The Australian Survey on Sex and Relationships 5: Sexual attraction

We’ve seen that many people who identify as heterosexual have still had sex with a partner of their own sex. So 96.7% of men describe themselves as heterosexual, but 6.5% of men have had sex with men. And 96.3% of women describe themselves as heterosexual, but 13.5% of women have had sex with women. 

It’s important to remember that people aren’t lying or mistaken when they say they’re heterosexual, just because they’ve had sex with someone of their own sex. The homosex experience could have been a one-off long ago, or influenced by drink or drugs, or they couldn’t get the sex they wanted so they choose to be got off by someone who wasn’t their preferred partner. We just don’t know. 

A possible explanation for the discrepancy between people’s self-description and their experience is that people identify as het because that’s “normal”, while gay, lesbian or bisexual are “deviant” categories. They said they were het because they didn’t want to be stigmatised. But if that was the reason for identifying as heterosexual, then why wouldn’t they also deny having had same-sex experience? So I don’t think it’s that.

I tend to believe the survey recipients. Over 96% of the population, both male and female, are heterosexual, and some of them, especially women, have had non-heterosexual sex.

Anyway, the third thing to look at is attraction. It turns out that this is the most fluid category of all. 

Men: attraction to women and men

Attracted only to women:         92.8%

Attracted to men and women:  5.8%

Attracted only to men:               1.1%

Attracted to no-one:                0.4%

 

Women: attraction to men and women

Attracted only to men:               84.8%

Attracted to men and women:  14.2%

Attracted only to women:           0.5%

Attracted to no-one:                   0.5%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.