Bisexuality, you heard of it right? It’s a sexual orientation where a person is attracted to men AND women. The latest study on bisexuality comes as a no-brainer to bisexuals but it might come as a surprise to others.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburg have found that around 15 percent of people don’t believe bisexuality is an actual sexual orientation. The main contributors towards that group were straight men. They were three times more likely than any other population that claims that bisexuality doesn’t exist. Overall, participants in the study expressed negative attitudes towards bisexual men and women in the study and that includes participants who are gay and lesbian.
People describe bisexuals as confused, different, and experimenting. For decades, people said the same thing about homosexuals; they even called them mentally ill and locked homosexuals up in institutions. It’s also not uncommon today to hear people say such things about Asexual.
Bisexuality has been documented throughout history and science. Notable bisexuals include Rebecca Walker, Malcolm Forbes, Marilyn Monroe, Oscar Wilde, and the list goes on and on. Bisexuality was first recognized in academia in 1948 by Alfred Kinsey when he created the Kinsey Scale which classified people’s sexual orientation on a scale from same sex to opposite sex attraction.
More recently, a study in North western hooked up genital sensors to bisexual men to measure arousal while they watched videos of same sex and opposite sex erotica. Well, what do you know? They weren’t lying! The participants experienced genital arousal in varying degrees by BOTH stimuli. This wasn’t true for the straight and gay men in the study.
Another study at UCLA found that half of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population is “bi” and yet even though there are more bisexuals than lesbians and gays combined, there is a persistent belief that bisexuality just doesn’t exist. The researchers believe it has something to do with myths about bisexuality: “It’s just a phase”, “they just want to experiment and have sex with everyone” or “they will end up straight or gay EVENTUALLY.” But that doesn’t make them straight or gay because that doesn’t fully describe their experience of sexual attraction because they are still “bi.”
The fact that they can be pigeon-holed in simply “experimenting” or “straight” or “gay” no matter what they do makes it much easier to accept the idea that bisexuality itself doesn’t exist. Is that a big deal necessarily? Scientists in the study said yes, we should take the stigma and prejudice from both straight and gay populations seriously. It contributes to feeling of isolation which prior research shows leads to higher substance abuse, depression, and risky sexual behavior. It can also result in lower rates of HIV testing and treatment. So, not exactly harmless.