A Rising Number Of U.S. Women Identify As Bisexual

Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
As public awareness that the spectrum of sexuality includes more than just straight or gay has grown, awareness of bisexuality has, too. And according to a new national survey from the CDC, so have the numbers of both men and women who identify as bisexual. Between 2011 and 2013, researchers asked over 9,000 people between the ages of 18 and 44 about their sexual experiences, attractions, and self-identifications as part of the CDC's National Survey of Family Growth. The survey found that 1.3% of women and 1.9% of men identified as gay, numbers consistent with those the CDC has previously found (though this is an especially low estimate of the percentage of gay men in the U.S., as other surveys have pinpointed 4 to 6% as a more likely range). However, 5.5% of women and 2% of men identified as bisexual, a marked increase over the 3.9% of women and 1.2% of men who responded in the CDC's previous family growth survey from 2006 to 2010. Even women who didn't identify as bisexual reported higher rates of sexual contact with other women than before (17.4% of all women did, up from 14.2% in the previous survey). While the community of people who identify as bisexual may be growing, they still face a number of stereotypes: That they're "easy" or kinky by default, never have trouble getting a date, or are "just going through a phase" — and both gay and straight people perpetuate the stigma. Of course, the only "proof" you need to respect the identity of someone who says they're bisexual...is that they say they're bisexual. Easy, right?

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