Robust evidence for bisexual orientation among men

Jeremy Jabbour, Luke Holmes, David Sylva, Kevin J. Hsu, Theodore L. Semon, A. M. Rosenthal, Adam Safron, Erlend Slettevold, Tuesday M. Watts-Overall, Ritch C. Savin-Williams, John Sylla, Gerulf Rieger, J. Michael Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The question whether some men have a bisexual orientation-that is, whether they are substantially sexually aroused and attracted to both sexes-has remained controversial among both scientists and laypersons. Skeptics believe that male sexual orientation can only be homosexual or heterosexual, and that bisexual identification reflects nonsexual concerns, such as a desire to deemphasize homosexuality. Although most bisexual-identified men report that they are attracted to both men and women, self-report data cannot refute these claims. Patterns of physiological (genital) arousal to male and female erotic stimuli can provide compelling evidence for male sexual orientation. (In contrast, most women provide similar physiological responses to male and female stimuli.) We investigated whether men who self-report bisexual feelings tend to produce bisexual arousal patterns. Prior studies of this issue have been small, used potentially invalid statistical tests, and produced inconsistent findings. We combined nearly all previously published data (from eight previous studies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada), yielding a sample of 474 to 588 men (depending on analysis). All participants were cisgender males. Highly robust results showed that bisexualidentified men's genital and subjective arousal patterns were more bisexual than were those who identified as exclusively heterosexual or homosexual. These findings support the view that male sexual orientation contains a range, from heterosexuality, to bisexuality, to homosexuality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18369-18377
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume117
Issue number31
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 4 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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