Most Women Believe Sexuality Is Fluid, But Won't Date A Man Who's Had Sex With A Man, Survey Finds

Glamour recently conducted a sexuality survey in its March issue that polled over 1,000 women ages 18 to 44 to determine their feelings on the fluidity of sexuality. And the results were surprisingly contradictory. Although the survey represented and accounted for women of multiple sexual orientations — plenty of whom had had sexual encounters with other women, and most of whom firmly believe in sexual fluidity — a staggering 63% of them said they wouldn't date a man who has had sex with another man.

Glamour had Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Ph.D., director of the Sex & Gender Lab at Cornell University weigh in on the findings. He explained, "This suggests that these women hold on to the view that while women occupy a wide spectrum of sexuality, men are either gay or straight."

One of the reasons Glamour undertook this survey was because of the millennial — and specifically millennial female — trend toward not labelling one's sexuality. It pointed to various female celebs who have no problem being photographed out on casual dates with other women, and who also don't feel the need to label their sexual identity to inquiring media outlets.

It's clear that increased visibility of queer female sexualities is encouraging non-famous women to indulge their potentially fluid attractions. Here are three major findings of the survey:

1. 63% Of Women Believe Sexual Orientation Can Change

According to the survey, this reflects millennial women's desire not to be "boxed in."

2. 47% Of Women Say They've Been Attracted To Another Woman

That's almost half of women who say they have experienced some form of sexual desire for another woman.

3. 31% Of Women Say They've Had A Sexual Experience With Another Woman

Of those women:

  • 93 percent said they kissed
  • 85 percent said they touched a partner’s breasts or genitals
  • 63 percent reported receiving oral sex
  • 55 percent reported giving oral sex

So what's the deal with that 63 percent who still won't date men who have had sex with another man? Doesn't that reflect some contradictory beliefs? Unfortunately, for as long as girl-on-girl action continues to go unstigmatized by society — largely because The Male Gaze fetishizes it so hard — women taking a swim in the lady pond won't be considered a threat to their "straightness," or their attraction to men, if they feel they have one somewhere. Basically, if a woman who a man is attracted to says she likes guys, he's going to believe her. The downside to this is that women who don't identify as being attracted to men often have to deal with men not believing them. See: the inane "oh, you're just a lesbian because you haven't had it good yet" argument.

Men, on the other hand, aren't as free to experiment or claim fluid sexualities, because guy-on-guy action is still so stigmatized. See: the perception that bisexuality among men is just a "stepping stone" to coming out as "fully gay."

In other words, it seems like having a penis involved is what "legitimizes" the encounter to men, and, in a patriarchal world, is thus what legitimizes the encounter societally.

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