with bisexual women/girls in F/F relationships. This is great, especially given that terrible biphobic assumption that bi women are “really” straight. But with the gazillions of books written about women in romantic/sexual relationships with men, it’d be nice to see some representation for bi women there, you know?
Below are six books featuring bisexual women in relationships with men that I’ve either read and loved, or that have come highly recommended. I’m talking all genres, including YA, romance, mystery, fantasy, and more! My only criteria is that the main romantic/sexual relationship for the bi women/girl protagonist in the book is with a man or a boy. Let’s dive in!
Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
I had already read and absolutely adored the first book in Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series (Hate to Want You) when I hurriedly picked up Wrong to Need You. I knew the heroine Sadia was bisexual going in. (She’s the BFF of the first book’s heroine and it’s mentioned there). I had high expectations for the bi representation. This book did NOT let me down. Sadia is an amazing, confident, sex-positive character. She names and asserts her bisexuality at a few key points. However, it’s not really made a big deal of and not really relevant to the main narratives for her character (romantic and otherwise). Her romance with Jackson, a broody shy introvert cook, is just fabulous. This is the first book I thought of for this list for a reason!
Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst
In this lush YA fantasy (a standalone prequel to Coulthurst’s first novel Of Fire and Stars), the main character Asra is a demigod with the ability to do blood magic. Unfortunately, her magical attempt to help the mortal girl she loves, Ina, goes horribly awry. Asra ends up on a cross-kingdom voyage to stop Ina from making a gigantic mistake that could not only kill her but have wide-reaching consequences. Hal, a fellow demigod Asra meets on her journey. Hal becomes Asra’s reluctant travel companion, then friend, and then lover. Their sweet romance is wonderfully done. But it’s never portrayed in a way that undermines the importance of her relationship with Ina. I’ve read many books about a bi girl who previously dated a guy and is now dating a girl. It was so refreshing that Inkmistress had that pattern reversed!
Cass Neary series by Elizabeth Hand
I haven’t read this series, but now that I know about it I am really pumped. Cass Neary is the morally grey misanthropic bisexual antiheroine in Hand’s thriller/crime/mystery series. Cass made her name in the ’70s as a photographer in the punk scene. Thirty years later she’s a has-been working at The Strand bookstore and struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. This review in the LA Review of Books of the most recent book in the series, Hard Light, is what really solidified my excitement. It describes Cass as “a seething cauldron of resentment, longing, and despair.” Hand portrays her as “sadly credible and deeply sympathetic.” In Available Dark, Cass reunites with her long-lost lover, Quinn. He’s the one who got away…because he was sent to prison.
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
I can’t believe I haven’t read this YA contemporary yet! It has rave reviews from a lot of people I trust. Jordan is a bisexual teen girl cross-dresses and go undercover to infiltrate an elite all-male a cappella choir. Jordan ends up in this predicament because her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out of the school musical she so desperately wanted to be in and that she was counting on for her college applications. Hence: the deception in drag. But of course it’s not easy for her to live this double life. Also: her crush on one of the guys in her choir seems to be going somewhere amidst her realization that she’s bisexual. Not to mention other stuff going on related to her being Chinese American and working class at her posh arts school.
Spin Trilogy by Chris Moriarty
This hard science fiction trilogy looks just amazing. The main character is United Nations Peacekeeper Major Catherine Li, a bisexual half-human, half-cyborg. Her major love interest in the series is Cohen, an AI who rents out brain space in humans of any gender and who is read by Catherine as male. But the love story isn’t really the story here. It’s that Catherine has found herself on the wrong side of the authorities on Compson’s World, a mining colony she once called home, and in the middle of a futuristic murder mystery. There’s also quantum physics, a large cast of characters, a swelteringly fast pace, and political intrigue. What is not to love!
little & lion by Brandy Colbert
I loved how effortlessly diversity was integrated into this contemporary YA novel. There’s a Black bisexual Jewish main character with multiple supporting characters of different ethnicities, sexualities, and abilities. I also loved how the story focuses on a relationship between step-siblings. And I appreciated how the teens in this book felt very far from idealized role models. Colbert deals honestly and non-judgmentally with drinking, sex, racism, mental illness, and more. Suzette, the protagonist, has multiple things going on in her love life (on top of a lot of other things). She’s reeling from her first relationship with a girl at boarding school, nursing a crush on newcomer Rafaela, and exploring a romantic/sexual relationship with her old friend and crush Emil.
I know I’m not the only reader looking for these books! Fellow Book Rioter Jessica Pryde has also written about this bookish problem, specifically in contemporary and historical romance. (Read her recent post Still in Search of Queer Women in Mixed-Gender Romance). Anyone else have recommendations for great books featuring bisexual women in relationships with men? Add them in the comments!