Study: Bisexual Men Not Aroused by Both Sexes
Controversial Study Draws Fire From Critics Who Question Interpretation of Data
Who We Are, What We Do, What Turns Us On continued...
Rieger says that for most homosexual and heterosexual men, these three aspects of sexuality are the same. That's not the case for men who say they are bisexual - even if they have sex with both men and women.
"Bailey and I have this approach that sexual attraction is what really defines your sexual orientation: what feelings, actual feelings, do you have?" Rieger says. "In men, there is no good evidence that something like a true bisexual attraction is out there."
That's not true for women, he says.
"Women seem to have a bisexual physiological arousal pattern. Whether homosexual or straight, they show bisexual arousal. It does not seem to be related to what they really are interested in. This is very different from what we find in guys."
Weitzman says Bailey and Rieger oversimplify the many elements that determine a person's sexual orientation. She points to the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, a tool that some psychologists use to determine a person's sexual orientation. Many factors go into this determination: attraction, behavior, fantasies, emotional preference, social preference, lifestyle, and self-identification.
Kritzer says bisexuals often encounter hostility both from the gay/lesbian community and from heterosexuals.
"The Bailey article speaks to a growing trend where bisexuality is seen as a negative thing," she says. "They think we are like unicorns, that we're fabled but don't really exist. This is creating an environment where it isn't even safe to come out in the gay community. But I say when a person who is gay or straight, and finds another person and has a loving relationship, we should be glad, whatever sex that other person may be."
Since it's clear that both men and women have sex with both men and women, Rodriguez Rust wonders why so many people find it hard to believe in bisexuality.
"Bisexuality is very interesting because it challenges the way people think," she says. "It makes people comfortable to think that this study shows bisexuality doesn't exist. But this is completely a misinterpretation."