For years, the US CDC had three options for people when it came to the sexual orientation question on their annual survey- straight, gay, and bisexual.
This past year, the organization added two more choices- “mostly attracted to the opposite sex” and “mostly attracted to the same sex.” Once those options were on the table, the numbers changed in a significant way, particularly for young adults.
In a survey of 10,000 adults, ages 18-44, now 75.9 percent of women say they’re attracted to only men, while 88.6 percent of men say they’re attracted to only women.
The percentage of people who label themselves bisexual has jumped significantly. In this most recent survey 5.5% of women labeled themselves bisexual, a 40% increase from just a few years ago. Meanwhile the number of men who label themselves bisexual has jumped from 1.2% a few years back to now 2%.
It’s unlikely that the number of bisexual Americans has increased this dramatically. Rather, it’s much more likely that with the public being more educated about sexual fluidity, people who find themselves attracted to both sexes feel more comfortable labeling themselves as bisexual.
Even the CDC changing up their questions probably helped more people who identify as bisexual answer in a way that best represents their orientation. For example, a woman who is mostly attracted to men but sometimes attracted to women, if given the choice between “straight” and “bisexual,” might answer “straight,” but with these new options, she can answer “mostly attracted to the opposite sex” which in turn gives researchers a better and more honest picture of American sexuality.
Just goes to show sometimes it’s all about asking the right questions.
(Image via ABC)