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I'm Attracted to Women as Well as Men, But That Doesn't Make Me Bisexual

05/11/2015 18:12 GMT | Updated 05/11/2016 09:12 GMT

When I was about 22, I asked my housemate whether I might be bisexual.

I've always identified as heterosexual and have had a handful of boyfriends and male sexual partners, but I became increasingly aware as I grew older that I was also attracted to women.

I don't just find women's faces beautiful or like the way they style their hair, I find (some, not all) women physically attractive - including their bodies, their breasts and their bottoms.

To my surprise my housemate felt exactly the same way. "Women are just more attractive then men," she said. "But feeling like that doesn't necessarily make you bisexual."

Why? Because there's a difference between finding someone attractive and wanting to act on it.

I don't want to be intimate with women (whether that's sex, spooning or snuggling), but I do have those impulses when it comes to (some, not all) men.

And so that was that, until now.

A study released on Thursday claims that women who identify as being heterosexual are really either bisexual or gay, but "never straight".

The study, conducted in the University of Essex, analysed the physiological sexual responses of 345 women to photographs of naked men and naked women. Researchers analysed pupil dilation, which was found by the same university earlier this year to be linked "100%" to sexual arousal.

The results found that women who claimed to be heterosexual became sexually aroused when looking at photographs of naked women. This was compared to women who identify as lesbians and heterosexual men, both of whom researchers claim "usually show distinct sexual responses to their preferred sex".

The authors' conclusion? That the heterosexual woman does not exist.

But I'd like to call bullshit on this. I'm pretty sure if I was part of the study, that my pupils would have also dilated. But that doesn't mean that I'm not straight.

The fact that many individuals identify on a spectrum of sexuality is something that I wholeheartedly support. But, as someone who does identify as heterosexual, I don't accept being told that being a heterosexual woman isn't possible.

The implication that I may not have a grasp of my own sexual orientation is insulting. It wasn't that long ago that women were denied sexual pleasure altogether, now I'm supposed to accept that my last 27 years have been a lie. No thanks, science.

The reason I find women attractive is simple.

Not a day goes by when I don't see a woman presented in a sexualised way. Women's bodies are commodities, used to sell everything from perfume to milk.

Women's bodies are - whether in traditional pornography, music videos or advertising - invariably presented through the "male gaze", they are shown to be sexually available and framed within a sexual context.

Growing up as a teenage girl in the 'glory days' of Nuts, Loaded and Playboy, it's little wonder I find other women sexually arousing - it's almost as if I've been preconditioned to do so.

Society tells women that their value lies primarily in their attractiveness - whether we like it or not.

It plays on our mind, every morning when we put on make-up and choose what to wear - whether we like it or not.

Naturally, therefore we are acutely aware of and interested in other women - whether that's a dress they are wearing, a lipstick shade or their figures.

As a heterosexual woman, women do stimulate me and yeah, my pupils probably do dilate when I look at them. But it's not because I want to have sex with them, it's more deeply ingrained and complicated than that.

I would never dare to tell someone else that they were wrong about their sexuality, even if I did wear a lab coat all day. Only the individual truly knows where they sit on the sexuality spectrum, that goes for all sexualities, including heterosexuals.