This is constructed just like 2 above, but using questions about the number of female and male sexual partners one has had in the last 12 months. Only in , when an oral sex screener question was used, would women have had to have oral sex to be counted as having had a same-sex partner. How common is it for gay men and lesbians to have sex with other-sex sexual partners? How should we interpret the finding that some men and women who identify as heterosexual have had sex with other-sex partners? Heterosexual men and women are the most likely to have had sex only with other-sex partners, bisexual men and women are the most likely to have had sex with both women and men, and gay men and lesbians are the most likely to have had sex only with same-sex partners. How similar or different are the links between identity and behavior for women and men? Sexual orientation versus behavior—different for men and women?
The graph below shows the percent of each gender that identify as heterosexual but report having had a same-sex partner ever, and in the last year. In this sense, behavior is roughly consistent with sexual orientation. Unsurprisingly, this consistency between current identity and behavior is much stronger when the behavior being asked about is in the last year rather than over the whole lifetime. How similar or different are the links between identity and behavior for women and men? How should we interpret the finding that some men and women who identify as heterosexual have had sex with other-sex partners? Indeed, both lesbians and gay men are likely to have men as their first sexual partners, according to research conducted by Karin Martin and Ritch C. We generated two different measures of sexual behavior from various questions in the survey. Sexual orientation versus behavior—different for men and women? Thus, they are more likely than men to have what could be seen as mismatches between identity and behavior. In the survey wave from , these questions were moved to the main male respondent questionnaire. All this suggests a tendency for behavior to conform to identity in any short time range, and that bisexual women and men in some respects are a middle point between straights and gays. Detailed tables, along with how we generated our measures, are in the Appendix at the end of this post. Thus, behavior usually aligns with identity in any short one year time range. How well do they match? The interviewer handed the respondent a computer and earphones and stepped away to provide privacy while the respondent keyed answers into the computer. To explore the relationship between sexual orientation and behavior, we began with the measure of sexual orientation in the survey. How does the behavior of bisexual men and women differ from that of gay and heterosexual men and women? To try to avoid respondents saying what they thought the interviewer wanted to hear rather than the truth, the questions on sexual identity and sex with same-sex partners were asked through an Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview ACASI system in survey waves prior to But we are speculating; we would need panel data following the same people over time and repeatedly asking about orientation and recent behavior to distinguish a changing sexual orientation where behavior and identity are almost always consistent from b inconsistency between current identity and current behavior. This is constructed just like 2 above, but using questions about the number of female and male sexual partners one has had in the last 12 months. Only in , when an oral sex screener question was used, would women have had to have oral sex to be counted as having had a same-sex partner. We suspect, however, that greater sexual fluidity among women and the frequency of male initiation contribute more to the gender differences in partnership patterns than sexual assault. However, the patterns differ between men and women. Why would this be, that lesbians have sex with men more than gay men have sex with women? This convinces us that most women we are counting as having had female partners are not referring to experiences such as public kissing, but to sexual activity involving genitals. This ACASI approach was used for questions on sexual orientation, as well as the questions on number of same-sex partners, and what specific sexual behaviors respondents had done with a man and with a woman.
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