Women are about three times more likely than men to say they are bisexual and a growing number of American women say they have had sexual contact with other women, according to new data from the National Survey of Family Growth. The study was conducted by the CDC, which asked 9,000 respondents between 2011 and 2013 about their sexual experiences and whether they identified as straight, gay or bisexual.
While many of the results were similar to the previous survey (2006-2010), the most remarkable shift was that more men and women said they identified as bisexual: 5.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men, as compared to 3.9 percent and 1.2 percent in the last survey. The number of women who said they’d had sexual contact with other women also rose to 17.4 percent, from 14.2 percent.
Previous studies have shown that women are more likely to report being bisexual and to have had same-sex sexual contact. Debby Herbenick, an associate professor in applied health science (who was not involved in the study) told CNN that with awareness about bisexuality growing, it might be getting easier for people to label themselves as such. “It’s certainly not a new idea that women and men may be attracted to more than gender,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy orientation to adopt. Women and men who self-identify as bisexual experience stigma not just from heterosexuals but also homosexuals.”
The reason the CDC is conducting these surveys is to understand trends in sexual behavior and orientation, so health groups and programs could better reach at-risk populations. “There are real effects when you find out what people are doing sexually that can translate into safer sex, sex education, (and) informing doctors and nurses (about) what people are doing so they can talk with them in more informed and compassionate ways,” professor Herbenick concluded.
Read the full story at CNN.