Correlates of Same-Sex Attractions and Behaviors Among Self-Identified Heterosexual University Students
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Few studies have focused on intragroup variations in sexual orientation and fewer on self-identified heterosexuals with same-sex attractions, fantasies, and/or behaviors. Self-identified heterosexual students at a large public midwestern university (N = 263) completed measures of sexuality and gender, attitudes toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people, religious and political beliefs, emotional well-being, and demographics. The sample included 82 individuals (31%; labeled “H+”) who endorsed same-sex attraction, fantasy, and/or behavior and 181 (69%; labeled “H”) who did not. Women were more likely to be categorized as H+ than men. H+ participants had more positive attitudes toward lesbians and gay and bisexual men and reported more support for LGB-positive public policies than did H participants. H+ participants reported less literalistic beliefs about religious scripture than did H participants. H and H+ groups did not differ significantly on measures of emotional well-being. Results were discussed in the context of recent literature arguing for a more nuanced and gender-differentiated approach toward assessing sexual orientation, as well as literature on the flexibility of sexual orientation and on heterosexual identity development.
KeywordsSexual orientation Sexual identity Heterosexuality Homosexuality Sexual prejudice
We are grateful to Brandé Lontine for contributing the questionnaire on political beliefs and policy positions that was used in this article. Portions of this article were presented at annual meetings of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, November 2007, 2008, and 2009, and at the annual meeting of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, June 2008.
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