Entries in sexual orientation (15)

Sunday
Nov022014

Case Study: "I’m a lesbian marrying a man"

Recently, salon.com ran this article (click here) that tells the story of a lesbian who fell in love with a man. Although this isn't a scientific study, it's consistent with the article that Dr. Dylan Selterman wrote a couple weeks ago, Debunking Myths About Sexual Fluidity.

Monday
Oct132014

Debunking Myths About Sexual Fluidity

I’m a huge fan of Slate Magazine (I read it almost daily). But recently they ran a piece that portrayed sexual fluidity in a way that was less than accurate, and perhaps ideologically biased. In the interest of scientific accuracy, I wanted to set the record straight.

What is sexual fluidity?

The Slate article contained a bold claim that, “there's absolutely no scientific evidence that female sexuality is fluid—at least not in any novel way.” This is incorrect—scientists have found a lot of evidence to support the claim that female sexuality is fluid.

But what exactly is sexual fluidity? It’s a fairly simple concept: people’s sexual responses are not set in stone, and can change over time, often depending on the immediate situation they’re in.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb192014

Switch-Hitters: Sexual Curiosity and What Turns Bisexual Men On

Newsflash: Heterosexual men report they are sexually attracted to women but not men. That’s why they label themselves heterosexual. And when you actually measure their sexual arousal (more on that later), that’s pretty much what you see -- heterosexual men generally respond physically only to erotic images of women.1 What about homosexual men? You guessed it: They report attraction to men, but not women, and they respond physically to erotic images that depict men (and not women).1

But what about bisexual men? You might assume that they’d report being sexually attracted to men and women, and that they’d show signs of arousal in response to erotic images depicting men and/or women. Turns out that it’s not quite that simple.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Oct212012

Sexuality Is Complicated...So Here's A Summary

Thursday
Aug022012

Bisexuality Myths Debunked by Science

Bisexuality tends to be quite misunderstood. Myths and stereotypes about bisexuality abound, some of which even contradict one another. Straight and LGBT people alike can hold these stereotypes, which compounds the difficulties that bisexual people can have fitting into either group. Luckily, an increasing number of researchers have become interested in bisexuality in recent years, and with research, our understanding of bisexuality is improving.

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Thursday
Feb092012

How Do Same-Sex Couples View Valentine’s Day?

As far as mainstream holidays go, Valentine’s Day is perhaps the most heteronormative of all. From greeting cards and gifts, to television shows and movies, society inundates us with messages that Valentine’s Day is an occasion to celebrate monogamous, heterosexual relationships. It’s a day when men buy flowers, chocolates, and (for the more adventuresome) frilly panties for their ladies before having a candlelight dinner punctuated by kisses and declarations of love and fidelity. So on a day when almost everything seems to be about “devoted husbands” and their “beloved wives,” what are gays and lesbians supposed to do?

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Wednesday
Nov092011

I Always Thought I Was Straight, But Now I’m Not So Sure: Can Our Sexual Desires Change?  

Confused and Heartbroken asked the following:

I am a very straight 20 year old girl. I have only dated men until earlier this year. One of my very close friends last spring told me she was bi-sexual. We had become very close already and had developed a very strong friendship. After she came out to me I realized my feelings intensified and after admitting it to her we ended up in a very heated moment and kissed. Things were wonderful for about two weeks when she basically abandoned me and our friendship.

That was the last week of April and the first week of May of this year. We were apart for the summer with very limited communication and I ended up starting to date a very good friend of mine from my hometown. Things are going wonderfully with him but since I've come back to school and been around her I've been lonely and missing her more and more. We've talked and I've finally managed to get some answers to my questions but I'm still in love with her. I don't understand or know why I am attracted to her because I've never found myself attracted to women before and I certainly don't know why I'm still so attached.

Please help me. :(

Sincerely, 
Confused and Heartbroken

Dear Confused and Heartbroken,

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct312011

Cross-Dressing and Gender-Bending: Separating Science Fact from Fiction

Every year on Halloween, thousands of people around the world descend upon movie theaters to catch midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film tells the story of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a mad scientist and self-described “sweet transvestite” from the planet Transsexual. Throughout the film, Frank dresses as a woman and sleeps with anything (human, alien, or creature) that moves.

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Thursday
Aug252011

Relationship Research Misrepresented in Defense of DOMA

One of our fields' more prolific researchers, Dr. Lisa Diamond, recently made the news when she found herself forced to submit an affadavit stating that John Boehner's legal team inaccurately used her research (and writing) to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Briefly, Boehner implied that individuals are capable of changing their sexual orientation (see SofR's related post on the idea of reparative therapy by Dr. Lehmiller here), and used Dr. Diamond's research on sexual identity labels (not sexual orientation) to supposedly support the claim that sexual orientation is malleable. Read the full story over at the NY Times.

Thursday
Aug042011

Reparative Therapy: Can It Change Someone’s Sexual Orientation?

I recently received an e-mail from someone asking for my thoughts on “reparative therapy” and why this type of treatment is not more widely known and practiced. In case you are not familiar with reparative therapy, it refers to a controversial set of procedures that attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation, usually from homosexual to heterosexual. It has increasingly been in the news these past few days, largely because presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s husband has reportedly been running a clinic providing such treatment...

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Friday
Jun242011

Ovulation and “Gaydar” Accuracy

Although we may not like to admit it, we form impressions about others based on physical appearance, especially when it comes to identifying potential mates. But what factors make those impressions more accurate? It turns out that women’s impressions of men's sexual orientation are affected by where they are in their menstrual cycles. 

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Friday
Jun172011

Why Do People Have Different Sexual Orientations?

A reader submitted the following question: I'd (selfishly) be interested in hearing more about the current research on the emotional/biological/psychological basis of homosexual relationships.

Dear Reader,

You are not alone in wanting to know more about this subject. Students in my Human Sexuality course ask about it every semester!

Click to read more ...

Friday
May132011

Similarity Versus Complementarity Among Lesbian Couples

A recent post discussed the role of similarity in romantic relationships; do “opposites attract” or do “birds of a feather flock together?” Fortunately, the science of relationships has been able to help flush out what could be regarded as conflicting advice about what to look for in a partner.

There is very little research to suggest that opposites really do attract when it comes to romantic partnerships. In fact, romantic partners have been found to typically be similar in a variety of qualities ranging from height and weight to attractiveness to educational, ethnic, and religious background. It seems that most of us find validation in keeping company similar to ourselves and we tend to like others who have qualities that are familiar to us.

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Thursday
Mar312011

How are Gay and Heterosexual Relationships Different?

In a recent Q&A, we addressed whether the type and amount of relationship conflict differs for gay and heterosexual couples. Aside from level of conflict, though, how do same- and opposite-sex couples stack up?

Contrary to popular belief, relationship health and quality is quite similar across gay, lesbian, and heterosexual partnerships. For example, partners in each of these relationship types report almost identical levels of satisfaction with and commitment to their romances on average. Relatively few differences have been discovered, and most are rather small.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar072011

Who Fights More: Heterosexual Couples or Gay Couples?

"E.R." submitted the following question: My brother is homosexual and I am a heterosexual female, we often argue about who has more drama in our relationships. He claims that heterosexual relationships have more drama, and that he and his boyfriends have argued less then me and my boyfriends. I think that hetero and homosexual relationships have the same about of arguing and drama. Who is right? Do homosexual and heterosexual relations differ?

Dear E.R.,

Setting aside the irony that you and your brother fight about who has less conflict in your relationships, the short answer is that you are right! The unfortunate reality is that no couple is immune from conflict. In fact, research indicates that gay and lesbian couples not only fight about the same things as heterosexual couples, but they do so with about the same frequency. We all fight about money, sex, lies, minor annoyances and irritations (e.g., your partner’s driving habits), and which set of parents to spend the holidays with.

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