Presented To: Dr. Curry
November 7, 2012
Bisexuality is a sexual behavior or an orientation involving physical and/or romantic attraction to both males and females. It is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation, along with a heterosexual and a homosexual orientation. Individuals who lack sexual attraction to either sex are known as asexual. People who have a distinct but not exclusive preference for one sex over the other may also identify themselves as bisexual. Bisexuality has been observed in various human societies and elsewhere in the animal kingdom throughout recorded history. The term bisexuality, however, like the terms hetero- and homosexuality, was coined in the 19th century. Bisexuality does not require that a person be attracted equally to both sexes; one may still have a distinct preference for one sex over the other while identifying as bisexual. A 2005 study by researcher Gerulf Rieger, Meredith L. Chivers, and J. Michael Bailey purported to find that bisexuality is extremely rare in men. This was based on results of controversial penile plethysmograph testing when viewing pornographic material involving only men and pornography involving only women. Critics state that this study works from the assumption that a person is only truly bisexual if he or she exhibits virtually equal arousal responses to both opposite-sex and same-sex stimuli, and have consequently dismissed the self-identification of people whose arousal patterns showed even a mild preference for one sex. Some researchers say that the technique used in the study to measure genital arousal is too crude to capture the richness that constitutes sexual attraction. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called the study and The New York Times coverage of it flawed and biphasic.
In 1995, Harvard Shakespeare professor Marjorie Garber made the academic case for bisexuality with her Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, in which she argued that most people would be bisexual if not for “repression, religion, repugnance, denial, laziness, shyness, lack of opportunity, premature specialization, a failure of imagination, or a life already full to the brim with erotic experiences, albeit with only one person, or only one gender The American Psychological Association states that sexual orientation “describes the pattern of sexual attraction, behavior and identity e.g. homosexual (aka gay, lesbian), bisexual and heterosexual (aka Straight).” “Sexual attraction, behavior and identity may be incongruent. For example, sexual attraction and/or behavior may not necessarily be consistent with identity. Some individuals may identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual without having had any sexual experience. Others have had homosexual experiences but do not consider themselves to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Further, sexual orientation falls along a continuum. In other words, someone does not have to be exclusively homosexual or heterosexual, but can feel varying degrees of both. Sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime-different people realize at different points in their lives that they are heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.
According to Rosario, Schrimshaw, Hunter, Braun (2006), “the development of a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual identity is a complex and often difficult process. Unlike members of other minority groups most LGB individuals are not raised in a community of similar others from whom they learn about their identity and who reinforce and support that identity. Rather, LGB individuals are often raised in communities that are either ignorant of or openly hostile toward homosexuality. In a longitudinal study about sexual identity development among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths, its authors “found evidence of both considerable consistency and change in LGB sexual identity over time.” Youths who had identified as both gay/lesbian and...
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