Originally Published 07/28/15
The study “Romantic Opportunities Appear to Influence Women’s Sexual Identities, But Not Men’s” by Elizabeth Aura McClintock concludes that women are more likely to be bisexual than men and more likely to change their sexual identity labels over time. This is old news here and here. It also states bisexuals may be bisexual because they had a child at an early age, were poorer, and less attractive.
McClintock speculated that women who avoided young motherhood, were physically attractive, or had high levels of education may have been less likely to explore relationships with same-sex partners because they had more romantic opportunities with male partners. In other words, their social position facilitated a hetero-conformist identity and thus discouraged alternative sexual identities, according to McClintock.
There are so many factors that could influence this. Bisexual women may just be more likely to have children at a younger age and actually be less “conventionally” attractive rather than adopt a bisexual orientation because of these factors. The researcher also stated the people determining the hotness levels of the research subjects were (most likely heterosexual) middle aged white women. Some people on the Internet are offended by this. It doesn’t bother me at all. Super femme, make up wearing girls aren’t my thing, but it is what society considers attractive.
The education level issue doesn’t make any sense so it is hard to figure that out. But it isn’t the first study to say something like this. Bisexuals apparently are more likely to be poor than straights or gays. Other studies have shown lesbians to be more highly educated and to make more money than straight women so this area needs more research. Studies show notable differences between lesbians and bisexuals. You just can’t lump in lesbians and bisexuals together in talking about sociology for this reason.
I am very skeptical about this
“Women who are initially successful in partnering with men, as is more traditionally expected, may never explore their attraction to other women. However, women with the same sexual attractions, but less favorable heterosexual options might have greater opportunity to experiment with same-sex partners. Women who act on same-sex attraction are more likely to incorporate same-sex sexuality into their sexual identities.”
Bisexuals are exploring relationships with women because they are less desirable to men? Do these people have any idea as to how difficult it is to find a female partner? There are about 97 straight men/bi men for every 2 or 3 women queer enough to actually want a serious girlfriend. Even heavily lesbian leaning bisexuals wind up with men according to the Pew research poll (2013), probably because of the odds of meeting one are so much greater. And so many lesbians straight up refuse to even date bisexual women. Lesbians are some amazing abundant opportunity for a bisexual woman rejected by men? They are not. If this researcher didn’t provide some kind of hard proof that bisexual identified women are actually improving their dating options once they went bi this doesn’t seem like a reasonable conclusion.
However, they did suggest there might be an issue in minority communities where women have more female partners because of the tragedy of too many men in prison. That I could see. Bisexual women may be more likely to wind up with a female partner in this case. But I don’t have personal experiences in these communities and wouldn’t want to form an opinion until I talked to women that do. And I need to see some harder evidence that this is actually causing otherwise straightish women to start identifying as bisexual women. It seems bisexual men may also be more likely to be poor and less educated so something else is likely going on here.
There is no access to this full study online so I can’t look at it. I’d have to just see the details of this study to verify the conclusions they draw. It may be a really sloppy analysis but I also like to keep an open mind. But there needs to be some better data to support that somehow class, childbirth, education, and attractiveness affect a bisexual sexual orientation.