Patterns of sexual arousal in homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual men

Arch Sex Behav. 2011 Aug;40(4):687-97. doi: 10.1007/s10508-011-9746-0. Epub 2011 Mar 9.


The purpose of this study was to determine if self-identified bisexual, heterosexual, and homosexual men show differential genital and subjective arousal patterns to video presentations of bisexual, heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian sexual interactions. It was predicted that, relative to heterosexual and homosexual stimuli, bisexual men would show the highest levels of sexual arousal to bisexual erotic material, while this stimulus would induce relatively low levels of response in heterosexual and homosexual men. A sample of 59 men (19 homosexual, 13 bisexual, and 27 heterosexual) were presented with a series of 4-min sexual videos while their genital and subjective sexual responses were measured continuously. Bisexual men did not differ significantly in their responses to male homosexual stimuli (depicting men engaging in sex) from homosexual men, and they did not differ significantly in their responses to heterosexual (depicting two women, without same-sex contact, engaged in sex with a man) and lesbian (depicting women engaging in sex) stimuli from heterosexual men. However, bisexual men displayed significantly higher levels of both genital and subjective sexual arousal to a bisexual stimulus (depicting a man engaged in sex with both a man and a woman) than either homosexual or heterosexual men. The findings of this study indicate that bisexuality in men is associated with a unique and specific pattern of sexual arousal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / physiology
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Heterosexuality / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men / psychology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*