Research on Bisexuals, the “Invisible Majority”

According to the latest research, sexuality is rarely finite. Over time, it changes. You might be a straight woman today, but five years from now you’ll find yourself getting the butterflies for a lady friend. Who knows? Here’s what some recent studies say about bisexuality:

1. It’s real. Very real.

According to a study by YouGov, approximately half of the UK’s young adults and 31% of American adults under 30 identify as “not 100% heterosexual”. Sadly, no similar studies have been conducted in Egypt or the Middle East, and even if they had been, they wouldn’t be reliable since people tend to be much less open about sexuality.

However, the closet phenomenon is not exclusive to the Middle East. According to the New York Times article entitled “The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists”, “bisexuals are so unlikely to be out about their orientation — in a 2013 Pew Research Survey, only 28 percent of people who identified as bisexual said they were open about it — that the San Francisco Human Rights Commission recently called them “an invisible majority” in need of resources and support.”

Bisexuality also has a basis in science. Studies have been conducted in which self-reported bisexual men and women were hooked up to electrodes that measured, and showed, the participants’ genital arousal inspired by pornographic images of both male and female bodies.

2. Women are more likely to be bisexual than men.

Research has shown this consistently, although it may be due to social factors that allow women to be more fluid with their sexuality than men (male homosexuality is much more antithetical to traditional definitions of masculinity than female homosexuality is to femininity). A recent study, conducted by the University of Notre Dame, shows that women are three times more likely than men to report changes in sexual preference over time.

 

3. Stigmas against bisexuals relating to perceived promiscuity or unreliability as partners may contribute to their higher likeliness of suffering from mental health issues and experiencing rape.

According to the American Institute of Bisexuality (A.I.B.), “compared with their exclusively homosexual and heterosexual counterparts, bisexuals have reported higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, victimization by violence, suicidal ideation, and sexual-health concerns.”

In 2010, the CDC published a study showing that “35% of straight women had experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by a partner at some point in their lives. But 43.8% of lesbian women had experienced one of the three, as had a full 61.1% of bisexual women.” Specifically in regard to rape, “bisexual women were also the most likely to have been raped by anyone, partner or not — 46.1% of them had experienced rape at some point, compared with 13.1% of lesbian women and 14.7% of straight women.”

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