Study Says Almost All Women Are Bisexual

A research article by Rieger et al. (2016) suggests that women are almost never exclusively heterosexualBut most are delighted to see images of attractive men and women. We will then analyze this study so that the reader can appreciate the degree of credibility of this bold claim.

    The University of Essex study

    Recently, a research team from the University of Essex led by psychologist and anthropologist Gerulf Rieger published the results of their studies on the differences between men and women in the response to sexual stimuli. These authors also analyzed the peculiarities of these patterns in homosexual people.

    The article by Rieger et al. Is based on two studies conducted by this team. The first of them focused on genital responses associated with sexual arousal and in self-reports on the degree of masculinity or femininity perceived by subjects in themselves.

    The second research, however, focused on one particular sign of sexual response: pupillary dilation or mydriasis in the presence of sexual stimuli. This item was also compared again with the degree of masculinity / femininity, although in this case it was measured by external observers as well as by the self-report.

    According to the authors of this study, their hypotheses were based on different information obtained in previous research. A particularly notable aspect in this regard is the scientific evidence surrounding the differences in the sexual responses of men and women, as well as those that occur between heterosexual and homosexual women.

      Differences in arousal between men and women

      Various studies, including that of the Rieger team, have found significant differences in reactivity to sexual-type stimuli depending on biological sex. Specifically, the sexual response of heterosexual men is specific to female stimuliBut that of heterosexual women is not so much that of male images.

      Apparently, the physiological response (in this case the dilation of the pupil) of heterosexual men appears almost exclusively when the stimuli elicit female elements. This would be the typical pattern in men considered heterosexual, although the answer may vary depending on the particular case.

      On the other hand, women respond to male and female sexual stimuli although they claim to be exclusively heterosexual. Thus, the degree of pupil dilation of straight women was similar when the sexual images presented included men as when they were other women.

      It is for this reason that Rieger’s team tries to argue that women are generally not completely heterosexual, but that most of them are bisexual. Specifically, 74% of heterosexual women who participated in the study showed intense reactions of sexual activation to viewing images of attractive women.

        Models based on sexual orientation

        According to researchers at the University of Essex, homosexual women are an exception to the general female trend. Interestingly, their sexual response appears to be more similar to males than females – always keeping in mind, of course, that studies like this focus on average values.

        Thus, women who claim to be exclusively attracted to women tend to react selectively to female sexual stimuli, and not when they are related to men. As we can see, this response is closer to that of men than of women who consider themselves heterosexual.

        Additionally, Rieger’s team argues that the behavior of homosexual women tends to be more uniquely masculine than that of heterosexual women. The degree of selectivity of the response to female sexual stimuli appears to be correlated with the intensity of the masculinity of outward behavior (“Non-sexual masculinity”).

        However, the authors claim that there is no evidence that sexual and non-sexual role models are related to each other. Thus, these two types of masculinity would develop independently due to different factors, according to the words of this research team.

        All bisexuals? The cause of these differences

        Studies by the University of Essex team used visual-type sexual material. In this sense, it should be borne in mind that, according to research such as that of Hamann et al. (2004), men react more intensely than women to visual stimuli when these are related to sexuality.

        This seems to be related to the fact that certain regions of the brain of men are more activated than those of women in the presence of this class of images. In particular, some of the relevant structures are the amygdala (especially the left), hypothalamus, and ventral striatum, located in the basal ganglia.

        On the other hand, women they seem to excite more depending on the context; that is, they tend to show responses such as pupillary dilation if sexual type keys are present in the situation, whether male or female.

        It has been proposed that these differences are due in part to differential socialization between males and females. So while men would learn to suppress homosexual thoughts in times of sexual arousal, women might feel less socially pressured in this regard.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Hamann, S., Herman, RA, Nolan, CL and Wallen, K. (2004). Men and women differ in the response of the amygdala to visual sexual stimuli. Nature Neuroscience, 7: 411-416.
        • Rieger, G., Savin-Williams, RC, Chivers, ML and Bailey, JM (2016). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111 (2): 265-283.

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