Here are more findings from Dodge’s and Schick’s studies:
- Schick’s paper “Variations in the Sexual Repertoires of Bisexually Identified Women in the United States and the United Kingdom” examined the diversity of sexual behavior reported by bisexual women. When looking at their recent sexual experiences, the women were divided almost evenly as having no recent sexual partners, having only a male sexual partner, only a female sexual partner, or both male and female sexual partners. This study involved 710 bisexually identified women, making it one of the largest studies of its kind. “Like all people, bisexual women are living their sexual lives in diverse ways,” Schick said. “Some women may choose to have both male and female partners while others may engage in sexual behavior with only men or women. Other bisexually identified women may decide not to have any sexual partners at all. They don’t simply fit into one mold. This contradicts the hypersexualized representations of bisexual women that we often find within the media.”
- For both papers in the special issue, Schick and her research team gathered more detailed information than other studies because of the variety of questions asked. Instead of asking whether they used a sex toy, for example, they asked about five different kinds of toys. When they asked about behaviors such as oral sex, they asked who was giving and receiving separately for men and women. Overall, they found that bisexual women tended to engage in parallel behaviors with men and women. In other words, they were similarly as likely to engage in oral sex with a male partner as they were to engage in oral sex with a female partner.
- In Dodge’s study, men were asked to report a wide range of sexual behaviors with both male and female partners based on measures developed for the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, a recent study conducted by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion examining the sexual behaviors and experiences of a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 individuals in the United States. Such detailed data on the specific oral, vaginal, anal and other sexual behaviors in which these men engage with both male and female partners have been absent from scientific literature. The paper “Sexual Behaviors and Experiences Among Behaviorally Bisexual Latino Men in the Midwestern United States: Implications for Interventions,” written by postdoctoral research fellow Omar Martinez of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University, explores the unique sexual behaviors and experiences of bisexual Latino men in the study.
- In Dodge’s paper “Individual and Social Factors Related to Mental Health Concerns Among Bisexual Men in the Midwestern United States,” participants reported mental health concerns tied to both individual and social struggles associated with being bisexual, particularly the isolation and lack of support and perceived stigma associated with bisexuality among men. They reported feeling they would automatically receive negative reactions from both homosexual and heterosexual family, friends and other people in their social networks. As a result, participants were not likely to disclose their bisexuality, further increasing their invisibility and isolation.
- In large part, men in Dodge’s study tended to use condoms with male partners for HIV/STI prevention purposes and with female partners for pregnancy prevention purposes. Women were seen as being “safer” in terms of STI transmission risk. In the paper “Subjective Sexual Experiences of Behaviorally Bisexual Men in the Midwestern United States: Sexual Attraction, Sexual Behaviors and Condom Use,” authored by IU doctoral candidate Phillip Schnarrs, participants describe the patterns and meanings of their sexual repertoires with both male and female partners.
Dodge said a better understanding of men’s sexual behaviors and experiences will lead to more effective health programming for bisexual men and their male and female sexual partners.
“Because the content of most current sexual health programs for gay and bisexual men focus only on their behaviors and experiences with male partners, interventions are urgently needed that are specifically tailored to the wide range of sexual behaviors and experiences which bisexual men share with both male and female partners,” he said.
In addition to the special issue of Journal of Bisexuality, scientific papers from Dodge’s study have also been recently published in Archives of Sexual Behavior; Sexual Health; Culture, Health & Sexuality; and AIDS Education & Prevention. Schick’s studies were conducted in partnership with GaydarGirls. Scientific papers from Schick’s study have been published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine and Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The Center for Sexual Health Promotion is part of the Department of Applied Health Science in the School of HPER.
About the School of HPER
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