Aug 23, 2011 6:18 PM GMT
The New York Times
The finding is not likely to surprise bisexuals, who have long asserted that attraction often is not limited to one sex. But for many years the question of bisexuality has bedeviled scientists. A widely publicized study published in 2005, also by researchers at Northwestern, reported that “with respect to sexual arousal and attraction, it remains to be shown that male bisexuality exists.”
That conclusion outraged bisexual men and women, who said it appeared to support a stereotype of bisexual men as closeted homosexuals.
In the new study, published online in the journal Biological Psychology, the researchers relied on more stringent criteria for selecting participants...
In both studies, men watched videos of male and female same-sex intimacy while genital sensors monitored their erectile responses. While the first study reported that the bisexuals generally resembled homosexuals in their responses, the new one finds that bisexual men responded to both the male and female videos, while gay and straight men in the study did not.
Both studies also found that bisexuals reported subjective arousal to both sexes, notwithstanding their genital responses. “Someone who is bisexual might say, ‘Well, duh!’” said Allen Rosenthal, the lead author of the new Northwestern study and a doctoral student in psychology at the university. “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.”
The Northwestern study is the second one published this year to report a distinctive pattern of sexual arousal among bisexual men.
Dr. Lisa Diamond, a psychology professor at the University of Utah and an expert on sexual orientation, said that the two new studies, taken together, represented a significant step toward demonstrating that bisexual men do have specific arousal patterns.
“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,” she said. “These converging lines of evidence, using different methods and stimuli, give us the scientific confidence to say this is something real.”