Several years ago, I wrote about a study that purported to find that male bisexuality wasn’t real.
In 2005, Northwestern University did a study where men (who variously identified themselves from 0 to 6 on the Kinsey Scale) were shown porn clips with either just men or just women, and their physical arousal was measured. One-third of the men were not aroused; the rest responded sexually to both male and female images [but more strongly to one than the other]. No one, however, used this study to argue that a third of men are asexual, and the rest are bisexual. Instead, the study was trumpeted as proof that bisexuality doesn’t exist. The New York Times used the headline “Straight, Gay or Lying?,” (note the Cavuto question mark), and the gay website Box Turtle Bulletin announced that “Bisexuality Is Bullshit.”
There’s been an update.
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A recent meta-analysis (that is, analysis of a combination of several small studies) of 588 bi men found that they knew exactly what their attraction was:
This was easily enough for the pair to show men who identified with Kinsey scores of 2 or 3 had roughly equal levels of arousal to male and female erotic images. Those with scores of 1, 4, or 5 were also attracted to both sexes, albeit more strongly to one than the other.
And in the least surprising finding:
The study also found a very strong correlation between men’s self-described levels of arousal and what the measuring devices found.
The kicker: one of the researchers on the new study was J. Michael Bailey, the same one who did the study that purported to find bi men nonexistent.
As long as I’m stealing from my previous diary, this story is still relevant:
A quarter-century or so ago, I was at a workshop about bisexuality. As people introduced themselves, the most common phrase was, “I’m not sure if I count.” Almost none of us fit that mythical One Right Way. One woman was mostly attracted to women, but “every ten years” found herself in a relationship with a man. Some of the men liked women for relationships and men for just sex — and one of them men was the other way around. And then there was me: I’d never so much as kissed a woman, but I felt the attraction. By the time we got around the circle, we were all laughing and realizing: We all count.
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