The Problem With The "Born This Way" Argument (Video)

The Problem With The "Born This Way" Argument (Video)

Sexual orientation is something that many people consider to be an innate characteristic—it’s something you’re born with. This idea is popular within the LGBTQ community, and it’s something that has been used as a basis for arguing in favor of equal rights for sexual minorities. As the reasoning goes, if you’re “born this way,” then what basis is there for treating people differently based on their sexuality under the law?

There’s a problem with the “born this way” argument, though—actually, there are three problems, as Dr. Lisa Diamond explains in the TEDx video below: “First, it’s not scientifically accurate. Second, it’s not legally necessary. But third and most important, it’s actually unjust.”

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How Many Gay Men Say They Are Bisexual When They're Coming Out?

How Many Gay Men Say They Are Bisexual When They're Coming Out?

In an episode of the classic television series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw discovers that a guy she's seeing has dated both men and women. Uncomfortable with the thought of taking things further, 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 people in the real world hold, too—that all bisexual men are secretly gay and just aren’t quite ready to come out. However, the stereotype 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). That said, it turns out that there is some truth to the idea that bisexuality sometimes serves as a transitional sexual identity.

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The Ethics of Sexual Orientation Research: When Is Sexuality Too Risky To Study?

The Ethics of Sexual Orientation Research: When Is Sexuality Too Risky To Study?

A new paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggesting that computers have better “gaydar” than humans made quite a media splash this week. Specifically, this study found that a machine algorithm correctly classified 81% of men and 74% of women as either gay or straight; by contrast, human judges correctly classified just 61% of men and 54% of women in terms of their sexual orientation.

These findings have raised a lot of ethical concerns, with many gay rights groups expressing worry about how such findings could potentially be used for nefarious purposes.

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How Many Straight Men Watch Gay Porn? And How Many Gay Guys Watch Straight Porn?

How Many Straight Men Watch Gay Porn? And How Many Gay Guys Watch Straight Porn?

A lot of people assume that men only watch porn that is consistent with their sexual identity—in other words, that straight guys only watch straight porn, while gay guys only watch gay porn. However, research suggests that this isn’t actually the case and that there’s a lot of “identity-discrepant” porn viewing going on among men.

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What Was Popular In Porn In 2016?

What Was Popular In Porn In 2016?

Pornhub recently released their annual year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and, as usual, the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported that nearly 92 billion videos were viewed on their site in 2016 (to put that number in context, that’s the equivalent of each person on earth watching 12.5 videos). In addition, the most popular porn-watching times were between 11 PM to 1:00 AM (or “fappy hour,” as they call it), and the most popular search term overall on the site was “lesbian” (for the second year in a row) You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.

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Sex Question Friday: I’m A Man Married To A Woman And I Masturbate To Gay Porn. Is That Common?

Sex Question Friday: I’m A Man Married To A Woman And I Masturbate To Gay Porn. Is That Common?

A reader submitted the following question:

“I'm a married guy in my mid-40s. I'm happily married and travel a lot for work. Since my teens I've been an avid masturbator. I sort of thought I'd stop after getting married and I did for a little while. However now I bate pretty much every day that I'm not home and even sometimes when I'm home. I also enjoy straight, bi, and gay porn while bating. I'm wondering if either or both of these things are common for married guys. I sometimes feel like a bit of a freak and like I'm very unusual in these preferences/habits. And, of course, if you were wondering, my wife has no idea because I know she would freak out about both. Am I the exception or are there more guys like me out there?”

Thanks for this very interesting question. Let me address it in two parts. First, let’s consider whether it’s common for married guys to masturbate. The answer to that is easy: yes. A million times, yes.

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Sex Question Friday: How Many Straight People Have Had Same-Sex Partners?

Sex Question Friday: How Many Straight People Have Had Same-Sex Partners?

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.

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Sex Question Friday: Is It Common To Not Know Your Sexual Orientation?

Sex Question Friday: Is It Common To Not Know Your Sexual Orientation?

A reader submitted the following question:

“Is it normal to not know your sexual orientation?”

This is a really interesting question, so thanks for asking it! I’m going to assume that by “sexual orientation” you’re referring to one’s sexual identity label. Of course, this is not how everyone defines sexual orientation (e.g., some think of it as a pattern of attraction or arousal, others as a pattern of behavior); however, I have found that in everyday (i.e., non-academic) usage, most people are referring to the label we use to describe ourselves, so that’s what I’ll focus on here.

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Sex Question Friday: Is Bisexuality More Common In Women Or Men?

Sex Question Friday: Is Bisexuality More Common In Women Or Men?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know more about the topic of bisexuality:

“I have always heard that there are more bi females than there are bi males. Is this true and, if so, why?”

Great questions! As for whether there are more bisexual females than males, the answer depends what you mean by “bisexual.”

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Women Aren’t The Only Ones Who Are Sexually Fluid—Men Have A Pretty “Flexible” Sexuality Too

Women Aren’t The Only Ones Who Are Sexually Fluid—Men Have A Pretty “Flexible” Sexuality Too

Over the last decade, the concept of sexual fluidity has drawn great attention from both scientists and the general public alike. In case you aren’t familiar with it, the basic idea behind sexual fluidity is that some of us have the capacity for a “flexible” erotic response, which can lead to significant variability in one’s pattern of sexual attraction, behavior, and identity over time. In other words, someone who is sexually fluid may experience fluctuations in who they are attracted to, who they sleep with, and how they self-identify multiple times over the lifespan. Up until recently, it had been argued that this fluidity is a characteristic that seems largely unique to women, with men having a much more “fixed” sexuality; however, recent research challenges conventional wisdom and suggests that men may be almost as sexually fluid as women.

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Sex Question Friday: Can A Man Fantasize About Another Man And Still Be “Straight?”

Sex Question Friday: Can A Man Fantasize About Another Man And Still Be “Straight?”

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know whether a guy can still be straight if he watches gay porn and fantasizes about being with other men.

If a boyfriend (of a female, so a "straight guy") appears to prefer gay male porn, gets incredibly turned on by it and fantasizes about anal sex (both giving and receiving) and oral sex (both giving and receiving) with a guy, is he really straight or is this a sign of something he's not sharing?

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Born Both Ways: Is It Evolutionarily Adaptive For Women To Have A Fluid Sexuality?

Same-sex behavior has long been a conundrum for evolutionary psychologists. From an evolutionary standpoint, a trait cannot evolve unless it is linked to reproductive success (i.e., it has to help us pass our genes along to future generations). However, same-sex activity obviously limits one’s ability to reproduce, so why does it persist in the population? Most explanations I have seen to date have focused on providing an explanation for why male same-sex behavior is adaptive (e.g., the "gay uncle hypothesis," which says that having a gay uncle is adaptive because they provide resources to care for their nieces and nephew). In contrast, female same-sex behavior has largely been left out of the picture…until now. A new paper published in Evolutionary Psychology lays out a hypothesis for why women seem to have evolved a fluid or “flexible” sexuality.
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Sex Question Friday: I Fantasize About Men, But I Enjoy Kissing Women. Am I Bisexual?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who is struggling with how to label her sexuality.

I have always defined myself as a heterosexual woman. My general "fantasies" are about men. However, my first real kiss was with a girl. I’m now in my 30s and feel weird to be unsure of my sexual identity at this stage of my life, but the truth is I am going to love who I want to love. It could be a man who makes me feel like I am the only woman in the world or it could be an awesome woman. Day to day that changes, and in my head it has nothing to do with their anatomy and everything to do with their personality. My ultimate goal is that I find someone to love me for me and I will love them for them. I really don't care if you are a man or a woman if you make my day better and I do the same for you...isn't that all that matters? So what does that make me? If I need a label on my sexuality, what should it be? I’m just not sure if bisexual is the right term.

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Are Women Really More Likely To Be Bisexual Than Men?

Are Women Really More Likely To Be Bisexual Than 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.

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Sex Question Friday: Are Women More Likely To Be Bisexual Than Men?

Sex Question Friday: Are Women More Likely To Be Bisexual Than Men?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer sex questions submitted to me by actual college students. This week, we’re talking about bisexuality. Many students have asked me whether it is really possible for someone to be attracted to both men and women (a question I have previously answered here). However, the student who asked this week’s question wanted to know whether there is a difference between male and female bisexuality.

I have heard of research that determined men can only be attracted to one sex whereas women can legitimately be bisexual. Is this true?

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