Cara delevingne, miley cyrus, and even johnny depp’s daughter lily-rose recently revealed they are something other than straight. Hmm all ladies, just a coincidence or are women more likely to be bisexual? Human sexuality is stranger than what our culture tells us.
Alfred kinsey was one of the early pioneers to realize this. His famous 1-5 scale is still widely used nearly 70 years later. Kinsey identified as bisexual and believed most people fall somewhere in the middle too.
While 2015 has been a huge year for advances in lgbt rights, bisexuality still remains an enigma to much of america. Some consider it a phase on the way to admitting homosexuality or just a way to get attention or have fun in college for women.
And those misunderstandings and stereotypes might do some real damage to bisexuals. Only 28% of bisexuals are out, compared to over 70% of gays and lesbians, according to a 2013 pew research center survey. So low visibility might be a reason why myths about bisexuality are so hard to dispel.
But let me reassure you, the latest research says female bisexuality is very real. Many studies show that women are more likely to say they’re bisexual than men.
A recent study from the american sociological association found that to be true. Researchers followed 5,018 women and 4,191 men from adolescence to young adulthood. The study asked participants whether they had same sex attractions or sexual experiences in the past year.
And women did have a higher probability of being attracted to both men and women. Earlier studies seem to find that women in general are just more likely to be attracted to both sexes.
One early study, when I say early I mean 2003, found that women both heterosexual and homosexual were aroused by both male and female erotica. And a 2008 study published in the journal developmental psychology also demonstrated self disclosed fluidity in non-heterosexual women.
But perhaps more importantly, this study also found that fluid sexuality isn’t just a phase. The survey of 79 queer women found that bisexual women maintained their attraction to both men and women over the course of ten years. but still bisexual women and women who didn’t label themselves were more likely than lesbians to change their label.
But mostly it was a change between bisexual, and unlabeled than it was to lesbian or heterosexual. Only 8% of women changed their identity to lesbian or heterosexual.
So think of the kinsey scale. Sexuality is a spectrum, where most people fall in the middle; certainly a lot of women do. But unfortunately, social biases codify attraction.
The asa study also found that social context matters a lot when it comes to female sexuality. Women who were rated as more attractive by their interviewers (there’s a big old asterisk here), had higher levels of education and avoid young motherhood, were more more likely to rate themselves as “100% heterosexual”.
The researchers think maybe romantic options could influence a woman’s sexual identity. Even if she feels attraction to more than one gender, a more attractive woman would have better heterosexual options simply might make her less likely to explore her homosexual options.
And on the other side of that coin, maybe that women who have had same sex experiences are more likely to incorporate that attraction into their identities. But the question a lot of people ask, is why did homosexuality, or in this case bisexuality evolve? One of the most prominent theories is that like bonobos, we bone to bond.
Because sex feels good and is very intimate, it could help create and strengthen social bonds. As for female same sex bonds, one study published in the journal evolutionary psychology, puts forward the idea that bisexuality helps women raise their young.
For example if a father dies a woman could form an intimate partnership with another woman. That extra set of hands could help ensure that child reaches adulthood. Maybe we’ll never know the “reason” for bisexuality.
But really at the end of the day, bisexuality is real. Science says so. People say so. People are aroused by and attracted to lots of different things. And that’s okay.
And that’s beautiful. For a more in-depth look at female sexuality, check out this video I did with dr. Kiki sanford: we’ve got a link in the description below if you’re on mobile..
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