Advertisement

Bisexuality

Chapter

Abstract

The term ‘bisexual’ is generally used in minority Western cultures to refer to an individual who experiences sexual attraction to more than one gender - or whose attractions are based on characteristics other than gender (e.g. build or eye colour). As we will show in this chapter, psychology is deeply implicated in the construction of current cultural understandings of bisexuality. Within these understandings, gender and sexuality are most commonly conceptualised as entirely dichotomous: ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ are understood to be distinct from, and opposite to, each other. Bisexuality has been particularly problematic for researchers and academics because they have found it challenging to make bisexuality fit this model of sexuality, which has its roots in the work of early sexologists and has since gained scientific and cultural currency (Angelides, 2001; Fire stein, 1996; Storr, 1999). Consequently, bisexuality has often been invalidated or simply overlooked by sexologists, psychologists, and social scientists more widely. In this chapter we outline a brief history of how bisexuality has been conceptualised within psychology and the social sciences before turning to more recent research, issues, and debates. We end with recommendations for future directions for research.

Keywords

Sexual Identity Sexual Attraction Bisexual Woman Internalise Homophobia Bisexual Identity 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further reading

  1. Angelides, S. (2001). A history of bisexuality.Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barker, M., Richards, C., Jones, R., Bowes-Catton, H., and Plowman, T., The Open University. (2012a). The bisexuality report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity.Milton Ke5m.es: The Open University Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance.Journal of Bisexuality(Taylor & Francis, 2000).Google Scholar
  3. Moon, L. (2010). Counselling ideologies: queer challenges to heteronormativity.Aldershot: Ash gate.Google Scholar
  4. Richards, C. & Barker, M. (2013). Sexuality and gender for mental health professionals: A practical guide.London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Rodriguez-Rust, P. (Ed.) (2000b). Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader.New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar

References

  1. American Institute of Bisexuality (2012). Controversy over Professor J. Michael Bailey and the existence of bisexuality.Retrieved from http://bisexual.org/BiBrain/ [Accessed 13 January 015].
  2. Angelides, S. (2001). A history of bisexuality.London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ault, A. (1996). Ambiguous identity in an unambiguous sex/gender structure: The case of bisexual women. Sociological Quarterly, 37(3), 449–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barker, M. (2004). Including the B-word: Reflections on the place of bisexuality within lesbian and gay activism and psychology. Lesbian& Gay Psychology Review, 5(3), 118–122.Google Scholar
  5. Barker, M. (2007). Heteronormativity and the exclusion of bisexuality in psychology. In V. Clarke & E. Peel (Eds.) Out in psychology: Lesbian, gay bisexual, trans and queer perspectives, (pp. 95–117). Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barker, M., Bowes-Catton, H., Iantaffi, A., Cassidy A., & Brewer, L. (2008). British bisexuality: A snapshot of bisexual identities in the United Kingdom. Journal of Bisexuality, 8(1), 141–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barker, M., Richards, C., Jones, R., Bowes-Catton, H., and Plowman, T., The Open University. (2012a). The bisexuality report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity.Milton Ke5TT.es: The Open University Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance.Google Scholar
  8. Barker, M., Yockney J., Richards, C., Jones, R. L., Bowes-Catton, H., & Plowman, T. (2012b). Guidelines for researching and writing about bisexuality. Journal of Bisexuality, 22(3), 376–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bell, A. P., Weinberg, M. S., & Hammersmith, S. K. (1981). Sexual preference: Its development in men and women.Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Berenson, C. (2002). What’s in a name? Bisexual women define their terms. In D. Atkins (Ed.) Bisexual women in the twenty-first century, (pp. 9–21). New York: Haworth.Google Scholar
  11. Bi Academic Intervention (Eds.) (1997). The bisexual imaginary: Representation, identity and desire.London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  12. Blumstein, P. & Schwartz, P. (1976). Bisexuality: Some social psychological issues.New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bode, J. (1976). View from another closet: Exploring bisexuality in women.New York: Hawthorn Books.Google Scholar
  14. Bower, J., Gurevich, M., & Mathieson, C. (2002). (Con)tested identities: Bisexual women reorient sexuality. Journal of Bisexuality, 2(2/3), 23–52.Google Scholar
  15. Bowes-Catton, H. (2007). Resisting the binary: Discourses of identity and diversity in bisexual politics 1988–1996. Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review, 8(1), 58–70.Google Scholar
  16. Bowes-Catton, H., Barker, M., & Richards, C. (2011). ‘I didn’t know I could feel this relaxed in my body’: Using visual methods to research bisexual people’s embodied experiences of identity and space. In P. Reavey (Ed.) Visual psychologies: Using and interpreting images in qualitative research, (pp. 255–270). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Brennan, T. & Hegarty, P. (2007). Who was Magnus Hirschfeld and why do we need to know? History and Philosophy of Psychology, 9(1), 12–29.Google Scholar
  18. Bullough, V. L. (1994). Science in the bedroom: A history of sex research.New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Bullough, V. L. (2004). Sex will never be the same: The contributions of Alfred C. Kinsey. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 33(3), 277–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Carey, B. (5 July 2005). Straight, gay or lying?: Bisexuality revisited. New York Times.Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2005/0 7/05/health/05 sex.html ?pagewant ed=all&_r=0. [Accessed 13 January 2015].
  21. Cass, V. C. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4(3), 219–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cory, D. W. & LeRoy, J. P. (1963). The homosexual and his society.New York: Citadel.Google Scholar
  23. Davies, D. (1996). Pink therapy: A guide for counsellors and therapists working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients.Milton Ke5TT.es: Open Univers Press.Google Scholar
  24. Diamond, L. M. (1998). Development of sexual orientation among adolescents and 5’oung adult women. Developmental Psychology, 34(5), 1085–1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Diamond, L. M. (2008). Female bisexual from adolescence to adulthood: Results from a 10-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Eisner, S (2013). Bi: Notes for a bisexual revolution.Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.Google Scholar
  27. Eliason, M.J. (1997). The prevalence and nature of biphobia in heterosexual undergraduate students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 26(3), 317–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ericksen, J. A. & Steffen, S. A. (1999). Kiss and tell: Surveying sex in the twentieth century.London: Harvard Univers Press.Google Scholar
  29. Fairyington, S. (2008). Kinsey, bisexuality, and the case against dualism. Journal of Bisexuality, 8(3/4), 267–272.Google Scholar
  30. Freud, S. (1905/1962). Three essays on the theory of sexuality.Translated by James Strachey. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  31. Firestein, B. (Ed.) (1996). Bisexuality: The psychology and politics of an invisible minority.London: Sage Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  32. Firestein, B. A. (Ed.) (2007). Becoming visible: Counseling bisexuals across the lifespan.New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: An introduction.Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  34. Fox, R. (1995). Bisexual identities. In A. R. D’Augelli & C.J. Patterson (Eds.) Lesbian, gay and bisexual identities over the lifespan, (pp. 48–86). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hansen, C. E. & A. Evans (1985). Bisexuality reconsidered: An idea in pursuit of a definition. Journal of Homosexuality, 11(1), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Havelock Ellis, H. (1897/2004). Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2: Sexual Inversion.http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/13611 [accessed 13/01/2014].
  37. Hayfield, N. (2011). Bisexual women’s visual identities: A feminist mixed methods exploration(Unpublished doctoral thesis). Bristol: University of the West of England.Google Scholar
  38. Hayfield, N., Clarke, V., & Halliwell, E. (2014). Bisexual women’s understandings of social marginalisation: ‘The heterosexuals don’t understand us but nor do the lesbians’. Feminism & Psychology 24(3), 352–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hayfield, N., Clarke, V., Halliwell, E., & Maison, H. (2013). Visible lesbians and invisible bisexuals: Appearance and visual identities among bisexual women. Women’s Studies International Forum, 40, 172–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hemmings, C. (1998). Waiting for no man: Bisexual femme subjectivity and cultural repudiation. In S. Munt (Ed.) Butch/femme: Inside lesbian gender.(pp. 90–100). London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  41. Hirschfeld, M. (1914). Die homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes.Berlin: Louis Marcus.Google Scholar
  42. Hirschfeld, M. (2000). Homosexuality in Men and Women.Translated by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. New York: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  43. Highleyman, L. (1995). Overview of section 3: Directions our visionary voices. In N. Tucker, L. Highleyman, & R. Kaplan (Eds.) Bisexual politics: Theories, queries, and visions.(pp. 263–266). New York: Harrington Park Press.Google Scholar
  44. Hite, S. (1976/2000). The new Hite report: The revolutionary report on female sexuality updated.London: Hamlyn.Google Scholar
  45. Hooker, E. (1957). The adjustment of the male overt homosexual. Journal of Projective Techniques, 21(1), 18–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hopkins, J. H. (1969). The lesbian personality. British Journal of Psychiatry, 115(529), 1433–1436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Janus, S. S. & Janus, C. L. (1993). The Janus report on sexual behaviour.Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  48. Jeffreys, S. (1999). Bisexual politics: A superior form of feminism? Women’s Studies International Forum, 22(3), 273–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Jones, R. L. (2011). Imagining bisexual futures: Positive, non-normative later life. Journal of Bisexuality, 11(2 & 3), 245–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Jones, R. L. (2012). Imagining the unimaginable: Bisexual roadmaps for ageing. In R. Ward, I. Rivers, & M. Sutherland (Eds.) Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ageing: Biographical approaches for inclusive care and support, (pp. 21–38). London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  51. Jorm, A., Korten, A., Rodgers, B., Jacomb, P., & Christensen, H. (2002). Sexual orientation and mental health: Results from a community survey of young and middle-aged adults. British Journal of Psychiatry, 180(5), 423–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kimmel, D. C. & Gamets, L. D. (2003). What light it shed: The life of Evelyn Hooker. In L. D. Garnets & D. C. Kimmel (Eds.) Psychological perspectives on lesbian, gay and bisexual experiences, (pp. 31–49). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  53. King, M. & McKeown, E. (2003). Mental health and well-being of gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in England and Wales.London: Mind.Google Scholar
  54. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male.London: W.B. Saunders Company.Google Scholar
  55. Klein, R (1978/1993). The bisexual option(2nd ed.). New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  56. Klein, R, Sepekoff, B., & Wolf, T.J. (1985). Sexual orientation: A multi-variable d5TT.am.ic process. Journal of Homosexuality, 11(1), 35–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Krafft-Ebing, R. (1886/1997). Psychopathia sexualis: The case histories.London: Velvet Publications.Google Scholar
  58. MacDonald, A. P. Jr. (1981). Bisexuality: Some comments on research and theory. Journal of Homosexuality, 6(3), 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. MacDonald, A. P. Jr. (1983/2000). A little bit of lavender goes a long way: A critique of research on sexual orientation. In P. C. Rodriguez-Rust (Ed.) Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader, (pp. 24–30). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Masters, W. H. & Johnson, V. E. (1966/1981). Human sexual response.New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  61. Masters, W. H. & Johnson, V. E. (1979). Homosexuality in perspective.Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  62. McLean, K. (2004). Negotiating (non)monogamy: Bisexuality and intimate relationships. Journal of Bisexuality, 4(1/2), 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. McLean, K. (2007). Hiding in the closet?: Bisexuals, coming out and the disclosure imperative. Journal of Sociology, 43(2), 151–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. McLean, K. (2008a). Inside, outside, nowhere: Bisexual men and women in the gay and lesbian community. Journal of Bisexuality, 8(1-2), 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. McLean, K. (2008b). Silences and stereotypes: The impact of (mis)constructions of bisexuality on Australian bisexual men and women. Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, 4(3), 158–165.Google Scholar
  66. Moon, L. (Ed.) (2010). Counselling ideologies: Queer challenges to heteronormativity.Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  67. Money, J. (1987). Sin, sickness or status? Homosexual gender identity and psychoneuroendocrinology. American Psychologist, 42(A), 384–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Money, J. (1990). Agenda and credenda of the Kinsey scale. In D. P. McWhirter, S. A. Sanders, & J. M. Reinisch (Eds.) Homosexuality/heterosexuality: Concepts of sexual orientation, (pp. 41–60). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Monro, S. (2010). Sexuality, space and intersectionality: The case of lesbian, gay, and bisexual equalities initiatives in UK local government. Sociology, 44(5), 996–1010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Off Pink Collective (Eds.) (1988). Bisexual lives.London: Off Pink Publishing.Google Scholar
  71. Oosterhuis, H. (2000). Stepchildren of nature: Krafft-Ebing, psychiatry, and the making of sexual identity.London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  72. Paul, J. P. (1985/2000). Bisexuality: Reassessing our paradigms of sexuality. In P. C. Rodriguez-Rust (Ed.) Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader.(pp. 11–23). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Rieger, G, Chivers, M. L., & Bailey, J. M. (2005). Sexual arousal patterns of bisexual men. Psychological Science, 16(8), 579–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rieger, G., Rosenthal, A. M., Cash, B. M., Linsenmeier, J. A., Bailey, J. M., & Savin-Williams, R. C. (2013). Male bisexual arousal: A matter of curiosity? Biological Psychology, 94(3), 479–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Ripley, M., Anderson, E., McCormack, M., Adams, A., & Pitts, R. (2011). The decreasing significance of stigma in the lives of bisexual men: Keynote address, bisexual research convention, London. Journal of Bisexuality, 11(2-3), 195–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Rodriguez-Rust, P. C. (2000a). Popular images and the growth of bisexual community and visibility. In P. C. Rodriguez-Rust (Ed.) Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader, (pp. 537–553). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Rodriguez-Rust, P. (Ed.) (2000b). Bisexuality in the United States: A social science reader.New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Rose, S., Stevens, C., Pan, Z., Gollain, F., Behr, A., Lano, K., Wilson, V., Chapman, G., & Sands, D. (1996). Bisexual horizons.London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
  79. Rosenthal, A. M., Sylva, D., Safron, A., & Bailey, J. M. (2011). Sexual arousal patterns of bisexual men revisited. Biological Psychology, 88, 112–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rust, P. C. (1995). Bisexuality and the challenge to lesbian politics: Sex, loyalty, and revolution.London: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  81. Schäfer, S. (1976). Sexual and social problems of lesbians. Journal of Sex Research, 12(1), 50–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Smiley, E. B. (1997). Counseling bisexual clients. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 19(4), 373–382.Google Scholar
  83. Spalding, L. R. & Peplau, L. A. (1997). The unfaithful lover: Heterosexuals’ perceptions of bisexuals and their relationships. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21(4), 611–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Ston, M. (Ed.) (1999). Bisexuality: A critical reader.London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  85. Terry, J. (1999). An American obsession: Science, medicine, and homosexuality in modern society.London: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Voss, G., Browne, K., & Gupta, C. (2014). Embracing the ‘and’: Between queer and bi theory at Brighton BiFest. Journal of Homosexuality6(11), 1605–1625.Google Scholar
  87. Weasel, L. H. (1996). Seeing between the lines: Bisexual women and therapy. Women and Therapy, 19(2), 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Weeks, J. (1989). Sex, politics and society: The regulation of sexuality since 1800(2nd ed.). London: Longman Group Ltd.Google Scholar
  89. Young-Bruehl, E. (2001). Are human beings by nature bisexual? Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 2(3), 179–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Zinik, G. (1985). Identity conflict or adaptive flexibility? Journal of Homosexuality, 11(1), 7–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Helen Bowes-Catton and Nikki Hayfield 2015

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations