Dual Attraction: Understanding Bisexuality

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OUP USA, 1994 - Psychology - 448 pages
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For the past two generations, extensive research has been conducted on the determinants of homosexuality. But, until now, scant attention has been paid to what is perhaps the most mysterious—and potentially illuminating—variation of human sexual expression, bisexuality. Today, as ignorance and fear of AIDS makes greater awareness of all forms of sexual behavior an urgent matter of private and public consequence, leading sex researchers Martin Weinberg, Colin Williams, and Douglas Pryor provide us with the first major study of bisexuality. Weinberg, Williams, and Pryor explore the riddle of dual attraction in their study of 800 residents of San Francisco. Fieldwork, intensive interviews, and surveys provided a wealth of data about the nature of bisexual attraction, the steps that lead people to become bisexual, and how sexual preference can change over time. They found that heterosexuals, more often than homosexuals, become bisexual; that bisexual men and women differ markedly in their sexual behavior and romantic feelings; that most bisexuals ultimately settle into long-term relationships while continuing sexual activity outside those relationships; and they also explain why transsexuals often become bisexual. Moreover, the authors discovered that as the AIDS crisis unfolded, many bisexual men entered into monogamous relationships with women, and bisexual women into more lesbian relationships. Recent media accounts attest that a growing number of researchers and writers are narrowing the fundamental cause of sexual preference to a single factor, biology. But if, as this study shows, learning plays a significant part in helping people traverse the boundaries of gender, if past and present intimate relationships influence their changing preferences, and if bisexual activity is inseparable from a social environment which provides distinctive sexual opportunities, then a mosaic of factors far more complex than those previously considered must be entertained in explaining the fuller spectrum of sexual preferences. Dual Attraction is one of the most significant contributions to our understanding of sexuality since the original Kinsey reports and Bell and Weinberg's 1978 international bestseller, Homosexualities. It is must reading for all those interested in the study of sexual behavior—especially now, since the onset of AIDS.

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The Riddle of Bisexuality
Bisexual Lives
Bisexuals in San Francisco
Becoming Bisexual
Bisexual Types
The Nature of Dual Attraction
Transsexual Bisexuals
Sexual Activities
Dimensions of Sexual Preference
The Instability of Sexual Preference
Sexual Profiles
Intimate Relationships
Managing Identities
The Emergence of AIDS
Bisexuals Face AIDS
Changes in Sexual Preference

Significant Others
Being Out
Bisexuality Heterosexuality and Homosexuality
Surveying the Sexual Underground
The Development of Sexual Preference
Change and the Transsexual Bisexual
Changes in Sexuality
Changes in Relationships
Adapting to a New World
Understanding Bisexuality

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Page 5 - This problem, is after all, part of the broader problem of choices in general: the choice of the road that one takes, of the clothes that one wears, of the food that one eats, of the place in which one sleeps, and of the endless other things that one is constantly choosing. A choice of a partner in a sexual relation becomes more significant only because society demands that there be a particular choice in this matter, and does not so often dictate one's choice of food or of clothing.
Page 14 - The Bisexual Center is united in struggling for the rights of all women and men to develop as whole, androgynous beings. • We support relationships between persons of the same and other sex.

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About the author (1994)

Martin S. Weinberg is Professor of Sociology at Indiana University and Senior Research Sociologist at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research from 1968-1980. He is the author or co-author of ten books, including Sexual Preference: Its Development among Men and Women, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, Male Homosexuals: Their Problems and Adaptations; and Homosexuals and the Military: A Study of Less than Honorable Discharge.
Colin J. Williams is Professor of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and Research Sociologist at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research from 1968-1980. He is co-author of Sex and Morality in the U.S.; Male Homosexuals: Their Problems and Adaptations; and Homosexuals and the Military.
Douglas W. Pryor is Visiting Lecturer in Sociology at Wake Forest University.

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