Bisexual behavior is on the rise, according to a new study

By Macaela Mackenzie
June 02, 2016
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We hear a lot about sex and gender issues in the news. From the rise of the hookup culture to fierce Supreme Court battles over LGBT rights, whom we sleep with and how we do it is no longer confined to the boudoir.

And all that sex talk has revealed that more of us are open to bisexual behavior than ever, according to a new study. The research, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior revealed that not only has the number of people who are tolerant of same-sex hookups increased, the number of people actually having them has doubled since the 1990s. (Psst... Read up on 3 Health Problems Bisexual Women Need to Know About.)

To get a handle on how our cultural context has affected our bedroom encounters, a team of researchers examined data from the General Social Survey, which included responses from over 30,000 adults in the U.S. regarding their attitudes on same-sex behaviors dating back to 1973 as well as data on their own sexual partners dating back to 1989.

They found that between 1990 and 2014, the percentage of men who have hooked up with another dude at least once rose from 4.5 percent to 8.2 percent. And women experienced an even more dramatic increase in same-sex behavior: The percentage of ladies with at least one girl-on-girl experience went up from 3.6 percent to 8.7 percent in 2014. (How Do Your Sex Numbers Compare?)

Interestingly, the old stereotype that claims women like to experiment in college is sort of true. Lesbian encounters were more likely to happen while women were young, whereas gay encounters among men had no tie to age or life stage.

Overall, the percentage of both genders who reported regular bisexual behaviors jumped from 3.1 percent to 7.7 percent.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, millennials are the most open to same-sex hookups of any generation and the most likely to have them: 7.5 percent of millennial men and 12.2 percent of millennial women say they've had at least one same-sex session between the sheets.

But most importantly, our attitudes about same-sex hookups have shifted dramatically in a relatively short amount of time. In 1990, the number of adults who agreed with the statement "sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is not wrong at all" was only 13 percent. In 2014, that number had almost quadrupled to 49 percent.

There's no denying: We're certainly in a new sexual era. (But be careful! Unsafe Sex Now the #1 Risk Factor for Illness, Death In Young Women.)