Sex Question Friday: If A Guy Likes Bisexual And Transsexual Porn, Is He Gay?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a heterosexually-identified male reader who wanted to know the following:

“How common is it for a man to enjoy watching bisexual and transsexual porn but to have no physical attraction to men in the real world?”

Thanks for this great question! There is a popular stereotype that if a man watches bisexual porn (which most commonly features sex between two men and one woman) or transsexual porn (which most commonly features pre-operative male-to-female transsexuals), he must necessarily be gay. As a result, most people would probably assume that there are very few, or perhaps even no heterosexual guys who get off on these porn genres. But what does the research say?

Unfortunately, I could not find any published research looking at characteristics of bisexual porn users, probably because there isn’t much research on bisexual porn in general. Although it is a porn genre that has grown in popularity in recent years, it remains a relatively small segment of the market. That said, there are several anecdotal reports on porn industry news sites suggesting that the primary consumers of bisexual porn are actually straight men; however, I wouldn’t put too much stock in that until I see some scientific data.

In contrast, transsexual porn appears to be far more popular. For instance, on Pornhub (one of the world’s largest Internet porn sites), there are almost six times as many videos in the “shemale” category as there are in the “bisexual” category. Please note that many porn sites use the terms “shemale” or “tranny” in lieu of “transsexual,” despite the fact that the trans community generally regards those terms as offensive. Given the popularity of transsexual porn, it is perhaps not surprising that there is a bit more research relevant to this area.

As mentioned above, a lot of transsexual porn features pre-operative male-to-female transsexuals. These individuals still have penises, but have often taken hormones and other steps (e.g., breast augmentation) to feminize their bodies. Many guys are attracted to this mixture of both male and female physical characteristics, a phenomenon known as gynandromorphophilia [1]. Gynandromorphophilia is not a clinical term or diagnosis and the “philia” on the end should not be taken to mean that this represents any kind of disordered behavior—it’s just a term used to describe this specific sexual interest.

Research has found that most gynandromorphophiles are not gay men. For instance, in a study looking at men who have had sex with male-to-female transsexuals, most (73%) identified as straight or bisexual [2]. In a different study, scientists approached male patrons in a Chicago bar popular with transsexuals and surveyed them about their sexuality [3]. Most (60%) were straight, with the remainder (40%) being bisexual. Not a single guy visiting this bar identified as gay.

So, although I can’t definitively speak to the sexuality of men who watch bisexual porn, what I can say is that it seems likely that most of the guys who view transsexual porn probably are not gay and they do not necessarily have attraction to men in other contexts.

For previous editions of Sex Question Friday, click here. To send in a question for a future edition, click here.

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[1] Blanchard, R., & Collins, P. I. (1993). Men with sexual interest in transvestites, transsexuals, and she-males. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 181, 570-575.

[2] Operario, D., Burton, J., Underhill, K., & Savelius, J. (2007). Men who have sex with transgender women: Challenges to category-based HIV prevention. AIDS and Behavior, 12, 18-26

[3] Weinberg, M. S., & Williams, C. J. (2010). Men sexually interested in transwomen (MSTW): Gendered embodiment and the construction of sexual desire. Journal of Sex Research, 47, 374-383.

Image Source: 123RF.com

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