The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation

The leading journal Archives of Sexual Behavior has a special section in its new issue, The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation. I am delighted to be a co-author on an article with Prof. Ritch Savin-Williams and others that provides evidence for “mostly gay” as a sexual orientation category. I have further research with Prof. Savin-Williams on this issue currently under review. The current article, Gay, Mostly Gay, or Bisexual Leaning Gay?, is available here.

Gay, Mostly Gay, or Bisexual Leaning Gay? An Exploratory Study Distinguishing Gay Sexual Orientations Among Young Men

Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Brian M. Cash, Mark McCormack, and Gerulf Rieger

This exploratory study assessed physiological, behavioral, and self-report measures of sexual and romantic indicators of sexual orientation identities among young men (mean age = 21.9 years) with predominant same-sex sexual and romantic interests: those who described themselves as bisexual leaning gay (n = 11), mostly gay (n = 17), and gay (n = 47). Although they were not significantly distinguishable based on physiological (pupil dilation) responses to nude stimuli, on behavioral and self-report measures a descending linear trend toward the less preferred sex (female) was significant regarding sexual attraction, fantasy, genital contact, infatuation, romantic relationship, sex appeal, and gazing time to the porn stimuli. Results supported a continuum of sexuality with distinct subgroups only for the self-report measure of sexual attraction. The other behavioral and self-report measures followed the same trend but did not significantly differ between the bisexual leaning gay and mostly gay groups, likely the result of small sample size. Results suggest that romantic indicators are as good as sexual measures in assessing sexual orientation and that a succession of logically following groups from bisexual leaning gay, mostly gay, to gay. Whether these three groups are discrete or overlapping needs further research.

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