In recent years, scientists have found that sexual orientation is related to a wide range of physical features. Among other things, studies have reported that sexual orientation is linked to facial symmetry, finger length ratios (specifically, the length of the second digit compared to the fourth digit), as well as which hand is dominant. A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research suggests that height is one additional physical feature we should add to this growing list, at least for men.Read More
The results of Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey reveal that Americans’ views on sexual morality continue to shift in major ways, with particularly notable changes in the perceived acceptability of same-sex behavior, sex before marriage, and having children outside of marriage. At the same time, however, attitudes toward issues such as abortion and affairs have remained largely the same. Check out the table below for details on the specific changes in moral attitudes that have taken place since 2001.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
“How common is it for straight guys to experiment with other guys?”
Good question! Although there is a common tendency to think that anyone can be put into a neat little box that describes their sexuality (e.g., gay, straight, bisexual), the truth of the matter is that these boxes obscure the fact that there’s actually a lot of fluidity and flexibility in the sexual desires and behaviors of both men and women. Indeed, it’s not at all uncommon for heterosexually-identified persons to have same-sex encounters and for gay- and lesbian-identified persons to have encounters with the other sex. Let’s take a look at some of the data supporting this conclusion.Read More
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about sexual orientation concerning everything from the origin of homosexuality to the sexual behaviors of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. So let’s take a look at what the research actually says. Below, I’ve compiled a list of ten of the most interesting scientific facts about sexual orientation that everyone should know.
1.) According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 7.8% of men and 6.8% of women in the U.S. identify as something other than heterosexual (check out this infographic for a more detailed breakdown of these numbers).Read More
One of the most common questions I receive about sexual orientation concerns the percentage of the population that is gay, lesbian, or bisexual. People seem to have wildly different ideas about what the answer is, so I created the infographic below to highlight the difference between what people think and what the research actually says.Read More
In a recent media interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to reassure the world that gay and lesbian visitors should not be afraid of attending this year's Olympics in Sochi. However, he asks that they please "leave the children in peace." He then went on to say that "we have no ban on nontraditional sexual relations. We have a ban on propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia, I want to underline that, on propaganda among minors." Putin's statements appear to conflate homosexuality with pedophila and child molestation, something that anti-gay folks have been doing for years (e.g., remember all of those people who tried to say that the Catholic Church's child sex scandals were a "homosexual problem" that could be solved simply by getting rid of gay priests?). In light of Putin's comments, I thought it would be worth taking a look at what the research actually says when it comes to homosexuality, pedophilia, and child molestation.Read More
When it comes to lesbian sex, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. On the one hand, many people think lesbians are constantly “scissoring,” and on the other hand, many people think lesbians hardly ever have sex because “lesbian bed death” is inevitable. In this article, we will separate fact from fiction when it comes to the sex lives of lesbians.Read More
Hate crimes are an all too common reality in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community. There have been countless instances in recent years in which GLBT persons have been the victims of vicious attacks because of their actual or perceived identity. Despite the increased social acceptance of GLBT individuals we have witnessed, the number of hate crimes has actually risen in many areas, including some places that are considered to be relatively gay-friendly (e.g., New York City). So is there anything that can be done to reduce and prevent future hate crimes? This is the research question Dr. Karen Blair of the University of Utah hopes to answer in a planned study, but she needs our help in order to carry out this important research project.Read More
Over the past two decades, psychologists have devoted significant research attention to understanding the origin and nature of prejudice against gays and lesbians. At the same time, prejudice against bisexuals has been largely overlooked. What little research exists on this topic suggests that bisexuals are typically viewed negatively—and, not only that, but in national U.S. survey data, bisexuals are actually viewed less favorably than persons who are exclusively gay . So where does this negativity come from? And do people feel differently about male vs. female bisexuals? A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior yields some answers to these questions.
Popular media depictions suggest that heterosexual women and gay men are natural BFFs. In fact, almost any time you turn on the television, you can see this type of friendship on display, whether it is a scripted sitcom such as Will and Grace or a reality show like The Real Housewives. How do we explain this common social pairing on screen and in real life? A new set of studies suggests that both parties find this type of friendship advantageous because it offers a free exchange of unbiased sex and relationship advice from a trustworthy source.Read More
There are countless myths and stereotypes about gays and lesbians spanning everything from their mannerisms to their sex lives to the nature of their relationships. In this article, I will review five of the most common myths and evaluate them in light of what scientific research has to say.
MYTH #1: Gay men sleep around a lot more than straight men.
I recently posted an article in which I concluded that “while it is indeed possible for both men and women to be bisexual, evidence from a variety of sources suggests that bisexuality may be a more natural occurrence among women than men” (see here for the complete article). I received a couple of comments on the site as well as a few e-mails that were critical of this conclusion, so I thought it might be useful to do a follow-up post and dig a little deeper into the research in the hope of clearing things up a bit more.Read More