Can Men Who Identify as Gay Still be Aroused by Women?

Can Men Who Identify as Gay Still be Aroused by Women?

Many people think about sexual orientation in terms of just three distinct categories: straight, bisexual, and gay. Those who subscribe to this view usually don’t allow for anything in between—they expect that everyone will fit neatly into one of these three boxes.

By contrast, others have argued that sexual orientation is far more complex and is best viewed along a continuum. The idea of a sexual orientation continuum is not new and, in fact, can be traced back to Alfred Kinsey.

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“Transitional Bisexuality”: Why Some Gay Men First Come Out As Bisexual

“Transitional Bisexuality”: Why Some Gay Men First Come Out As Bisexual

On one episode of the popular television series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw discovers that the guy she's currently seeing had dated both men and women in the past. Clearly uncomfortable with the thought of taking things any further with him, she confides to her friends: “You know, I did the ‘date a bisexual guy’ thing in college, but in the end they all ended up with men…I’m not even sure bisexuality exists. I think it’s just a layover on the way to gaytown.”

Carrie expressed a belief that a lot of folks in the real world hold, too—that all bisexual men are secretly gay and just aren’t quite ready to come out yet. This idea that all bisexual men are gays in disguise is, like Sex and the City, pure fiction (see here and here for scientific evidence that bisexuality is a distinct sexual orientation); however, it turns out that there is some truth to the idea that bisexuality sometimes serves as a transitional identity.

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Does “Gaydar” Really Exist? Here’s What the Science Says

Does “Gaydar” Really Exist? Here’s What the Science Says

The intuitive ability to determine whether or not someone is gay is known colloquially as “gaydar.” When people use their gaydar, they attempt to make inferences about someone else’s sexual interests based upon minimal information, such as the way a person dresses, walks, or talks. Gaydar has been the subject of a fair amount of controversy as of late, with some scientists arguing that it’s real and others claiming that it’s a myth. So what’s the deal—is there something to this or not?

Social psychologist Nicholas Rule pulled together all of the available research on this topic in a new paper published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (this paper is part of a forthcoming special issue devoted to “the puzzle of sexual orientation”—for coverage of other articles in this issue, see here and here). Here are some of the key highlights from Rule’s review of the literature

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