Lead study author Elizabeth Aura McClintock , who is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, looked at the data of more than 5,000 women and more than 4,000 men and tracked them since they were teenagers until they became adults.
This data was provided by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, which tracked the participants at three points in their lives: Wave I, when the participants were 16, Wave III, when they were 22 and Wave IV, when they were 28.
The results showed that the women were three times more inclined to change their sexual identity between the age of 22 to 28. Women were also more likely to be attracted to both men and women and showed more flexibility when it came to choosing a partner.
It was also revealed that women who were more attractive or more educated were also more inclined to report they were 100 percent heterosexual than other participants. Attractiveness and education did not necessarily influence male participants’ choices.
According to the lead researcher an explanation for this is that attractive women are more likely to be heterosexual because they stand greater chances to have relationships with better men. This reduces their need for sexual exploration with same-sex partners.
‘Women with some degree of attraction to both males and females might be drawn into heterosexuality if they have favourable options in the heterosexual partner market,” said Dr. Elizabeth McClintock.
Women who had a child before they were 22 also reported that they were more prone to change their sexual identity than those who delayed childbirth until they reached an older age. A reason for this is that the latter might receive more attention from men.
Participants were also asked questions related to same-sex attraction or same-sex sexual relationship. It was reported that it is easier for women to explore their sexuality with other women without feeling the pressure of social stigma. For instance, people don’t find it unusual when women kiss each other at parties.
The study concludes that women are more inclined to report that they are bisexual: “If a person is just attracted to at least one intercourse, romantic alternative would little alter his sexual id,” said Dr. McClintock.
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