January 6, 2014

"Population-based studies... indicate that bisexuality is in fact more common than exclusively same-sex attraction..."

"... and that female libido is particularly open-ended," writes Michael Shulman in the NYT.
In a recent Modern Love essay in The New York Times revealing her relationship with another woman, the actress Maria Bello wrote, “My feelings about attachment and partnership have always been that they are fluid and evolving.” Before marrying Bill de Blasio, Chirlane McCray identified as a lesbian, which has become part of the progressive credentials of New York’s first family.

Male bisexuality, by contrast, is more vexed,
and much of the skepticism comes from gay men. In the aftermath of Mr. Daley’s announcement, Ann Friedman wrote a post for New York Magazine’s The Cut blog predicting that male bisexuality would become more visible as gender mores evolved. “Traditional definitions of masculinity — which tend to go hand in hand with homophobia — are going through a real shake-up,” Ms. Friedman wrote. “More hetero men are tentatively admitting that they’re turned on by certain sex acts associated with gay men.”
Mr. Daley is Tim Daley, a British Olympic diver who made this video about his relationship with a man.
The gay conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan swiftly countered on his own blog, The Dish, saying, “I suspect, pace Friedman’s dreams, that there will always be far fewer men who transcend traditional sexual categories — because male sexuality is much cruder, simpler and more binary than female.” He called Mr. Daley’s claim about liking girls “a classic bridging mechanism to ease the transition to his real sexual identity. I know because I did it, too.”
If male attraction to other males really is more straightforward and decisive, why would male bisexuality be considered "more vexed"? I think Shulman means that the idea that there is much male bisexuality is questioned. Shulman, by the way, is manifesting the tendency — frequently noted on this blog — to characterize whatever is true of the female as good. So if female sexuality is "fluid" and "open-ended," that that a positive characteristic and a basis for calling male sexuality, which is different, "vexed."

Shulman's article goes on to talk about Dan Savage, who, like Andrew Sullivan, is a gay man who writes about sexual orientation. Savage, reacting to criticism, has adjusted his message about bisexuality.
Part of what tripped up Mr. Savage, he explained, was a 2005 study in which researchers at Northwestern University cast doubt on whether male bisexuality truly exists, after showing subjects erotic imagery while monitoring their genital responses. Six years later, a follow-up study at Northwestern concluded the opposite: male bisexuality is real.

Why the change? 
Because bisexual interest groups demanded respect?
Whereas the first study advertised for subjects in gay-oriented publications and included men who identified as gay, straight or bisexual, the second recruited from places catering specifically to bisexuals and selected only those who had seriously dated both men and women.
Better science?!
Advocates, a touch exasperated, applauded the new results...
The applause of advocates isn't the test of science, but it's nice to see these concepts juxtaposed so cleanly for once. I like the truthiness of that.
... though some pointed out that physical stimulation is only one ingredient of sexual orientation, which also stems from emotional intimacy....
And the studies have only been done on subject who submitted to scientists writing up their genitals wired up and looking at whatever porn said scientists have selected to confront them with.  I'd say this submission itself is an aspect of sexual orientation.

There, now, are you sufficiently vexed?

66 comments:

EMD said...

and that female libido is particularly open-ended

Written by a man, obviously.

cubanbob said...

And the studies have only been done on subject who submitted to scientists writing up their genitals wired up and looking at whatever porn said scientists have selected to confront them with. I'd say this submission itself is an aspect of sexual orientation."

Paid expert testimony at trial has more truthiness than this.

SGT Ted said...

The article inadvertently highlights the difference between the political assertions of LGBTQOMFG advocates and actual biology.

I think anything that threatens the Conventional Wisdom of the Gay Is Hardwired Identity Movement will always be trashed by same, because it threatens the foundation of their entire movement.

The irony of gays denying other peoples sexual identity when convenient is just a Shadenfreude bonus.

madAsHell said...

“More hetero men are tentatively admitting that they’re turned on by certain sex acts associated with gay men.”

Written by a woman, obviously.

rhhardin said...

Too boring to read but I assume it supports the gays or it wouldn't be done.

Darrell said...

Who cares if PET scans never showed a single case where a person had the brain light up with both sexes--in any similar fashion. People say they are on questionnaires! People don't lie about stuff like that.

bandmeeting said...

There are almost no true males bisexuals. There is a high possibility that any given female under 40 is. just leave it at, "I've had some experience with this topic".

Bob Boyd said...

"...genitals wired up...."

I hope they used a union electrician!

Darrell said...

I knew a lesbian chemical engineer in the 1980s who said that once the moochers move in, all the "always horny" behavior they displayed before moves out. She would come home at 8 PM and none of the housework had been touched and nothing is even thawed so that she could cook the dinner. There were lots of headaches come bedtime. They call it lesbian crib death now. Because people are cruder.

PB Reader said...

There's a lot more "choice" involved than most supporters are willing to admit. Even the raw statistics of 3%-5% of the population as being homosexual are likely inflated by the "choice" aspect.

I would think that if this was truly genetic or biological, then it would have been selected out a long time ago.

Not that I object to people behaving as they wish so long as it doesn't infringe on other's rights, but we should at least admit the reality of the situation and not let the "they can't help themselves, they were born that way" be viewed as an acceptable or rational argument.

n.n said...

What people do on their own time, in private, within reason, is their own business. The issue is how society classifies behaviors for normalization, tolerance, or rejection, and what measures that classification entails.

gerry said...

They call it lesbian crib death now.

May I use that?

jacksonjay said...


So? Does the fisting post and the Pinochicchio post have anything to do with this post? I'm juxtcurious?

David said...

What's a bisexual?

The simplest definition is a person who has had sex with both males and females.

If that's the definition, there is quite a large crowd.

Who cares if your brain lights up or how you answer a questionnaire? Who trusts any response of persons whose genitals are connected to a wire?

Have you had sex with persons of both genders? If so you are, to some degree, bisexual. Protest as you might about the nomenclature, the proof is in your conduct.

Scott M said...

"Are you vexed?"

Maybe but not as much as Lothar.

jr565 said...

Deblasio's kids huge afro is really off putting.

Darrell said...

People can have sex with all kinds of animals, too. And plants and vegetables. Etc. Does that make one omnisexual? A more special snowflake? And do I have to shovel that, too?

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I think ordinary people should be more reluctant to choose standard sides, and should take more care in framing issues as they truly believe they should be considered. It is reasonable for a upright politician to argue not so much exactly what he believes in, but more for what he mostly believes in that is politically possible. If he is not elected, he will have little effect. Similarly, organizations may choose to organize themselves on one issue, framed a particular way, because they want members and contributors, and so need a broad appeal. But I don't see the purpose for others to argue other than exactly as they believe. Why desire to fit into some group merely because the group be large (and boring)? In particular, with respect to so-called gay issues, there are many common wrong ways of looking at things and of drawing lines that people shouldn't assume are reasonable.

1. If sodomy is bad between males, why shouldn't it be just as bad or worse between a male and a female? So maybe people should argue against sodomy (by which I mean semen in the digestive system) rather than gayness.
2. Why assume that being sodomized is akin to wanting to sodomize? I would suggest the sodomized deserve much more sympathy and love than the sodomizers do, rather as pushy drug dealers deserve much more hate than the victims they have addicted by their pushing. And "gay" tends to connote effeminate males more than males who feminize others, I'd say, and so those who are arguing against homosexuality would do well to reserve their ferocity for sodomizers. One hears a lot about "love the sinner, hate the sin", but I daresay one sort of sinner, namely those addicted to sin, deserves much more love than those who addict others to sin.
3. Why assume that intimacy between females is analogous to intimacy between males? If one defines lesbian behavior as oral-genital contact between females, my guess it that it is merely unhygenic and stupid. But genital-genital contact between females I am inclined to think wrapped up with feelings toward intraejaculate sperm competition (sperm that is skilled at surviving going between females is likely to code for studly diploid qualities well desired by females), that could be sexy clean and really has nothing to do with homosexuality as it exists in males. At any rate, Why think lesbianism has anything to do with male homosexuality?
4. Why focus on homosexual marriage? Sure, homosexual marriage is stupid and I'd vote against it, but if it's sodomy rather than lack-of marriage or corrupted marriage that corrupts, behaving like true marriage is something that makes intimacy pure makes you look like you don't think it's sodomy that makes intimacy impure, but rather lack of the right sort of marriage.
5. Why call rectal sodomy anal sex when there is such a huge difference between sodomy and sex (and when histology suggests it's the rectum that more could absorb chemicals)?

Portia said...

I really really get tired of hearing about these stupid 'studies'.

Birches said...

So it was "born this way" when they needed to frame homosexuality as a civil rights issue, but now it's "however I can get off" because the time has passed for that and we just want you all to do what feels right.

I'm not surprised bisexuality is common with people that have a wide variety of sexual partners. It seems to have been fairly common in the 70s. But I doubt Mick Jagger would call himself bisexual.

Bruce Hayden said...

My experience as a straight guy is there are indeed a lot of bisexual lesbians - probably more than truly homosexual ones. As a guy, it is fairly straight forward - is there male/female tension. By my age, many of the bisexual lesbians have come out of marriages, often with children - but not all. But not all - I know several life long lesbians with whom I have had decent M/F tension. Noticed this first with some work mate lesbians where there was no such tension. They felt just like guys to me. My theory right now is that a couple percentage of females are probably wired as homosexual, much larger percent are wired bisexual, and a majority are innately heterosexual in orientation. With a gradual slope through the bisexuals from heterosexual to homosexual.

My guess (from the literature, but absent any personal experience) is that the divide is much sharper with males. Most gay guys are innately homosexual, and most straight guys are the opposite, with the true bisexual middle being much narrower. Probably comparable numbers of practicing lesbians and gay guys, but I suspect that (many?) more of the guys are wired homosexual.

One thing that must be kept in mind is that male homosexual behavior doesn't always equate to homosexuality. Notably, in prison, it seems to work as a dominance strategy - with one showing dominance over the other by violating his body.

What is interesting to me though is how the LGBT community switches back and forth between male and female tendencies to make their case, utilizing which is more useful at the time. For example, justifying marriage due to male gays mostly being wired that way, then lesbians using that to justify gay parenting, when most probably could mate with a guy, and if they married a guy instead, the outcome for their kids would likely be much better.

Ann Althouse said...

"More hetero men are tentatively admitting that they’re turned on by certain sex acts associated with gay men."

Hetero men finally, reluctantly confess to liking blow jobs.

Ann Althouse said...

"So it was "born this way" when they needed to frame homosexuality as a civil rights issue, but now it's "however I can get off" because the time has passed for that and we just want you all to do what feels right."

Another way of putting the latter concept is individual liberty over matters of personal choice that harm no one and do not belong within the authority of government, the most basic libertarian concept. The government has no place in the bedroom interfering with the most private intimacies within love relationships. If you want to disparage that with "however I can get off," explain why.

Ann Althouse said...

"Most gay guys are innately homosexual, and most straight guys are the opposite, with the true bisexual middle being much narrower."

This is a popular belief, but I don't think we have much good science on the subject. Right now, the topic is so politicized, that it's affecting who studies what and how the tests are constructed and interpreted.

jr565 said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
Hetero men finally, reluctantly confess to liking blow jobs.

As a hetero male, I'll disagree with any idea that there is reluctance to confess to liking bj's.
if there is reluctance it's usually asking someone you are in a relationshiop who doesn't like doing that to do that. Because you are trying to not offend their feelings (and wind up sleeping on the couch).
But if left to their druthers, I'd imagine most guys would be open to the idea of bj's.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe to amplify on my last point. Outcomes for children raised by lesbian parents apparently are statistically worse than even for single mothers. It is one thing when it is assumed that they are wired as homosexuals, and quite different if their sexual orientation is chosen. And, if they are wired as bisexuals, that is essentially the case. Choice is fine, but moving the likely outcome for children from most favorable to least favorable by choosing a same sex mate over an opposite sex mate, verges on child abuse. Choice is fine, but what about the children?

I would argue that things are very different with gay guys. First, parenting outcomes, while not as good as traditional marriages, are much better than for lesbians, and probably single mothers. But with innate homosexual wiring, the choice really is not between a male or a female mate, but between a male mate or nothing.

jr565 said...

Althouse wrote:
Another way of putting the latter concept is individual liberty over matters of personal choice that harm no one and do not belong within the authority of government, the most basic libertarian concept. The government has no place in the bedroom interfering with the most private intimacies within love relationships. If you want to disparage that with "however I can get off," explain why.

but that's not an absolute is it? Clearly we get into the idea of what is harmful and what isn't. And that too is set by society. Even if those commiting the harmful acts may not think its harmful. Think for example of people engaged in incest.
But even here, is that the same thing as gay marriage as a question of individual rights? Just because gays cant' marry does that mean that govt is " in the bedroom interfering with the most private intimacies within love relationships."?
So wait, gays can't have sex with each other in bedrooms? when did that happen?

Bob Boyd said...

"Right now, the topic is so politicized, that it's affecting who studies what and how the tests are constructed and interpreted."

And its not just the topic of human sexuality.
Environmental science, psychology, social science, economics.
Science is beginning to suffer the fate of the boy who cried wolf.

Vexing.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann - you may be right about gay guys. You are much closer to the situation than I am. I am much more experienced with lesbians because of my interactions with them. For example, have on multiple occasions made the mistake moving in on one of a pair of single women who was flirting with me, to be told, in uncertain terms by the other that they were on a date. What I wanted to say, is that if you don't want a guy trying to pick up your date, then either dress and act like lesbians, or tell your date not to flirt with guys.

jr565 said...

Althouse wrote:
"Another way of putting the latter concept is individual liberty over matters of personal choice that harm no one and do not belong within the authority of government, the most basic libertarian concept."
Another way of saying govt can't restrict marriage in any way? Or govt should be out of the business of marriage altogether? Do you really believe that? Or only as applied to gays but not other restricted marriages?
A fundamental problem I have with this argument is that it uses absolutism when it suits itself for an argument that is not absoltue. And of course this is why things like incest are always dragged into the equation. Because if you are applying aboslutes to marriage restrictions and saying it doesn't belong to the authority of govt, then you have to ask since incest is similarly restricted, why does govt have authority to restrict that? Or does it?

It's the same thing with people arguing for the legalization of pot. Who keep using words like ending "prohibition". Are they saying we should legalize all drugs or just pot?
You could make a case for pot, but the same case probably couldn't be made for heroin for example (though Im sure many true libertarians will try).

madAsHell said...

Hetero men finally, reluctantly confess to liking blow jobs.

I think that's true in the wife-beater crowd, but in my mind, it's the sex of last resort.

There is nothing more gratifying then stimulating a woman to orgasm. After that, it's all PIV until my mouth goes dry......which is a lot sooner these days!!

When your father reminds you "Ladies first", he ain't just talking about boarding the bus!!

tim maguire said...

Some level of bisexuality is obviously far more common than admitted and I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that pure hetero is no more common than pure homo. The evidence certainly points in that direction.

Homosexual practices among the young are very common. (Or do you really think there is something in the water at those English Public Schools?) Same sex encounters are far more accepted among women and, well whattayaknow? they're also far more commonly admitted to.

The reason most self-identifying bisexual men turn out to be gay is because there is pressure on men to ignore their gay side. For most it has to be pretty strong to be meaningfully examined. A man who admits to being bisexual probably has such a strong preference for men that he can't fully hide it, but he will do his best to hide it partially. Mild to moderate gay urges are suppressed so that most actual bi-sexual men live heterosexual lives.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Unscrupulous conservatives and unaffectionate women wanting to equate sex outside marriage with depravity basically argue that females-having-sex-from-love-more-than-from-how-much-commitment-they-can-get=fucking=lots of females getting off on one guy and each other all at once=female bisexuality=homosexuality=sodomy=disgusting. Depraved liberals and nasty males basically wanting to equate love with sodomy argue that what females when in love are more willing to appreciate=females-having-sex-from-love-rather-than-from-how-much-commitment-they-can-get=fucking=lots of females getting off on one guy and each other all at once=bisexuality=homosexuality=anal or oral sex (what I call sodomy). Anyway, the conflations in the middle serve the wicked both on the right and the left, and where the wicked are united they have their strongest effect. Whenever there is resemblance between an unselfishness that is just a part of love and an unselfishness that is just stupid, there will be people selfishly unwilling to be lovingly unselfish and people selfishly wanting others to be stupidly unselfish to them, and they will be united in conflating unselfiishness from love with stupid unselfishness, even though they will differ on whether the contrived duo be unselfishness is from love or stupidity. The importance of discriminating thought in morality transcends discriminating sex from sodomy, though the latter is obviously important.

Not having anything to do with sodomy per se, there are the good males=good females=people more willing to have sex outside marriage=people less willing to respect marriage=people who believe marriage and male commitment are wrong equation and the good females=good males=people less willing to have sex outside marriage=people more willing to respect marriage=people who believe marriage and male commitment are always right equation. People conflate what it is unselfish for males to be more willing to do with what it is unselfish for females to be more willing to do because both selfish males and selfish females tend to encourage the conflation.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

Another way of putting the latter concept is individual liberty over matters of personal choice that harm no one and do not belong within the authority of government, the most basic libertarian concept. The government has no place in the bedroom interfering with the most private intimacies within love relationships.

I'm with you there. That said, I think government might have a legitimate role in regulating what happens in, say, public restrooms. Or in bathhouses, for that matter. It's a stretch to call the anonymous sex scene "the most private intimacies within love relationships," and let's not forget how many people died young because of that roiling disease cauldron.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

On the original topic: Despite the "B" in "LGBT," a lot of gays don't actually believe that bisexuality exists. A bisexual is just a gay in denial, and the sooner he (this is mainly about men) comes to his senses and realizes that women do not interest him at all, the better. People can get quite vehement about this.

There used to be vehemence on the lesbian side, too, but mainly back when being an out lesbian was a political act, and sleeping with a man was "sleeping with the enemy." You don't see much of that now. And the number of lesbians I know personally with children from previous heterosexual marriages suggests that "fluidity" is greater among women. The only male equivalent I can think of is Michael Huffington.

jr565 said...

Althouse wrote:'The government has no place in the bedroom interfering with the most private intimacies within love relationships."


This is more a question of the legality of sodomy then the legality of gay marriage.
But even here its not absolute. Govt should be in your bedroom if you are doing things there that are harming other people and/or animals.
But certainly govt shouldn't be telling people what sexual positions they should be engaging in. (though govt is telling porn shoots that they have to use condoms for example, so they are doing it).
But laws against sodomy were rarely enforced. Cops would have to stumble upon people doing the deed for them to be found guilty of anything, which doesn't happen to often.

jr565 said...

Michelle Dulak wrote:
On the original topic: Despite the "B" in "LGBT," a lot of gays don't actually believe that bisexuality exists. A bisexual is just a gay in denial, and the sooner he (this is mainly about men) comes to his senses and realizes that women do not interest him at all, the better. People can get quite vehement about this.


Just look at what happened to Anne Heche when she left Ellen for a man (!).

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Bruce Hayden,

Outcomes for children raised by lesbian parents apparently are statistically worse than even for single mothers. It is one thing when it is assumed that they are wired as homosexuals, and quite different if their sexual orientation is chosen. And, if they are wired as bisexuals, that is essentially the case. Choice is fine, but moving the likely outcome for children from most favorable to least favorable by choosing a same sex mate over an opposite sex mate, verges on child abuse.

I would dispute this. A child growing up with both biological parents is generally better off than a child with a step-parent, sure, but does it matter whether the step-parent is male or female? Most lesbians with children I know are divorced from straight marriages, so the biological dad is already out of the picture. So is said picture improved by adding an unrelated man, as opposed to an unrelated woman?

damikesc said...

There is no such thing as male bisexuality. Unlike with women, male bisexuality requires a lot more effort and determination (a cock in your mouth or ass is not a tiny thing).

A bisexual male is simply gay and scared to admit it...which is their issue.

The government has no place in the bedroom interfering with the most private intimacies within love relationships.

No argument. But to pretend that this can't lead to stuff far beyond what you hoped for.

But, hey, people who advise caution are the evil ones...

n.n said...

Why does LBGT exclude C (i.e. confused)? LBGT is a social, or perhaps political, construct, which conforms with an individual preference. It offers no value to society or humanity other than as a vehicle to normalize dysfunctional behaviors.

Birches said...

I think it's pretty clear I could care less about what people do to get off. But I care about the rhetoric people use to achieve their political goals.

This argument of fluid sexuality would not have been made 10 years ago, because homosexuality needed to be static and unchangeable so that the public pitied their love and inability to commit ie same sex marriage.

When who you love just becomes another choice, the argument that you are being denied rights doesn't jive the same way.

Things are changing now on the SSM front though, so society can now tolerate both the committed homosexuals and the raging 70s style orgies. So the pendulum swings back to do whatever you want.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

damikesc,

There is no such thing as male bisexuality. Unlike with women, male bisexuality requires a lot more effort and determination (a cock in your mouth or ass is not a tiny thing).

Well, that rather depends, doesn't it?

(Sorry. Someone had to say it, and I thought it might as well be me.)

Birches said...

The young high school kids have already figured this out. They say things like, "Well, I've tried guys for awhile and it hasn't been great. I think I might try girls for awhile and see how that goes."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

n.n., now there is "LGBTQ," with the "Q" standing ordinarily not for "queer" but for "questioning," as in "I'm a teenage ball o'hormones and I have no idea whether I'm more attracted to boys or to girls."

There used to be -- and maybe still is -- a magazine for bisexuals called Anything That Moves. There's your "Q" contingent.

SJ said...

A few interesting factoids about men and sex:

--there is a recurring cultural meme that men in prison are much more likely to interact sexually with other men than they are outside of prison.
Is this because homosexuality is more common among men likely to commit crimes? Or is it that the total absence of women in such an environment increases the number of men willing to try homosexual intercourse? If they left a female partner behind, are they now bisexual?

--Similar things were said about some of the Navies of the 19th Century. To wit, the men who spent months at sea in all-male company would have a much higher incidence of homosexual interaction than the typical man who didn't spend months in that environment.
Or maybe those Navies had a knack for picking homosexual/bisexual men to man their ships.

--I have read* that some late-Victorian-era boarding schools in England had a similar situation. The school had many young males, most just past puberty. A set of older boys would keep younger boys as lovers.

Three different pieces of information, all pointing to the possibility of increased bisexuality. But only in situations where women are scarce.

I guess the physical and social dynamics of male/female interaction don't favor male bisexuality.

-----------------------
*for extra fun, guess where I read this.

John said...

Gay men like Sullivan don't want to admit that men could be bisexual because he completely undercuts their argument that people cannot choose to be gay and are born that way.

The truth is that male sexuality only seems vexing because our mores are so much more firm in that area. There have been plenty of society where bisexual acts by men were not frowned upon and were engaged in by large numbers of men. Ancient Greece being the best known example of this. Beyond that for centuries men in prison or on long sea voyages deprived of the company of women have engaged in homosexual acts only to return to being straight once they were around women again.

In our society there just isn't much stigma on a woman doing something homosexual. So as a result lots of women have tried such things because they were curious, or it was a way to fit in to the social group they were in or to make their boyfriends happy or whatever. And few people think the less of those women. Men in contrast are subject to much more social stigma for engaging in homosexuality. They thus are much less likely to do such than women. It is really hard for a straight man in this society to try or experiment with homosexuality the way women do. The moment he admits to such, everyone will assume he is really gay. Thus most men never try it. They are less repelled by the act than they are by the thought of people thinking they are gay if they engage in the act.

Darrell said...

There isn't a trip or prison sentence long enough for me to consider sex with a man. Period. Masturbation is always the preferable option and there are always woman available in my mind.

kentuckyliz said...

I'd like to perpetuate the "I'm tired" meme on this issue. I get tired of everyone's obsession with sexuality, sexual behavior, and sexual identity.

Darrell said...

Never liked blowjobs, either. Wrong kind of stimulation. I'd choose cunnilingus over a blowjob anyday if time was of the essence. It would give me something for my memory vault.

eric said...

"Another way of saying govt can't restrict marriage in any way? Or govt should be out of the business of marriage altogether? Do you really believe that? Or only as applied to gays but not other restricted marriages?
A fundamental problem I have with this argument is that it uses absolutism when it suits itself for an argument that is not absoltue. And of course this is why things like incest are always dragged into the equation. Because if you are applying aboslutes to marriage restrictions and saying it doesn't belong to the authority of govt, then you have to ask since incest is similarly restricted, why does govt have authority to restrict that? Or does it?"

I've been asking similar questions for the past 10 plus years.

All I ever get is ignored, or ad hominem, in response.

William said...

How long before bisexuals demand the right to marry one of each?.....Cole Porter, Oscar Wilde, Gerald Murphy, D'Israeli, John Cheever: I can think of these gay men just off the top of my head. They had more or less successful marriages. If they had been allowed to marry men who's to say that their gay marriages would have been happier.

Jane the Actuary said...

Oh, just for fun: if sexual orientation is innate, and bisexual men are just gay men in denial, then exactly how does one explain ancient Greece?

Michael said...

Althouse@. "More hetero men are tentatively admitting that they’re turned on by certain sex acts associated with gay men."

Hetero men finally, reluctantly confess to liking blow jobs."

Why would you assume blowjobs, an uncontested delight, instead of anal sex, giving or receiving. Odd observation from a woman.

EMD said...

Hetero men finally, reluctantly confess to liking blow jobs.

Only if it's a record-breaking monster cock.

James Pawlak said...

The "New York Urinal" is no longer a credible source on any subject.

Ann Althouse said...

Interesting how men have trouble seeing the humor!

traditionalguy said...

I suggest we get Phil Robertson's opinion on this.

Didn't he base his attitudes on young men having more to offer sex in a female's body? But what if he can have both?

It's for the children.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My girlfriend in high school (I'm a woman) was very hurt that I had no intention of living partnered with a woman when I grew up, that I totally precluded the possibility. I liked boys just fine and wanted to marry a man and have his children someday. Which is precisely what I did, and I have been faithful to that man since the way we married. She, on the other hand, last I heard is a big-time lesbian activist, definitely NOT bisexual, although she did date and sleep with boys in high school of her own volition and interest, not pressure, so the ability to sexually appreciate a man must still be there on some level.

I think of myself as a nonpracticing bisexual. I still have those attractions--to both men and to other women--but I believe it is wrong to act on them (this applies to fantasy, porn and masturbation) and do my best not to, although I stumble frequently.

I don't know why I have these feelings, which I recall starting in junior high, but for what it's worth there is some sexual trauma in my childhood.

Michael said...

"This is a popular belief, but I don't think we have much good science on the subject."

Here's my science on the subject: there are cultures where nobody's g-a-y but lots of men take catamites (ancient Greece, modern Afghanistan).

In short, there's probably a small contingent of actual gays, but most guys like doing it, they tend to do whatever's easy, and how picky or unpicky they get about the other participant is all about culture and availability and the social penalties involved, not genetics. Give guys in any society a pretty free pass to play on the other side with eyes looked the other way, and a LOT of them will (see: prison, Catholic seminaries, English public schools, etc.)

SteveR said...

I think this subject defies a "one or zero" categorization. While biology selects for heterosexuality, it also selects for sexual activity in general, the more the better. I tend to reject the "born that way" explanation.

John Lynch said...

Isn't it interesting that something so basic is almost impossible to pin down with science?

I think sex research is bunk, because it always reflects the social mores of the time in which the research is carried out.

Society changes its views on sex, and all of a sudden the research shows whatever we already decided was permissible.

n.n said...

John Lynch:

Science can at most define freewill as an emergent phenomenon. However, we lack the ability to distinguish between origin and expression. It is not the proper place of science to conflate objective and philosophical topics. At best, science can observe that behaviors are positive and negative contributors to fitness.

Unfortunately, people have learned to wield science, and to meld it with emotions, in order to rationalize what they desire, and have encapsulated this organization in a secular cult. In this respect, it crosses the fine line dividing science and philosophy, as religion has traditionally done, and cults have always done.

Biff said...

Bruce Hayden said, "Most gay guys are innately homosexual, and most straight guys are the opposite, with the true bisexual middle being much narrower."

...and Ann Althouse replied, "This is a popular belief, but I don't think we have much good science on the subject."

You can bet your bottom dollar that, given the ease, quantity, and quality of anonymous online data collection, the extraordinarily competitive online porn industry studies the subject with great rigor and detail, and it adjusts its marketing practices accordingly. In other words, the answer is hiding in plain, though generally not-safe-for-work, sight.

As a sociological phenomenon, it's fascinating how the porn industry pioneered and led so much of the development of technologies like VCRs, web server technology, online credit card processing, streaming audio and video, and many others as fixtures of modern living, yet that role is something that is only rarely spoken of in polite circles. Similarly, the porn industry has been a pioneer and a leader in analyzing so-called "big data" to understand customer preferences.

Long story short, there is a pretty good understanding of the sexual interests of a very large percentage of the population (both male and female), based on datasets that include a far greater number of individuals and data points than are typically seen in traditional academic studies. While there are some important nuances/caveats that would prompt a spectrum of very interesting academic studies, Bruce Hayden's statement is mostly correct, but placing hard numbers on sexuality is not very welcome in many quarters.

So I've heard. (Analysis of "big data" for clinical and business purposes has become a significant element of my career, and professional conferences in the big data field bring together some very strange bedfellows. "So a political consultant, a priest, a doctor, a pornographer, and an NSA agent walk into a bar...")

tim in vermont said...

"A bisexual male is simply gay and scared to admit it...which is their issue."

Interesting that somebody could declare a negative with such confidence.

I agree that there is probably not much good science on the issue. For example they could look at PET scans with pictures of certain guys identified by the candidate bisexual, rather than random guys who are supposed to be sexy by some societal standard. Not saying why I am suggesting this... Just look at this thread and see how much pressure there is politically from both sides on the issue and think about what we know about the politicization of science.

Tarrou said...

If I may draw a close analogy from the research (which hopefully avoids the political BS). The fact that female sexual plasticity is well established in the literature should give some facial credence to the idea that there are more female bisexuals than male. One study, for instance, shows a peer-pressure effect in women's expressed attraction to various people, but not men's. In layman's terms, women are attracted to whatever other people are attracted to. For men, there is no effect at all. Male attraction is pretty hardwired. A man who thinks trees are hot cannot be convinced that bicycles are hotter.

tim in vermont said...

Or maybe in men, the peer pressure is more hard wired.