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The Globe and Mail

Bisexual men exist, and are uniquely aroused: study

Is it file under O for obvious?

Scientists at Northwestern University are reporting that bisexual men do indeed exist and are sexually aroused by both men and women. It's a remarkable "scientific about-face" given that just six years ago, the same university questioned whether male bisexuality existed, suggesting that men who identified as bisexual actually showed the arousal patterns of homosexual men.

"That conclusion outraged bisexual men and women, who said it appeared to support a stereotype of bisexual men as closeted homosexuals," David Tuller writes at The New York Times.

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This time, the researchers recruited men from websites catering to bisexuals and limited the cohort to those who had had sex with at least two women and two men, and relationships with at least one person from each sex. Respondents then watched videos of men and women engaging in same-sex intimacy while genital sensors tracked their erectile responses.

Bisexual men were found to respond sexually and "subjectively" to both situations, a stark difference from the gay and straight men in the study.

The findings are part of a growing body of research that suggests bisexual men are not homosexual but uniquely sexually aroused – a concept some still find hard to swallow, and a no-brainer for guys who identify as bisexual.

"They're proving what we in the community already know. It's insulting," Jim Larsen of the advocacy group Bisexual Organizing Project told the Times.

"As a gay man myself, I'm sick and tired of people on the outside of my community pretending to know what I experience. Please stop," wrote one NYT commenter.

Others complained that the laboratory findings are reductive: "Researchers want to fit bi attraction into a little box — you have to be exactly the same, attracted to men and women, and you're bisexual. That's nonsense," Ellyn Ruthstrom, president of Boston's Bisexual Resource Center, told the paper, pointing out that bisexuality is more complicated than what a penile electrode picks up on a given day.

What do you make of the findings?

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