Women are more likely than men to be bisexual and three times more likely to change their sexual identities in their twenties, a new study has found.
The study’s author tracked 5,018 women and 4,191 men in the US through adolescence and into young adulthood, and concluded that women were sexually ‘more flexible and adaptive’ men – who are more likely to describe themselves as ‘100% heterosexual’ or ‘100% homosexual.’
Elizabeth Aura McClintock, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, said romantic opportunities appeared to influence women’s sexual identities – but not men’s.
‘Women with some degree of attraction to both males and females might be drawn into heterosexuality if they have favorable options in the heterosexual partner market,’ she said.
‘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.’
McClintock’s research showed that women with more education and women who were more physically attractive had higher probabilities of identifying as ‘100% heterosexual,’ which she speculated was because they had more romantic opportunities with male partners.
Interestingly for men, higher levels of education were associated with a lower likelihood of identifying as ‘100% heterosexual,’ but physical attractiveness had no clear association with sexual identity.
‘Men are less often attracted to both sexes,’ McClintock said.
‘Men’s sexuality is, in this sense, less flexible. If a man is only attracted to one sex, romantic opportunity would little alter his sexual identity.’