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zomg bisexuals exist!!1

4:46 pm - 08/23/2011
No Surprise for Bisexual Men: Report Indicates They Exist



In an unusual scientific about-face, researchers at Northwestern University have found evidence that at least some men who identify themselves as bisexual are, in fact, sexually aroused by both women and men.

The finding is not likely to surprise bisexuals, who have long asserted that attraction often is not limited to one sex. But for many years the question of bisexuality has bedeviled scientists. A widely publicized study published in 2005, also by researchers at Northwestern, reported that “with respect to sexual arousal and attraction, it remains to be shown that male bisexuality exists.”

That conclusion outraged bisexual men and women, who said it appeared to support a stereotype of bisexual men as closeted homosexuals.


In the new study, published online in the journal Biological Psychology, the researchers relied on more stringent criteria for selecting participants. To improve their chances of finding men aroused by women as well as men, the researchers recruited subjects from online venues specifically catering to bisexuals.


They also required participants to have had sexual experiences with at least two people of each sex and a romantic relationship of at least three months with at least one person of each sex.

Men in the 2005 study, on the other hand, were recruited through advertisements in gay-oriented and alternative publications and were identified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual based on responses to a standard questionnaire.

In both studies, men watched videos of male and female same-sex intimacy while genital sensors monitored their erectile responses. While the first study reported that the bisexuals generally resembled homosexuals in their responses, the new one finds that bisexual men responded to both the male and female videos, while gay and straight men in the study did not.

Both studies also found that bisexuals reported subjective arousal to both sexes, notwithstanding their genital responses. “Someone who is bisexual might say, ‘Well, duh!’” said Allen Rosenthal, the lead author of the new Northwestern study and a doctoral student in psychology at the university. “But this will be validating to a lot of bisexual men who had heard about the earlier work and felt that scientists weren’t getting them.”

The Northwestern study is the second one published this year to report a distinctive pattern of sexual arousal among bisexual men.

In March, a study in Archives of Sexual Behavior reported the results of a different approach to the question. As in the Northwestern study, the researchers showed participants erotic videos of two men and two women and monitored genital as well as subjective arousal. But they also included scenes of a man having sex with both a woman and another man, on the theory that these might appeal to bisexual men.

The researchers — Jerome Cerny, a retired psychology professor at Indiana State University, and Erick Janssen, a senior scientist at the Kinsey Institute — found that bisexual men were more likely than heterosexuals or gay men to experience both genital and subjective arousal while watching these videos.

Dr. Lisa Diamond, a psychology professor at the University of Utah and an expert on sexual orientation, said that the two new studies, taken together, represented a significant step toward demonstrating that bisexual men do have specific arousal patterns.

“I’ve interviewed a lot of individuals about how invalidating it is when their own family members think they’re confused or going through a stage or in denial,” she said. “These converging lines of evidence, using different methods and stimuli, give us the scientific confidence to say this is something real.”

The new studies are relatively small in size, making it hard to draw generalities, especially since bisexual men may have varying levels of sexual, romantic and emotional attraction to partners of either sex. And of course the studies reveal nothing about patterns of arousal among bisexual women. The Northwestern study included 100 men, closely split among bisexuals, heterosexuals and homosexuals. The study in Archives of Sexual Behavior included 59 participants, among them 13 bisexuals.

The new Northwestern study was financed in part by the American Institute of Bisexuality, a group that promotes research and education regarding bisexuality. Still, advocates expressed mixed feelings about the research.

Jim Larsen, 53, a chairman of the Bisexual Organizing Project, a Minnesota-based advocacy group, said the findings could help bisexuals still struggling to accept themselves.

“It’s great that they’ve come out with affirmation that bisexuality exists,” he said. “Having said that, they’re proving what we in the community already know. It’s insulting. I think it’s unfortunate that anyone doubts an individual who says, ‘This is what I am and who I am.’ ”

Ellyn Ruthstrom, president of the Bisexual Resource Center in Boston, echoed Mr. Larsen’s discomfort.

“This unfortunately reduces sexuality and relationships to just sexual stimulation,” Ms. Ruthstrom said. “Researchers want to fit bi attraction into a little box — you have to be exactly the same, attracted to men and women, and you’re bisexual. That’s nonsense. What I love is that people express their bisexuality in so many different ways.”

Despite her cautious praise of the new research, Dr. Diamond also noted that the kind of sexual arousal tested in the studies is only one element of sexual orientation and identity. And simply interpreting results about sexual arousal is complicated, because monitoring genital response to erotic images in a laboratory setting cannot replicate an actual human interaction, she added.

“Sexual arousal is a very complicated thing,” she said. “The real phenomenon in day-to-day life is extraordinarily messy and multifactorial.”


Source: NYT

ETA— this is an absolute gem and I had to share it with you guys:
funkybrewsta 23rd-Aug-2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
Up next: a scientific study to see if English majors exist.
lacunaz 23rd-Aug-2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
There are some things not even science can detect.
makemerun 23rd-Aug-2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Okay I'm just going to throw this out there: As a bisexual person, I still think you all are the weird ones.
kittymink 23rd-Aug-2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Me too. Why not double your dating pool lol?

Though I'm not really that bisexual just a little like a Kinsey 2 or 5, I forget how that works
lacunaz 23rd-Aug-2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
As much as it's nice to be able to back things up with science, this study does feel a little insulting. Thanks for putting the official stamp on bisexuality! What would we have done without you etc.
makemerun 23rd-Aug-2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
OMG THIS. I couldn't quite place what was bothering me about it, but this is exactly it. Like they're giving men permission or something.
ennifer_jay 23rd-Aug-2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
Next up: water is wet.
bathstone 23rd-Aug-2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
I can't tell you guys how many times I've heard that men can only be gay or straight and that bisexuality's limited to women. Ridiculous.
akashasheiress 23rd-Aug-2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
But ALL women are potentially bisexual, didn't you know???
ladypolitik 23rd-Aug-2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
In an unusual scientific about-face, researchers at Northwestern University have found evidence that at least some men who identify themselves as bisexual are, in fact, sexually aroused by both women and men.


..............Wow. I wasnt aware that, up to this point, there were scientific studies that seriosuly argued that bisexuality didn't exist.
___closetome 23rd-Aug-2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Male bisexuality, not female.
poetic_pixie_13 23rd-Aug-2011 09:15 pm (UTC)


EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO RECONSIDER MY ENTIRE WORLD VIEW.

I have decided to devote my life to proving that bisexuality/pansexuality exists by sleeping with as many hot people of whatever gender as possible. It's hard work but someone's gotta do it.
oaktree89 23rd-Aug-2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
I have decided to devote my life to proving that bisexuality/pansexuality exists by sleeping with as many hot people of whatever gender as possible. It's hard work but someone's gotta do it.
You martyr, you! ;P
kittymink 23rd-Aug-2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
No wai! I'm really a unicorn too.
barankhy 23rd-Aug-2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
...I guess I should've read all comments before mentionend unicorns above :D
masakochan 23rd-Aug-2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Holy crap! You mean we're not invisible ninjas anymore?!

maclyn 23rd-Aug-2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
I love this. LOVE.
clevermanka 23rd-Aug-2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
“Sexual arousal is a very complicated thing,” she said. “The real phenomenon in day-to-day life is extraordinarily messy and multifactorial.”

You're telling me. I need to buy more hand towels.
deathchibi 23rd-Aug-2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Me too. I seriously have no idea where they keep going. I think the dryer eats them. :(
psychesky 23rd-Aug-2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
“Researchers want to fit bi attraction into a little box — you have to be exactly the same, attracted to men and women, and you’re bisexual. That’s nonsense. What I love is that people express their bisexuality in so many different ways.”

Hell yeah. And for a genderqueer girl like myself, having a bisexual boyfriend is a blessing. He doesn't care what gender I'm presenting as, he just loves me. Both sides of me.

I wish more people understood gender fluidity and that sexual preference and identity is a spectrum.
romp 24th-Aug-2011 12:53 am (UTC)
It seems like once you lose the attachment to gender and sexuality rules, this might be easier than policing some of it or... I mean, it's hard in that we live in a culture reminding us daily of the rules but I find it hard to believe what you describe can't be increasingly common.

But I'm probably just revealing the workings of my brain.
abee 23rd-Aug-2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
How about asexuals? Do they exist? :D
lizzy_someone 23rd-Aug-2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
They also required participants to have had sexual experiences with at least two people of each sex and a romantic relationship of at least three months with at least one person of each sex.

Side-eyeing these criteria. Bisexual virgins exist too!
rauduskoivu 24th-Aug-2011 12:05 am (UTC)
Basically. I hate how sexual activity is some kind of requirement for proving your orientation. What about lesbians who've been raped by men to "de-gay" them? What about gay men who marry women as covers? What about all the less traumatizing or awkward permutations of those situations? What about people who experiment in college but conclude they're really just straight after all?

That said, as a pansexual guy, I obviously like this study, I'm just sad that someone thought it was necessary.
stevie_jane 24th-Aug-2011 12:04 am (UTC)
But I thought it was trufax that men who like cock hate vaginas. THIS IS SHOCKING. It might even explain why some of the gay guys I've known also want to fuck women! [/facetious]

Seriously, what is this expectation that bi people need to do a 50/50 timeshare between genders they're attracted to whem it comes to relationships?

rauduskoivu 24th-Aug-2011 12:09 am (UTC)
FUCKING THIS. I wouldn't say the Kinsey scale is the most accurate measurement ever, but that shit's been around for like fifty years, and somehow people still act on this assumption that you're homo or hetero unless you are constantly banging one woman for every man? (Never mind the existence of other genders.) I just say I'm queer because my preferences fluctuate enough that I really can only say I'm "not straight," but those preferences fluctuate between a range of genders, and that's... just how it is.
romp 24th-Aug-2011 01:13 am (UTC)
Is there a good resource for definitions like bisexual and asexual? Although I wonder if "bisexual" should be nailed down--it seems like there are political and social factors to why people chose or don't chose that label.

Bottom line is that sexuality is way too complex to put in even several boxes, I guess.
vanillakokakola 24th-Aug-2011 02:29 am (UTC)
i have a question i've been wondering about if anyone asexual wants to help me get more informed, but how do you handle having a partner that isn't asexual? i know that everyone probably handles it vastly differently, but what's that situation like for you or other asexuals you know?
vanillakokakola 24th-Aug-2011 02:41 am (UTC)
and as a side note, i JUST got onto the waitlist for my school's "Cultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Literary Culture" class. it's the first non-psych class i've taken (and will probably be the only one unless there's something good that fits into my schedule next semester), and judging by the reading list it's going to be awesome.
clevermanka 24th-Aug-2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!
cecilia_weasley 24th-Aug-2011 06:13 am (UTC)
omg I'm not a unicorn anymore. Wait, no, please don't send me to pray it away camp.
thecityofdis 24th-Aug-2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
if you want to be let onto the ark, you have to pray it away.
natgel 24th-Aug-2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
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