Sexual Fluidity and Related Attitudes and Beliefs Among Young Adults with a Same-Gender Orientation

Abstract

Little research has examined whether experiencing sexual fluidity—changes over time in attractions and sexual orientation identity—is related to specific cognitions. This study explored attitudes and beliefs among sexually fluid and non-sexually fluid individuals and developed two new measures of sexuality beliefs based on Diamond’s sexual fluidity research and Dweck’s psychological theory of intelligence beliefs. Participants were 188 female and male young adults in the United States with a same-gender orientation, ages 18–26 years. Participants completed an online questionnaire which assessed sexual fluidity in attractions and sexual orientation identity, attitudes toward bisexuality, sexuality beliefs, and demographics. Sexual fluidity in attractions was reported by 63 % of females and 50 % of males, with 48 % of those females and 34 % of those males reporting fluidity in sexual orientation identity. No significant gender differences in frequency of sexual fluidity were observed. Sexually fluid females had more positive attitudes toward bisexuality than non-sexually fluid females; however, no significant difference was observed for males. Females were more likely than males to endorse sexual fluidity beliefs and to believe that sexuality is changeable; and sexually fluid persons were more likely than non-sexually fluid persons to hold those two beliefs. Among males, non-sexually fluid individuals were more likely than sexually fluid individuals to believe that sexuality is something an individual is born with. Females were more likely than males to endorse the belief that sexuality is influenced by the environment. Findings from this research link sexual fluidity with specific cognitions.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Descriptive statistics reported for sexual fluidity differ slightly from those reported in Katz-Wise (2014) because the sample for the current study was restricted to individuals who did not report a transgender or “other” gender identity.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by funding from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The authors wish to acknowledge Alison Manley for her help with the online survey; Martha Alibali, Jane Collins, Julie D’Acci, Kristin Shutts, and Stephanie Budge for their feedback throughout this project; and S. Bryn Austin and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Working Group for their insight and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Sabra L. Katz-Wise.

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Katz-Wise, S.L., Hyde, J.S. Sexual Fluidity and Related Attitudes and Beliefs Among Young Adults with a Same-Gender Orientation. Arch Sex Behav 44, 1459–1470 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0420-1

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Keywords

  • Sexual fluidity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sexual minority