Bisexuality is a curious thing for some people, seen as difficult to comprehend for many and entirely nonexistent to others.
A new report out of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health finds 15 percent of people do not believe bisexuality is an actual sexual identity.
The research also examines how this perception and other stigmas associated with bisexuals can negatively impact their health, both mentally and physically.
The research team developed 33 questions as part of the study to isolate individual attitudes on bisexuality. The test was then administered to 1,500 adults online.
Among the findings:
- Self-identified male bisexuals were more stigmatized than female counterparts.
- Women stigmatized less than men, and Caucasians stigmatized less than minorities.
- Straight men were three times more likely to dismiss the notion of bisexuality.
“Straight men were three times
more likely to dismiss bisexuality.”
Director of the HIV prevention initiative Project Silk, Mackey Friedman authored the report, the latest in a series on understanding bisexuality better. He said bisexuals are unique in that they experience marginalization and isolation from both heterosexuals and homosexuals.
“This can cause feelings of isolation and marginalization, which prior research has shown leads to higher substance use, depression and risky sexual behavior,” he said.
In his prior work, Friedman found many younger Americans had repeating opinions on those who identified as bisexual. Among them, bisexuals were viewed as either experimenting or simply confused.
Many bisexuals remain uncomfortable about being open with their identity, something Friedman hopes society is catching up to.
Friedman said he hopes the study will help provide “hard data to back up why a bisexual person might feel the need to be secretive about sexual orientation, something that can lead to higher depression and many other negative health outcomes.”
Source: apha.org. Photo source: everythinggirlslove.com.