The Bisexual Continuum

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)In a survey sample of 1,784 individuals on Facebook, Vrangalovaq and Savin-Williams[1] argued that there is a continuous, rather than a categorical, distribution of sexual orientation.  They used a five category classification including heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, bisexual, mostly gay/lesbian, and gay/lesbian.  It is interesting to note that a majority of gays reported some attraction towards the opposite sex. According to my definition, that means we can include most of them as bisexual, or potentially bisexual, depending on the circumstances that they are experiencing.  In addition, a significant minority of heterosexuals also reported some attraction to same sex partners. According to my definition of significant, that means that there are a hell of a lot more bisexuals in the world than is being reported. Again, the survey reconfirmed that women are more likely to engage in bisexual attraction than men.

Let’s take a closer look at these results. Perhaps there are not really five categories of orientation but really only one.  We could possibly all be bisexuals on a sexual continuum rather that a sexual orientation continuum. That might be why there is no gay gene.  With about twenty-five thousand genes in the human genome, you would think that one of them could be the culprit. Perhaps there may be a predisposition but not necessarily a genetic orientation one, but one that might shape our overall sexual needs. There could indeed be prenatal factors involving the psychological and physiological condition of the pregnant mother. Perhaps the mother’s pheromones might be affecting the male pheromones of the male fetus after several pregnancies with male children. Perhaps stress during pregnancy does influence the development of the fetus thus creating a predisposition towards anxiety and the need for soothing and physical connection in the infant. Most research suggests that this predisposition continues on through childhood and forms lasting sexual orientation patterns by the age of five or six. Perhaps these predispositions result in patterns of need, soothing, and behavior with a great need for sexual gratification from male or female partners rather than a fixed orientation.

If we are indeed on a continuum, there are not really five categories but perhaps fifty, or five hundred, or perhaps even an infinite number of possible sexual preferences depending on how our minds find pleasure, soothing, and gratification. Perhaps  this search for soothing and gratification leads to our unique brain patterns and life choices. If that is indeed the case, let’s stop talking about orientation and let’s focus on how we can get the most pleasure out of these wonderful bodies that we are so fortunate to inhabit, without talk of orientation, blame, and shame.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Let’s look at ways we are alike rather than different.
  2. Let’s accept our unique sexual attractions and explore them whole-heatedly without worrying about whether we are gay, heterosexual, or bisexual.
  3. We are not QUEER. We are just different. We are all different. We are all unique.
  4. If we need soothing – so what? It just leads to the need for sexual gratification. What’s wrong with that? That spells pleasure in my vocabulary.
  5. Let’s not forget that we have desires for love not just sex. At the root of the need for sexual gratification is the more basic need of being accepted and loved for who we are regardless of our orientation or our unique place in the sexual continuum.

[1] Vrangalova,z. and Savin-Williams RC. Mostly heterosexual and mostly gay/lesbian: evidence for new sexual orientation identities. Pub Med Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Feb;41(1):85-101. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-9921-y.(


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