As certain marginalized sexual identities gain greater visibility in the media, the state of American sexuality has slowly begun to shift. Countless high profile celebrities are out and proud, and figures like Miley Cyrus — however you personally feel about her — are making an impact by introducing thousands of people to concepts like pansexuality, attraction to a person regardless of gender. It's not that these celebrities are making us all queer (or are they?!), but that more and more people have the freedom to explore and publicly discuss their sexuality than ever before.
Last week, the CDC released a national survey about sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual orientation amongst adults aged 18-44. The data was collected between 2011 and 2013 using computer-assisted self-interviewing, where respondents entered their answers digitally without having to respond to an actual person. This part definitely makes a difference, because honesty about sensitive subjects such as sexuality is a bit easier when you know you're not being judged. Interestingly, the main thrust of the results suggests that women are more sexually fluid than men, which is really no big surprise. Whether that is socially constructed or has a biological component, however, is yet to be fully studied.
Here are four fascinating facts about the state of American sexuality from the CDC's report on their findings:
1. Women Have More Same-Sex Contact Than Men Do
Unsurprisingly, women are almost three times as likely to experience some kind of same-sex contact as men are, given that it's generally more socially acceptable for women to experiment sexually with other women. In the CDC survey, 17.4 percent of women reported same-sex contact in their lifetime compared with 6.2 percent of men.
2. Men Have More Opposite-Sex Attraction Than Women Do
The survey found that 92.1 percent of men said they were "only attracted to the opposite sex," while only 81.0 percent of women said the same, which confirms previous research that women are more likely to be bisexual than men.
3. More Women Identify As Bisexual
Continuing the trend of female sexual fluidity, 5.5 percent of women versus 2 percent of men identified as bisexual. (And while we're on the topic, here are a few ignorant things those bisexual women are probably sick of hearing...)
4. More Men Identify As Straight
Of those survey, 92.3 percent of women and 95.1 of men surveyed said they were "heterosexual or straight," which again puts women on the less-than-straight end of the spectrum. Only time will tell tell what this means for female sexuality, but it's fascinating to see the results unfold.
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