27 votes

Bisexuality Exists: Bisexual attraction study upends decades of flawed research

31 comments

  1. [12]
    autumn
    Link
    Interesting that this study was only about men. I will say there’s a huge stigma against bisexual men in particular. I’d love to see a similar study about bisexual women, considering we’re often...

    Interesting that this study was only about men. I will say there’s a huge stigma against bisexual men in particular.

    I’d love to see a similar study about bisexual women, considering we’re often accused of being with women just to please men.

    8 votes
    1. [7]
      reifyresonance
      Link Parent
      or as "just experimenting"

      or as "just experimenting"

      5 votes
      1. [6]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        Is there a good reason not to dismiss this sort of nonsensical accusations as anything but a closed mind? I imagine it gets fuckin' annoying hearing this day in and day out, but would such a study...

        Is there a good reason not to dismiss this sort of nonsensical accusations as anything but a closed mind?

        I imagine it gets fuckin' annoying hearing this day in and day out, but would such a study make significant difference to the general population?

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          It derives from most people's experience with "bisexuality" being the oddly common event of straight college girls fooling around with eachother. Once you are out of university, unless you move...

          It derives from most people's experience with "bisexuality" being the oddly common event of straight college girls fooling around with eachother. Once you are out of university, unless you move within certain circles, most people don't have a lot of exposure with lesbian relationships, and even less so bisexuality. Bisexuality is not outwardly obvious, you would (usually) only see them with one partner.

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            I'm not sure a scientific study would be enough to counter this shallow perception. It would certainly be a welcome addition to one's erudition arsenal, but I'm not sure it would quite suffice as...

            I'm not sure a scientific study would be enough to counter this shallow perception. It would certainly be a welcome addition to one's erudition arsenal, but I'm not sure it would quite suffice as a tool of education on matters of sexuality in as repressive a society as the US.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              kfwyre
              Link Parent
              There are some people whose prejudices are so strong that they will not be convinced by scientific studies, but I think studies still have significant value as a way of highlighting their...

              There are some people whose prejudices are so strong that they will not be convinced by scientific studies, but I think studies still have significant value as a way of highlighting their obstinance.

              For example, I see this a lot in regards to trans people. For a long time there wasn't a lot of strong science supporting trans identities, so, unfortunately, prejudice led the way for many and it was able to go mostly unchecked. In recent years, however, strong scientific support has developed supporting trans people's identities and experiences, so those leading with prejudice now can only do so by willfully ignoring or rejecting widely agreed-upon science. It's one thing to be obstinate from a place of legitimate ignorance, but it's another to cling to a deliberate ignorance as a justification for obstinance.

              It's similar to the anti-maskers and COVID-deniers in America right now. They maybe had a leg to stand on back in February, when there was still a lot of uncertainty about things. Their ignorance could be genuinely attributed to a lack of available knowledge. At this point in the pandemic, however, anyone holding that position is effectively burying their head in the sand. They might genuinely believe they're seeing the truth from their point of view -- bent over with their head in the ground -- but everyone else around only sees them as, well, an ass.

              There are unfortunately still widespread prejudices that bisexual people don't exist; are lying; are claiming it for attention; are claiming it to rebel; are claiming it to be trendy; are confused; are in denial. Some people will undoubtedly continue to hold those prejudices, but the more that studies like this one erode the foundations for their misguided beliefs, the shakier the ground they'll have to stand on to assert them.

              7 votes
              1. ThatFanficGuy
                Link Parent
                Perhaps you're right. It's not all one side or the other, and people have a tendency to change their minds when presented with proof under the right circumstance, even if they held their position...

                Perhaps you're right. It's not all one side or the other, and people have a tendency to change their minds when presented with proof under the right circumstance, even if they held their position strongly.

                It was awfully pessimistic of me to suggest it's not going to make any change. I'd like to see something shift the Overton window more radically when it comes to personal identity, sexuality, and romantic preferences. I'm impatient like that: when people suffer prejudice over nonsense and fear, I want to punch something. The prejudiced feel superior in their aggrandized worldview, while the targets of their bullying often hurt themselves or even – most aggravatingly – commit suicide.

                So, I suppose anything that changes the conversation towards acceptance and understanding is something I should back.

                2 votes
        2. reifyresonance
          Link Parent
          Personally, I think studies like this are mirrors of social change, as opposed to engines. Or maybe further on the mirror side of the spectrum. Screw the binary! So I don't particularly think more...

          Personally, I think studies like this are mirrors of social change, as opposed to engines. Or maybe further on the mirror side of the spectrum. Screw the binary! So I don't particularly think more studies would help. Even the most rigorous of studies could fail to convince a closed mind.

          1 vote
    2. [4]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Not possible, since the way arousal is 'measured' is different between sexes. This study, for example, measured penile hardness as a physical measure used traditionally as a proxy for arousal....

      I’d love to see a similar study about bisexual women, considering we’re often accused of being with women just to please men.

      Not possible, since the way arousal is 'measured' is different between sexes. This study, for example, measured penile hardness as a physical measure used traditionally as a proxy for arousal.

      Modern measurements of arousal are based on brain activity because physical measures are a poor indicator, hence the 'need' for this study to contradict prior studies.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        autumn
        Link Parent
        I’m aware it wouldn’t be the same study, hence why I said “similar.”

        I’m aware it wouldn’t be the same study, hence why I said “similar.”

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Ah gotcha, if you're looking for some arousal papers on bisexual women, here's a few utilizing different measures of arousal, published at different points in time (newest first) to provide some...

          Ah gotcha, if you're looking for some arousal papers on bisexual women, here's a few utilizing different measures of arousal, published at different points in time (newest first) to provide some context of how it's been measured historically and how things are changing/evolving.

          1. Neural Correlates of Sexual Orientation in Heterosexual, Bisexual, and Homosexual Women
          2. Gender-Specificity in Sexual Interest in Bisexual Men and Women
          3. DIFFERENCES IN SUBJFXTIVE SEXUAL AROUSAL IN
            HETEROSEXUAL, BISEXUAL, AND LESBIAN WOMEN
          5 votes
          1. autumn
            Link Parent
            Thanks; these look like some interesting reads!

            Thanks; these look like some interesting reads!

            2 votes
  2. drannex
    Link

    Bisexual men, with Kinsey scores between two and four in this experiment, showed 3.3 times more genital arousal when presented with erotica from their "non-preferred sex," compared to men who rated themselves a zero or a six. For a man with a 2 on the Kinsey scale that "non-preferred sex" would be another man, for a 4 that would be a woman.

    Men who place themselves in the zero or six categories tend to show very little arousal to their non-preferred sex – they were 10.16 times more aroused by their preferred sex, going by the penile gauge measurements. By comparison, the bisexual men were only 2.2 times more aroused by one sex compared to the other.

    That difference "strongly confirmed" that bisexual men tend to be more attracted to both sexes than monosexual men, the study team says.

    6 votes
  3. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. drannex
      Link Parent
      If I remember correctly the study does address this and make amends to the data for it.

      If I remember correctly the study does address this and make amends to the data for it.

  4. [17]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    Neat. One of the things of note to me is that the orientations "straight", "gay/lesbian" and "bi" (how important is it that I call them by their formal names? I do not know much about the...

    Neat. One of the things of note to me is that the orientations "straight", "gay/lesbian" and "bi" (how important is it that I call them by their formal names? I do not know much about the LGBT/GSRM community) Doesn't seem to be real according to this study, more so a spectrum, which is quite a change compared to how it is usually portrayed.

    1 vote
    1. [16]
      CALICO
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Obviously I can't speak for the whole community, but I would hazard to say that most of us probably don't care very much. I personally notice and use a lot of shorthand among relevant persons in...

      (how important is it that I call them by their formal names? I do not know much about the LGBT/GSRM community)

      Obviously I can't speak for the whole community, but I would hazard to say that most of us probably don't care very much. I personally notice and use a lot of shorthand among relevant persons in relevant contexts. Anybody who'd rake you over the coals for saying 'bi' instead of 'bisexual' is almost certainly in the minority. Formal names should probably be used if you're writing something formal, but in any kind of casual context I don't see there being any issues.

      The most controversial is probably queer. It has history as a slur, but there's a movement in a segment—I don't know how large—of the LGBT-community to reclaim the word.

      There might be some trouble using 'lesbian', if the gender-identity of the person is unknown, or they're trans or non-binary and dislike female-oriented terminology. (I don't know; I'm trans-spectrum DMAB and I don't have the firsthand experience here) FWIW, most of my gay women friends tend to use 'gay' over 'lesbian' in casual conversation. I don't know if that's a principled, intentional thing, or a quicker-to-say & distinction-without-a-difference thing.

      Maybe one of our users with a more appropriate perspective could chime in on this point with their perspective.


      Re: Sexuality as a Spectrum,

      I think the greater LGBT-community has been pretty keyed in to this for a long time. However, I am a Millennial. I wasn't around for the more turbulent times my elders were. This might be a misconception on my part. But among peers, I don't know a single non-cishet person who would take the stance that they're 100% gay, or perfectly 50/50 bisexual. The Kinsey Scale is an imperfect, but well known thing.

      It makes sense too, to me. Biology & genetics are messy & imperfect (not to mention social or environmental factors). For anything to be somewhere vaguely between 0% & 100% just seems to be waaay more likely solidly one way or the other, or exactly in-between.

      Add in factors like attraction, behavior, fantasy, preference, & self-identification, and the walls around the standard labels really break down quick. For people who care about labels, this is where terms like pansexual, cupiosexual, demisexual, omnisexual, aromantic, asexual, demiromantic, etc. become useful; the standard toolbox of gay, straight, or bisexual doesn't quite cut it.

      5 votes
      1. mrnd
        Link Parent
        Yeah, It's hard to say how this has evolved. I think it's nowadays mostly young or newly come out people who get fixated on finding strict labels. When I was new to this all, I remember very...

        I think the greater LGBT-community has been pretty keyed in to this for a long time. However, I am a Millennial. I wasn't around for the more turbulent times my elders were. This might be a misconception on my part. But among peers, I don't know a single non-cishet person who would take the stance that they're 100% gay, or perfectly 50/50 bisexual. The Kinsey Scale is an imperfect, but well known thing.

        Yeah, It's hard to say how this has evolved. I think it's nowadays mostly young or newly come out people who get fixated on finding strict labels. When I was new to this all, I remember very specific labels being mostly useful for realizing that something is a possibility. And it's very powerful to have those available. But nowadays most of my peers tend to use more general descriptors like Gay (as a catch-all) or queer.

        2 votes
      2. [4]
        drannex
        Link Parent
        The Kinsey Scale has been around for nearly a hundred years, and is still the best thing we have in terms of defining sexual orientation. The fluidity of the scale, and the directive of 0-6, I am...

        The Kinsey Scale has been around for nearly a hundred years, and is still the best thing we have in terms of defining sexual orientation.

        The fluidity of the scale, and the directive of 0-6, I am amazed never became more commonplace. Happy to see more and more people (myself included) are beginning to use it more freely.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          CALICO
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I wouldn't call it the best; it's pretty limited. The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid has more dimensions than the Kinsey Scale. How important that is for any given person is going to be individual....

          I wouldn't call it the best; it's pretty limited. The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid has more dimensions than the Kinsey Scale.
          How important that is for any given person is going to be individual. Personally I don't very much value out of either of them, nor any value from labels. But if I was forced to place myself on some scale, I'd use the KSOG. But even that isn't as good as it could be.

          From my perspective, the Kinsey is a good first step on understanding oneself or others. If it's good enough for those who use it, good for them. If it's not, the KSOG allows more wiggle-room in different situations.

          2 votes
          1. drannex
            Link Parent
            I should have thrown in the adjective 'simplest', as in I believe the Kinsey Scale is likely the simplest and best to explain to others and have a near complete understanding of. The KSOG is...

            I should have thrown in the adjective 'simplest', as in I believe the Kinsey Scale is likely the simplest and best to explain to others and have a near complete understanding of.

            The KSOG is somewhat excellent, but harder to explain and use in the modern day-to-day.

            2 votes
          2. Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            Given his reply to you, I think he means it's the best system for uninitiated people who don't really know that much about what non-cishet people can be, like me. Basically he's saying it's for...

            Given his reply to you, I think he means it's the best system for uninitiated people who don't really know that much about what non-cishet people can be, like me.

            Basically he's saying it's for beginners, like me, which is pretty fair. While KSOG does seem intuitive to me given Wikipedia, it does require a bit more of an explanation, enough for it to be something someone has to ask for, and if you have a bad memory, you will probably forget the questions.

            1 vote
      3. [10]
        Kuromantis
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Oh, okay. I was just thinking the word 'straight' might be a bit insulting since it can often be used in a positive context in other places and 'gay' can be an overgeneralization and also an...

        Obviously I can't speak for the whole community, but I would hazard to say that most of us probably don't care very much. I personally notice and use a lot of shorthand among relevant persons in relevant contexts. Anybody who'd rake you over the coals for saying 'bi' instead of 'bisexual' is almost certainly in the minority. Formal names should probably be used if you're writing something formal, but in any kind of casual context I don't see there being any issues.

        Oh, okay. I was just thinking the word 'straight' might be a bit insulting since it can often be used in a positive context in other places and 'gay' can be an overgeneralization and also an insult. In hindsight that very much is the kind of pedantic "SJW bickering" stuff that ends up on shoeonhead videos, and it's also not 1995 anymore, there aren't that many people who don't know what "LGBT" means/stands for and homophobes are a minority with too much power (unless you're in Russia/MENA/South Asia/Southeast Asia/Africa. Then you're more than screwed.)

        I think the greater LGBT-community has been pretty keyed in to this for a long time. However, I am a Millennial. I wasn't around for the more turbulent times my elders were. This might be a misconception on my part. But among peers, I don't know a single non-cishet person who would take the stance that they're 100% gay, or perfectly 50/50 bisexual. The Kinsey Scale is an imperfect, but well known thing.

        Fair enough. Unless they're, like, literally totsuka saika from oregairu (i.e comically, stereotypically effeminate) I won't care so I will I identify myself as "100% hetero".

        It makes sense too, to me. Biology & genetics are messy & imperfect (not to mention social or environmental factors). For anything to be somewhere vaguely between 0% & 100% just seems to be waaay more likely solidly one way or the other, or exactly in-between.

        Fair enough. Not even human biology is fixed (evolution), so nothing really is. It's all a spectrum, and it has always been like that. I'm autistic, so that should be intuitive to me, but ah well.

        1 vote
        1. [9]
          Wren
          Link Parent
          Trans people consider that term offensive nowadays

          some anime trap

          Trans people consider that term offensive nowadays

          4 votes
          1. [7]
            Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            That wasn't supposed to be an allegory for a real person? It's a stereotype.

            That wasn't supposed to be an allegory for a real person? It's a stereotype.

            1. [6]
              CALICO
              Link Parent
              "Trap" implies trapping, as in, a deception. To call a trans person a trap would be to project the intention of deception upon them. Which isn't super cool. It also denies them their identity as...

              "Trap" implies trapping, as in, a deception. To call a trans person a trap would be to project the intention of deception upon them. Which isn't super cool. It also denies them their identity as the sex they're presenting as. Such as a kind of, "I was expecting a girl but I was tricked and got a man", type thing. Not excellent.

              There's also a small population of people who self-identify as a trap. I perceive it as mostly being non-trans cross-dressers—though not representative of those who cross-dress. But for those this does apply to, there often seems to be a kind of ego-boost in passing and being seen as desirable as the opposite sex.
              I don't know what to make of people like this, I don't understand them. I've bumped into a few people like this on grindr, and while I never perceived malicious intent in their actions or their words, it's kind of bad vibes. On their profiles they'd be rather open about everything, so there was no deception, but also self-identified with a word that implies deception.
              I don't get it.

              5 votes
              1. [5]
                Kuromantis
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Fair enough, although I wasn't imagining a trans person in my mind, other than maybe u/AssKeikoX, but they identify as genderfluid (I do not know what that means, sorry) and porn is porn. When I...

                "Trap" implies trapping, as in, a deception. To call a trans person a trap would be to project the intention of deception upon them. Which isn't super cool. It also denies them their identity as the sex they're presenting as. Such as a kind of, "I was expecting a girl but I was tricked and got a man", type thing. Not excellent.

                Fair enough, although I wasn't imagining a trans person in my mind, other than maybe u/AssKeikoX, but they identify as genderfluid (I do not know what that means, sorry) and porn is porn.

                When I think of "a trap", I'm thinking of these two, not any real person.

                There's also a small population of people who self-identify as a trap. I perceive it as mostly being non-trans cross-dressers—though not representative of those who cross-dress. [...] I don't get it.

                I was not expecting that, and I don't get it either.

                I'm assuming the pain-point is that I'm thinking of someone who crossdresses as a hobby/for fun, like cosplaying, while for you, crossdressing implies someone trying to approach their wanted sex/gender instead of being dysphoric, so calling the former a trap will mean they succeeded in being hot to their own sex while calling the latter a trap will mean they failed to convincingly pass as the gender they want to be?

                1 vote
                1. [4]
                  CALICO
                  Link Parent
                  Kind of. It's a complex thing, and I think the friction is more unfortunate than it is malicious. Sticking with the anime-context and how 'trap' is used thereof: Astolfo would be a trap. They...

                  I'm assuming the pain-point is that I'm thinking of someone who crossdresses as a hobby/for fun, like cosplaying, while for you, crossdressing implies someone trying to approach their wanted sex/gender instead of being dysphoric, so calling the former a trap will mean they succeeded in being hot to their own sex while calling the latter a trap will mean they failed to convincingly pass as the gender they want to be?

                  Kind of. It's a complex thing, and I think the friction is more unfortunate than it is malicious.

                  Sticking with the anime-context and how 'trap' is used thereof:
                  Astolfo would be a trap. They don't identify as a female*, but enjoy crossdressing & being mistaken for the opposite sex.
                  Ruka, from Steins;Gate, would not be a trap. Ruka feels trapped in the wrong body (and once manipulated time to change it). They're a trans-girl, not a crossdressing man.

                  *(There's an argument to be made Astolfo might be non-binary, and not a cis-male. But I don't think that's definitive)

                  A real person like Astolfo might take pride in being called a trap; they derive pleasure from crossdressing & being mistaken for the opposite sex.
                  A real person like Ruka would feel distraught in being called a trap; all they're doing is trying to feel at peace with, and comfortable in, their own body as best as they can. Being recognized as a girl would be validating, and being seen as who they really are.

                  That you brought up cosplay (costume roleplay) is valuable. It could be said that:

                  • a trap uses roleplay and costumes to be what they are not. (putting on a mask)
                  • a trans person takes off a costume, and stops roleplaying, to be what they are (taking off a mask)

                  I think a big place the issue comes from is one of perception. To an outside observer, Astolfo & Ruka appear to be the same kind of person—though who they are and what they're doing is very different.
                  The feminine male-crossdresser has a far larger presence and visibility in anime & manga compared to trans-characters, so the word 'trap' took hold as the word for a man who appears as a woman. Using the word 'trap' for a trans person/character is likely part habit, and part misunderstanding what it is to be trans in the first place.
                  Nonetheless, the word just so happens to imply deception and that's the last thing a trans person is trying to do; they're trying to be seen as their true self, and calling them a trap is much the same as calling them a liar and denying their entire identity.

                  Make sense?

                  2 votes
                  1. [3]
                    Kuromantis
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    the insert is a dumb grammar nazi thing. Yes. Only a few more clarifications: Does this imply a binary/mutual exclusivity between "traps" and Transgender/sexual people (with maybe the exception of...

                    Makes sense?

                    the insert is a dumb grammar nazi thing.

                    Yes. Only a few more clarifications:

                    Astolfo would be a trap. They don't identify as a female*, but enjoy crossdressing & being mistaken for the opposite sex.

                    *(There's an argument to be made Astolfo might be non-binary, and not a cis-male. But I don't think that's definitive)

                    Does this imply a binary/mutual exclusivity between "traps" and Transgender/sexual people (with maybe the exception of a humiliation fetish, but that seems pretty extreme)? If so then even putting the 2 words in the same sentence is wrong because traps aren't/wouldn't be Transgender/sexual.

                    In the last comment of mine I said this:

                    Fair enough, although I wasn't imagining a trans person in my mind, other than maybe u/AssKeikoX, but they identify as genderfluid (I do not know what that means, sorry) and porn is porn.

                    When I think of "a trap", I'm thinking of these two, not any real person.

                    Since AssKeiko is someone's porn account (porn is not a documantary and all) and the two characters above are... characters, my immediate reaction to:

                    Trans people consider that term offensive nowadays

                    Was

                    That wasn't supposed to be an allegory for a real person? It's a stereotype.

                    Because in my view I was not picturing any actual trans person, only a stereotype, which in my view, would not be emulated by any real Trans person, short of perhaps a maybe extreme humiliation fetish, and because personally, if I were asked to depict a Trans person at all, I would probably come up with nothing other than maybe "a normal (biological/genital) man/woman, but they were born the other one because the process of evolution might be the the most conservative thing in existence, and birth the most random" (caveat for intersex goes here), so to me, bringing it to real people at all was kind of a surprise. (PS I've asked that question before IIRC)

                    I never associated the word "trap" with real Trans people in my mind, so where did that come from? I might need to ask @Wren this so I will @ them. Was that lost in a plain face of text? (I'm also not so sure if this might be mental gymnastics and I didn't read my comment properly.)

                    1. [2]
                      CALICO
                      Link Parent
                      You ask good questions. I think I'll preface my answers with a note that these are my own perspectives, and reasonable minds may disagree. I would say yes, with the caveat that exceptions always...

                      You ask good questions.
                      I think I'll preface my answers with a note that these are my own perspectives, and reasonable minds may disagree.

                      Does this imply a binary/mutual exclusivity between "traps" and Transgender/sexual people

                      I would say yes, with the caveat that exceptions always exist.

                      If so then even putting the 2 words in the same sentence is wrong because traps aren't/wouldn't be Transgender/sexual.

                      I'd say that's accurate.

                      In the last comment of mine I said this:

                      [snip]

                      That all makes sense.

                      Because in my view I was not picturing any actual trans person, only a stereotype, [snip] so to me, bringing it to real people at all was kind of a surprise. [snip]

                      &

                      I never associated the word "trap" with real Trans people in my mind, so where did that come from? [snip]

                      Here's my interpretation:

                      1. You said—roughly, in essence—that you're straight but also traps can be pretty neat
                      2. Completely by happenstance, you stumbled upon a sore spot in the trans community.
                        2.1 The term trap has found its way into meatspace; it is being used—by others, not you in this thread—to refer to actual people.
                        2.2 Because people can't read minds, it's easy to confuse a trans-person and a crossdresser.
                        2.3 The word 'trap' gets applied to both kinds of people, and it just so happens to be harmful when applied to trans-folk.
                      3. @Wren was likely aware of 2.1–3, and chimed in.
                      4. You were made aware that the thing you said had more to it than expected.

                      While you knew what you were talking about (i.e. art, fiction, etc), to others it was more subjective and individual biases & experience colored interpretations. Confusion, miscommunication, etc etc etc.

                      1 vote
                      1. Kuromantis
                        Link Parent
                        Just a thanks. This was a good conversation. I don't think I have any questions left to ask.
                        Just a thanks.

                        This was a good conversation. I don't think I have any questions left to ask.

                        1 vote