The Stereotypes Gay Men and Lesbians Hold About Bisexual Persons

The Stereotypes Gay Men and Lesbians Hold About Bisexual Persons

Sexual orientation is all too commonly viewed as an either/or proposition, meaning you’re either gay or you’re straight, and nothing in between. This view is widely held, even by many people within the LGBTQ community itself, as described in a recent set of studies published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

Across two studies involving a total of 288 gay and lesbian participants, researchers examined attitudes toward and stereotypes of bisexuals. Here’s a brief review of their major findings:

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How the Practice of BDSM is Linked to Relationship Satisfaction

How the Practice of BDSM is Linked to Relationship Satisfaction

People who are into bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism (or BDSM for short) experience a lot of stigma. For one thing, they are often seen as psychologically disturbed, despite research showing that BDSM practitioners appear to be just as psychologically healthy as everyone else. For another, many people—including a lot of mental health professionals—question whether you can practice BDSM and still have a healthy relationship. In fact, in one survey of therapists, fully one-third of them reported being unsure of whether someone into BDSM could carry on a functional relationship [1].

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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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Pink And Blue Weren’t Always Gendered Colors

Pink And Blue Weren’t Always Gendered Colors

Pink and blue are colors that are commonly associated with gender in many Western cultures. Specifically, pink is widely considered to be a “girl color,” whereas blue is widely thought of as “boy color.” However, this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, historically, we didn’t associate these colors with a particular gender—and there was even a period not that long ago when some argued that pink was for boys and blue was for girls.

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Straight Men’s Same-Sex Friendships Are Surprisingly Intimate

Straight Men’s Same-Sex Friendships Are Surprisingly Intimate

One of the most common stereotypes about straight men’s same-sex friendships is that they’re lacking in emotional depth. Their friendships are seen as revolving around shared activities like watching football or going hunting and fishing—not sitting around and talking about their feelings. Though extremely popular, a new study suggests that this characterization is inaccurate, at least among younger guys today.

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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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Genital Arousal and Sexual Desire Aren’t Necessarily the Same Thing

Genital Arousal and Sexual Desire Aren’t Necessarily the Same Thing

Scientists who study sexual desire have long been wary of over-relying on self-report data because people don’t always tell the truth on surveys. Some people answer questions about what turns them on and what their sex lives are like in whatever way makes them look best. For example, someone might underreport their sexual desires and experiences in order to appear wholesome, or perhaps because they don't want to own up to something. To get around this issue, many sex scientists utilize devices that can measure genital arousal under the assumption that “genitals don’t lie.” Among researchers who subscribe to this belief, they have a tendency to let genital data trump self-report data whenever they seem to be saying different things.

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What I Learned About BDSM at a Sex Research Conference

What I Learned About BDSM at a Sex Research Conference

Earlier this month, the fourth annual Sexuality Pre-Conference was held just prior to the meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). Together with a few of my colleagues, I have been helping to co-organize this pre-conference for the last four years with the goal of making sure that sexuality research is consistently well represented at SPSP.

I truly believe that this year’s program was our best yet and wanted to take a few moments to share some of the key insights and takeaways from this event in case you missed it (and also to entice you to attend next year!). Specifically, I want to tell you a bit about our very first presentation of the day, which focused on the science of BDSM. (Do we know how to get people’s attention at 8:00 AM or what?)

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Myths About Lesbian Sex Debunked By Science

Myths About Lesbian Sex Debunked By Science

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.

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Men’s And Women’s Attitudes Toward Male And Female Bisexuals

Men’s And Women’s Attitudes Toward Male And Female Bisexuals

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 [1]. 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.

 

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How Often Do You Think About Sex?

How Often Do You Think About Sex?

Conventional wisdom holds that men think about sex every seven seconds (or about 8,000 times per day, assuming an average of eight hours of sleep), while women think about sex rarely, or perhaps not at all. But is there any truth behind these stereotypes of men as hypersexual and women as hyposexual? A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research reveals that men think about sex less and women think about sex more than most people assume.

 

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Why The Daily Mail Is A Terrible Source For Sex News

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I saw too many media reports about sex research that were sensationalized, misleading, and (in some cases) just plain wrong. In response, I have sought to create a resource for the public that provides an accurate and unbiased look at the science of sex. If there’s one media outlet that I wish would take a page from my book, it has to be The Daily Mail. I frequently come across sex headlines from them that make me cringe. Below, I take a look at five of their worst headlines of all time and clarify what the research actually says.
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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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Sex Question Friday: Older Women Dating Younger Men--Can It Work?

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 it is possible for an age-gap relationship to work out when it involves an older woman and a younger man.

I am a 46-year-old woman recently married to a man 18 years younger than myself. We've been together about 2 years, and got married mainly so that he can live with me and my two children from a previous marriage. So far we all get along great, but from the beginning I've wondered how realistic it is to hope for long-term success given the age difference. In particular, our society ridicules and devalues older women, and I worry that as I get older, it will be harder and harder for my husband to feel attracted to me even if he still loves me. I don't know any other women who have tried dating younger men, but I've noticed that you are one of very few people who has published research on this subject. Is there any advice you would give, based on your research or on your experience with age-gap couples?

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Sexual Desire Discrepancies Are A Relationship Problem, Not A Gender Problem

A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) entitled “How often should married couples have sex? What happens when he says ‘more’ and she says ‘no?” caused quite a stir this past week. The original piece told the tale of a married couple (Chris and Afton) that developed a sexual desire discrepancy (the clinical term for a case in which one partner wants more sex than the other). The couple communicated with each other about the discrepancy, read a self-help book together, and ultimately worked through it. That’s a positive outcome, right?  Judging by the responses that appeared on Jezebel, The Week, New York Magazine, and several other websites, this is anything but a happy ending. The problem? The partner who desired more sex in this scenario was male and the one who wanted less sex was female.
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Sex Question Friday: Are There Any Universal Truths When It Comes To Sex?

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 sex research can or ever will reveal any universal truths.

Based on studies that say "Women [think/are like/view/feel] this" and "Men [think/are like/view/feel] that," or other generalizations across entire categories of people (straight, gay, etc. etc.), can it ever really be said that ALL [category] is one way and ALL [category] is another, with no exceptions to rules based on individual tastes, personality, etc.? (Ex: All straight men look at women's faces the most during porn-viewing.) Or can science only give a broad, generally-true correlation? There's always room for standard deviation and error, right?

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Dressing Sexy Hurts Women In High- But Not Low-Status Jobs

As much as we might wish otherwise, looks matter in the workplace, and this is true for both men and women. Indeed, your physical appearance can affect everything from your likelihood of being hired to performance evaluations to promotions and pay raises. Several studies have found that, by and large, physical attractiveness is almost always an asset on the job, irrespective of gender {1}. So being sexy is good, right? Well, not necessarily. It turns out that being sexy and dressing sexy are two completely different things. Specifically, having naturally good looks may take you places, but flaunting those looks with provocative outfits could wipe out some of the benefits of being attractive, at least for women pursuing high-powered jobs.
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Are Porn Actresses “Damaged Goods?”

Society views women who appear in pornographic films negatively. For instance, both male and female college students rate porn actresses as having more negative traits and characteristics than mainstream movie actresses and women in general [1]. The only group of women porn actresses are rated more favorably than is prostitutes. In addition, porn actresses are believed to come from dysfunctional home environments characterized by sexual abuse and drug use [2]. Such findings suggest that women who have sex on film are thought to be damaged goods, meaning that they are seen as having traumatic backgrounds and poor psychological health. But is there any truth to this stereotype? A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research suggests not.
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How Accurate Is “Gaydar?”

Gaydar refers to the ability to categorize people as gay or straight on the basis of indirect information (e.g., a person’s speech patterns or movement). Gaydar is used by people of all sexualities for a variety of purposes. For instance, gays and lesbians may use it to decode flirtation, whereas heterosexual persons may simply use it to figure out who’s who. So how good are people at making these categorizations and what it is that people are actually paying attention to? A recent set of studies published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior indicates that gaydar judgments are reasonably accurate, and that judgments of sexuality are linked to sex role stereotypes.1
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Sex Question Friday: Why Is Being Single So Stigmatized?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader of the blog who wanted to know why society seems to treat single people so unfairly.  

Why do people always ask “what’s wrong with you?” when they find out I’m single?

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