16 June, 2008

Bi the Way, what does push women's buttons?

"For heterosexual women," researcher Dr Meredith Chivers says in a new documentary about bisexuality called Bi the Way, which was shown at the NewFest film festival in New York, "looking at a naked man walking on the beach is about as exciting as looking at landscapes."

Dr Chivers, a research fellow at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto, says she has data to support this.

She recently published results of a study in which she showed people video clips of naked men and women in various sexual and non-sexual situations and measured their genital arousal.

Heterosexual women, Dr Chivers and her colleagues found, were no more excited by naked men doing yoga or tossing stones into the ocean than they were by the control footage: pans of the snowcapped Himalayas.

When straight women viewed a video of a naked woman doing calisthenics, on the other hand, their blood flow increased significantly.

What really matters to women, Dr Chivers said, at least in the somewhat artificial setting of watching movies while intimately hooked up to a device called a photoplethysmograph, is not the gender of the actor, but the degree of sensuality. Even more than the naked exercisers, they were aroused by videos of masturbation, and more still by graphic videos of couples making love.

Women with women, men with men, men with women: it did not seem to matter much to her female subjects, Dr Chivers said.

"For heterosexual women, gender didn't matter. They responded to the level of activity," she said...

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