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This week, 17-year-old The Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg came out as bisexual. Stenberg — better known as Rue, the small, fleet-footed naturalist who gets speared to death in the first Hunger Games film — came out just days after a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that young adults are more likely than ever to be bisexual. That means if you’re reading this, you might be bisexual as well.
According to results of the CDC’s most recent survey — which took place from 2011 to 2013 and included 9,175 U.S. men and women — straight men are also having more gay sex than ever. All the results were anonymously self-reported via computer by survey participants. The previous survey had been conducted between 2006 and 2010. Let’s see what the results had to say!
More women are bi than ever, and it’ll only increase
The number of self-reported lesbians stands at 1.3 percent, the same as in the CDC’s previous study. Over the years, research has shown that fewer women identify as lesbian and more consider themselves bisexual.
The bisexual female population is growing substantially! 5.5 percent of women consider themselves bi — a 41 percent increase in just three years.
Overall, 17.4 percent of women reported having a sexual experience with another woman. That means a whopping 12.6 percent of women who identify as straight have had some kind of sex with another woman. While that follows the oft-repeated “one in 10” statistic for gay people in society, it suggests that the number of women who behave in a bisexual manner in society is actually much higher.
Bi men now outnumber gay men, which shouldn’t be surprising
The number of gay men in the study has held steady at 1.9 percent. Other studies put the number of gay men much higher, closer to 4 or 6 percent, but 1.9 percent is consistent with the CDC’s last study.
What’s different now is that the bisexual male population now outnumbers the gay male population, with a 67 percent increase in bi-identified men from 2010 to 2013. That’s still just 2 percent of the male population, but an increase is an increase. Additionally, 2.8 percent of straight-identifying men reported having either oral or anal sex with another man in their lives.
Casey E. Copen, demographer at the CDC National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the study, said that previous studies have consistently found that women identify as bisexual far more often than men. Also, with self-reported studies like these, word choice can be very important. Women were asked whether they have had oral sex “or any other sexual experience” with a woman, while men were asked specifically about oral and anal.
Researchers say studies like these are important because public health officials need to target specific populations with information about safer sex and sex ed.
As stigma eases around non-heterosexual sexual activity, men and women might be more likely to try it out, and also more likely to report it when asked. The most bisexual population by far was the 18-24 demographic, who have grown up in a more sexually tolerant time than older groups.
(featured image via Jack Zalium)
Previously published January 9, 2016.