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Health & Sex

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Study: Bisexual Men Not Aroused by Both Sexes

Controversial Study Draws Fire From Critics Who Question Interpretation of Data

Critics Question Results continued...

"About a third of the people had no response to any of the porn, whether they identified as gay, straight, or bisexual," she says. "The researchers said this means they had no response, so throw this data out. Yet they said that when bisexual men did not respond to all of the videos, it meant they were gay or straight."

None of the study's flaws is fatal, says Rodriguez Rust. The problem is with Kritzer and Bailey's interpretation.

"The problem with the article is that the findings have been misinterpreted," Rodriguez Rust says. "If you look at the study data, they actually do not show an absence of bisexual sexual response in men. A number of study subjects clearly did respond to both males and females. The study's conclusion -- that it remains to be demonstrated that men have a bisexual response -- is curious, because it is not supported by the findings."

Who We Are, What We Do, What Turns Us On

"We make a distinction between identity, behavior, and attraction," Rieger says. "Identity is how you perceive yourself. Behavior is what you do. And attraction is what I consider your true sexual feelings for your own sex or for a member of the opposite sex."

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.

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