BREAKING NEWS: Bisexual Men Exist!
Bisexuals. It's a label that can cause great controversy among gay and straight folk alike. Some people believe they're like unicorns—mythic creatures living in a magical land of rainbows as long as it suits their sexual needs; or, to put it more bluntly, they think these people are gay, but they don't want to admit it to themselves. Others suspect it varies between the sexes: Women are more sexually fluid and can go both ways without necessarily falling into either camp, while men are more rigid in their "gay" or "straight" identification. Indeed, researchers at Northwestern University published a study in 2005 that stated “with respect to sexual arousal and attraction, it remains to be shown that male bisexuality exists.”
Needless to say, if you're a self-identified bisexual man, these statements can really piss you off.
Well, great news, guys! In an unusual scientific about-face, now researchers at Northwestern have found evidence that some self-identified bisexual men are actually aroused by both men AND women.
According to the New York Times, researchers for this new study relied on more stringent criteria for selecting participants. First, the researchers recruited subjects from online venues specifically catering to bisexuals. "They also required participants to have had sexual experiences with at least two people of each sex and a romantic relationship of at least three months with at least one person of each sex." This is different from the 2005 study, where guys were recruited "through advertisements in gay-oriented and alternative publications and were identified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual based on responses to a standard questionnaire."
Once the male subjects were found, they watched "videos of male and female same-sex intimacy" (In our country, we call it "porn.") while sensors monitored their erectile responses. The new study found that bisexual men responded to both the male and female videos, while gay and straight men in the study did not.
Allen Rosenthal, the lead author of the new Northwestern study and a doctoral student in psychology at the university had a great response. He said, “Someone who is bisexual might say, ‘Well, duh!’ But this will be validating to a lot of bisexual men who had heard about the earlier work and felt that scientists weren’t getting them.”
At this point some gay readers will be wondering why this matters, but consider this: How would you feel if lots of people—gay and straight—said you didn't exist? Or said you were just confused. Or a whore.
Dr. Lisa Diamond, a psychology professor at the University of Utah and an expert on sexual orientation, says something similar in the article: “I’ve interviewed a lot of individuals about how invalidating it is when their own family members think they’re confused or going through a stage or in denial. These converging lines of evidence, using different methods and stimuli, give us the scientific confidence to say this is something real.” However, she also notes that testing sexual arousal in the lab isn't a perfect way to examine sexual orientation or identity. “Sexual arousal is a very complicated thing,” she said. “The real phenomenon in day-to-day life is extraordinarily messy and multifactorial.”