11 January 2016
According studies conducted in the USA, women exhibit more flexibility than men in their sexual preferences and more women admit to being gay or bisexual. In the USA at least.
The study, basd on surveys completed from 2011 to 2013 conducted with adults under age 45, reveals women are almost three times as likely to report same-sex intimacy as men. And almost 7 percent say they're gay or bisexual compared to 4 percent of men.
Although these numbers have inched up in recent years, researchers have long noted that women exhibit more flexibility in their sexual preferences than men.
The new findings provide an up-to-date look at how this is playing out in younger people. And almost 7 percent say they're gay or bisexual compared to 4 percent of men.
Stephanie Sanders, an associate director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University, said the findings point to another trend: more women describing themselves as bisexual.
She praised the study but cautioned that the statistics may be somewhat misleading. For women, for example, the report defines same-sex intimacy as "any sexual experience of any kind with another female," but same-sex intimacy for men was only defined as oral or anal sex.
"My research and that of others shows that people vary in what behaviours they count as sex," she said.
Sanders also hinted that the report may hide the truth about male sexuality. "Male same-sex behaviour has been more taboo, regulated and stigmatised than has that of women," she said. "Men may be more reluctant than women to report same-sex behaviour."
Biology, of course, plays a role in sexuality. Studies of sexual arousal suggest that women tend to be turned on by more varied stimuli than men, said Brian Mustanski, an associate professor with the department of medical social sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
"Surveys show that women tend to be more accepting of being gay and bisexual, and we certainly live in a culture that tends to eroticise the idea of sex between women," said Mustanski, who had no role in the new study. "When you couple these factors with biological tendencies, it's not surprising we see more bisexuality in women."