CNN A growing number of women and men say they are bisexual, according to the latest national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Photos: Know your identity terms. New terms are entering the cultural lexicon as people endeavor to codify their sexual orientation or gender.
Kinsey scale Klein grid. The guys were so used to pornography and thinking of sex and relationships as entirely focused on them, that they did not know how to satisfy a woman emotionally or sexually. Despite the visibility and acceptance of bisexuality Bi sexual fad by the effects of bisexual chic, this phenomenon ffad been criticised for its "trendy" property rather than a genuine act of advocating bisexual equality. Oh, Webcam sex vids. Men are just as likely to be bi as women. Researchers at Cornell University, examining data collected from a representative sampling of young Americans Bi sexual fad included more than 20, individuals in 80 communities across the United States, found that
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Verified by Psychology Today. Sax on Sex. You've probably heard about Constance McMillen by now. She's the openly-gay high school senior who wanted to take her girlfriend to the high school prom at Itawamba High School in northern Mississippi. The principal told the girls that all prom couples have to be boy-girl. In response, the school board canceled the prom.
District Court Judge Glen Davidson to intervene and reinstate the prom. The judge ruled that although the school had violated Ms. McMillen's civil rights, he wouldn't force them to hold a prom.
On Friday, April 2, Ms. According to the Associated Press, her girlfriend's parents wouldn't allow the year-old girlfriend to go, so McMillen escorted another young woman instead. To make the story even worse, it turns out that the alternative prom at the Fulton County Country Club was a fake , with only seven kids attending, according to McMillen. The real prom, i.
The story continues to attract national attention because it's just so darn quaint. Imagine: There are still people who get upset when they see girls kissing other girls! Who knew? Not any more. As a physician and a psychologist, what I found missing in the noise surrounding the Constance McMillen story was any serious discussion of why a growing number of girls self-identify as lesbian or bisexual. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld might say.
But why are young women today at least three times more likely than their brothers to identify as bisexual or homosexual? There is no comparable crowd of young male celebrities rushing to assure us that they go both ways.
Imagine a young man singing "I kissed a boy and I liked it. Why not? Over the past seven years, I've posed this question to hundreds of teenagers and young adults across the United States.
The most common answer I get isn't really an answer. They're just doing it for attention. It's not for real. I point out, as gently as I can, that that response doesn't answer my question. Pretending to be lesbian or bisexual doesn't explain why a growing proportion of young women are lesbian or bisexual. Female sexuality is different from male sexuality. If a straight boy kissed another boy, perhaps to amuse some girls who might be watching, he would be unlikely to undergo a change in sexual orientation as a result.
But, as Professor Roy Baumeister at Florida State University and others have shown, sexual attraction in many women seems to be more malleable see note 3 below. If a teenage girl kisses another teenage girl, for whatever reason, and she finds that she likes it—then things can happen, and things can change. If a young woman finds her soulmate, and her soulmate happens to be female, then she may begin to experience feelings she's never felt before. Which brings me to the second point I've encountered in my interviews with young people.
Twenty years ago, when I opened my practice in a suburb of Washington DC, it was rare to find year-old boys who were looking at pornography every day. Today it's common—in fact, it's becoming the norm.
When I meet with a group of year-old boys and I ask them, "how many of you guys subscribe to a porn site? I don't believe them. But today, no boy wants to admit that he's the weirdo who doesn't look at online porn.
Twenty years ago, hardcore pornography was tucked away in adult bookstores. Today any year-old can access such photos online in seconds. Maybe there is. A young woman told me how her boyfriend several years ago suggested that she shave her pubic hair so that she might more closely resemble the porn stars who were this young man's most consistent source of sexual arousal. She now identifies herself as bisexual. I don't know a guy who could even comprehend the conversations we have. I wish Constance McMillen and her girlfriend all the best.
But I have to wonder: Are there so many girl-girl couples out there because the guys are such losers? Note 1: How common has bisexual and lesbian sexual orientation been among women, historically? He implies that this figure has been generally valid over time, a finding which he acknowledges poses an as-yet-unsolved mystery for evolutionary psychology.
Popular accounts of homosexual behavior often suggest that these behaviors make evolutionary sense because the people practicing these behaviors make better aunts and uncles than heterosexuals do, a theory first advanced by E.
Wilson back in the s. However, studies published in the past 20 years have provided little support for this hypothesis, and have often directly refuted it, particularly for male homosexuals. It's very difficult to estimate accurately the "true" proportion of lesbian or bisexual women 50 years ago or years ago.
In many jurisdictions 50 years ago, lesbian behavior would have been a criminal offense. In that era and in those jurisdictions, asking a woman whether she was a lesbian was equivalent to asking her whether she had committed a crime. Even when assured of confidentiality, women might reasonably under-report the true incidence of bisexual or lesbian orientation.
However, it's hard to deny that lesbian and bisexual behavior has become much more visible in our time compared with one or two generations ago. Researchers at Cornell University, examining data collected from a representative sampling of young Americans which included more than 20, individuals in 80 communities across the United States, found that Among young men, Ream, "Prevalence and stability of sexual orientation components during adolescence and young adulthood," Archives of Sexual Behavior, volume 36, pp.
The proportions in Europe might be higher. Hegna, "Sexual orientation and suicide attempt: A longitudinal study of the general Norwegian adolescent population," Journal of Abnormal Psychology , volume , pp. In a study from New Zealand, Dickson and colleagues, "Same-sex attraction in a birth cohort: prevalence and persistence in early adulthood", Social Science and Medicine , volume 56, pp.
Note 3: Maybe a straight woman is just a woman who hasn't yet met — the right woman? Professor Roy Baumeister's most relevant article about erotic plasticity is " Gender differences in erotic plasticity: the female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive," Psychological Bulletin , volume , pp. Professor Lisa Diamond has made a compelling case that many women don't discover their "true" sexual identity until their 20s, 30s or even 40s.
A woman may reach her 40s, believe that she is a straight woman, and then find herself falling in love with her soulmate—who happens to be a woman. Here are three of Professor Diamond's most relevant articles:. Note 4: John Mayer said what? John Mayer's current preference for pornography over sex with real women wasn't well-known until his interview with Rolling Stone February 4, and his March interview with Playboy magazine , in which he also explained why he now prefers porn over sex with actual women: because masturbation allows him to be in complete control.
He said: "As soon as I lose that control, once I have to deal with someone else's desires, I cut and run I'm more comfortable in my imagination than I am in actual human discovery.
Seems to me that comparing current studies of YOUNG women with older studies of the entire female population is comparing apples and oranges. You really mean to tell me that young women during the flower child era weren't all sleeping with each other too? Sure sounds like it to hear some of them talk. This comment by Anonymous is one of several written in response to my blog which share the same underlying assumption: namely, that teenage girls and young women are more likely than older women to identify as lesbian or bisexual.
Other comments below include terms such as BUG Bisexual Until Graduation , reflecting the assumption that teenage girls and young women who identify as bisexual are just "going through a phase" and that most of those women will eventually settle down as heterosexual. The scholarly research on this topic does not provide strong evidence in support of this assumption.
On the contrary, the most careful, longitudinal studies - in which researchers keep track of the same women for many years - suggests just the opposite. You will find the full citation for this study in Note 3, at the end of page 2 of my blog.
I'm a little confused now The "boys adrift" phenomenon - i. I suggest you read Chapter 6, "End Result: Failure to Launch", in my book Boys Adrift, where I describe the growing proportion of something young men who seem to care more about video games than they care about real-world interaction with young women.
You ask "why didn't all of these older lesbians identify as such when they were younger? But Professor Diamond has documented that women also go the other way, from homosexual to bisexual.
Please read Professor Diamond's articles see my Note 3, on page 2 of my blog, for the full citations. The best answer to your question appears to be that sexual orientation may simply be more fluid and more plastic in women than it is in men. A woman who divorces a "loser" husband at the age of 26, and then discovers another woman with whom she has a genuine connection, may discover that she also has the ability to experience and enjoy sexual intimacy with another woman.
If you read through the other comments, below, you will find several women who describe just such an experience. Again, please read the scholarly citations listed in my Note 3, beginning perhaps with Professor Roy Baumeister's paper. The one thing you didn't go into much in your article is sexuality and the messages being sent by the media.
Being a lesbian or bisexual is cool and hip. It's a fantasy for men of being with two women if something is good, double of something is even better. This of course reinforces to women that being a 'lesbian' or 'bisexual' is not only acceptable and that sexuality isn't a hard and fast concept , but it's also an attractive attribute to the other sex.
If a young man meets twins who are somehow the EXACT same in every aspect including personality but one twin is straight and the other bisexual, the overwhelming amount of adolescents and young-men would prefer the bisexual, due in part to the notion pornography reinforces of the threesome an ultimate conquer for a man.
Factor in the prevalence of sex toys women have and their increasing acceptance in society at least among young women and the incredible advances these sex toys specifically dildos have undergone being bisexual or lesbian doesn't have to be very much the same as the definition. Just some random thoughts about the matter.
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Why so many young people say they're bisexual | Daily Mail Online
More people than ever before in the United States identify as something other than heterosexual, a trend that signals an increase in sexual fluidity and a cultural shift toward more acceptance of diverse sexual orientations. Recently released data shows that one-third of 18 to year-olds are not heterosexual, according to research from YouGov , an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm from the U.
The data also revealed that the number of people who identify outside of heterosexuality is steadily rising, up 5 percent since This change might be due to the growing acceptability of same-sex sexual relationships in both culture and in law, Carrie Baker, director of Smith College's Program for the Study of Women and Gender, told Newsweek.
Within the last few years, there have been more depictions of same-sex couples in movies and television, as well as more public conversations about sexual orientation and same-sex attraction. Changes in legislation have altered the context in which we live. The U. Supreme Court's landmark same-sex marriage decision and the removal of "don't ask don't tell" spurred more conversations in the media around same-sex relationships. With all of these political and cultural changes, it's possible that people simply feel more comfortable expressing their desires in this social climate, Baker explained.
Participants in the YouGov survey were asked to rate themselves on the Kinsey scale, where 0 is completely heterosexual and 6 is completely gay. Alfred Kinsey invented the scale in thes as a way to study human sexuality. The data was compared to another similar survey that was conducted by the research firm in The results were clear. One-quarter of people of all age groups identified as something other than completely heterosexual, compared to 20 percent of people in This could indicate that sexuality exists on a spectrum and it is not fixed over a lifetime, you might identify as heterosexual early in life, but later in life that might evolve, said Baker.
The context of someone's life might also influence their desires. Exposure to popular culture, movies and television that show depictions of same-sex encounters might have an influence on people.
Same-sex environments like prison and the military might also sway someone to act or have sexual feelings about someone of the same sex, said Baker. Weekly magazine, delivered Daily Newsletter Website access.