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Heteroflexibility is a form of a sexual orientation or situational sexual behavior characterized by minimal homosexual activity despite a primarily heterosexual sexual orientation that is considered to distinguish it from bisexuality. It has been characterized as "mostly straight".[1] Although sometimes equated with bi-curiosity to describe a broad continuum of sexual orientation between heterosexuality and bisexuality,[2] other authors distinguish heteroflexibility as lacking the "wish to experiment with ... sexuality" implied by the bi-curious label.[3] The corresponding situation in which homosexual activity predominates has also been described, termed homoflexibility.[4]

National surveys in the U.S. and Canada show that 3 to 4 percent of male teenagers, when given the choice to select a term that best describes their sexual feelings, desires, and behaviors, opt not for heterosexual, bisexual, or gay, but for “mostly” or “predominantly” heterosexual. Of the 160 men interviewed for a study in 2008 and 2009, nearly one in eight reported same-sex attractions, fantasies, and crushes. The majority had these feelings since high school; a few others developed them more recently. And in a national sample of young men whose average age was 22, the “mostly straight” proportion increased when they completed the same survey six years later. An even higher percentage of post-high-school young-adult men in the U.S. and in a handful of other countries (including New Zealand and Norway) make the same choice.[5]

As of 2010, most studies of heteroflexibility have focused on young men and women, especially white women in the college environment.[6] Research suggesting the influence of prenatal androgen exposure on female sexual identity places heteroflexibility on a continuum with bisexuality and lesbianism.[7] Other studies have focused on social origins for the behavior, such as the shifting media presentation of bisexuality or the "socialization of the male interloper fantasy" in which a man is invited into a lesbian relationship as a third partner.[8][9][10][11]

Unlike "bisexual until graduation" and similar pejoratives, heteroflexibility is typically considered to have a positive connotation, and is often a self-applied label, although use of the term as a "pop-culture slur" has been attested.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson, E.M.; Morgan, E.M. (2008). ""Mostly straight" young women: Variations in sexual behavior and identity development". Developmental Psychology 44 (1): 15–21. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.44.1.15. PMID 18194001. 
  2. ^ Frank, Katherine (2008). "'Not Gay, but Not Homophobic': Male Sexuality and Homophobia in the 'Lifestyle'". Sexualities 11 (4): 435–454. doi:10.1177/1363460708091743. 
  3. ^ Smorag, Pascale (14 May 2008). "From Closet Talk to PC Terminology : Gay Speech and the Politics of Visibility". Transatlantica. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Keppel, Bobbi (2006). "Affirmative Psychotherapy with Older Bisexual Women and Men". Journal of Bisexuality 6 (1–2): 85–104. doi:10.1300/J159v06n01_06. 
  5. ^ "Mostly Straight, Most of the Time". goodmenproject. 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  6. ^ Ambrose, Emily (2009). "Heteroflexibility: Bending the Existing Label Triangle". Colorado State University Journal of Student Affairs (43): 69–75. 
  7. ^ Ciumas, C.; Hirschberg, A. Lindén; Savic, I. (2008). "High Fetal Testosterone and Sexually Dimorphic Cerebral Networks in Females". Cerebral Cortex 19 (5): 1167–1174. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhn160. PMID 18854582. 
  8. ^ Diamond, L.M. (2005). ""I'm straight, but I kissed a girl": The trouble with American media representations of female-female sexuality". Feminism & Psychology (15): 104–110. 
  9. ^ Siegel, Karolynn; Schrimshaw, Eric W.; Lekas, Helen-Maria; Parsons, Jeffrey T. (2008). "Sexual Behaviors of Non-gay Identified Non-disclosing Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women". Archives of Sexual Behavior 37 (5): 720–735. doi:10.1007/s10508-008-9357-6. PMID 18506616. 
  10. ^ Hubbard, Phil (2008). "Here, There, Everywhere: The Ubiquitous Geographies of Heternormativity". Geography Compass 2 (3): 640–658. doi:10.1111/j.1749-8198.2008.00096.x. 
  11. ^ Is The Male Lesbian Fantasy Messing With Women’s Sexuality?. Simcha. 2009. 
  12. ^ Zaylía, Jessica Leigh (2009). "Toward a Newer Theory of Sexuality: Terms, Titles and the Bitter Taste of Bisexuality". Journal of Bisexuality 9 (2): 109–123. doi:10.1080/15299710902881467. 

Further reading[edit]