Bisexual Behavior Has Doubled Since 1990, Study Finds

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A new study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior found that the percentage of Americans who reported a same-sex sexual experience doubled between the early 1990s and the 2010s.

Using data collected by the General Social Survey (GSS), a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults conducted since 1972 including a total of 33,728 participants, a team of social scientists reports that the percentage of men reporting male sexual partners had nearly doubled from 1990 to 2014.

Their study also shows a dramatic increase in the percentage of Americans adults who believed that same-sex activity was “not wrong at all” went from 11 percent in 1973, to 13 percent in 1990, and by 2014, that number had risen to 49 percent.

According to the study, called Changes in American Adults’ Reported Same-Sex Sexual Experiences and Attitudes, “the number of U.S. adults who had at least one same-sex partner since age 18 doubled between the early 1990s and early 2010s (from 3.6 to 8.7 % for women and from 4.5 to 8.2 % for men). Bisexual behavior (having sex with both male and female partners) increased from 3.1 to 7.7 %, accounting for much of the rise, with little consistent change in those having sex exclusively with same-sex partners.”

“Millennials are markedly more accepting of same-sex behavior than Gen Xers were at the same age — but then, so are most adults,” co-author Ryne Sherman of Florida Atlantic University said in a statement. “The change is primarily one of time period, where all adults shifted in their attitudes.”

The Washington Post reports:

That increase in tolerance likely helped drive an increase in sexual behaviors (and willingness to report them). The percentage of men who have had sex with at least one man increased from 4.5 percent to 8.2 percent between 1990 and 2014. Women reporting at least one female sexual partner increased from 3.6 percent to 8.7 percent of the population during the same period. But Twenge and her colleagues say that bisexual behavior drove this change: The percentage of survey respondents who had all same-sex partners didn’t increase significantly during that time, but the percentage of adults with both male and female partners increased from 3.1 percent to 7.7 percent.

“That’s what I found surprising,” Twenge told The Post. “When we looked more closely at the change, it was mostly due to people having sex with partners of both genders.”

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