Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Study: Northwestern University researchers confirm bisexuality exists

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A new scientific study confirms that men who have a sexual attraction to both men and women is real, and dispels the stereotype that bisexual men are just closeted homosexuals, or simply confused.

The new report is notable because it refutes previous research by the same group that had earlier challenged the very existence of male bisexuality.

For the new study, researchers at Northwestern University recruited a group of 100 Chicago-area men, identifying as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual in roughly equal numbers. Unlike a previous Northwestern study of bisexuality, however, the current study used more stringent criteria to define bisexuality.

Bisexual men were required to have had sexual encounters with at least two people of each gender and to have been in at least one romantic relationship of three months or longer with a person of each gender. The previous study, published in 2005, largely relied on responses to a standard questionnaire to determine sexual orientation.

For the new study — in the August issue of Biological Psychology — researchers showed the men a series of three-minute videos while their genitals were wired with arousal-detecting electrodes to determine that bisexual men were physically aroused by both sexes.

According to The New York Times, the findings are consistent with another recent report, from researchers at Indiana State University and the Kinsey Institute, that also found a distinctive pattern of arousal, as well as subjective response, among bisexual men.

Archives: , , ,

Filed under: LGBTQ Life

56 more reader comments:

  1. NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:36pm
  2. Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:39pm
  3. While, “No shit, Sherlock,” is the knee-jerk reaction, there are so many people–including those in our own community–who believe very strongly that it does not exist. Cold hard facts are always the best ammo.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:39pm
  4. wow, nice to know i exist

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:39pm
  5. Allie I was thinking the same thing lol! seriously, a study wasting money was needed to confirm what has been known forever??!! sheesh…

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:39pm
  6. so stupid

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:39pm
  7. Sexist study on using males… Probably because it’s more “acceptable” for females to be bisexual according to society. Didn’t need a researcher’s approval for sexual attraction to exist.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:40pm
  8. Multisexuality.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:41pm
  9. wow really? Ok, downloading information plz wait……………………Info received thank u.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:42pm
  10. Well DUH , of course it exists , let’s hope this new study will make people more sympathetic towards bisexuals .

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:42pm
  11. This study basically fucks over the genderqueer with its definitions. And people say bisexuals are the ones furthering the gender binary. Some, maybe, but not as a group.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:42pm
  12. While I believe bisexuality exists (I’m a staunch Kinseyan in a lot of ways), one report doesn’t prove anything. It’s in the nature of science to critically re-examine evidence before making the claim. While this suggests that bisexuality does exist, it doesn’t prove it beyond a doubt. Especially with the small sample size there would be issues of selection and statistical error which only future studies could address. Mostly I’m just continuing my crusade to see science reported properly in the media. :-P

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:43pm
  13. Agreed…love psychology but this was a total waste. If i honestly thought it would help lessen pregiduce i’d agree with it but i think its almost insulting to bisexual people as it stands. (presented almost like a strange new phenomenon rather rthen the reality it is normal).

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:44pm
  14. NO SHIT!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:44pm
  15. Oh thank goodness, I was afraid I was a figment of someone’s imagination, like a unicorn or something.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:45pm
  16. really??? I could have found that out for free…I could have just asked a bisexual!!!! Waste of time, money, energy and resources!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:45pm
  17. What?! No way! I always knew I liked both genders but having science confirm it for me totally make it more legit. :/

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:46pm
  18. I’ve known all my life it exists. I was a child, chasing after a boy I liked and had a girlfriend at the same time. I didn’t even know what the words “gay” and “bisexual” were. In fact, I didn’t understand “gay” until I was 16. I just thought everyone was this way — liking both. I spent 23 years with one woman, and she was bisexual, too. We both liked men but we were faithful to one another. I’m single again and while I find I prefer the company of women I would not be opposed to the right guy if he came along. So I’m still bi.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:47pm
  19. Although, this does make me feel better. I’ve had gay and straight people tell me to just choose a gender already or they tell me I’m being greedy.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:48pm
  20. …Duh?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:49pm
  21. sorry but that is really stupid that they actually had “researchers” take time to see if bisexuality exists. duh it exists. that is just crap that they did that. it is like researching to see if apples are fruits

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:49pm
  22. For all of the “I could have found that our for free” comments, there is a clear misunderstanding of how science works. I’m sure Michele Bachmann could tell you for free that a lot of the gay people she’s met are troubled. If we’d let people “find things out for free” homosexuality would still be a medicalized condition instead of a lifestyle. If we went off of anecdotes rather than research to build our theories we would never look beyond the status quo. Plus, with psychological research instead of just anecdotes backing the idea you’ll find a lot more people willing to accept something that, to be honest, is hotly contested in the psychology of sexuality.

    Science always finds things that were already there. This is a step forward in a lot of ways.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:50pm
  23. @Lauren: At one point researchers did determine apples are fruits. How do you think they got that biological classification?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 10:50pm
  24. smh.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:05pm
  25. Are you kidding me and this is news, Idiots of course it exist hello!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:06pm
  26. smh.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:06pm
  27. derp.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:07pm
  28. im so glad it took them this long to figure out what was already known

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:09pm
  29. Wow, it’s great to know that my girlfriend really exists.
    :O
    Now where’s the study to show that I, as a Lesbian who likes dick, exists?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:13pm
  30. All that money wasted when all they had to do was ask the community right in front of them

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:17pm
  31. Yep for many years I’ve had gay and straight friends tell me you can’t have it both ways you have to be either gay or straight. Bisexual doesn’t exist, you’re just confused or just don’t want the negativity of coming out as gay. And it was usually my gay friends that bothered me most about it. I don’t understand why so many feel sexuality is black/white, I feel there is so much gray area ;)

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:20pm
  32. well butter my butt and call me a biscuit..did you hear that Myrtle..?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:29pm
  33. Was there ever any question to if bisexuality existed? Honestly, I think bisexuals may be more common than people are 100% straight or gay… Many bisexuals probably don’t realize they are bi, though, simply because they have the option of just dating/having sex with/fantasizing about the “appropriate” gender. I didn’t realize I was bi until I fell head over heals for another girl, I’m physically more attracted to men, but I’m still bisexual.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:47pm
  34. Heels*

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:48pm
  35. Can we all say, “DUH!”? They’re not pegasus, bisexuals exist. Simple enough. I’m gay, he’s straight and he’s bisexual!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:54pm
  36. Wow, I exist? I had no idea…

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 12:05am
  37. Wow! Well that’s a relief,lmao.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 12:18am
  38. Of course bisexuality exists. I’m also a believer in the Kinsey scale and don’t believe that many people are 100% hetero/homo – somewhere in the middle somewhere. While many people have a preference (like I prefer to be with women), their orientation would still be bisexuality as long as they’re attracted to both genders.

    Personally, I am attracted to women 97% of the time and men about 3% of the time. I have been in 2 long-term same-sex relationships (one was for 22 months, the other was 8.5 years; spanning from age 20 until just before turning 31) and have been in one semi-long-term same-sex relationship (does 6 months count? I was 17).

    I identify as a lesbian, though I guess some would consider me a bisexual.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 1:07am
  39. D’oh – I clearly meant the 6 mo relationship to be an opposite sex relationship. Geesh.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 1:08am
  40. No way, I am shocked. Next time discover water.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 1:24am
  41. For a bunch of people who have an LGBTQ page liked on Facebook, many of you seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that there are a great number of people who reject the idea of homosexuality, bisexuality, or pansexuality. Tell me. How do you change someone’s opinion by simply saying, “I’m right, and you’re wrong?” But hey! That may work for some of you for every argument in your life. More power to you if you know how to control minds.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 3:15am
  42. I’m pretty sure I like guys and girls….

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 4:07am
  43. this is just getting stupid now– *every time* I’ve tried to load one of these LGBTQ Nation linked articles lately my browser gets as far as loading the page’s header, some ads, and the icons to “like/share” the article, but I wait and wait and wait and the *content* of the article that I want to read never appears. What’s up with this, is is just me?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 5:13am
  44. Haha. “Confirm that bisexuality exists”… Really?? Seriously?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 6:17am
  45. Next up: is oxygen real?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 6:29am
  46. Oh thank god for a moment I was worried I might wink out of existence.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 7:01am
  47. @vanessa catlady, while males were used is because it is easier to measure scientific arousal in males than in females. They attach a tool which measures blood flow in the penis along with measure arousal in the brain. When both match, you’re being aroused by what you are seeing and not a second causal matter. So not sexist.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 7:07am
  48. This is easy to confirm, we are social animals led by our hormones, and since that is, we wouldn’t be in position to have any social interaction with our own, or the opposite, gender if we were not, as Sigmund Freud explained, all bisexual to some extent. And I’m not only speaking about sex, but our sexuality is the lead of our social interactions with other humans. Our hormones serve more purposes than simply sexual attraction though they will work differently depending on our sexual attraction toward one gender, the importance we put in our sexual behaviors, the kind of peoplle who attract us, et caetera. It’s nothing new, though I’m glad that this doesn’t remain simply a case of phychanalysis but finally finds its way through the scientific method in the USA, since it seems that they don’t care about any study that comes from anywhere else.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 7:14am
  49. Read Russel Spiker’s comment. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 7:34am
  50. well duh bisexuality exists. so does asexuality and pansexuality.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 8:11am
  51. For those commenting on the study having been only on men: studies have been done on bisexuality in both men and women. Male and female sexuality differ in some respects, so the studies are generally conducted separately. My recollection is that studies on women have typically concluded that MOST women are physically aroused by images of both genders. However, given the number of lesbians who watch gay male porn, I don’t think this is a very good guide to women’s sexual orientations. Physical arousal is a very limited part of sexuality, and something you enjoy watching isn’t necessarily anything you want to take part in.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 8:41am
  52. Next they study if air is real.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 12:36pm
  53. OMG THIS IS NEW INFORMATION!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 5:12pm
  54. I’M REAL!! Thank evolution.

    Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011 at 11:09am
  55. Many gay men told me I did not exist, blah blah blah, and after the 2005 study it got worse. When I was 19 me and my girl were ridiculed in LGBT. I am now returning as a bi activist. But really as a community we need to work together now. Even if some obviously totally gay or straight dude wants to pose as “bisexual” who gives a shit, in the end if he is gay he will only date men. As far as the bi guys who fall near the middle, I just want them to feel the freedom to love who they want and the courage and confidence to date both men and women openly and not care what others think.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 8:16pm
  56. It was most likely done because the methods of measuring the physical arousal of males is much less intrusive than females. Males simply need electrodes attached to the penis, wheras females have to have a device inserted into the vagina to measure the same type of arousal.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 1:48pm