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I Like Watching Other Girls, But I'm Not Gay: What's Up With That?

I am a female. I am NOT attracted to other females. However, female porn/ girl-girl action/ breasts... all these things turn me on. When I watch porn, I prefer watching girls to men, it excites me and turns me on. While watching porn I enjoy fantasizing about it being me with another girl, but in real life those thoughts don't even cross my mind. I just don't get it! Help me, oh wise sages. I am curious to know if you have insight on this phenomenon.

Your experience is not at all unusual. Nude images of females are much more prevalent in society than naked pictures of males, which impacts the viewing experience of pornography for women in very different ways than for men.1 Prolonged gazing at naked men is inconsistent with the female gender role of being sexually passive.2 It is, however, socially acceptable to gaze at females because they are objectified (we check out and compare ourselves to their hair, clothes, bodies, etc.), so it is not surprising that women are comfortable and aroused when watching other women in erotic material. Indeed, using eye-tracking technology, researchers have found that when viewing pornography, heterosexual women are more likely to look at the faces of other women than male faces.3 It’s okay to be turned on by girl-on-girl action; what you find sexually arousing in pornography is not necessarily an indication of your sexual orientation or your actual sexual practices.

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1Eck, B. A. (2003). Men are much harder: Gendered viewing of nude images. Gender & Society, 17, 691-710.

2Disch, L., & Kane, M. J. (1996). When the looker is really a bitch: Lisa Olson, sport and the heterosexual matrix. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 21, 278-308.

3Tsujimura, A., Miyagawa, Y. Takada, S., Matsuoka, Y., Takao, T. Hirai, T., Matsushita, M., Nonomura, N., &  Okuyama, A. (2009). Sex differences in visual attention to sexually explicit videos: A preliminary study. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6(4), 1011-1017.

Dr. Jennifer Harman - Adventures in Dating... | Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr.  Harman's research examines relationship behaviors that put people at-risk for physical and psychological health problems, such as how feelings and beliefs about risk (e.g., sexual risk taking) can be biased when in a relationship. She also studies the role of power on relationship commitment.

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