What is Sexual Orientation and Do Women Have One?

  • J. Michael Bailey
Part of the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation book series (NSM, volume 54)

Recent research has focused increased attention on sex differences in the expression of sexuality, including sexual orientation (e.g., Baumeister, 2000; Diamond, 2003). There is an emerging consensus that women's sexual partner choices are sometimes made for different reasons than men's. For example, women are thought to have greater erotic plasticity than men, meaning that their sexual behavior is more apt to be shaped by sociocultural factors (Baumeister). Furthermore, women's sexual desire may be more “fluid” than men's, less rigidly directed toward persons of a particular sex and more changeable over time, depending on relational factors such as romantic attachment (Diamond, 2008).

One strong candidate for a primary mechanism underlying these differences is a striking sex difference in sexual arousal patterns (Chivers, Rieger, Latty, & Bailey, 2004; Chivers, Seto, & Blanchard, 2007). Men, but not women, have a category specific sexual arousal pattern, one that is usually directed...


Sexual Orientation Sexual Arousal Heterosexual Woman Sexual Stimulus Arousal Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Michael Bailey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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