The Number of Americans Identifying as Bisexual has Tripled in the Last Decade

The Number of Americans Identifying as Bisexual has Tripled in the Last Decade

The percentage of Americans who identify as LGBT is on the rise. Data from Gallup and other national surveys suggest that, as attitudes toward sexual minorities have become more positive, more and more Americans are comfortable reporting LGBT identities. However, these data haven’t been broken down by subgroups, so it’s not entirely clear whether we’re seeing across-the-board increases, or just increases in identification with certain subgroups. A recent analysis of data from the General Social Survey suggests that much of the increase is attributable to a rise in bisexual identification.

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What Percentage of Americans Identify as LGBT?

What Percentage of Americans Identify as LGBT?

What percentage of the United States population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)? A large, nationally representative survey conducted by Gallup in 2017 put the overall number at 4.5% of the U.S. population. This number is up a full percentage point from 2012, when it stood at 3.5%. This trend suggests that as the LGBT community has made more social and political gains--including nationwide marriage equality in 2015--more Americans have decided to come out.

The overall number is but one small part of the story here, however.

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Why Our Sexual Identities and Sexual Behaviors Don’t Always Line Up

Why Our Sexual Identities and Sexual Behaviors Don’t Always Line Up

What percentage of the population is gay or bisexual? This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer because depending on the definition of sexual orientation you use—sexual identity, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior—you’ll come up with drastically different answers. For instance, in a recent nationally representative survey conducted in the United Kingdom, researchers found that about 2.5% of men and women reported an LGB identity; however, more than twice as many reported having had same-sex attractions and behaviors.

So why is that? Why is there often a discrepancy between someone’s sexual identity and their sexual behavior?

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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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What Percentage of the Population is Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual? (Infographic)

What Percentage of the Population is Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual? (Infographic)

How many people are lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB)? For one answer, check out the infographic below, which summarizes recent data from Britain's National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. As you'll see, the researchers asked about sexual orientation in three different ways: sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual behavior--and each one yielded quite different numbers. It might be tempting to think that people's responses to these questions would line up, but they don't for several reasons including the fact that sexuality can be fluid and some people with same-sex attractions are uncomfortable with them and choose not to identify as a sexual minority. 

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Are You Asexual? Here’s How Scientists Measure Asexuality

Are You Asexual? Here’s How Scientists Measure Asexuality

Sex scientists have become increasingly interested in the topic of asexuality in the last few years. For example, they’ve published studies on everything from the genital arousal patterns of asexual individuals, to the biological correlates of asexuality, to the masturbation practices of asexuals. However, all of this research has generated some controversy over how best to measure asexuality because different researchers have used different definitions and measurement techniques. For example, some have focused on self-identification as asexual, while others have focused on a self-reported lack of attraction and/or behavior. If the broader literature on sexual orientation has taught us anything, it’s that identity, attraction, and behavior don’t always line up in the way that you might expect and shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

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How Many Americans Identify as LGBT?

How Many Americans Identify as LGBT?

How many people in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)? A large, nationally representative survey conducted by Gallup last year put the overall number at 4.1% of the U.S. population. It is worth noting that this number increased from 3.5% in 2012, which suggests that as the LGBT community has made more social and political gains--including nationwide marriage equality--more and more Americans have decided to come out.

The overall number is just one small part of the story here, though. 

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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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Millennials Are Almost Twice As Likely To Identify As LGB Than Generation X

Millennials Are Almost Twice As Likely To Identify As LGB Than Generation X

Results from a new national survey reveal stark generational differences in sexual identity, attraction, and behavior in the United States today. Specifically, millennial men and women appear to be almost twice as likely to adopt a gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity compared to persons from Generation X. Millennials also reported somewhat higher levels of same-sex attraction and behavior.

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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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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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Sex Question Friday: Are My Stereotypes About Polyamory True?

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 polyamory. In case you aren’t familiar with this term, polyamory refers to a non-monogamous approach to relationships in which someone may have intimate involvement with several persons simultaneously. The question at hand in this post is whether the practice of polyamory is linked to sexual abuse and low self-esteem.
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What Percentage Of The Population Is LGBT?

How many people in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT)? A recent Gallup poll that received a lot of media attention put the overall number at 3.4% of the population and reported that women were slightly more likely than men to identify as LGBT (3.6% vs. 3.3%). How much stock should we put in the results of this poll? In light of other published sex surveys, I would be cautious about drawing too many conclusions from it.   
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What Percentage of the Population is Gay?

What Percentage of the Population is Gay?
Every semester, students in my Human Sexuality course ask me what percentage of the population is gay or lesbian. Before answering this question, I usually give the class an opportunity to guess. Although this invariably leads to a wide range of responses, the most frequent number that comes up is 10%, and many students who cite this statistic are convinced that it is a fact. But are they right? Probably not. The 10% statistic comes from research conducted by Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s, in which he found that 10% of the men in his sample were gay. However, Kinsey’s participants were not representative of the overall population (for one thing, they were all White and most lived in big cities). He also oversampled from the gay community. Thus, we have to view his findings with a bit of caution. More recent research employing better sampling methods has reliably found that the number of sexual minorities in the population is a bit smaller.
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Are Bisexual People Equally Aroused By Men And Women?

Are Bisexual People Equally Aroused By Men And Women?

“I’m not even sure bisexuality exists. I think it’s just a layover on the way to gaytown.”

– Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)

Many of you are probably familiar with the popular stereotype that bisexual people are actually closeted gays who just aren’t quite ready to admit it to the world. Proponents of this stereotype were seemingly validated by a 2005 study published in Psychological Science, which found that most men who identified as bisexual exhibited stronger genital arousal in response to male pornographic imagery than female pornographic imagery [1]. However, a more recent study published in Biological Psychology disputes this finding and presents convincing scientific evidence that "true" bisexuality (i.e., strong attraction to both men and women) does indeed exist [2].

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