Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New research confirms bisexuality

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You’d think this is another one of those things that ought to be rather self-evident, yet it took science until now to realize that, yes, men who claim to be attracted to people of both sexes may actually be bisexual:

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 short: For this revised test, researchers brought in a group of men from specifically bisexual-oriented venues, along with standard selections of self-professed straight and gay guys, and showed them all erotica whilst measuring their tender areas for autonomic reactions. Shockingly enough, guys who claimed to be turned on by both men and women were, in fact, turned on by both men and women.

Of course, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that it’s pretty safe to assume that the same holds true for female bisexuals as well, so it looks like science finally confirmed an already obvious fact: bisexuals exist. My, what an age of discovery we live in.

Oh, all right, maybe I’m being a little too depreciating towards science and researchers, here; I’m sure the lack of previous findings on the subject had nothing to do with any prejudice (at least for the most part). But … seriously? It really took until 2011 for followers of the discipline of knowledge to figure out that some people really are attracted to both sexes? Isn’t that the sort of thing that could, and should, have been tested decades ago? In about five minutes?

(Though, I am admittedly somewhat curious as to why the 2005 study failed to garner similar results, if it also included actual bisexuals as reported.)

In the end, though, if I may allow myself a bit of a ramble – and I would really like to find research either in support or denial of my little hypothesis, here – I think that it’s really all about physiological markers of masculinity or femininity, as opposed to actual male- or femaleness. In other words, people are attracted to others who look masculine or feminine (depending on their sexual orientation), and that for many people (if not even a majority), a number of mixed signals and androgynous characteristics could easily lead to a straight man or woman being attracted, even if minimally, to another male or female whose physical traits simply happened to fit whatever criteria they subconsciously have for sexual attraction; ie. if they push their right buttons. For example, a guy who’s into slender, more feminine bodies may well find himself attracted to a girly little twink, even if the attracted is ardently heterosexual and the attractor is undeniably male.

Of course, this is all just what I happen to believe. For all I know, I’ve got it completely ass-backwards (and I’m quite sure that a number of furiously heterosexual men and women would be all too quick to let me know in no uncertain terms). But it does seem to fit with both all that I’ve seen in terms of verifiable evidence and statistics, and with a great deal of personal experience (as scientifically worthless as that may be). As I said, I’d just like to see some research indicating how my thoughts hold up to reality.

(via Blag Hag)