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There’s a new study that’s been getting a lot of attention during the last few days that suggests when it comes to sexual arousal, women who identify as straight aren’t turned on strictly by male stimuli.
The author, Dr. Gerulf Rieger from the department of psychology at the University of Essex, summed up the research findings for the Telegraph: “Even though the majority of women identify as straight, our research clearly demonstrates that when it comes to what turns them on, they are either bisexual or gay, but never straight.”
To come up with the results, Rieger and his team showed 345 women videos of naked men and women and noted how they reacted to determine if they were turned on, considering telltale signs such as whether their pupils dilated.
Women who identified as gay expectedly showed a much stronger sexual response to the female visuals, but what’s causing all the fuss is how the women who identified as straight reacted. Results found that 74 percent of heterosexual women were strongly sexually aroused by both sexes.
But before everyone gets ahead of themselves, we need to slow down and consider what Rieger really means by the term bisexual. Sure, the study pretty clearly shows a straight woman can be physically turned on by another woman, but as Slate aptly points out, the way we consider sexual preference encompasses sexual and romantic cues—and there’s a big difference between being aroused by someone and wanting to be in a relationship with them. Concluding from the research that all women are “either bisexual or gay, but never straight” seems like an overly simplified way to look at the data.
The research comes at a time when a string of young female starlets are publicly shunning traditional labels when it comes to sexuality and embracing a more fluid stance. Lily Rose Depp, Miley Cyrus, and Kristen Stewart are just some of the famous women who have talked candidly about their places on the sexuality spectrum in recent months, and if this study achieves anything, it really just further proves that labels for sexual orientation may be becoming increasingly passé—and inaccurate.