This headline from the New York Times is full of win: “No Surprise for Bisexual Men: Report Indicates They Exist.” Thank you science!
A study released in 2005 suggested that male bisexuality didn’t exist – men who claimed to be bi were actually gay. I’m sure the fact the study authors advertised for participants in gay-oriented publications had nothing to do with that result. This time, researchers actually looked for bi guys. Radical idea, right?
And whaddaya know? The results were different!
In both studies, men watched videos of male and female same-sex intimacy while genital sensors monitored their erectile responses. While the first study reported that the bisexuals generally resembled homosexuals in their responses, the new one finds that bisexual men responded to both the male and female videos, while gay and straight men in the study did not.
Both studies also found that bisexuals reported subjective arousal to both sexes, notwithstanding their genital responses. “Someone who is bisexual might say, ‘Well, duh!’” said Allen Rosenthal, the lead author of the new Northwestern study and a doctoral student in psychology at the university. “But this will be validating to a lot of bisexual men who had heard about the earlier work and felt that scientists weren’t getting them.”
As Jim Larsen of the Bisexual Organizing Project and Ellyn Ruthstrom of the Bisexual Resource Center point out to the NY Times, the need to prove bisexuality exists through science is damn insulting, and the notion that sexual desire can be reduced to genital arousal is a super reductionist approach to the complicated reality.
Human sexuality doesn’t fit into tiny little boxes. In reality it’s complicated and messy and can’t be reduced to just the categories gay, straight, and bi. Which can be shown through the earth-shattering scientific evidence of real life human experience. As long as scientists keep trying to force people into their pre-assumed boxes we’re going to get messed up studies that fail to explore the actual fascinating world of human sexual diversity.
(Yes, fellow nerds, I know Captain Jack’s sexuality goes way beyond bi. I just think he’s pretty.)