[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 16-Jan-2008
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Contact: Pam Willenz
pwillenz@apa.org
202-336-5707
American Psychological Association

Bisexuality not a transitional phase among women, according to new research

10-year study of women helps establish bisexuality as distinct sexual orientation; debunks stereotype that bisexual women can't commit to long-term relationships

WASHINGTON -- Bisexuality in women appears to be a distinctive sexual orientation and not an experimental or transitional stage that some women adopt "on their way" to lesbianism, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

The study of 79 non-heterosexual women over 10 years found that bisexual women maintained a stable pattern of attraction to both sexes. In addition, the research appears to have debunked the stereotype that bisexual women are uninterested in or unable to commit to long-term monogamous relationships.

"This research provides the first empirical examination of competing assumptions about the nature of bisexuality, both as a sexual identity label and as a pattern of nonexclusive sexual attraction and behavior," wrote University of Utah psychologist Lisa M. Diamond, PhD, who conducted the study. "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."

Results of the research were published in the January issue of Developmental Psychology, published by the APA. This special issue of the journal focuses on research into psychological topics concerning sexual orientation and gender identity.

Diamond used interview data collected five times over a decade from 79 women who identified as lesbian, bisexual or unlabeled. The subjects initially ranged in age from 18 to 25 years old.

Among Diamond's findings:

"This provides further support for the notion that female sexuality is relatively fluid and that the distinction between lesbian and bisexual women is not a rigid one," Diamond wrote.

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Article: "Female Bisexuality From Adolescence to Adulthood: Results From a 10-Year Longitudinal Study," Lisa M. Diamond, PhD, University of Utah, Developmental Psychology, Vol. 44, No. 1.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/dev4415.pdf

Lisa M. Diamond, PhD, can be reached by e-mail: diamond@psych.utah.edu

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 148,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.



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