Jul 062005

The New York Times is reporting on a new study which claims there really aren’t any "bi-sexuals," at least when it comes to men. This is another really poorly done study, but of course that qualifies it for main-stream-media coverage.

The study used about 100 "young" men. 33 claimed to be bisexual, 30 straight, and 20 gay.

The researchers asked the men about their sexual desires and rated them on a scale from 0 to 6 on sexual orientation, with 0 to 1 indicating heterosexuality, and 5 to 6 indicating homosexuality. Bisexuality was measured by scores in the middle range.

Seated alone in a laboratory room, the men then watched a series of erotic movies, some involving only women, others involving only men.

Using a sensor to monitor sexual arousal, the researchers found what they expected: gay men showed arousal to images of men and little arousal to images of women, and heterosexual men showed arousal to women but not to men.

But the men in the study who described themselves as bisexual did not have patterns of arousal that were consistent with their stated attraction to men and to women. Instead, about three-quarters of the group had arousal patterns identical to those of gay men; the rest were indistinguishable from heterosexuals.

So, what’s the problem. You’d have to be an idiot to not see a number of problems with this study. First, I have always felt that a lot of men who were really gay claimed to be bisexual, as it gave them something a physiological "out." In other words, it helped them justify their gay feelings, without having to admit they were gay. So problem one is that many people who are gay identify themselves as being bisexual right out of the gate. I think the issue was compounded because they used "young" men. While it is easier to come out today than in years past, it is still a process that can take some time for a lot of people, thus creating problem two, which is that the subjects in the study may not be mature in the sexual orientation one way or another.

Problem three has to do with the fact that these people weren’t asked to watch heterosexual movies, but gay or lesbian movies. While many straight guys fantasize about being with two women, I don’t think lesbian sex per se is appealing to most of them. Also, why would it be appealing to bisexual "men."

Really stupid study from a scientific standpoint, and very poorly conceived.

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