Why Are Women More Likely To Identify As Bisexual?
Ladies, we’re all a little gay.
How many bisexual celebrities can you think of off the top of your head?
Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Drew Barrymore, Evan Rachel Wood, Carrie Brownstein, Amber Heard, Megan Fox — that’s a lot of hot chicks. And the list goes on.
How about men? I Googled “bisexual celebrities,” and this is who came up: Billie Joe Armstrong, Andy Dick, Marlon Brando and David Bowie. Half of those men are Gods and the other half will definitely make anyone under age 24 ask, “Who?”
So where are all the bi- dudes? Are they in hiding, or are there actually fewer of them?
Say it’s biology.
Past research would have us believe that women are the more sexually-fluid gender due largely to biology.
One famous study at Queen’s University in the mid 2000s revealed that erotic videos of any kind — clips of masturbating apes included (seriously) — sent blood rushing to women’s vaginas. Men, however, were almost never aroused by porn that didn’t reflect their own stated sexual orientation. In other words, guys who identified as straight were almost never aroused by anything other than images of heterosexual sex.
These findings correlated with a separate study conducted in 2005 which found that men who identified themselves as bisexual “were in fact exclusively aroused by either one sex or the other, usually by other men.”
In other words, science deduced that true bisexuality is much harder to come by in men than in women, who (as the Queen’s University study with the monkeys found) tended to not perceive their own sexual identities as “fixed” in any way.
Earlier this year, a new evolutionary theory emerged: Chicks have always been able to breeze from hetero- to homo- to bisexual because we’re resourceful.
The basic premise of the theory is that this sexual flexibility allowed women of yore to have sex with their co-wives in polygamous marriages, which strengthened their own bonds while reducing individual claims on the patriarch. Getting rid of monogamy, researchers found, reduced feelings of jealousy and allowed for peace within the (polygamous) family.
“The theory suggests that women may not have sexual orientations in the same sense as men do,” Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, one of the study’s authors, said at the time. “Rather than being straight or gay, to whom women are sexually attracted may depend largely on the particular partner, their reproductive status, and other circumstances.”
University of Scranton psychologist and study co-author Barry Kuhle has suggested fluid female sexuality may have evolved to benefit offspring in instances where “a father abandons his partner or dies.” That’s because it’s far easier to raise a child when you have someone to help you, especially when that someone is a bosom buddy in more ways than one. You know the saying: “It takes a village…”
In other words, seriously bad dads are the reason women hook up with one another.
Let’s take all of this with a grain of salt, though, since Kuhle, the University of Scranton psychologist, also wrote that “women have weaker sex drives, and are therefore easier to channel to different objects of attraction,” a statement that somehow manages to simultaneously whorify and prudify women. (No, those are not real words — but they should be.)
Almost indisputably, women’s sexual identities are more flexible than men’s. But it isn’t just biology or the evolutionary necessity for female resourcefulness that explain it.
It’s also Society, with capital ‘S’
As it turns out, bisexual men are way less likely to admit their sexual orientation — even to their closest friends and even to themselves.
But why is sexual fluidity less acceptable for men than it is for women? There are a few reasons.
1. Chicks are turned off by bisexual men:
This is sad but true nonetheless. A poll conducted by Glamour earlier this year found that out of 1,015 women aged 18 to 44, 47% said they have been attracted to another women but a whopping 63% said they would not date a man who has had sex with another man.
A 2013 survey from Pew Research Center found similar sentiment among the LGBT community — over one-third of LGBT adults said they thought there was a lot of acceptance for bisexual women. That statistic was a stark contrast to the 8% who said the same of bisexual men.
2. “I kissed a girl and I liked it”
Listen, whatever Katy Perry deems “Okay” is Okay. Okay? If Justin Bieber released a track called “I Kissed A Boy And I Liked It,” maybe boys kissing boys for fun would be Okay, too. But I won’t hold my breath — and I suggest you don’t either.
It’s Okay for women to dabble in bisexuality. Hooking up with another woman does not a gay or even a bisexual woman create — it actually makes a woman sexy. We know this because it’s been drilled repeatedly into our brains by movies like “Thelma and Louise,” “Mulholland Drive” and “Cruel Intentions,” as well as by Katy Perry and that time Madonna and Britney made out onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
You get my point, right?
Pop culture says it’s Okay and so it is. It isn’t fair, I agree. But this isn’t the first bone I have to pick with what Pop Culture deems Okay (sneaker wedges and adults on razor scooters come to mind).
3. The path of least resistance
A study conducted at the University of Notre Dame last year found a positive correlation between female sexual fluidity and social factors such as education and good looks:
“Highly educated, physically attractive, childless women have greater access to desirable male partners,” the study’s authors wrote. “For such women, heterosexuality may be the most obvious path and also the path of least resistance.”
In other words, successful women fought hard to “make it” in a man’s world, and they aren’t about to fuck it up by choosing any path in life other than the one that seems the most “normal” — even if it goes against their deepest sense of desire and thus self.
If successful women are more likely to “default” to labeling themselves hetero- in a society that largely finds bisexual women to be actually pretty sexy and chill, then what do you reckon bisexual men are going to do? Especially in a world where a dude isn’t even allowed to casually make out with another dude without suffering severe societal consequences?
So, yeah. Bisexual tendencies are more common among women than men.
My personal theory? Women are just the hotter sex.
So maybe Freud was right when he said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that we’re all a little gay.
Or, maybe girls just like the taste of cherry chapstick more. I hear that stuff can be addicting.