16 January 2008

Clue to female bisexuality

A new 10-year study of women supports the notion that bisexuality is a distinct sexual orientation.

Bisexuality in women appears to be a distinctive sexual orientation and not an experimental or transitional stage that some women adopt "on their way" to lesbianism, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Developmental Psychology.

Among Diamond's findings:

  • Bisexual and unlabelled women were more likely than lesbians to change their identity over the course of the study, but they tended to switch between bisexual and unlabelled rather than to settle on lesbian or heterosexual as their identities.
  • Seventeen percent of respondents switched from a bisexual or unlabelled identity to heterosexual during the study - but more than half of these women switched back to bisexual or unlabelled by the end.
  • By year 10, most of the women were involved in long-term (i.e., more than a year in length) monogamous relationships - 70 percent of the self-identified lesbians, 89 percent of the bisexuals, 85 percent of the unlabelled women and 67 percent of those who were then calling themselves heterosexual.
  • Women's definitions of lesbianism appeared to permit more flexibility in behaviour than their definitions of heterosexuality. For example, of the women who identified as lesbian in the last round of interviews, 15 percent reported having sexual contact with a man during the prior two years. In contrast, none of the women who settled on a heterosexual label at that point reported having sexual contact with a woman within the previous two years.

"This provides further support for the notion that female sexuality is relatively fluid and that the distinction between lesbian and bisexual women is not a rigid one," Diamond wrote. – (EurekAlert)

Gay, lesbian and bisexual issues




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