A report from the American Psychological Association that (female) bisexuality is a stable identity has been doing the blog-rounds over the past few days, as well it might.
According to planetout.com from which I lifted this (and a whole heap of other sites):
“A study of 79 bisexual, lesbian or unlabeled women ages 18-25 over a decade found that bisexuals maintained a stable pattern of attraction to men and women, according to a press release from the APA. The study also disproves the myth that bisexual women are unable to commit to long-term monogamous relationships. Results were published in the January issue of Developmental Psychology, published by the APA.
University of Utah psychologist Lisa Diamond, who conducted the study, said in the press release that the research provides the first experimental study on the topic and debunks long-standing beliefs.
"The findings demonstrate considerable fluidity in bisexual, unlabeled and lesbian women's attractions, behaviors and identities and contribute to researchers' understanding of the complexity of sexual-minority development over the life span," she said.
Bisexual women were more likely than lesbians to change their identity but tended to switch between bisexual and unlabeled rather than lesbian and heterosexual.
At the end of the 10-year study, most of the women were involved in long-term (more than one year in length), monogamous relationships -- 70 percent of the self-identified lesbians, 89 percent of the bisexuals, 85 percent of the unlabeled women and 67 percent of those who were then calling themselves heterosexual. (The Advocate)”
So great ammunition for anyone who’s been on the receiving end of the: bisexual women are just confused / waiting for a man to come along / you watch out – it’ll all end in tears stereotypes.
What do you think?
There was a bit more background to the study, and lots of really interesting comments on the great blog Feministing. Jessica, who writes it, asks her readers whether the study concentrated on women because men’s bisexuality is less acceptable and seen more as a temporary stop on the way to gayness. (Well, just because that’s true, doesn’t make it a reason not to study women’s behaviour/ identity/ whatever.)
I do have this nagging feeling, though, that all this new-found quasi acceptability bi women seem to be enjoying (I say seem, because I’ve seen little evidence of it in “real life”) actually is because men (some: not all by any means, despite the stereotype) like it. Fundamentally, I believe that women's bisexuality is actually a bit more challenging than that - or it can and should be. I want women’s relationships with each other, sexual and otherwise, to be taken seriously and not always viewed in relation to men. I want bi women who bear no resemblance to Tila Tequila to appear in the media. I want bi women of all ages, shapes and sizes – not just young and pretty ones – to be able to live without harassment. And really, I know that this won’t happen until bi men are taken a bit more seriously too.