Mostly Heterosexual and Mostly Gay/Lesbian: Evidence for New Sexual Orientation Identities
- 2.5k Downloads
A sample of 1,784 individuals responded to an online survey advertised on the Facebook social networking website. We explored the sexual orientation continuum by focusing on three components: self-reported sexual orientation identity, sexual attraction, and sexual partners. Results supported a 5-category classification of identity (heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, bisexual, mostly gay/lesbian, gay/lesbian) in that two added identity labels (mostly heterosexual and mostly gay/lesbian) were frequently chosen by participants and/or showed unique patterns of attraction and partners, distinct from their adjacent identities (heterosexual and bisexual, and bisexual and gay/lesbian, respectively). Those who reported an exclusive label (heterosexual, gay/lesbian) were not necessarily exclusive in other components; a significant minority of heterosexuals and the majority of gays/lesbians reported some attraction and/or partners toward their nonpreferred sex. The five identity groups differed in attraction and partners in a manner consistent with a continuous, rather than a categorical, distribution of sexual orientation. Findings also supported a sexual orientation continuum as consisting of two, rather than one, distinct dimensions (same- and other-sex sexuality). Having more same-sex sexuality did not necessarily imply having less other-sex sexuality, and vice versa. More men than women were at the exclusive ends of the continuum; however, men were not bimodally distributed in that a significant minority reported nonexclusivity in their sexuality.
KeywordsSexual orientation Heterosexual Gay/lesbian Sexual identity Sexual behavior
- Austin, S. B., Roberts, A. L., Corliss, H. L., & Molnar, B. E. (2008). Sexual violence victimization history and sexual risk indicators in a community-based urban cohort of “mostly heterosexual” and heterosexual young women. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 1015–1020. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2006.099473.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Backstrom, L., Chang, J., Marlow, C., & Rosenn, I. (2009, December 16). How diverse is Facebook? Facebook Data Team. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=205925658858.
- Bailey, J. M. (2009). What is sexual orientation and do women have one? In D. A. Hope (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation (Vol. 54): Contemporary perspectives on lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities (pp. 43–63). New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-09556-1_3.
- Beach, F. A. (1976). Sexual attractivity, proceptivity, and receptivity in female mammals. Hormones and Behavior, 70, 105–138.Google Scholar
- Bullough, V. (1990). The Kinsey Scale in historical perspective. In D. P. McWhirter, S. A. Sanders, & J. M. Reinisch (Eds.), Homosexuality/heterosexuality: Concepts of sexual orientation (pp. 3–14). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Cerny, J. A., & Janssen, E. (2011). Patterns of sexual arousal in homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 687–697.Google Scholar
- Chandra, A., Mosher, W. D., & Copen, C. (2011, March). Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: Data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth. National Health Statistics Reports, No. 36. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
- Chatters, L. M., Taylor, R. J., Bullard, K. M., & Jackson, J. S. (2008). Spirituality and subjective religiosity among African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, and non-Hispanic Whites. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47, 725–737. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2008.00437.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Corbett, P. (2009, January 5). 2009 Facebook demographics and statistics report: 276% growth in 35–54 year old users. Retrieved from http://www.istrategylabs.com/2009/01/2009-facebook-demographics-and-statistics-report-276-growth-in-35-54-year-old-users/.
- Diamond, L. M. (2008). Sexual fluidity: Understanding women’s love and desire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
- LeVay, S., & Baldwin, J. (2012). Human sexuality (4th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.Google Scholar
- McAuliffe, T. L., DiFranceisco, W., & Reed, B. R. (2007). Effects of question format and collection mode on the accuracy of retrospective surveys of health risk behavior: A comparison with daily sexual activity diaries. Health Psychology, 26, 60–67. doi:10.1037/0278-622.214.171.124.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Morgan, E. M., & Thompson, E. M. (2011). Processes of sexual orientation questioning among heterosexual women. Journal of Sex Research, 48, 16–28.Google Scholar
- Rodríguez Rust, P. C. (2002). Bisexuality: The state of the union. Annual Review of Sex Research, 13, 180–240.Google Scholar
- Saad, L. (2009, June 15). “Conservatives” are single largest ideological group. Gallup. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/conservatives-single-largest-ideological-group.aspx.
- Savin-Williams, R. C. (2005). The new gay teenager. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Savin-Williams, R. C. (2009). How many gays are there? It depends. In D. A. Hope (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation (Vol. 54): Contemporary perspectives on lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities (pp. 5–41). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-09556-1_2.
- Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., & Pryor, D. W. (1994). Dual attraction: Understanding bisexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar