Biscuit Female Sexuality Index – the results are in!

bisexualityIt’s official! A new online survey of 1,000 British women reveals a startlingly open-minded attitude to same sex relationships.

Conducted by your friends at Biscuit, we recruited a random sample of women via Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, asking them to choose which of 15 statements most closely described their sexuality.

While similar surveys ask respondents to identify themselves as ‘gay’, ‘straight’ or ‘bi’ (and sometimes ‘asexual’), Biscuit’s study reflects an increasingly accepted understanding that sexuality falls along a much more specific spectrum.

The study differentiated between behaviour and fantasy, revealing that 26.5% of women are fully bisexual, although some of this group did express a preference for one gender or another. However, the figure rises to 38% when taking into account straight women who have occasionally had sexual contact with a same-sex partner and gay women who have sometimes had sex with men.

The completely anonymous questionnaire did report a reduction in these figures among older women, perhaps suggesting that, in some cases, youthful experimentation eventually gives way to a more polarised identity.

Charlotte Dingle, editor-in-chief of Biscuit, explains.

While not necessarily employing the rigour of a serious academic study, Biscuit’s survey into female sexuality does seem to bear out anecdotal evidence, that women are increasingly viewing their own sexuality as fluid and experimental. I believe that the old definitions of ‘gay’, ‘straight’, and ‘bi’ are increasingly irrelevant in a society in which an individual’s sexual and gender identity is becoming more and more complex and diverse.

Although respondents remained anonymous, comments were encouraged, and an analysis of these reveals some fascinating attitudes. Many women in the 16-24 and 35-44 age range appear to support our editor’s contention that pigeonholing one’s sexuality is an outmoded and irrelevant exercise. And many women, especially those over 44, were concerned that there was no category for those who, when young, had conformed to society’s expectations of heterosexuality and had ‘come out’ as lesbian in later life. Perhaps not surprisingly, but still upsetting, three respondents indicated they were in loveless marriages with men with whom they had never enjoyed sex, and to whom they felt unable to reveal their true sexuality. One of these women had been married for over 30 unorgasmic years.

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THOSE SURVEY RESULTS IN FULL

Here’s a list of all fifteen categories and how you answered. We asked you to choose the phrase which most closely describes how you view yourself.

  1. I have never had, or fantasised about having, sex with a woman 6%
  2. I have fantasies about sex with women, but I have not acted upon them 8.3%
  3. I have had limited same sex sexual contact (e.g. the occasional snog or fondle) 12%
  4. I have had sex with a woman as part of a group including at least one man, but I am unlikely to do so again 4.6%
  5. I have had sex with a woman as part of a group including at least one man, and I hope to do so again 3.7
  6. I have dated and had sexual relations with a woman on the rare occasion. This could happen again but I am predominantly attracted to men 4.5%
  7. I have sex with women and men, but more so with men 11.9%
  8. I have sex with women and men in roughly equal proportions 7.3%
  9. I have sex with women and men, but more so with women 7.3%
  10. I have dated and had sexual relations with a man on the rare occasion. This could happen again but I am predominantly attracted to women 6.9%
  11. I have had sex with a man as part of a group including at least one woman, and I hope to do so again 3%
  12. I have had sex with a man as part of a group including at least one woman, but I am unlikely to do so again 2.6%
  13. I have had limited opposite-sex sexual contact (e.g. the occasional snog or fondle) 10.7%
  14. I have fantasies about sex with men, but I have not acted upon them 4.1%
  15. I have never had, or fantasised about having, sex with a man 7.1%

YOUR COMMENTS

Many of you took up the option to send in your comments, and we can’t possibly reproduce all of them here. So what we’ve done is selected those which seemed to reflect the views of several people. If the comment seeks a response from Biscuit, we’ve tried to think of something intelligent and constructive to say. (Disclaimer: there is no guarantee that Biscuit EVER says anything intelligent and constructive, but nobody can deny that we do try).

  • Show me a man who’s a man, not a predator, and I could up my score.

 

  • Am married to a man, in a monogamous relationship and very happy, so all my love needs are taken care of. Potentially, I can love and be attracted to both sexes as I love people, not genders!Biscuit writes: We received dozens of comments like this, indicating that many of you, while monogamous and in a relationship, still identify as bisexual.

 

  • I am in a relationship with a man and have a child with him but I’m more attracted to women.
  • The above implies that I have never had sex with men but this is far from the truth. I was exclusively heterosexual for the first 30 years of my life. Then I was (am) lesbian and had no attraction to men. Now I am somewhere in between.
  • I do not fit any of the above categories. I have had sex with over 150 men in my life (some were paying clients, some were not. some I was in a relationship with, many were one-night-stands). I have had sex with two women in my life, one was a one-night-stand and one I had a relationship with. I have also had sex with, and one relationship with, people who are genderqueer and/or trans. However, my past sexual history does not reflect my current situation, nor do my external activities reflect my internal feelings, or desires. I prefer women. By a long shot. I think it highly unlikely I will ever have sex with or even kiss a man again. I am currently not sexually active at all but when I ready to be so again I expect it to be with a cis-woman in a monogamous relationship (in the past I have been monogamous at times and poly in others). Nonetheless I identify as bisexual, just as I have done for most of my adult life.”Biscuit writes: You sound fascinating but we don’t know who you are! We’d like to talk to you so, if you’re reading this, please get in touch. 
  • I’m very attracted to androgynous and feminine men, to the point of fancying drag queens and transgendered people, but I do like them to have a penis rather than a vagina.Biscuit writes: We received quite a few variations on this theme, indicating that there is a small but significant constituency of women with a preference for effeminate men. 
  • I have previously had relationships and sex with a man – up to age 20. I have also had relationships and sex with women since age 15. Since 21 I exclusively have relationships with women and will not have any type of relationship with a man. Previous relations with men were due to social construct rather than attraction.

 

  • As a bisexual woman, I find the above survey extremely limited and even a bit offensive. I am sure I am not the only person who has pointed this out. I understand that you are probably just trying to get people to identify bisexual ‘behaviours’ rather than necessarily talking about identity, but what might be more helpful is a separate field where people can write what being bisexual means to them.I am in a long term same-sex relationship, and have had several previous relationships with people of different genders. Limiting bisexual feeling to ‘group sex’, and ‘fantasy’ scenarios is unhelpful, not because these scenarios don’t exist, but because a large percentage of bisexuals are living in monogamous everyday existences where their sexual invisibility needs addressing, and they require tick boxes too.Biscuit writes: Fair enough! We understand that this sort of study can be limiting, and we will be exploring bisexual identity in much greater detail. We agree that ticking one of fifteen boxes is a bit simplistic, but we would also contend that the stats do give an interesting insight. If this comment was yours, please get in touch. 
  • I have a preference for sex with women but nice ones hard to find so I have slept with more men, and nice women if they are totally gay tend to stay away from bi girls so it is a bit of a no win situation.
  • I wish I’d experimented with lesbianism when I was much younger. I think we’re all on a spectrum of sexuality, like a rainbow. I am erring toward straight, but do find women attractive and fantasise about having sex with some of them.
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Charlotte Dingle

Charlotte 'Lottie' Dingle is Biscuit's founding editor. When she's not running freelancing for a diverse bunch of clients ranging from Cosmo to Occupy, she enjoys teaching life drawing, discussing life/the universe/everything with her beloved (but smelly) 22-year-old cat, writing flash fiction for her MA course, getting pretentious tattoos, listening to folk music, creating surrealist art, trying to change the world and drinking red wine. Oh, and My Little Pony. Don't forget My Little Pony. Her favourite biscuits are cream crackers (do they count as biscuits?).

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