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Bisexual Phenomena Among Gay-Identified Men


A high proportion of self-identified gay men exhibit aspects of bisexuality during their lives. Some identify as bisexual before later identifying as gay; this has been called transitional bisexuality. Although many gay men report no attraction to women—or even sexual disgust toward them—others report some slight attraction to women. The latter have been studied as mostly homosexual men. We studied men with and without a history of transitional bisexuality, as well as mostly homosexual (i.e., those with Kinsey scores of 5) and completely homosexual (i.e., those with Kinsey scores of 6) men with respect to their sexual history with women, their current self-reported sexual arousal and disgust toward women and men, and their patterns of genital sexual arousal to female and male stimuli. Gay men with a history of transitional bisexuality generally lacked current sexual attraction and sexual arousal to women, compared with other gay men. Thus, transitional bisexuality among future gay men is mostly a matter of transitional bisexual identification. In contrast, mostly homosexual men showed statistically significant increases in genital arousal to female stimuli, compared with completely homosexual men.

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This research was funded by a grant from the American Institute of Bisexuality (0108-023).

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Correspondence to J. Michael Bailey.

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The authors declare that they have no potential conflicts of interests related to the study.

Ethical Standards

All research methods and recruitment strategies were approved in accordance with the ethical standards of Northwestern University’s Institutional Review Board for research involving human participants.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.

Appendix: Sexual Arousal and Disgust to Women and Men

Appendix: Sexual Arousal and Disgust to Women and Men

For each of the following items, please rate how sexually arousing you find the activity. Please also rate how disgusting you find each activity.

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Semon, T.L., Hsu, K.J., Rosenthal, A.M. et al. Bisexual Phenomena Among Gay-Identified Men. Arch Sex Behav 46, 237–245 (2017).

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  • Bisexuality
  • Sexual aversion
  • Sexual arousal patterns
  • Penile plethysmography
  • Mostly homosexual
  • Sexual orientation