Study: Bisexual men are not just reluctant homosexuals

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The difference between the studies is the criteria required for bisexual men to participate. The new study, published in the journal Biological Psychology, required bisexual participants to have had sex with at least two members of each sex, as well as have had a romantic relationship for at least three months with a member of each sex.

Both studies had participants view videos of man-on-man and woman-on-woman sexual acts while a sensor measured changes in blood flow to their genitals. While the first study found that "bisexual" men had homosexual patterns of arousal, many of the bisexual subjects in the new study had a sexual response to both videos in ways that matched neither of the response patterns for gay or straight men. In addition to the data collected from the penis sensors, in both studies bisexual men reported subjective arousal to men and women.

This is the second study published this year that found a distinct pattern of arousal for bisexual men. A report published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that bisexual men were more likely than gay or straight men to be aroused, both genitally and subjectively, by videos of a man having sex with both a woman and a man.

Some bisexuals see this research as just another effort to classify them. For these men, bisexuality cannot be broken down to quantifiable or measurable amounts of sexual arousal. Bisexuality is experienced and expressed differently for each individual.

The appearance of bisexuality in women has long been established. In fact, some researchers claim that most women demonstrate a bisexual pattern of sexual arousal. In contrast, these same researches found that men were usually either wholly aroused by images of heterosexual or male homosexual acts, but rarely both.

For whatever reason, female bisexuality has been more accepted in our culture while bisexual men have often been labeled as homosexuals who are struggling with the social stigma of being gay. As our society becomes more accepting of all expressions of sexuality, I expect researchers will find stronger evidence of bisexuality in men.

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A new study out of Northwestern University found that, counter to previous research, some men are in fact sexually aroused by both men and women. While this report may not surprise bisexual men, it directly challenges a 2005 study by the same institute, which found that a small group of volunteer test subjects who described themselves as "bisexuals" demonstrated homosexual patterns of sexual arousal when presented with erotic stimuli.

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