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Entries in Bisexuality (1)

Thursday
Aug252011

Male Bisexuals Are for Real, Says Study

Ryan McVay/Photodisc(CHICAGO) -- The journal of Biological Psychology published a Northwestern University study this week that contradicted 2005 research questioning whether male bisexuality even existed. It was the second of two such papers that finds that it does.

"Bisexuality is an orientation among men, just like heterosexuality and homosexuality," said Allen Rosenthal, a doctoral student in the university's psychology department and lead author of the study.

The study included 100 men who were bisexuals, heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Researchers placed a penile plethysmograph -- a rubber band-shaped band -- on the base of men's penises while they watched videos of male to male and female to female sex.

"We measured actual physical arousal," said Rosenthal. "You can't create arousal when it isn't there for them. You can't fake it."

The American Institute of Bisexuality, a nonprofit organization that supports research and education, worked with Northwestern to fund part of the study.

"Basically, we want to respect how people define their own sexual orientation," said Denise Penn, a clinical social worker who is on the institute's board of directors.

"What you hear is this: Bisexuality is a phase for some people that they may adopt temporarily," she said. "Basically this study makes the criteria for defining yourself as a bisexual as more of a permanent thing."

Penn hailed progress in gay rights as evidenced by sympathetic characters on television sitcoms and more acceptance in the workplace.

"But if you are bisexual, it's not so simple," she said. "People define you by the person you are seen with."

Bisexuals have been perceived as "promiscuous, opportunistic, confused" even by the gay community, according to Penn. "People in persecuted minorities tend to band together with common histories and common pain. When bisexuals come into the fold, they are seen as traitors, people conferring with the enemies."

An estimated 1.8 percent of all Americans are bisexual, according to the Williams Institute of the University of California Los Angeles Law School, which focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.

An estimated 8.2 percent of Americans report that they have engaged in same-sex sexual behavior, and nearly 11 percent acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction, according to its 2011 report.  

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