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Kicking in the heads of atheists one at a time...

PZ, I thought the Morris Police Department was going to save you from the wrath of God...

Steven Alleyn

Yay trolls!

Anyway, on another note, I've always felt that the "very few purely straight or purely gay" people thing was essentially true, and I've read studies to that effect. But when I discussed it with guys at work I noticed a strange trend:

"OMG THAT MEANS YOU'RE GAY GET AWAY FROM ME AGHHHH!" was the standard response. In Montreal, a city with a great reputation as far as openness to sexuality is concerned.

I find it strange that people are willing to accept that others have different sexuality are terrified to admit that maybe, just maybe, they think Brad Pitt is attractive.


There are two types of people:
1. People who think Johnny Depp is hot.
2. People who think Johnny Depp is hot but will deny it if asked.

I'm kidding, of course, but I have noticed that people are much less likely to behave in the knee-jerk way Steven describes when they let their guards down a little. I've been surprised when admitting my own not-quite-straightness at small gatherings of friends led to identical admissions from everyone else present, people all identified publicly as entirely straight or entirely gay.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the double-peaks of the curve were more centered around 2 and 5 than 1 and 6.

Jack Rawlinson

I'm one of those freaks who is actually way out at the extreme end of the curve. As far as I have been able to determine I have not a jot of sexual feeling for my own gender and this is certainly not because I'm in some sort of denial, or afraid of admitting it: it actually pisses me off a bit that I'm not at least slightly bisexual as it would be interesting to be able to have that variety of experience.

I can certainly recognise that Johnny Depp is "hot", but one can see that someone is attractive without being attracted to them oneself. Depp's as cute as a button but I still don't want to do him, you know? :-)


I'm with Jack Rawlinson, though coming at it from a female perspective. I'm open to the idea that there might be women I'm sexually and/or romantically attracted to, but in 24 and a half years of life I have yet to encounter one.


I'm not sure that looking for or positing "true bisexuals" is really a worthwhile pursuit.

Do we lament or question why we don't like different types of food equally? An observation that when given a choice between apples and bananas, the vast majority of people don't choose apples 50% and bananas 50% wouldn't be considered noteworthy. Culture may be an answer as to why people don't choose 50% women 50% men for partners, but it doesn't really seem to me that it's a meaningful question being asked. People aren't expected to not have personal preferences.

Bisexuals seem to be one odd place where the sex-positive community has it's own hangups regarding sex. Does it matter that even someone attracted to males is generally attracted to females more often? I've never seen a treatise as to why people can like baseball and basketball, but most people don't rank them equally in interest.

Greta Christina

Paul: I'm not lamenting it. I just find it curious. The double peak is an odd phenomenon -- it's not what you would automatically expect if sexual orientation were entirely determined by biological, evolutionary factors. And I'm always curious as to why things are the way they are. Especially when it comes to sex. It's not a big deal or anything. I just find it interesting.


I'll apologize, on re-reading that sounded a little preachy. I just thought it was an odd question in the first place. But then, I enjoy reading your blog because of some of the odd directions it takes, so I should hardly be one to complain.

Of course, I still don't think one should automatically expect things "entirely determined by biological, evolutionary factors" to not follow a double peak -- for instance, take handed-ness. Most people are born right-handed or left-handed, but not ambidextrous (although some people do train themselves to be such).

And one's choice or preference of sexual partners is in no way near "entirely determined by biological, evolutionary factors". There are many emotional and psychological factors in any given person's psyche to predispose them to prefer certain types of things (in this case, romantic partners or people to be attracted to) in certain roles. I have no trouble writing off the twin peaks in the same way I wouldn't find it odd if most people either had more male friends or more female friends -- their history and experiences lead them to have an easier/more comfortable time befriending more people of that gender.

I think I'll stop here. I don't want to sound like I am nagging -- I really am a fan.


Instead, it's a double bell curve

The technical term is "bimodal" (each 'peak' is a mode), as opposed to the single peak of a "unimodal" distribution. This term avoids the need to say "bell-shaped" when these things are often not all that bell shaped.

it's not what you would automatically expect if sexual orientation were entirely determined by biological, evolutionary factors

Then there are LOTS of things that are genetically determined by one gene with only two or three alleles, which tend to either be present or absent, and other things determined by only a few genes, one of which has a bigger influence than the others, which tend to be either mostly present or mostly absent.

It's mainly when things are determined by bunches of genes, none of which is much stronger in effect than all the others which tend to have that "single big peak".

The most obvious example of determined by biological, evolutionary factors but bimodal is sex (almost everyone is male or female).


My fiancee (male) tole me to read this article because i have been struggling with understanding how i can still be straight and have thoughts or feelings about the same sex. It's freeing to know that a lot of other people don't fit so neatly into gay or straight and we need to start changing the way we are discussing this topic. When i have kids and they are older I want them to understand that your sexual orientation is not black and white like I once thought, so they won't go through so much turmoil like I did. Thanks Greta Christina, this article truly saved me from a lot of personal turmoil, my fiancee is a huge fan and now I am too!

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