Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners and Bisexual Identity Across Cohorts of Women (but Not Men)

Paula England, Emma Mishel, Mónica L. Caudillo

Sociological Science, November 7, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a42

Abstract

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We use data from the 2002–2013 National Surveys of Family Growth to examine change across U.S. cohorts born between 1966 and 1995 in whether individuals have had sex with same-sex partners only, or with both men and women, and in whether they have a bisexual or gay identity. Adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, immigrant status, and mother’s education, we find increases across cohorts in the proportion of women who report a bisexual identity, who report ever having had sex with both sexes, or who report having had sex with women only. By contrast, we find no cohort trend for men; roughly 5 percent of men in every cohort have ever had sex with a man, and the proportion claiming a gay or bisexual attraction changed little. We speculate that this gender difference is rooted in a broader pattern of asymmetry in gender change in which departures from traditional gender norms are more acceptable for women than men.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Paula England: Department of Sociology, New York University
Email: Pengland@nyu.edu

Emma Mishel: Department of Sociology, New York University
Email: Emmamishel@nyu.edu

Mónica L. Caudillo: Department of Sociology, New York University
Email: Monica.Caudillo@nyu.edu

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Gary Gates for helpful comments.

  • Citation: England, Paula, Emma Mishel, and Mónica L. Caudillo. 2016. “Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners and Bisexual Identity Across Cohorts of Women (but Not Men).” Sociological Science 3: 951-970.
  • Received: August 2, 2016
  • Accepted: September 25, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a42

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