Sexual orientation , Sexual identity , and Human sexual activity Bisexuality is romantic or sexual attraction to males and females.
The American Psychological Association states that "sexual orientation falls along a continuum. In other words, someone does not have to be exclusively homosexual or heterosexual, but can feel varying degrees of both.
Sexual orientation develops across a person's lifetime—different people realize at different points in their lives that they are heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.
Some individuals identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual without having had any sexual experience. Others have had homosexual experiences but do not consider themselves to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Some sources state that bisexuality encompasses romantic or sexual attraction to all gender identities or that it is romantic or sexual attraction to a person irrespective of that person's biological sex or gender, equating it to or rendering it interchangeable with pansexuality.
Unlike members of other minority groups e. Rather, LGB individuals are often raised in communities that are either ignorant of or openly hostile toward homosexuality. In a longitudinal study about sexual identity development among lesbian, gay, and bisexual LGB youths, Rosario et al.
Kinsey scale In the s, the zoologist Alfred Kinsey created a scale to measure the continuum of sexual orientation from heterosexuality to homosexuality. Kinsey studied human sexuality and argued that people have the capability of being hetero- or homosexual even if this trait does not present itself in the current circumstances. It ranges from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual.
Weinberg and Colin J. Williams write that, in principle, people who rank anywhere from 1 to 5 could be considered bisexual. The same study found that 2. Among some tribes, it appears to be non-existent while in others a universal, including the Sambia of New Guinea and similar Melanesian cultures. Prenatal hormones and sexual orientation , Fraternal birth order and sexual orientation , and Innate bisexuality There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual orientation.
It further stated that, for most people, sexual orientation is determined at an early age. Similarly, no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse. In most fetuses, the center for attraction to the opposite sex developed while the center for attraction to the same sex regressed, but in fetuses that became homosexual, the reverse occurred.
Simon LeVay has criticized Hirschfeld's theory of an early bisexual stage of development, calling it confusing; LeVay maintains that Hirschfeld failed to distinguish between saying that the brain is sexually undifferentiated at an early stage of development and saying that an individual actually experiences sexual attraction to both men and women.
According to LeVay, Hirschfeld believed that in most bisexual people the strength of attraction to the same sex was relatively low, and that it was therefore possible to restrain its development in young people, something Hirschfeld supported. On this scale, someone who was A3, B9 would be weakly attracted to the opposite sex and very strongly attracted to the same sex, an A0, B0 would be asexual, and an A10, B10 would be very attracted to both sexes.
LeVay compares Hirschfeld's scale to that developed by Kinsey decades later. In his view, this was true anatomically and therefore also psychologically, with sexual attraction to both sexes being an aspect of this psychological bisexuality.
Freud believed that in the course of sexual development the masculine side of this bisexual disposition would normally become dominant in men and the feminine side in women, but that all adults still have desires derived from both the masculine and the feminine sides of their natures. Freud did not claim that everyone is bisexual in the sense of feeling the same level of sexual attraction to both genders.
Disease or Way of Life? Bell , Martin S. Weinberg , and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith, writing in Sexual Preference , reported that sexual preference was much less strongly connected with pre-adult sexual feelings among bisexuals than it was among heterosexuals and homosexuals. Based on this and other findings, they suggested that bisexuality is more influenced by social and sexual learning than is exclusive homosexuality. Van Wyk and Geist argue that this is a problem for sexuality research because the few studies that have observed bisexuals separately have found that bisexuals are often different from both heterosexuals and homosexuals.
Furthermore, bisexuality does not always represent a halfway point between the dichotomy. Research indicates that bisexuality is influenced by biological, cognitive and cultural variables in interaction, and this leads to different types of bisexuality.
A difference in attitude between homosexual men and women has also been reported, with men more likely to regard their sexuality as biological, "reflecting the universal male experience in this culture, not the complexities of the lesbian world. Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, in which she argued that most people would be bisexual if not for repression and other factors such as lack of sexual opportunity.
Although grouped with homosexuals, the INAH 3 size of the one bisexual subject was similar to that of the heterosexual men. According to Money , genetic males with an extra Y chromosome are more likely to be bisexual, paraphilic and impulsive. Instead, bisexuality can be due to normal variation in brain plasticity. More recently, it has been suggested that same-sex alliances may have helped males climb the social hierarchy giving access to females and reproductive opportunities. Same-sex allies could have helped females to move to the safer and resource richer center of the group, which increased their chances of raising their offspring successfully.
Driscoll stated that homosexual and bisexual behavior is quite common in several species and that it fosters bonding: The article also stated: Rather, many species seem to have ingrained homosexual tendencies that are a regular part of their society.
That is, there are probably no strictly gay critters, just bisexual ones. Animals don't do sexual identity. They just do sex. There are several studies suggesting that bisexuals have a high degree of masculinization.
LaTorre and Wendenberg found differing personality characteristics for bisexual, heterosexual and homosexual women. Bisexuals were found to have fewer personal insecurities than heterosexuals and homosexuals. This finding defined bisexuals as self-assured and less likely to suffer from mental instabilities.
The confidence of a secure identity consistently translated to more masculinity than other subjects. This study did not explore societal norms, prejudices, or the feminization of homosexual males. Homosexual and bisexual women have been found to have a hypersensitivity to sound in comparison to heterosexual women, suggesting a genetic disposition to not tolerate high pitched tones.
While heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual men have been found to exhibit similar patterns of hearing, there was a notable differential within a sub-group of males identified as hyperfeminized homosexual males who exhibited test results similar to heterosexual women.
Studies providing evidence for the masculinization of the brain have, however, not been conducted to date. Research on special conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia CAH and exposure to diethylstilbestrol DES indicate that prenatal exposure to, respectively, excess testosterone and estrogens are associated with female—female sex fantasies in adults.
Both effects are associated with bisexuality rather than homosexuality. Studies measuring the fingers found a statistically significant skew in the 2D: It is suggested that exposure to high prenatal testosterone and low prenatal estrogen concentrations is one cause of homosexuality whereas exposure to very high testosterone levels may be associated with bisexuality.
Because testosterone in general is important for sexual differentiation, this view offers an alternative to the suggestion that male homosexuality is genetic. This is contradictory to another hypothesis that homosexual preferences may be due to a feminized brain in males.
However, it has also been suggested that homosexuality may be due to high prenatal levels of unbound testosterone that results from a lack of receptors at particular brain sites. Therefore, the brain could be feminized while other features, such as the 2D: Van Wyk and Geist found that male and female bisexuals had more sexual fantasy than heterosexuals.
Dixon found that bisexual men had more sexual activities with women than did heterosexual men. Bisexual men masturbated more but had fewer happy marriages than heterosexuals. Bressler and Lavender found that bisexual women had more orgasms per week and they described them as stronger than those of hetero- or homosexual women. They also found that marriages with a bisexual female were happier than heterosexual unions, observed less instance of hidden infidelity, and ended in divorce less frequently.
Goode and Haber found bisexual women to be sexually mature earlier, masturbate and enjoy masturbation more and to be more experienced in different types of heterosexual contact. For men, however, high sex drive is associated with increased attraction to one sex or the other, but not to both, depending on sexual orientation.
Some who identify as bisexual may merge themselves into either homosexual or heterosexual society. Other bisexual people see this merging as enforced rather than voluntary; bisexual people can face exclusion from both homosexual and heterosexual society on coming out.
Psychologist Beth Firestein states that bisexuals tend to internalize social tensions related to their choice of partners  and feel pressured to label themselves as homosexuals instead of occupying the difficult middle ground where attraction to people of both sexes would defy society's value on monogamy. In addition to the discrimination associated with homophobia , bisexuals frequently contend with discrimination from gay men, lesbians, and straight society around the word bisexual and bisexual identity itself.
In the heterosexist view, people are presumed to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex, and it is sometimes reasoned that a bisexual person is simply a heterosexual person who is sexually experimenting. In , researchers Gerulf Rieger, Meredith L. Chivers , and J. Michael Bailey used penile plethysmography to measure the arousal of self-identified bisexual men to pornography involving only men and pornography involving only women.
Participants were recruited via advertisements in gay-oriented magazines and an alternative paper. They found that the self-identified bisexual men in their sample had genital arousal patterns similar to either homosexual or heterosexual men.
The authors concluded that "in terms of behavior and identity, bisexual men clearly exist", but that male bisexuality had not been shown to exist with respect to arousal or attraction. The authors said that this change in recruitment strategy was an important difference, but it may not have been a representative sample of bisexual-identified men.
They concluded that "bisexual-identified men with bisexual arousal patterns do indeed exist", but could not establish whether such a pattern is typical of bisexual-identified men in general. There is increasing inclusion and visibility of bisexuals, particularly in the LGBT community. A common symbol of the bisexual community is the bisexual pride flag , which has a deep pink stripe at the top for homosexuality, a blue one on the bottom for heterosexuality, and a purple one, blended from the pink and blue, in the middle to represent bisexuality.
Therefore, a double moon symbol was devised specifically to avoid the use of triangles. The reasoning behind this is that 'coming-out' had become primarily the territory of the gay and lesbian, with bisexuals feeling the push to be one or the other and being right only half the time either way. What he found in , was that people in BDSM were open to discussion about the topic of bisexuality and pansexuality and all controversies they bring to the table, but personal biases and issues stood in the way of actively using such labels.
A decade later, Lenius looked back on his study and considered if anything has changed. He concluded that the standing of bisexuals in the BDSM and kink community was unchanged, and believed that positive shifts in attitude were moderated by society's changing views towards different sexualities and orientations. But Lenius does emphasize that the pansexual promoting BDSM community helped advance greater acceptance of alternative sexualities. Simula explains that practitioners of BDSM routinely challenge our concepts of sexuality by pushing the limits on pre-existing ideas of sexual orientation and gender norms.
For some, BDSM and kink provides a platform in creating identities that are fluid, ever-changing. A widely studied example of lesbian-bisexual conflict within feminism was the Northampton Pride March during the years between and , where many feminists involved debated over whether bisexuals should be included and whether or not bisexuality was compatible with feminism. Common lesbian-feminist critiques leveled at bisexuality were that bisexuality was anti-feminist , that bisexuality was a form of false consciousness , and that bisexual women who pursue relationships with men were "deluded and desperate.
Bindel has described female bisexuality as a "fashionable trend" being promoted due to "sexual hedonism" and broached the question of whether bisexuality even exists. Jeffreys states that while gay men are unlikely to sexually harass women, bisexual men are just as likely to be bothersome to women as heterosexual men.