Conservative Beliefs, Attitudes Toward Bisexuality, and Willingness to Engage in Romantic and Sexual Activities With a Bisexual Partner

Arch Sex Behav. 2016 Aug;45(6):1535-50. doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0642-x. Epub 2015 Dec 28.


Negative attitudes toward bisexuals have been documented among heterosexuals as well as lesbians/gay men, and a common theme is that bisexuals would not be suitable romantic or sexual partners. While gender, sexual orientation, and attitudes toward bisexuality influence people's willingness to engage in romantic or sexual activities with a bisexual partner, there are other individual differences that may contribute. The current study examined the associations between four types of conservative beliefs and willingness to engage in romantic/sexual activities with a bisexual partner in a sample of heterosexuals and lesbians/gay men (N = 438). Attitudes toward bisexuality were examined as a mediator of these associations. In general, results indicated that higher social dominance orientation, political conservatism, and essentialist beliefs about the discreteness of homosexuality were associated with lower willingness to engage in romantic/sexual activities with a bisexual partner. Further, more negative attitudes toward bisexuality mediated these associations. There were several meaningful differences in these associations between heterosexual women, heterosexual men, lesbian women, and gay men, suggesting that influences on people's willingness to be romantically or sexually involved with a bisexual partner may differ for different gender and sexual orientation groups. Implications for reducing stigma and discrimination against bisexual individuals are addressed.

Keywords: Bisexuality; Conservative beliefs; Dating; Romantic; Sexual behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Sexuality / psychology*