Northwestern University study finds bisexual men to be more depressed, anxious

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    Jan 25, 2013 6:40 AM GMT
    The link for the article: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=214090

    Bisexual men more anxious, depressed

    BY ASHLEY GORK

    Methodolgy of Columbia Study
    In the Columbia University study, 203 behaviorally bisexual men, who had chosen not to disclose their same-sex behavior to their female partners, were recruited in New York City. They completed a self-report survey indicating their sexual preferences and The Mental Health Inventory was used to assess symptoms of depression or anxiety. An association between the concealment of one’s sexual identity and poor mental health was found.


    As a young boy, Michael Oboza started developing bisexual feelings for two of his classmates. “We were like cotton candy – rose, purple and blue – always together,” he said.

    It wasn’t until several years later that Oboza could articulate those feelings as “butterflies.” It took him even longer to understand them through the lens of bisexuality.

    Then Oboza went through a dark period.

    As a bisexual man living in Chicago, Oboza felt like he was suffocating. Afflicted by both depression and anxiety, he relied on drugs, sex and alcohol, before attempting to commit suicide as a final release.

    “I suffocated my breathing and internalized my anger,” he said.

    Surviving the incident, Oboza awoke in the LGBT unit at Lakeshore Hospital to see a rainbow flag in the hallway. He recognized the flag as the symbol for gay pride and realized that nothing had changed. As a bisexual he thought, “This has nothing to do with me.”

    Oboza’s story does not stand alone. Research suggests that bisexual men are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety than their gay and straight counterparts. According to Eric Schrimshaw of Columbia University, this suffering comes from a high level of concealment and a lack of disclosure. The Columbia study showed that almost 38 percent of the bisexual participants said that they never told anyone about their sexual identity and 80 percent said they keep their sexual relationships with men to themselves.

    Although this concealment may shield bisexual men from the types of discrimination and rejection often experienced by open gays, it can also leave many men without a language or a community with whom they can discuss their feelings, Schrimshaw suggested.

    This was certainty the case for Michael Oboza. During his dark period, Oboza felt like he lacked a language to communicate his affection.

    “For years there was nothing for us except closets or addiction,” he said. However, after surviving his suicide attempt, Oboza vowed to make a change. “I decided to come out of my own darkness,” he said.

    Oboza started researching bisexual history. This inspired him to become involved with numerous LBGT causes, both locally and nationally, and to find the bisexual program at Chicago’s Center on Halsted.

    Oboza advises other depressed or anxious bisexual men to get involved with communities and bisexual events, including bi-movie nights and bisexual socials at Center on Halsted. “Talking to other bisexual men can help them speak the language,” he said.

    As for himself, advocating for bisexual rights has kept him going strong. As part of his reflection on depression, anxiety and bisexuality, Oboza said that now he can articulate the feelings he had back in kindergarten.

    “My truth had a voice – that the butterflies were real.”

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    Jan 25, 2013 6:47 AM GMT
    I'll be honest. It does not surprise me. As a bisexual, myself, I feel disconnected with straights and gays at certain times. Growing up when I realized I liked both girls and guys I would literally walk for hours just debating in my mind what I was. I felt alone and felt no one would understand.

    Now I will I was not so depressed that I tried committing suicide

    Still now I find it hard to be accepted by people on this forum at times. Just look at the bisexual thread. Some people just view us as cheaters and liars. Hell I got e-mails from people who don't post saying what a lying bastard I am and will never be able to be in a true committed relationship. One poster even said we are not equals to gay people...Granted some of the people are idiots and have no idea what they are talking about, but it still is sad that we can't get 100% acceptance from a community who isn't accepted enough as it is.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Jan 25, 2013 6:53 AM GMT
    RadRTT saidI'll be honest. It does not surprise me. As a bisexual, myself, I feel disconnected with straights and gays at certain times. Growing up when I realized I liked both girls and guys I would literally walk for hours just debating in my mind what I was. I felt alone and felt no one would understand.

    Now I will not say I was so depressed as I tried to commit suicide.

    Still now I find it hard to be accepted by people on this forum at times. Just look at the bisexual thread. Some people just view us as cheaters and liars. Hell I got e-mails from people who don't post saying what a lying bastard I am and will never be able to be in a true committed relationship.


    Well, FWIW my first ever lover (as opposed to guy I had sex with) was bisexual. Still a long time good friend. Married with a son and daughter, the son is gay.

    Don't know whether bisexual guys are "more" depressed than homosexual guys. I was a very depressed young man. All I know is I have always felt myself a bit of an outsider in the "gay community" as well as the straight one. AND I was in a heterosexual relationship and *never* identified as bisexual because I'm not.

    Just saying any flack you're getting is a sign of ignorance and prejudice, pure and simple.
  • wcubrad23

    Posts: 37

    Feb 04, 2013 10:03 PM GMT
    What can they possibly be depressed about? You have everything in the world, like rich people and supermodels, yet you're still depressed? You have the freakin best of both worlds for crying out loud! You can live a happily fulfilled straight life with a beautiful wife and kids and still be happy. You get to relate to all your straight friends when they talk about hot girls. You have the ultimate sexual orientation with the sky the only limit, yet you're depressed and anxious? I'm sorry this study is totally garbage.... All I can think about are the gay youth terrorized at schools or the gays/lesbians that have to bury their dreams because they can't live up to what society expects of them. How about the gays/lesbians that have to deal with heterosexuality being shoved down their throats on a daily basis? In my honest opinion, the most depressed and anxious are gay men, not bisexual.
  • cavecanem10

    Posts: 70

    Feb 05, 2013 3:36 AM GMT
    Good job alma mater! Sort of ironic that they have a study specifically about bi men. One of the most popular classes when I was there was Human Sexuality, and the professor harshly defended his research that bisexual men didn't exist because he measured their penises while watching different types of porn. Apparently he had theorized what the graph would look like for bisexuals versus straight and gay men.... and because the research didn't support that, then bi men must not exist! icon_eek.gif Very controversial...

    Very interesting, and Chicago is definitely a great place for research like that!
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    Feb 05, 2013 3:47 AM GMT
    cavecanem10 saidGood job alma mater! Sort of ironic that they have a study specifically about bi men. One of the most popular classes when I was there was Human Sexuality, and the professor harshly defended his research that bisexual men didn't exist because he measured their penises while watching different types of porn. Apparently he had theorized what the graph would look like for bisexuals versus straight and gay men.... and because the research didn't support that, then bi men must not exist! icon_eek.gif Very controversial...

    Very interesting, and Chicago is definitely a great place for research like that!
    Wait...he measured penises...WTF! Also As a Bi guy...I don't get off to straight porn for some odd reason....and also not all gay porn works for me as well. Same goes for people...so Good luck to him to measure my penis.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Feb 05, 2013 4:00 AM GMT
    "... bisexual men, who had chosen not to disclose their same-sex behavior to their female partners..."

    It's the lying that makes someone anxious and depressed.
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    Feb 05, 2013 4:01 AM GMT
    Studies like these should be done nationally and across the vast spectrum of society's cultures and subcultures cause they're never really "conclusive".
  • cavecanem10

    Posts: 70

    Feb 05, 2013 4:05 AM GMT
    RadRTT said
    cavecanem10 saidGood job alma mater! Sort of ironic that they have a study specifically about bi men. One of the most popular classes when I was there was Human Sexuality, and the professor harshly defended his research that bisexual men didn't exist because he measured their penises while watching different types of porn. Apparently he had theorized what the graph would look like for bisexuals versus straight and gay men.... and because the research didn't support that, then bi men must not exist! icon_eek.gif Very controversial...

    Very interesting, and Chicago is definitely a great place for research like that!
    Wait...he measured penises...WTF! Also As a Bi guy...I don't get off to straight porn for some odd reason....and also not all gay porn works for me as well. Same goes for people...so Good luck to him to measure my penis.


    Yes, he had some metric for how much it grew relative to baseline and then depending on how excited males got (and females too) with different porn, and even like animal porn I think. He also said that females are more aroused by sex in general citing that they get excited about gay porn haha.
  • wcubrad23

    Posts: 37

    Feb 05, 2013 9:22 PM GMT
    cavecanem10 said
    RadRTT said
    cavecanem10 saidGood job alma mater! Sort of ironic that they have a study specifically about bi men. One of the most popular classes when I was there was Human Sexuality, and the professor harshly defended his research that bisexual men didn't exist because he measured their penises while watching different types of porn. Apparently he had theorized what the graph would look like for bisexuals versus straight and gay men.... and because the research didn't support that, then bi men must not exist! icon_eek.gif Very controversial...

    Very interesting, and Chicago is definitely a great place for research like that!
    Wait...he measured penises...WTF! Also As a Bi guy...I don't get off to straight porn for some odd reason....and also not all gay porn works for me as well. Same goes for people...so Good luck to him to measure my penis.


    Yes, he had some metric for how much it grew relative to baseline and then depending on how excited males got (and females too) with different porn, and even like animal porn I think. He also said that females are more aroused by sex in general citing that they get excited about gay porn haha.


    I could possibly pass one of those porn tests as bisexual, but in reality, I'm not at all. Porn really isn't the most accurate measure for sexual orientation. And it reduces sexual orientation to nothing more than genital response.
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    Feb 05, 2013 11:32 PM GMT
    This would not be very hard to comprehend; there seems to be alot more confusion associated to being bisexual than there is in being a Bona Fide Homosexualicon_wink.gif