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      Sexual Orientation Trajectories Based on Sexual Attractions, Partners, and Identity: A Longitudinal Investigation From Adolescence Through Young Adulthood Using a U.S. Representative Sample

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      The Journal of Sex Research

      Informa UK Limited

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          Gender differences in erotic plasticity: the female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive.

          Responding to controversies about the balance between nature and culture in determining human sexuality, the author proposes that the female sex drive is more malleable than the male in response to sociocultural and situational factors. A large assortment of evidence supports 3 predictions based on the hypothesis of female erotic plasticity: (a) Individual women will exhibit more variation across time than men in sexual behavior, (b) female sexuality will exhibit larger effects than male in response to most specific sociocultural variables, and (c) sexual attitude-behavior consistency will be lower for women than men. Several possible explanations for female erotic plasticity are reviewed, including adaptation to superior male political and physical power, the centrality of female change (from no to yes) as a prerequisite for intercourse, and the idea that women have a milder sex drive than men.
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            Sexual identity, attractions, and behavior among young sexual-minority women over a 2-year period.

            Previous research suggests that the sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors of sexual-minority (i.e., nonheterosexual) women change over time, yet there have been few longitudinal studies addressing this question, and no longitudinal studies of sexual-minority youths. The results of 2-year follow-up interviews with 80 lesbian, bisexual, and "unlabeled" women who were first interviewed at 16-23 years of age are reported. Half of the participants changed sexual-minority identities more than once, and one third changed identities since the first interview. Changes in sexual attractions were generally small but were larger among bisexuals and unlabeled women. Most women pursued sexual behavior consistent with their attractions, but one fourth of lesbians had sexual contact with men between the two interviews. These findings suggest that there is more fluidity in women's sexual identities and behaviors than in their attractions. This fluidity may stem from the prevalence of nonexclusive attractions among sexual-minority women.
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              Prevalence and stability of sexual orientation components during adolescence and young adulthood.

              Analyses of three waves (6 years) of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health data explored the prevalence and stability of sexual orientation and whether these two parameters varied by biologic sex, sexual orientation component (romantic attraction, sexual behavior, sexual identity), and degree of component. Prevalence rates for nonheterosexuality varied between 1 and 15% and depended on biologic sex (higher among females), sexual orientation component (highest for romantic attraction), degree of component (highest if "mostly heterosexual" was included with identity), and the interaction of these (highest for nonheterosexual identity among females). Although kappa statistics testing for temporal stability across waves were significant, they failed to reach acceptable levels of agreement and could be largely attributable to the stability of opposite-sex rather than same-sex attraction and behavior. Migration over time among sexual orientation components was in both directions, from opposite-sex attraction and behavior to same-sex attraction and behavior and vice versa. To assess sexual orientation, investigators should measure multiple components over time or abandon the general notion of sexual orientation and measure only those components relevant for the research question.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Journal of Sex Research
                The Journal of Sex Research
                Informa UK Limited
                0022-4499
                1559-8519
                April 28 2019
                April 28 2019
                : 1-16
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Human Development and Family Science, Virginia Tech
                Article
                10.1080/00224499.2019.1577351
                © 2019

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