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Author Topic: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?  (Read 5800 times)

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Offline MargueriteTopic starter

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Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« on: August 04, 2010, 09:15:21 PM »
In the 'Things That Piss Me Off Thread', there was the mention of Prop 8 commentary posted. Not by any Elliquiy members but by what they read on forums reacting to Prop 8. From there, the discussion came up of some theorists believe 'bisexuality' is not a legitimate sexual orientation. The theory is written

Quote
It was a theory talked about in class which the Professor speaks about as one of the 'half-ass' theories brought up. I need to find the author in my lectures notes. I do recall (since I had to remember it for an exam)his main focus is actually on male bisexuality and completely ignores female bisexuality to which he states is a false sexual orientation for women. The quote about hacking it as a lesbian is also applied to men not hacking it as homosexuals in his experiment.

Edit: Found it!

The article is called: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation (Rieger, Chivers & Bailey, 2005)

Male Bisexuality Is A Myth?

Quote
A new study concludes that the large majority of men purporting to be bisexual are actually gay, while the rest are more likely to be heterosexual.

Senior author Michael Bailey, from Northwestern University in Chicago, said: “Bisexual male behaviour certainly exists, but the study suggests that a bisexual orientation, an actual sexual preference for both men and women, does not exist in men. If such men exist, they are certainly very rare and we didn’t find them.”

Researchers recruited 101 young adult men, 33 identifying themselves as bisexual, 30 straight and 38 homosexual.

They were questioned at length about their sexuality before being seated alone in a laboratory to watch erotic films while their arousal levels were monitored by a sensor.

Gay men were aroused by images of men, while heterosexual men were aroused by women. But psychologists said those claiming to be bisexual were only aroused by one or the other – 75per cent by men and the rest by women.

Dr Bailey said some men claim to be bisexual as it is easier than admitting to being gay, while others might consider it some kind of achievement and be proud to swing both ways.

I tried to find the longer version of the theory but the erotic films were of a M/M couple and another of a F/F couple. The films were two minutes long and the vasocongestion was monitored by placed around the male shaft a device. The device would measure out how much blood goes through the shaft thus giving an idea of which film arouses the males the most.

This really made me wonder about this whole ordeal of bisexuality. I have met various individuals who also feel bisexuality is a myth and not actually a true sexual orientation. Some even say that bisexuality is a 'fad' started to make one look cool. Now, what are your opinions members of Elliquiy?

Warning: Should it go off track or turn into flinging insults or attacking each other, I will shut this thread down. Thank you.

Offline Moonhare

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2010, 09:28:41 PM »
Funny that they don't include women in this study, but then they weren't studying exclusively on men claiming to be bisexual. I understand the need for control groups, but that they claim this with only 33 bisexual men, not taking women into account. Something begs that women have again been placed into the "Not able to orgasm so they don't matter" category, but that is another argument as well.


Offline Jude

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2010, 09:32:41 PM »
If I recall that study had some serious methodological problems with it.  Personally, I think the question is kind of self-evident:  sexuality is based purely on feeling.  If people feel that they are bisexual, isn't that enough?  I just don't get the motivation behind judging other people's orientations in that way.

EDIT:  In addition, I have to wonder if the study was ideologically oriented, because why else would you be studying that?  I don't know, I'm completely baffled.  I'll do a bit of research on it.

Offline Will

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 09:36:06 PM »
This might not be the study I'm thinking of, but it sounds very similar.  The one I read up on recruited the majority of their subjects through publications aimed at the gay community.  It stands to reason that most of their subjects, then, were men looking for men. Right?  Those men may have been very much attracted to women, but were leaning more towards men at that time, hence why they were browsing gay periodicals.  If they had caught these guys on another day, maybe things would be different.

Ahhh, found it.  study  This is the same one - 33 bisexual subjects, which is another problem entirely. ::)

Offline Jude

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2010, 09:38:20 PM »
This might not be the study I'm thinking of, but it sounds very similar.  The one I read up on recruited the majority of their subjects through publications aimed at the gay community.  It stands to reason that most of their subjects, then, were men looking for men. Right?  Those men may have been very much attracted to women, but were leaning more towards men at that time, hence why they were browsing gay periodicals.  If they had caught these guys on another day, maybe things would be different.

Ahhh, found it.  study  This is the same one - 33 bisexual subjects, which is another problem entirely. ::)
Will nailed it.  I did some research and the participants in the study are subject to self-selection bias, which means the study is basically worthless.

Offline Will

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2010, 09:40:20 PM »
Not to mention "Centre for Addiction and Mental Health" smacks of someone trying to treat or cure deviant behaviors.  Like Jude, I have to wonder at their motivation for the study.  The errors in method only make me more certain that they were trying push an agenda rather than useful science.

Offline Jude

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2010, 09:42:09 PM »
Not to mention "Centre for Addiction and Mental Health" smacks of someone trying to treat or cure deviant behaviors.  Like Jude, I have to wonder at their motivation for the study.  The errors in method only make me more certain that they were trying push an agenda rather than useful science.
In the name of fairness and full disclosure, I did find that the principle scientist conducting the study (Michael Bailey) doesn't have any black marks on his record and is a long-term researcher of sexual orientation who doesn't appear to be ideologically motivated at a glimpse (some of his other research concluded that homosexuality was not a choice, for example).  The study does make a bit more sense put into that context.

Offline MargueriteTopic starter

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Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2010, 09:43:07 PM »
This might not be the study I'm thinking of, but it sounds very similar.  The one I read up on recruited the majority of their subjects through publications aimed at the gay community.  It stands to reason that most of their subjects, then, were men looking for men. Right?  Those men may have been very much attracted to women, but were leaning more towards men at that time, hence why they were browsing gay periodicals.  If they had caught these guys on another day, maybe things would be different.

Ahhh, found it.  study  This is the same one - 33 bisexual subjects, which is another problem entirely. ::)

That is the one and it did have problems with the study. As you stated the small number of subjects which does not represent the whole population though they did want to make it seem that way. There was also a volunteer bias and again where they were focusing on homosexual and not really trying to find as many self-reported bisexuals.

If I recall that study had some serious methodological problems with it.  Personally, I think the question is kind of self-evident:  sexuality is based purely on feeling.  If people feel that they are bisexual, isn't that enough?  I just don't get the motivation behind judging other people's orientations in that way.

EDIT:  In addition, I have to wonder if the study was ideologically oriented, because why else would you be studying that?  I don't know, I'm completely baffled.  I'll do a bit of research on it.

A lot of research over the years has been focused on various sexual orientations, mainly homosexuality to figure out if sexual orientations differ in their lifestyle, pattern of relationships, sexuality, way of going about things and so on. Recently, there are more about lesbian orientation, transgender and bisexuality research but it is a small percentage.

Edit: Yes, you two are hitting the same marks in class when it was discussed on their disadvantages and critiques.

Offline MargueriteTopic starter

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Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2010, 09:44:43 PM »
In the name of fairness and full disclosure, I did find that the principle scientist conducting the study (Michael Bailey) doesn't have any black marks on his record and is a long-term researcher of sexual orientation who doesn't appear to be ideologically motivated at a glimpse (some of his other research concluded that homosexuality was not a choice, for example).  The study does make a bit more sense put into that context.

He even wrote a book: The Man Who Would Be Queen. However, he was investigated and many individuals are probing close if he does have an agenda.

Offline Jude

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2010, 09:49:10 PM »
I suppose it's relevant to the discussion to mention (although I am not trying to color anyone here with this particular brush, I just thought it was a related subject) that the Gay to Straight Activists and Crazies (aren't they one in the same?) also believe that homosexuality is a fake orientation.  They have a bunch of crazy theories about how it actually arises out of having bad relationships with your parents or something.  For a long time I think that was the Freudian view as well.

I do have to wonder how Freud would even begin to tackle the concept of bisexuality given his binary worldview.

Offline Host of Seraphim

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2010, 10:00:44 PM »
They were questioned at length about their sexuality before being seated alone in a laboratory to watch erotic films while their arousal levels were monitored by a sensor.

Gay men were aroused by images of men, while heterosexual men were aroused by women. But psychologists said those claiming to be bisexual were only aroused by one or the other – 75per cent by men and the rest by women.

What if the erotic films featuring women were just really crappy? Or they didn't find the women attractive because they had massive fake boobs or something? Likewise, what if the "straight" guys didn't find the men attractive or the film had bad lighting or something? What if the "straight" men weren't aroused by the gay films because they featured muscly hunkerdoodles when they preferred more twink-type guys?

If you give me a video or a photo of a man and a woman, and I find the man more appealing than the woman, I'll probably be more turned on by the man. Does that make me straight?

But if I find the woman more appealing than the man, I'll be more turned on by the woman. Does that make me a lesbian?

Just because I'm attracted to both men and women doesn't mean I'm equally attracted to both 100% of the time! In fact, I tend to have periods where I like women more than men and vice versa. Does that somehow negate my sexuality?

edit: realized I sound kinda confrontational -- didn't mean to direct it at you, OP, just at the study.  :-)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 10:02:46 PM by Host of Seraphim »

Offline Moonhare

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2010, 10:05:54 PM »
They should let them bring their own material, both male and female and other, and see what the person likes for themselves. Whether movie, picture, or written material, it is hard to gauge what will attract someone.

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Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2010, 10:10:13 PM »
I remember from my statistics class that anything with a sample size of less than 50 was too subject to random variance to be reliable. 

Offline MargueriteTopic starter

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Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2010, 10:16:42 PM »
What if the erotic films featuring women were just really crappy? Or they didn't find the women attractive because they had massive fake boobs or something? Likewise, what if the "straight" guys didn't find the men attractive or the film had bad lighting or something? What if the "straight" men weren't aroused by the gay films because they featured muscly hunkerdoodles when they preferred more twink-type guys?

If you give me a video or a photo of a man and a woman, and I find the man more appealing than the woman, I'll probably be more turned on by the man. Does that make me straight?

But if I find the woman more appealing than the man, I'll be more turned on by the woman. Does that make me a lesbian?

Just because I'm attracted to both men and women doesn't mean I'm equally attracted to both 100% of the time! In fact, I tend to have periods where I like women more than men and vice versa. Does that somehow negate my sexuality?

edit: realized I sound kinda confrontational -- didn't mean to direct it at you, OP, just at the study.  :-)

Not at all confrontational. You are right about a few things: What is a turn on for someone, it may be a turn off for another.

Another thing is whether there were some individuals who were shy about being watched no matter if it was a study they volunteered for? Ever heard of performance anxiety?

Offline MajorTeroh

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2010, 10:31:17 PM »
I consider myself bisexual, though I feel it is a sort of transition period...I like women, that I am sure of, and I like men, sometimes, but I feel that in the future I will choose one or the other really. Maybe it will just be I get into a serious relation with a female and don't think of men anymore or perhaps the other way around. Talking to a lesbian friend of mine, she concluded that I was a "boy tease." I suppose this made a little sense, as I can't particularly see myself in a long term relationship with a male, though at this moment, I also don't see myself in a long term relationship with women either. I suppose at this moment I am just distanced from other people and feelings of intimacy past close friendships. While there is a completely homophobic person at my workplace, who constantly ridicules me as being gay, will admit that he thinks I'm not "really" bisexual, that is when he's having a "good" day. I suppose this might discredit my bisexuality to some degree. I do get aroused by situations involving females, though I don't get aroused by male on male situations, I do get the "teenage girl flutters" and like reading the stories and the such. I am much more picky with things involving males than females.

Aaaanywhoo....I suppose this turned into more of me telling about myself, but I suppose it just works for, if I end up being bisexual, it tells how my view on it from personal experiences.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2010, 01:26:15 AM »
The study seems terribly flawed for many of the reasons listed above. Although what strikes me as odd is that the films were apparently M/M or F/F? Shouldn't one of the defining things about heterosexuality be an attraction to depictions of heterosexual sex?

I do have to wonder how Freud would even begin to tackle the concept of bisexuality given his binary worldview.

Not sure what binary worldview you are referring to, but Freud did write a good deal on bisexuality and believed that since we go through a period of embryonic development without determined sex, that sexual attraction to solely one sex is an artifact of culture overlaid on the primary bisexuality that survives as a remnant of this hermaphroditic period of development. Now these still suffer from Freud's inability (along with his contemporaries) to distinguish gender from sex, and the inferior understanding of physiology of the day. Along with the assumption that heteronormativity was a 'proper' developmental path. As a result his theories are flawed, yet they do still make for interesting reading and even prompted some of the research Kinsey did.


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Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2010, 01:29:51 AM »
The study seems terribly flawed for many of the reasons listed above. Although what strikes me as odd is that the films were apparently M/M or F/F? Shouldn't one of the defining things about heterosexuality be an attraction to depictions of heterosexual sex?

That struck me as particularly odd myself.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2010, 05:59:58 AM »
Didn't the Kinsey studies conclude using just raw statistics that bisexuality is there, that is enough for me. And his studies had a HUGE sampling of people I would find that far more acceptable as a reference than a small sampling of just one gender.

But as a personal reflection women seem far more likely to consider acting on feelings for other women than a man would with a man ,if bisexual or even curious, but prefer men. Might be an interesting study right there.

Online Silk

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2010, 06:44:28 AM »
Didn't the Kinsey studies conclude using just raw statistics that bisexuality is there, that is enough for me. And his studies had a HUGE sampling of people I would find that far more acceptable as a reference than a small sampling of just one gender.

But as a personal reflection women seem far more likely to consider acting on feelings for other women than a man would with a man ,if bisexual or even curious, but prefer men. Might be an interesting study right there.

That tends to be more because women are more encouraged to be open about things, while guys still have alot of pressure to deal with their stuff on their own.

Offline Aviva

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2010, 08:35:14 AM »
I have to agree with others from what I have read there is many errors that were made when doing this study to try and see if a bi male is a myth but should that not also lead to the fact (if it was true) that a female bi is also a myth?

I have known I am bi since my early teen years but I can count only on my hands and feet the number of women I have been truly attracted to enough to get me hot and bothered. Just because I like women does not naturally mean all women turn me on and the same for men. I like men but not all of them would get me going for various reasons.

As stated above I am sure the same can be said for men as well. Also if it was a porno movie I tend to feel rather inadequate watching such and that could of been a contributing factor into this test also along with the aforementioned stage fright so to speak.

I am not sure what he was trying to put across in truth beyond what he appears to have tried but failed in my opinion at least miserably.

Though having read he also tried to prove that being homosexual is beyond a persons control hints that he sits on the fence as it were and trying to be open minded.

Personally why can we not accept people for who and what they are as long as they are not going out to hurt people.

I have friends that have been told by loved ones should they ever come out as being gay or bi they would have them put in a mental institute as they feel that their family member is sick rather than acting on how they simply feel or are.

I am not sure any time soon any one shall be able to prove that sexuality is a illness/fake etc because then we would have to consider one big fact.

If being bi or homosexual was wrong or a illness how does that make heterosexuality normal as the feelings come from the same places. Is heterosexuality just simply a over time/generations a accepted/enforced sexuality by human conditioning against anything else?

Hope that was clear enough.






Offline Will

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2010, 12:07:59 PM »
I'm still not really convinced that the research was impartial.  Just because Bailey believes that homosexuality is not a choice doesn't mean that he's open to the idea of bisexuality.  It's not a package deal. : /  You can be fine with one, and still be totally dismissive of the other.

Offline Remiel

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2010, 12:47:40 PM »
Wasn't Kinsey the one who theorized that bisexuality was like a spectrum, and that all people were bisexual, only to a greater or lesser degree?

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Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2010, 01:18:54 PM »
Kinsey's scale had more discrete divisions as follows:

0    Exclusively heterosexual
1    Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2    Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3    Equally heterosexual and homosexual; bisexual.
4    Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5    Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6    Exclusively homosexual
X    Asexual, Non-Sexual

Personally, I think the truth is closer to a continuum (still allowing for values of 0 and 6, but also allowing values of, say, 3.5.)

Offline Gwynevere

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2010, 01:49:18 PM »
For me, sexuality is something that can't be pinned down. On a given day I may crave M/M erotica, or F/F, or M/M/F. On another day, I may crave something else from that list. At the same time, I'm a woman in love with and living with a woman. One of my purposes in role playing is to safely indulge cravings that I don't want to sacrifice my life partnership for.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Is Bisexuality A Legitimate Orientation?
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2010, 03:47:33 PM »
That tends to be more because women are more encouraged to be open about things, while guys still have alot of pressure to deal with their stuff on their own.

This brings the added consideration of nationality and culture into the issue. It seems that if anyone were to actually attempt this experiment properly they would need to look at differences in cultural conditioning across populations. Of course, that assumes that all sexuality is not merely a result of cultural conditioning (much like our preferences for specific foods and standards of beauty) and that there is an individual baseline apart from pure bisexuality.

Regardless, I can't actually even think of a good reason to do this research (which is a rarity given my general inclination to investigate everything), do they ever mention what end they were working towards? Other than to just go around telling bisexuals that they are wrong, that is <_<